The Extinct Dalbo Dog: Everything You Need to Know

The Dalbo is an extinct dog breed with a mysterious origin closely related to Icelandic sagas and the Viking’s invading quests. Today, the breed does not exist, but the mystery continues. 

In this article, we will explore the Dalbo dog breed in an effort to shed some light on its history, origin, and legacy. We also hope that talking about the breed helps keep its memory alive. 

History and Origin of the Dalbo Dog Breed

The first written record of the Dalbo breed is in Gunno Brynolphi Blutherus’ book “Dalia” from 1632 AD. After that, the breed was mentioned in 1843 AD by the author Axel Emanuel Holmberg in “Bohuslän’s History and Description.”

In these books, the Dalbo is described as a gigantic dog that bravely fought brown bears and killed wolves. Dalbo dogs would fight to the death to protect humans from predators and help save lost children from Sweeden’s forests. 

The Dalbo and the Vikings 

However, the exact origin of the breed is unknown. It is believed that after invading Britain, the Vikings acquired molosser-type dogs left there by the Romans, which were used as ancestors of the Dalbo dog. 

The Vikings used the new breed, the Dalbo, as a versatile dog to help herd livestock and to guard flocks, properties, and people. Dalbo breed members were also used as war dogs and are mentioned as heroes in Icelandic Sagas. 

The Extinction of the Dalbo Dog

The Dalbo dog probably went extinct in the late 19th or early 20th century. Many factors contributed to their extinction. For example, many members of the breed were killed by bears and wolves in the 1890s in Scandinavia. 

At the same time, the breed’s main purpose became redundant, and during the Swedish famine, it was too expensive to keep and maintain such large dogs. In 1954 a spread of rabies probably destroyed what was left of the breed. 

Physical Characteristics and Appearance

The Dalbo dog was very big, muscular, and athletic. The sole presence of the breed radiated power and respect. Despite its size, the Dalbo was fast and agile. The breed is said to be physically similar to the Estrella Mountain Dog. 

Size and Weight

The Dalbo dog weighed between 45 and 60 pounds and stood around 30 to 31.5 inches tall at the shoulders. Females were smaller and more gentle in build compared to male breed members. 

Coat and Colors

The coat of the Dalbo dog was thick and medium in length. It came in white, brown, and dark or black colors. The thickness of the coat protected the dog from cold and predators’ teeth. 

Personality and Temperament

General Disposition

Dalbo dogs were brave, fearless, and courageous. They were naturally protective of their owners, properties, and the homestead. Despite their main role as guardians, they were very affectionate when not on duty. 

Intelligence and Trainability

Dalbo dogs were highly intelligent, skilled thinkers, and eager to please, making them very easy to train. They formed very close bonds with their owners and obeyed them with loyalty. 

Interaction with Kids and Animals

Dalbo dogs were child-friendly – patient, gentle, and protective of kids of all ages. Breed members were wary of strangers but generally got along well with other dogs and animals. 

Health and Lifespan

Considering the tragic end of the breed, we do not know much about its health and lifespan. However, with its size in mind, we can assume that the Dalbo dog was prone to hip dysplasia – an orthopedic malformation in which the hip joint is loose, causing pain and limping. 


The Dalbo is an extinct dog native to Sweeden and famous for its accompanying Vikings on conquests and adventurous endeavors. Despite the breed’s end, it continues to live in Icelandic Sagas and other written records from the time. 

Throughout history, the breed has been referred to by various names, including Dalbo Hounds, Dalbohunds, and Dalsland Mastiffs. Regardless of the name, the dog remains a symbol of strength and an intimidating physique. 

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