This is a very old dog breed and its history is not completely clear. The most popular theory suggest, that these Alano Espanol ancestors got into Spain in the 5th century with migrating Alans, which were Iranian nomadic pastoral people. It is also believed that one ancestor of Alano Espanol is the Alaunt and the name Alano was chosen as legacy of the legendary Alaunt.
2) In Spain
What we know for sure is, that the Alano Espanol breed has existed in Spain as early as the 14th century, when they were mentioned in Book of the Hunt of Alfonso XI, where it was described to be a beautifully colored breed. Those dogs primarily served as working dogs, mostly as cattle catch dogs, property protectors, but also as big game hunters.
We are not sure what are the Alano Espanol ancestors, but on the other hand, the Alano Espanol is considered to be ancestor of many breeds we have today. The list of Alano Espanol descendants include Presa Canario, Ca de Bou, Fila Brasileiro and Dogo Argentino, possibly even the Great Dane.
4) Bloody history
Throughout the history, the Alano Espanol was used for some cruel purposes. They were numerously used as war dogs and they even traveled with the Spanish explorers to the new world where they helped the Spaniards with the subjugation of native people as well as capturing slaves. Later, mostly in 18th and 19th century, the Alano Espanol was also used for a so called bloody dog sport bull baiting, which is today outlawed.
5) Almost extinct
In the 20th century, numbers of Alano Espanol declined a lot and the breed almost went extinct. The reason was, that they lost a purpose. The Bullbaiting was banned, hunting was not that neede anymore and stockyards were modernized and no longer needed dogs to hold the cattle. All this caused, that in the 1960s, the breed almost dissappear. Luckily, in the 1980s some breed enthusiasts started to revive the breed and they found few hundreads of Alano Espanol dogs that became the new foundation stock.
The Alano Espanol is not a dog for novices. It is because of their enormous strength and dominant and protective temperament. These dogs need experienced handler who knows how to socialize and train the dog. But, when they are properly trained, the Alano Espanol is excellent companion. They are absolutely devoted, friendly, patient and even affectionate to their people. These dogs are very protective and will stand up against any predator or any danger to protect itself or its people. Alano Espanol is intelligent and obedient dog and is known to have great patience with kids. On the other hand, they are very suspicious towards strangers and it takes some time before the stranger will gain trust of this dog breed.
7) Other dogs
In the past, the Alano Espanol worked in a pack of dogs. When they hunted big game, they hunted it in a pack. When they worked with cattle, they also often times worked in a pack. That is why, the Alano espanol is typically okay with other dogs in the family and can happily live together with them.
The Alano Espanol is a very large and robust molossoid type of a dog. The avereage height should be between 22-25 inch which is 56-64 cm and weight is typically between 75-88 pounds, which is 34-40 kg. The females are naturally little bit smaller than males.
Just like majority of working dog breeds, even the Alano Espanol needs daily physical and mental stimulation. A larg fenced yard, where they can stretch their legs off leash is ideal. This breed has pretty high exercise needs and they definitely need several daily longer walks. Without enough physical exercise, they might become destructive.
The is not enough scientific studies about the Alano Espanol, but it seems that this is usually a very healthy dog breed. Just like all the giant dog breeds, they can suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia, but it is nothing extremely common. The lifespan of Alano Espanol is between 11-14 years, which is also pretty good for a dog of this size.