Alano Espanol

You might guess from its name that the Alano Espanol canine breed came from Spain. However, because the breed has been around since ancient times, no one is certain of its origin.

The Alano Espanol is the “great-grandfather ” of several popular large dog breeds, such as the Great Dane. Alano Espanols were popular in the past all over Europe, but they survived best and longest as a breed in Spain, where they participated in bullfights until the late 19th century.

When enthusiasts of the breed tried to discover the origins of the Alano Espanol dog, they found about 300 of the breed in a valley in Spain, where farmers used them to herd cattle. Research indicates that the original purposes of the Alano Espanol were big game hunting, warfare, guarding, bullfighting and cattle handling. Because these dogs are excellent trackers, they were also frequently used in police work.

Alano Espanol Appearance

The Alano Espanol is large and muscular, with an extremely powerful front end. These dogs are typically fast and agile, able turn on a dime, if necessary. The breed ranges from 22 to 26 inches in height and, on average, weighs between 75 and 89 pounds.

The colors of Alano Espanols” fur vary. Shades include:

  • black
  • fawn
  • gray
  • red.

While some of these dogs have brindling (striping on their fur), others do not. Although white patches aren”t uncommon, for show purposes, they have to be small and not on the main trunk of the dog”s body. Black facemasks may also be present on Alano Espanols.

By far the most impressive feature of the Alano Espanol”s body is its head. About a third of the head is taken up by its wide muzzle. A wide, muscular neck and usually two double chins support the large heads of these dogs. Along with large heads, incredibly strong jaws and big teeth, under bites are also relatively common on Alano Espanols. In fact, dog shows will allow for under bites, as long as they are no bigger than 2 millimeters.

In places where it”s legal, the ears are cropped to stand upright. Otherwise, they fold forward over the dog”s head.

Alano Espanol Temperament

The Alano Espanol is very strong-willed and likes to dominate. If you have a hard time being kindly forceful, then this is not the dog for you. However, when an Alano Espanol has a master who takes charge, it will be a highly obedient dog, showing a great deal of affection toward the people it loves.

Alano Espanols don”t bark much and are usually calm and serious by nature. They are wary of strangers and, if they feel threatened, don”t give much warning before they attack.

Once they lock their jaws onto their chosen target, they will disregard pain, fear or any other feelings unless they hear the right order to disengage. When they run, they are seemingly tireless.

Alano Espanols play well with other dogs, but they want to dominate the pack. They also are capable of climbing trees and jumping high even when they start out standing.

Because these dogs tend to be difficult to housebreak, many owners of Alano Espanols leave them outside. Male puppies tend to be higher-maintenance than females.

As a breed, they are particularly healthy and can stand a large range of temperatures. They need a great deal of exercise and, if all goes well, can live as long as 14 years.


Dog Breed Info (1998). Alano Espanol. Retrieved January 28, 2008, from the Dog Breed Info Web site: