If you are interested in learning more about other breeds, please visit our profiles of other dogs, such as Danish Swedish Farm Dogs, Danish Broholmer, Great Danes, Old Danish Pointers, and Old Danish Chicken Dogs.
Danish Broholmer History
The Danish Broholmer originated in Denmark and has been known as a unique breed since the Middle Ages. It was primarily used for hunting – and in particular, for stag-hunting. The Danish Broholmer is a large guardian breed dog which was named after Count Niels Frederik Sehested of Broholm-Funen. Sehested of Broholm was a royal game-keeper who lived in the 1700s who bred and kept lots of these dogs for hunting. The Danish Broholmer has also been used as a guard dog for large farms and manors.
In the past, the Danish Broholmer attracted attention from royalty and from artists. The breed is portrayed in paintings of the Danish Renaissance kings Frederik II and Christian IV. Historical accounts suggest that Mastiffs sent by the English to Danish courts were bred with local canines, probably of the early Great Dane breed, thereby producing the Danish Broholmer. The Danish Broholmer assisted in driving cattle and were often called slagterhunden, i.e. ‘the butchers’ dogs’.
King Frederik VII and his companion, Countess Danner, owned several Broholmers. A painting of the couple completed around 1859 shows one of their favorites, named “Tyrk,” lying at their feet. Tyrk was “stuffed” after his death and donated to the Copenhagen Zoological Museum. During that same time period, an archeologist named Count Niels Frederik Sehested of Broholm-Funen, began collecting and organizing the breed. This man gave the breed its modern name, the Danish Broholmer. Count Sehested gave away numerous puppies to others and asked them to support the breed. He spent decades standardizing and popularizing the Broholmer.
Unfortunately, after the two World Wars, owning large dogs and paying for their expensive eating habits went out of fashion and people lost interest in breeding the Danish Broholmer. After the Second World War, the breed almost became extinct. However, by approximately 1975, a group of people organized as “The Society for Reconstruction of the Broholmer Breed”, supported by the Danish Kennel Club, began the working to preserve and revive the increasingly rare breed. Cynologist Jytte Weiss is one of the people credited for helping to revive the declining breed. A committee, appointed by the Danish Kennel Club, identified two quality Broholmers which matched the 1886 standard. The committee members Jytte Weiss and Ole Staunskjar searched the country for more of these dogs with help from the press, veterinarians, and dog lovers. Black variants were found in northern Seeland in the hands of peasants, farmers, lumberjacks and rangers. One of these blacks, named “Manne,” became the cornerstone of the modern Broholmer.
Today, the breed is gaining strength, but is still rare. Breedings are still approved only through the committee. In 1982, FCI approved the standard and the breed can be exhibited in international shows. The committee encourages the breeding of only steadfast, good-tempered dogs. These powerful dogs are naturally alert and make good watchdogs.
Danish Broholmer Appearance
The Danish Broholmer is a Mastiff-type of dog of large size. It is powerful, and has a loud impressive bark and dominant walk. It is rectangular and strongly built with composed and powerful movements. It resembles a cross between a Mastiff and a Great Dane. In build though, they are more elegant, but not as massive as the English Mastiff, although they remain large and impressive. Its appearance is dominated by the powerful forequarters. The head is massive and wide, the neck is sturdy with some loose skin, the chest is broad and deep. At rest the head is carried rather low and stooping, and the tail is hanging down sabrelike. When moving, the tail is carried higher, but not over the topline. When the dog is attentive or aroused, the head is carried higher and the tail is raised above horizontal. The coat is short and close lying, with a thick undercoat. The coat comes in yellow with a black mask, golden red and black. White markings on chest, feet and tip of tail may or may not be present.
COLOR – Light brownish yellow, golden red, fawn, black; white marking on chest, feet and tail tip allowed; black mask
Disqualification: Any color other than those listed.
HEAD – The head is large and broad, giving a heavy appearance.
SKULL – Broad and rather flat. The topline of the skull is parallel to the topline of the muzzle. There is a moderate stop that is not too pronounced.
MUZZLE – The muzzle is massive, and the same length as the skull, though it looks shorter due to the general heaviness of the head. The lips are pendulous, but not excessively so. The jaws are very powerful.
TEETH – The Broholmer has a complete set of evenly spaced, white teeth meeting in a scissors or level bite.
Disqualification: Overshot or undershot bite.
NOSE – Large and black.
Disqualification: Nose other than black.
EYES – The eyes are round, and not too large. They range in color from light to dark amber. The expression shows great self confidence.
Disqualification: Eyes of two different colors.
EARS – Medium sized, set rather high and carried hanging close to the cheeks.
Disqualification: Erect ears.
NECK – Very powerful and muscular, with some throatiness.
FOREQUARTERS – The length and angulation of the bones of the shoulder assembly should produce free movement, with good length of stride, whether the dog is walking or trotting. The upper arms are very powerful and muscular.
FORELEGS – Straight and strong, with elbows held close to the body and pasterns that are not too long.
BODY – In proportion, the Broholmer is slightly rectangular. The chest is deep and powerful, with a well-developed forechest. The withers are clearly defined. The back is rather long, and the topline is straight. The croup is slightly sloping.
HINDQUARTERS – The angulation of the hindquarter should match that of the forequarter to produce good drive and length of stride.
HIND LEGS – Seen from behind, the legs are straight and parallel. The upper thighs are very muscular. The rear pastern is not too long.
FEET – Rounded, with close toes.
TAIL – Set on rather low, thick at the base, and free of feathering. When the dog is in motion, the tail is raised to a horizontal position, preferably not higher, and never carried curled over the back.
Disqualification: Tail curled over the back.
COAT – Short and close-lying, with a thick undercoat.
Disqualification: Distinctly long coat.
HEIGHT AND WEIGHT – Average height for males is 29½ inches. For females, 27½ inches. Males weigh between 110-150 pounds. Females weigh between 90-130 pounds.
GAIT – Composed, with good reach and drive. At slow speeds, the head is held rather low. When the dog is attentive, the head is carried higher and the tail raises to horizontal.
Danish Broholmer Temperment
Calm, good tempered, friendly, yet watchful. Shows great self-confidence. The Danish Broholmer makes an outstanding guard dog, watch dog, and family companion. They are self-assured, even-tempered, and social. They are hard workers that deserve mutual respect from their family and owner(s). They are watchful and protective by nature, but they do not exhibit unwarranted aggression. The breed is friendly and calm, but ever watchful.
Danish Broholmer Grooming and Care
This breed needs a daily, long walk. Like many other big breeds it is important not to over excise your young Broholmer to protect their hips (HD) since the bones are not developed yet. Maybe 15 minutes 2 times a day of more vigorous activity. The coat of the Danish Broholmer requires very little grooming or maintenance. Brushing with a firm bristle brush can help to assist the shedding process. The Danish Broholmer is a seasonal heavy shedder.
Danish Broholmer Health
There are no recorded health issues or concerns for the Danish Broholmer. They typically live from 6 to 11 years. The Danish Broholmer needs plenty of exercise and physical activity though. As puppies, too much vigorous activity is not recommended. Over-exercising a Danish Broholmer pup can lead to hip problems and hinder bone growth.
Danish Broholmer Life Expectancy
The average life span is around 7-12 years