Alaunt

He is not recognized by the F.C.I.

Origin
Central Asia
Translation
Francis Vandersteen
This breed is also known as
Kavkaz Alaunt
Caucasian Alaunt
Alan Dogge
Persian Alaunt
Continental Alaunt
English Alaunt
French Alaunt
Spanish Alaunt
Alan Dog
Arnaut Dogge
The legendary Alaunt is one of the most important Molosse breeds in history, but also one of the most misunderstood and least represented in literature. Although there are many theories about its origin, it should be borne in mind that these ideas were imagined in the West and are simply the writings of authors who have been perpetuating myths based on unreliable assumptions and accounts for centuries, the effects of which can be felt to this day. In reality, the original Alaunt was much more like a Central Asian Ovcharka or an Armenian Gampr than an Alano Espanol or a Great Dane. A number of modern breeds are considered to be either the same or direct descendants of the Alan Dogge, but in order to understand the true origin of this great dog, we need to go back to its Caucasian and Central Asian roots and the people responsible for its creation and introduction to the Western world.

The Alaunt was bred and trained by the Alanis tribes, Kavkaz nomads of Indo-Iranian Sarmatian origin, who were known as superb warriors, shepherds and breeders of horses and dogs. The Alanis bred their dogs for work and had developed different strains within the breed for specific tasks. The earliest ancestors of the Alaunt are the dogs of the Caucasus and Central Asia, namely the original Sarmatian Mastiff, the Armenian Gampr and the mighty Alabai of Turkmenistan, but also the shorthaired dogs and marmots of India and Persia, such as the ancestors of the Bully Kutta and the Assyrian Mastiff. The large, massive guard dogs were not so different from the typical mountain dogs of the East, while the hunting variety was slimmer and had a smoother, shorter coat.

When the Huns conquered the Alanis tribes, the nation was separated into Eastern and Western Alanis in the 370s. The eastern Alanis tribes merged with Albanians, Ossetians, Serbs and other nations, introducing their dogs into the lineages of many Balkan breeds, such as the ancestors of the Illyrian mountain dog, Metchkar, Qen Ghedje, Molossos tis Epirou, Sylvan, Sarplaninec and other Molosses indigenous to the region. Some believe that the white Alaunts were the direct ancestors of the Greek and Albanian breeds, which in turn influenced all other white dogs in the Balkans, but the coloring may well have been an influence of certain Indian Bohemians. Western Alanis joined the Vandals on their raids across Europe and in the 410s, their fierce dogs influenced many breeds in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, England and other countries, spreading the use of the name Alaunt, which became synonymous with the type of a working dog, rather than a specific breed or lineage. Through crossbreeding with various Hounds and Sighthounds, the Alan Dogge became a great game hound, existing in a variety of types, dictated by regional preferences. In France, their Alaunts were divided into three main categories, based on physical appearance and the functions they performed. The lightest type was the Alaunt Gentil, a greyhound-like dog that was eventually assimilated into local hunting breeds, alongside the Alaunt Veantre. The heavier mastiff variety, known as the Alaunt de Boucherie, was crucial to the development of France's fighting and baiting dogs. The same thing happened in other countries, such as England, Italy and Spain, where Alaunts gave rise to their Dogues and Bulldogs, which influenced almost all European guarding, baiting and fighting breeds, from Bullenbeissers and Boxers to Deutsche Dogges. Irish and, eventually, American Bulldogs and Bull Terriers.

Although extinct, the Alaunt still lives on in some of the breeds it helped create and the legends of its own greatness, which served as inspiration to the developers of breeds such as the Plummer Alaunt, Great Lakes Bulldogge, Ambullneo Mastiff, American Alaunt and other Bandogges, as well as breeders of the Great Dane, English Mastiff, Dogue de Bordeaux, Alano Espanol, Dogo Argentino, Presa Canario, American Bulldog, Ca de Bou, American Pit Bull Terrier and many others. Although its origins are strongly rooted in the ancient mountain dogs of the Orient, the Alaunt is best regarded as a legendary Bullenbeisser and will always be considered the ancestor of the original Bulldogge breed.

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