The Alano is a very ancient breed, and there are several theories concerning its origins. What is certain is that these dogs did not originate from any breed known today, but instead, was the ancestor of, many of the molosser breeds that are very popular today, such as Great Dane or the Dogue de Bordeaux. There used to be Alano dogs not only in Spain, but in other places across Europe invaded by the Alans, however, only in Spain have they survived for more than 1500 years until the present time. The breed, also called the Spanish Alano or Spanish Bulldog, was never in dog shows or bred for beauty.
The Spanish Alano, in the past, has been used in four basic purposes:
- Wild or Half-wild Cattle handling
- Bullfights (this use was banned by the Spanish laws back in the 19th century)
- Big-game hunting
- Guard and defense
Today it is used for cattle handling and hunting only. Some of the Alano’s talents include herding, hunting, tracking, watchdogging, guarding, police work, Schutzhund, weight pulling, competitive obedience and agility.
The Spanish Alano has a more primitive appearance than most of the bully dog breeds, with a body capable of running for long periods of time and also holding wild game or cattle when ordered. These are very dominant dogs, but they will act submissive toward a strong master. The Alano Espanol requires confident pack leadership, and an owner that is ready and willing to present the dog with various tasks. They do best as outside dogs; they are not as dependent on humans as other members of the Molosser family and can be rather difficult to house train due to their strong will. The Spanish Alano are good pack dogs with excellent social skills that do well in multiple dog situations. An interesting fact about the Alano Espanol is that they have the ability to climb trees with a cat-like agility, capable of leaping to great heights from a standing situation – this needs to be taken into consideration when creating a safe enclosure for an Alano.
This is a very reliable and stable dog that thrives on direction from its master. The Spanish Alano is very good with families and will tolerate the rough play of children. They tend to be very affectionate with members of the family, while they tend to watch strangers with suspicion. They are generally quick to warm up to new visitors and after a few meetings will feel comfortable with guests they see on a regular basis. The Alano feel very little pain and will ignore any fear when performing a job or protecting the family; they are quiet attackers and tend to do so without any warning, only when the situation warrants such behavior. They are very powerful and protective, but not aggressive. They get along well with other dogs and pets; being very sociable and engaging in all types of fun activities. They are ok as inside dogs, but prefer life outside if they are able to be in a pack situation.
These are working dogs, and in order to be a healthy/happy indoor family pet they will require a vigorous amount of exercise. Three walks daily or a lot of free space to run and play is recommended for the Alano; they really do prefer to be outdoor dogs, take this into consideration if you are thinking of keeping an Alano as an indoor family pet. These dogs have short, coarse hairs and brushing a few times a week is all that is needed to keep their coats maintained. Bathe only as needed to keep the essential oils on the skin.
Very resistant and healthy breed, not prone to any illness.
Average Height: Male – 23 to 25 inches / Female – 22 to 25 inches
Average Weight: 75 to 90 pounds
Colors: Yellow, Wolf Gray, Fawn, Red, Brindle and Black and Tan.
Category: Mastiff, Working