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Alaunt

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Alaunt
Country of origin
India and Iran
Classification and breed standards
Not recognized by any major kennel club
This breed of dog is extinct

The Alaunt is a now extinct Molosser dog breed. A number of modern breeds are believed directly descended from the Alaunt.

Appearance

The original alaunt is thought to have resembled a Central Asian Ovcharka. They were large, short coated mountain dogs of varying type.

History of the Breed

The Alaunt was bred and formed by the Alani tribes, the Kavkaz nomads of Sarmatian Indo-Iranian ancestry, who were known as superb warriors, herdsmen and breeders of horses and dogs. The Alans bred their dogs for work and had developed different strains within the breed for specific duties. As far as is known, the Alaunt's primary ancestors were native dogs such as the Gampr and the Alabai of the Caucasus and Central Asia, and the shorthaired hounds of India and Persia.

In the 370s, Hun invasions divided the Alani into the Eastern and Western Alans. The Eastern Alani tribes merged with the Albanians, Ossetians, Serbs and other nations, introducing their dogs into the bloodlines of many Balkan breeds, such as the Illyrian Mountain Dog, Metchkar, Qen Ghedje, Hellenikos Poimenikos and other Molossers of the region. Some believe that the white-coloured Alaunts were the direct ancestors of Greek and Albanian breeds, which in turn influenced all other white dogs in the Balkans. The Western Alans joined the Vandals on their raids through Europe and by the 410s, their fierce dogs were influencing many breeds in France, Spain, Portugal, England and other countries, spreading the use of the "alaunt" name, which became synonymous with a type of a working dog, rather than a specific breed. Through breeding with various scenthounds and sighthounds, the Alaunt became a valued large game hunting dog, existing in a variety of types, dictated by regional preferences.

In France, Alaunts were separated into three main categories, based on physical appearance and the duties they performed. The lightest type was the Alaunt Gentil, a greyhound-like dog, which eventually became assimilated into the local hunting breeds with the Alaunt Veantre. The heavier mastiff variety, known as the Alaunt de Boucherie, was crucial is the development of the fighting and baiting dogs of France. The process was repeated in other countries, such as England and Spain, where Alaunts crosses produced mastiffs and bulldogs, which in return influenced nearly every European guarding, baiting and fighting breed.

Modern Relatives

Alaunt fanciers are developing of new breeds based on Alaunt bloodlines, such as the New Alaunt, Dogo Belgrado, Abraxas bulldog and the American Alaunt. While its origins are strongly rooted in the ancient mountain dogs of the East, the Alaunt may be regarded as one of the original bulldog breeds.


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