Until recently, the Alanian dog, which was under the threat of complete extinction, today is a real sensation in the cynological world. Magnificent powerful molossians were rescued by the efforts of enthusiasts, their livestock is steadily growing. And although the breed has not yet been recognized by the international federation, at the national level it is incredibly highly valued. Magnificent conformation, excellent physique and impressive working qualities – this is what the characteristic of the Spanish Bulldog looks like.
However, this stern dog treats the owner and his family incredibly gently, demonstrating miracles of love and devotion.
The modern Alanian dog descends from the ancient Molossians, and has impressive historical roots. It came to Spain around the 5th century AD with the migration of nomadic Iranian tribes – the Alans, related to those that live today in North Ossetia (Alania). Nomadic pastoralists brought with them fat herds, and with them guard dogs, which had impressive dimensions.
For a long time, animals were bred here without any special mention of their origin. And only about 9 centuries later, in the XIV century, Alano began to be included in official documents as excellent hunting dogs with an expressive color.
It is worth noting that Spanish bulldogs became the progenitors of many modern breeds. Among their descendants are Cane Corso, American Staffordshire Terrier, Tosa Inu. During the Spanish maritime rule, these dogs served to protect ships, they were willingly bought in ports, used to produce offspring around the world.
In 1816, Francisco de Goya also mentioned fearless dogs participating in bullfights. In the same historical period, Alano were used as participants in the hunt for large wild boars. But after cattle breeding in Spain reduced its importance, hunting ceased to be the main entertainment of the nobility, their popularity began to decline. The ban on bullfighting involving dogs also reduced the scope of the powerful Molossians, who needed an energy outlet.
In 1963, the existence of the Spanish Bulldog was brought to the brink of extinction. But in 1970, a group of enthusiasts appeared who were concerned about this state of affairs. Among them were students who studied veterinary medicine, and just amateur cynologists.
It was they who managed to find one of the last Alanian dogs on the lands of the Basques and on the territory of Las Encartazones. The discovered animals became the basis for the restoration of the breed’s livestock.
By 2004, the Spanish Bulldog was widely distributed throughout the country, even being recognized by the Ministry of Agriculture as an indigenous species characteristic of these lands. In the same year, they adopted the local breed standard – it was approved by the Spanish Kennel Club. The FCI has not yet considered it necessary to add Alano data to its list. But these dogs were also highly appreciated outside the country – today their population is gradually growing not only in Europe, but also in the USA. In addition, on the territory of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Alania today it is also fashionable to keep the formidable Spanish Molossians.
Description of the breed
Alanian dogs are characterized by a short coat that fits snugly to the surface of the body. Among the acceptable color options for the Spanish Bulldog are black and brindle, sable wolf, fawn, pure brindle, yellow and red. Most coat colors have a black mask on the muzzle. White markings are rare and should not be large.
The skin is taut, with a slight dewlap in the neck. On the body, the length of the coat is longer – up to 2.5 cm, on the muzzle and neck – about 1 cm. On the tail, the growth of the outer hair has a cone-shaped orientation.
A detailed description of the Alan dog, compiled by the Spanish Cynological Federation, contains information about its appearance.
- Body weight from 38 to 45 kg for males, females are lighter – 33-38 kg, height at the withers in the range of 56-65 cm, depending on gender.
- The physique is athletic, with pronounced muscles. The body is elongated with a straight strong back.
- The croup is located above the withers, not long, convex, the loin is wide and powerful, the withers are weakly expressed.
- The chest is clearly defined, deep, located below the elbow line.
- The abdomen is tucked up, sunken, with clearly defined sides.
- The tail is set low, its length reaches the line of the hock joint, the thickness is uniform along the entire length.
- The limbs are straight, strong, without distortion and deviations, with long forearms. At the front, the elbows are close to the body, at the rear, a long metatarsus and a short metacarpus are pronounced. Nails are always dark.
- The line of the neck is muscular, there is a dewlap, well defined. The length is average.
- The head is large, rough molding, with a wide voluminous forehead, a stop towards the muzzle is clear, pronounced. The forehead and muzzle are of proportional size, the cheekbones and jaws are well developed. The dividing line of the skull is clearly drawn. The front of the muzzle is shortened, with a slightly upturned nose. The lobe is black, with large nostrils.
- Lips with pronounced tucked up jowls, saturated with black pigmentation.
- The jaws are well developed, with a powerful, wide mouth. The teeth are large, with a predominantly pincer bite or undershot bite no more than 3 mm.
- Eyes of medium size, expressive, with a beautiful cut. Hue varies from rich chestnut to amber yellow.
- Ears with a wide set, the cartilage fits snugly to the head, hanging in a natural form. Breeders recommend docking.
Developmental defects include character deviations – malice, aggressiveness, unbalanced behavior.
No cryptorchidism in males. Significant undershot and scissor-like closure of the jaws is also not suitable. A clarified version of pigmentation, as well as a blue tint of the iris, is also unacceptable.
The unpretentious Molossian from Spain is smart, has a good reaction, is able to act independently and make decisions. The nature of the fighting breed Alano was formed in the conditions of freedom, which they were given by the owners of cattle over the centuries. Dogs are distinguished by a balanced disposition, possess self-confidence, recognize the leadership of a person over themselves. It is recommended to have such animals for experienced dog breeders who are able to gain authority in their eyes.
