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One needs to remember, that the Alano Espanol we know today hasn't derived directly from Alaunt and Alans' dog, but is a result of Alaunt's evolution, just as Dog de Bordeaux, Great Dane or Boxer, but unlike them it's untouched by cynology. Differently from the breeds mentioned, Alano Espanol has conserved its exclusively practical purpose and psychical and physical abilities that are hard to keep when crossing with other contemporary breeds. The Alaunt's legacy makes the name Alano to be assigned to its other descendants - such as the aforementioned Great Dane, dogs from Majorca or to Perro de Presa Canario.


Alans were a pastoral tribe from Asia - they belonged to the so-called Sarmatians that used to occupy the territories on the south of Caucasus Mountains, including the territories of the today's Iran.


The first mentions regarding them date back to the first century after Christ. About the year 300 AD they were conquered by the Huns. Some of the Alans followed the Huns towards Europe, and the other part settled with the Balkans' peoples.


Except from the Alans themself, the Huns were followed by their famous horses and their dogs. The trace of their travel around Europe - the crossing of the Balkans, the chain of Carpathian Mountains, followed by the crossing of Rhine and the Pyrenees, extends as far as to Spain. It is known that in 409 AD the Pyrenees were crossed by the Vandals and a few tribes of Alanos, and they have reached the terrirories of the today's Spain. Here on the Iberian Peninsula the Alans' dogs, after a few hundred years of selections, gave the unique type of grabbing dog.

 


Alans' dogs were primarily very mighty dogs similar to the Sarmatian Mastiff, also called the Sarmatian Dog. This breed isn't registered anywhere, but still is described and raised by a group of enthusiasts. These are the dogs of the type of Tibetan Mastiff described by Marco Polo. They reach 35"5' in withers and are covered with short and dense fur, their poil can be various, but most frequently they are piebald with admixture of white. Their short ears and tail remind of the mighty Central Asian Shepherd Dog. Probably the most closely related with the Alans' dogs are Salplaninacs - shepherd and guard dogs from Balkans. Presently except from some rare specimen of the Sarmatian Alaunt, one can find the dogs of that type among the four-legged companions of nomads in the middle Asia - like for instance Sage Koochee.


As the Alans were wandering, their dogs were changing with their new tasks and under influence of local dogs they were crossing with. On the territories overgrown with the dense forests of that time's Europe they were expected to do some other things than on the steppe territories of Asia. Both the climate and the dogs' destination turned the guard into the hunter.