The Spanish Alano is a very old Molosser, believed to be one of the working breeds of the Alani tribe, which came to the Iberian Peninsula in the 5th century. Regarded by many as the direct descendant of the ancient Alaunt, this Spanish dog is also thought to be the ancestor of the Bullenbaisser dogs, as well as every other bull-type breed in the world. Some authorities view this breed as a living link between the Italian Cane Corso and the English Mastiff. It should be noted that while closely related to the Spanish Bulldog, the Alano is not the same breed, as some might think.
Found in a variety of types in the past, the Spanish Dogge was eventually reduced to a single variant by the early 20th century. Due to the matings with the English Mastiff, German Boxer, American Staffordshire Terrier and other imported breeds, the glorious Chato Salmatino in its pure form was nearing extinction during the post-baiting sports era, but was fortunately saved through careful breeding of some 300 representatives of this breed discovered throughout Northern Spain in the 1980's. Further crossings with surviving Spanish Bulldogs and Villano Bulldogs helped re-establish the desired type, although many fanciers believe that no such outcrosses were used. Whatever the case may be, the revival/reconstruction of the Spanish Dogge has been a success and today, this is an increasingly popular Molosser, becoming more common outside its native borders.
However, with this popularity also came the emergence of some questionable strains, many of which are thought to have other breeds in their background, such as the Bullmastiff, Cane Corso, Presa Canario and similar dogges. Some rumours imply that a number of modern dogs presented as pure Alanos are nothing more than crosses between the almost extinct Spanish Bullterrier and a Boxer, but these claims haven't been proven and are generally dismissed by the majority of Alano Espanol enthusiasts. Dedicated breed fanciers are working diligently to ensure the Spanish Dogge's survival and are promoting health testing and breeding practices based on the dog's working abilities and not only physical appearance.
A courageous working dog, the Alano excells as a boar-hunter, as well as a cattle controller. It also makes a fine property guardian, due to its territorial and protective nature. Fairly dog-aggressive, this breed requires proper socialization and responsible handling. The Spanish Alano is intuitive, intelligent and energetic, making a loving family dog, very affectionate with children and devoted to its owner. Broad-chested, well-muscled and superbly athletic, this is truly an impressive and powerful Moloss. The head is broad, with a reasonably short muzzle and strong jaws. The ears are usually cropped, although unaltered dogs are becoming more common. The short flat coat needs occasional brushing, making it an easy dog to take care of.
Colours include red, yellow, fawn, wolf gray and various brindles, including a black-n-tan variety, sometimes with brindling over the tan parts. Lighter-coloured examples usually have black masks, but some unmasked dogs can be encountered as well. Small white markings are allowed, but aren't valued by some purists. The average height is around 25 inches, with slightly smaller dogs being preferred.