The Alano Español is a breed of dog that is both loyal and strong. This majestic animal is a symbol of Spanish heritage and a beloved companion.
The Alano Español is not a very famous breed, but it is a fascinating one. In this article, we will delve into the history, characteristics, temperament, and working abilities of this impressive breed.
A Brief History of the Alano Español
The Alano Español is a magnificent breed of dog with a rich history that spans centuries. Originally bred in Spain, this breed was developed for a variety of tasks, including hunting, herding, and guarding.
Origins in Spain
The Alano Español’s origins can be traced back to the Middle Ages in Spain. The breed was created by crossing native dogs with Mastiff-type dogs that were brought to Spain by the Moors.
Some earlier predecessors of the breed were probably brought to Spain in the 5th century, following the fall of the Roman Empire, when many Iranian tribes arrived in Europe.
The cross-breeding resulted in a powerful and versatile breed that was used for hunting big game, herding livestock, and guarding homes and farms. For many centuries, the Alano Español remained relatively unknown.
However, its reputation began to grow during the Spanish conquests in the Americas. The breed was brought along on voyages to help protect settlers and hunt game.
The Role of the Alano Español in Spanish History
The Alano Español has played an important role in Spanish history. The breed was often used in bullfighting, a popular pastime in Spain. These dogs were trained to chase and catch bulls and were highly valued for their bravery and strength.
During the Spanish Civil War, the Alano Español was used on the front lines as messenger dogs and to carry ammunition. Many Alano Españols also served as guards and attack dogs for the Spanish military. Their strength and loyalty made them valuable assets in times of war.
Near Extinction and Revival Efforts
In the early 20th century, the Alano Español almost became extinct due to a decline in hunting and farming traditions in Spain. However, a group of dedicated breed enthusiasts worked tirelessly to save the breed.
With careful breeding and conservation efforts, the Alano Español made a comeback in the mid-1900s. Today, the Alano Español is recognized as a national breed in Spain and is gaining popularity in other parts of the world.
These dogs are known for their strength, loyalty, and intelligence, and make excellent companions for those who appreciate their unique history and abilities. If you are considering adding an Alano Español to your family, it is important to do your research and find a reputable breeder.
Physical Characteristics of the Alano Español
The Alano Español is a powerful-looking dog with distinct facial features and very large paws that serve as cushions when walking on rough terrains. Here is a closer look at the breed’s physical traits.
Size and Build
Female Alano Español dogs are 22 to 24 inches tall, and males are 23 to 25 inches tall at the shoulders. Female breed members weigh between 55 and 77 pounds, and males between 66 and 88 pounds.
Females are generally smaller and more elegant than males. Regardless of sex, the size and build make the Alano Español an imposing presence, capable of taking on large prey or defending its family.
The Alano Español is a large, muscular dog that is built for strength and endurance. Despite the size, it is fast and agile. This combination of strength and speed makes it a formidable hunting dog, able to chase down prey and hold it until its human hunting partners arrive.
Coat and Colors
The Alano Español has a short but very dense double-layer coat that is smooth and naturally glossy. The coat comes in a variety of colors, including brindle, black, fawn, and blue.
The breed’s coat is easy to maintain and requires minimal grooming. This is a practical feature for a working breed, as it allows the dog to focus on its tasks without being distracted by grooming needs.
Distinctive Facial Features
The Alano Español is easily recognizable by its distinctive facial features. The breed has a large, square head with a pronounced stop and a short, wide muzzle. This head shape gives the Alano Español a powerful bite, which was important for their original purpose as fighting dogs.
The Alano Español’s ears are set high on its head and are either cropped or left natural. Cropping was originally done for practical purposes, as it reduced the risk of the dog’s ears being injured during hunting or fighting. However, today it is mostly done for cosmetic reasons and is illegal in many countries.
Overall, the physical characteristics of the Alano Español reflect their history as a working breed. They are strong, agile, and durable, with features that make them well-suited to hunting and fighting.
However, they are also loyal and affectionate companions, making them a great choice for families who are looking for a dog that can do it all.
The Alano Español’s Temperament and Personality
Bred for hunting, fighting, and guarding, this breed has developed a unique set of personality traits that make it a loyal and devoted companion.
Loyalty and Devotion
The Alano Español is known for its unwavering loyalty and devotion to its owners. This breed forms strong bonds with its family and will do everything in its power to protect them.
Whether it’s standing guard at the front door or snuggling up on the couch, the Alano Español thrives on human interaction and will go to great lengths to please its owners.
It’s important to note that the Alano Español can be wary of strangers and may take some time to warm up to new people. However, once it has established a bond with someone, it will remain fiercely loyal for life.
Strength and Courage
The Alano Español is a strong and powerful breed that is not easily intimidated. Originally bred for hunting big game and fighting bulls, this breed has an impressive amount of strength and stamina.
It’s no surprise that the Alano Español has been known to take on animals much larger than itself with ease. However, it’s important to note that Alano Español’s strength should never be used for aggressive purposes.
This breed is highly trainable and can be taught to use its strength in a positive way, such as in search and rescue or as a therapy dog.
Intelligence and Trainability
The Alano Español is an intelligent breed that responds well to training. This breed is eager to please its owners and thrives on positive reinforcement. However, it’s important to note that the Alano Español can be stubborn at times and requires a firm and consistent hand.
Training should begin early with this breed, as they can become dominant if not properly socialized. Positive reinforcement techniques work best with Alano Español, as harsh punishments can lead to resistance and aggression.
The Alano Español as a Working Dog
Hunting and Herding Abilities
The Alano Español has a long history as a hunting and herding dog. This breed is skilled at tracking and flushing out game, and can also assist with herding livestock. The Alano Español’s strength and endurance make it an ideal canine hunting companion.
Guarding and Protection Roles
The Alano Español’s protective nature makes it an ideal breed for guard and protection roles. This breed is well-suited for guarding homes, as well as serving in law enforcement or military roles. The Alano Español’s fearlessness and strength make it a formidable opponent for any intruders or foes.
Today, the Alano Español is primarily kept as a companion animal. However, this breed’s working abilities have not been forgotten.
Many Alano Españols still serve in hunting and herding roles, as well as in law enforcement and military capacities. The breed’s natural strength and courage make it a valuable addition to any working team.
Health & Lifespan
The Alano Español dog has an average lifespan of 11 to 14 years. Common health problems in the breed, include:
- Hip Dysplasia: An orthopedic disease in which the two bones forming the hip joint do not fit, causing pain and mobility issues
- Bloat: A life-threatening condition in which the stomach fills with gasses, bloats, and twists on itself
- Eye Problems: The breed is susceptible to several eye conditions, like progressive retinal atrophy, glaucoma, cataracts, etc.
With proper care, the breed’s life expectancy can be prolonged. Practice regular checkups with the veterinarian and be diligent in terms of vaccines, dewormers, and parasite prevention.
The Alano Español is a breed of dog that embodies loyalty and strength. This majestic animal has a rich history in Spain and is characterized by its unique physical characteristics, temperament, and working abilities.
The Alano Español is a breed that will always leave a lasting impression. If you’re considering adding this breed to your family, be prepared for a lifetime of love and devotion.