The Greeks have given us so much. Moussaka, philosophy, a favorite vacation destination and…dogs. One of the best things about the adorable Greek dog breeds is how diverse they are. There are herders, companions, guards, and hunters that can all proudly call themselves Greek.
But, not many of us know a lot about the amazing dogs originating in Greece. And we want to change that. Here’s everything you need to know about these pups so you can decide if one would be a good addition to your family home!
Greece is a really unique country made up of 277 islands. Not only has its geographical location affected how the people, food, and culture have developed but it’s also given it a rich history in dog breeding. None of these pups are recognized by the American Kennel Club but they are adorable and loved in their native land.
Greek Shepherds (also called Greek Sheepdogs) are large, powerful, and intelligent dogs bred in the mountainous region of the country. A Greek Sheepdog can grow to 100 pounds and usually has a large head, powerful legs, and a broad chest.
This strong, livestock guardian dog has a thick, coarse coat to protect it from cooler weather and harsher conditions. They’re usually gray with white and black markings or can be a combination of all three.
As well as being good protectors against wolves and bears these dogs are also great herders. They’ve long been used by Greek farmers as all-round farm dogs that are highly intelligent and make great companions too.
Alopekis are great companion canines and were a popular choice for both city and country dwellers. It’s thought that these little dogs were originally bred to protect chickens from foxes and for hunting small animals such as mice and rats.
They can be many different colors including red, gray, black, brown, and blue. They can also have a long or short coat.
Unfortunately, these friendly little dogs are very nearly extinct. Efforts are being made in Greece to improve numbers and hopefully, they’ll be able to do it in time!
The Kokoni is a wonderful, small dog breed that has been a favorite companion canine amongst the Greeks for centuries. These little pups are very cute, with a longer body than it is tall, fluffy erect ears, expressive eyes, and an adorable tail that’s curved.
It’s thought that the word Kokoni comes from the modern Greek word Kokona, meaning daughter. Traditionally, daughters would have stayed at home and these cute dogs would have been their loyal companions.
This small Greek domestic dog can be lots of different colors including brown, beige, and cream and some have a slightly longer coat. Even though it doesn’t look like it (because of their very cute faces and wagging tails) Kokonis have a fierce bark. This makes them great watch dogs as well as companions.
The Greek Harehound is a typical hound with a keen sense of smell, adorable floppy ears, and an athletic body. These pups were first bred in the forest regions of the country to hunt hares, rabbits, and other small prey.
Greek Harehounds have short and dense coats that allow them to run through the undergrowth without any problems. They can only have one coat color which is black and tan.
These friendly dogs are very cheerful, loyal, and smart. They need to be part of an active and outdoorsy family that can keep up with their high energy levels. If they get enough physical and mental stimulation, they can also be calm dogs that are happy to curl up and spend the night relaxing with their owners.
The Cretan Hound is an Ancient Greek dog breed originating on the island of Crete. These beautiful dogs are elegant, slender, and unbelievable hunters that are used to track down hares, foxes, rabbits, and other small prey.
Not only do Cretan Hounds have a long history of hunting but they’re also great guard dogs and all-round working dogs. They’re intelligent and form strong bonds with their owners. For thousands of years, they’ve been a family favorite in Greece because they can combine their hunting skills with an affectionate and caring personality. They’re great dogs for families looking for a loyal companion.
These hunting dogs need lots of exercise and will be happiest with an active family that has a large area for them to roam. They deal well with hot weather (although still need shade to keep cool) but will struggle in colder climates.
Molossus of Epirus
The Molossus of Epirus was an enormous dog breed that cauld tip the scales at 140 pounds! As you can probably guess, these ancient dogs were first bred to guard property and livestock. In fact, it’s said that Alexander the Great’s favorite dog, Peritas, was an enormous Molossus of Epirus.
Many experts believe this giant dog to be the forefather of the Neapolitan Mastiff and the rare Greek Shepherd.
With Alexander the Great’s influence, this breed was not only seen as a guard dog but also a war dog. Their loyal and brave nature, combined with their ferocious appearance was a formidable combination on the battlefield!
What is the most popular Greek dog breed?
All of these breeds have been very popular throughout history. However today, the most popular of all the Greek dog breeds is probably the Kokoni. These little dogs are very adaptable and are a good choice for seniors, families, and couples – making them very popular. They’re also cute, affectionate, and can be good watch dogs too.
What is the rarest Greek dog?
The rarest dog from Greece is the Alopekis. It’s sad to say, but these pups are nearly extinct and are very hard to come across. Local breeders are making efforts to improve numbers but this will take time.
Which Greek Dog Breed Was Popular in Ancient Greece?
Based on testaments, drawings, and sculptures, the Molossus was a popular dog in Ancient Greece. They were used to guard livestock, property, and possessions as well as accompanying their owners into battle.
These amazing dogs appear throughout Greek history and are still revered for their strength, power, and loyalty.
There are 6 amazing Greek dog breeds that not many people outside of the country know a lot about. They include everything from a small companion dog to a large and impressive war dog.
So there’s quite a variety to choose from! It can be a struggle to find these wonderful dogs in America, but if you’re lucky enough to do so, you’ll be getting an amazing dog and family companion.
I’m Charlotte, a content and copywriter from the North of England and currently living in Berlin. Animals have always been a huge part of my life, so writing about dogs is a total pleasure! I love all kinds of dogs and their cheeky personalities, but I’d have to say Weimaraners are my favourite!