The Alan dog has needs for early socialization – this quality makes it suitable for keeping in the family. Here the pet will be equally kind and attentive to everyone from children to the elderly.
With proper upbringing, dogs remain obedient, attentive to the owner’s commands, and do not ignore them.
With those who are considered lower in the hierarchy, animals are kind and condescending, but they will not allow themselves to be controlled. Alano are non-aggressive towards outsiders, they attack only when a real threat arises.
Excellent watchdogs and shepherds, Spanish Bulldogs feel comfortable on the farm, surrounded by other animals. They are also quite friendly to pets, they do not show aggression. Alano are quite active dogs, ready to keep the owner company in any business: from traveling and cycling to hunting.
But they are not recommended to be purchased as the first dog in life – there is a great risk of not coping with the strong character of the pet.
The Alanian dog is distinguished by good health, it does not have a genetic predisposition to many diseases of the Molossians. The average life expectancy reaches 14-15 years, while the dog remains active and cheerful to the last. But animals require standard vaccination against most canine infections, protection against parasites. Among the diseases that can reduce the age of Alano are hip dysplasia, inflammation of the middle ear.
Maintenance and care
The Alanian dog is a fairly large animal that needs space and freedom of movement. Their short coat makes them unsuitable for year-round aviary or outdoor keeping. Dogs are recommended walks, a long stay in the fresh air. The optimal conditions for keeping are considered to be living on a farm, in a rural area or in a suburban area. Apartment maintenance is not recommended; within four walls, a dog can spoil property simply out of boredom.
Alano care comes down to the following manipulations:
- trimming the claws, they do not grind naturally because of their hardness;
- combing the coat with a special comb or glove, twice a week is enough;
- bathing, it is necessary occasionally, to preserve the protective cover on the skin, the procedure must be carried out with special means;
- examining the eyes and ears, removing contaminants from the cavity of the eyelids and from the skin.
Consider how to keep Alan dog puppies at home. Short-haired babies need their own place with warm soft bedding, located away from drafts. Feeding is done up to 6 times a day in the first months, by the age of six months the number of meals reaches 3-4. The puppy must have access to clean water, receive toys. Early socialization of the animal, communication with other dogs will help to avoid the appearance of behavioral vices.
During the ear cupping period, the Alano wound requires standard treatment, the seams are protected with a special collar. It is worn by a veterinarian. When bathing, short-cut auricles are closed with cotton swabs.
It is important to consider that the lack of worldwide recognition significantly complicates the participation of the Spanish Bulldog in exhibitions and other events. Purchasing a purebred animal also requires some effort.
It is best to choose a baby in a Spanish or Italian nursery, receiving a national pedigree.
The organization of the Spanish Bulldog’s diet is quite simple – dogs are generally unpretentious in food. But the owner will have to decide on the choice of feeding option even in the infancy of the pet. If a ready-made diet is chosen, it is better not to change the brand of dry food throughout the life of the dog, varying only the calorie content and type of food. It also excludes the mixing of natural food and crunchy treats.
It is worth giving preference to high-quality types of food with a predominance of natural meat in the composition. Products created specifically for large dogs are considered optimal – super-premium or holistic. Additional mineral additives in this case are not required.
A natural diet is made up of high-quality fresh products. You should not save on food, a large moloss requires fresh meat in volumes of at least 300 g per day, you can give a small amount of offal, ocean fish. As a source of protein, you can use a boiled egg, cottage cheese, kefir. Of the cereals, wheat, oatmeal, and barley are the most beneficial. Fresh vegetables, apples are useful for the animal, you can give dried fruits as a treat.
Dogs of the Alano breed are not prone to the development of food allergies, indigestion.
But dogs should not be given hot spices, salt, smoked products, marinades and products based on them. Flour products, sweets are strictly prohibited.
Alano are smart dogs that lend themselves well to socialization and training.. Animals, unlike other molossians, are ready to obey the owner, they always try to follow his instructions. But when training, it is worth considering a number of important points. The learning process should not be too forced. Mastering the general course teams is carried out step by step and sequentially, with periodic repetition of the past.
The Spanish Bulldog pays great attention to how exactly the owner communicates with him. These dogs require respect and love praise. Having achieved the location of Alano, you can easily get an obedient, well-managed dog, a true friend and companion without any extra effort.
Rudeness, physical punishment, shouting should be excluded.
In education, special attention should be paid to walks. Alano have a need for movement, they need at least 3-4 hours of exposure to the air per day. If the dogs do not receive the necessary physical activity, they become aggressive, hooligans, and damage property. In the city limits, walking should be carried out only on a leash and in a collar.
In the house, the Alanian dog will keep order only if he learns the basic rules of behavior from an early age. It is necessary to start accustoming a puppy to all the subtleties of “etiquette” as early as possible. The rapid growth of Molossians pretty soon turns a charming baby into a large clumsy teenager, playful and eager to chew everything around. Only the attention of the owner, constant and patient education will help to eliminate the manifestation of destructive behavior.
On the features of the breed, see the following video.