The Alaunt is believed to be the origin of many species of dogs found in present times. The original Alaunt is thought to have been a Caucasian sheep dog. These dogs were large in size and had short coats. They were bred by a tribe called the Alani, of Indo-European descent. This tribe was well known for their war-like nature and for their efficiency in breeding horses and dogs. They developed the Alaunt breed and created separate strains of the same breed for different purposes.
The original Alaunt was a sheep dog belonging to pastoral nomads. These dogs also fought in battles alongside their masters on the grassy plains west and north of the Caucasus. Of the ancient Alaunts, only three varieties exist today, namely the Spanish Alano of northern Spain, the White English Bulldog of south-eastern United States and the White Kazbegi sheep dog. These dogs are not seen in show rings or even in domestic setups in present times. Most Alaunts are found in remote corners of the countries where it is still found, working as sheep dogs and guarding livestock.
France and Spain are two countries that have made extensive use of Alaunts in their history. In France, these dogs were split into three broad categories. This categorization was based on the appearance and work assigned to these dogs. The Alaunt Gentil was a lighter dog, resembling a greyhound, and was primarily was used in hunting. The Alaunt de Boucherie was more of a baiting and fighting dog. The third category was generally called Alaunt Veantre and was also used as a hunting dog.
In Spains, Alaunts were first bred around the 1500s. These dogs were of extremely high quality and were extensively used by Spanish explorers in their conquest of the New World. Some Alaunts are still found working as guard dogs for livestock in some parts of Spain.
The Alaunt typically has a broad and flat head. These dogs should not be confused with the Greek Molossoides as far as the shape of the head is concerned. Molossides usually include different breeds including the Mastiff, Pugs or Mountain Dogs. In this sense, the Alaunt can be said to look like Caucasian humans because they have long broad heads and square jaws.
Recent breeding efforts based on the Alaunt bloodline have yielded varied results. Some such breeds include the New Alaunt, the Abraxas Bulldog, the American Alaunt, Dogo Belgrado and the Antebellum Bulldog. Many experts believe that the Alaunt is the ancestor of all breeds of bulldogs, even though the Alaunts originally came from a breed of mountain dogs in the East.
From what is known, the Alaunt’s ancestors also include Sarmatian Mastiffs found in the Caucasus, the Alabai found in Central Asia and European or Persian hounds. It is also thought that the dogs which accompanied the nomadic tribes from the Asian steppes have contributed to the ancestry of the Alaunt. These nomads were the ones to introduce horse-drawn chariots and also the Mastiff or Alaunt breeds into battles.