Alano Español Dog Breed: Pictures, Colors, Bark, Characteristics, and Diet

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Last Updated on January 20, 2024

The Alano Español dog (Alano) is a large-sized purebred, initially used for hunting, herding, and guarding.

Male Alanos are typically about 23 to 25 inches tall (58.4 to 63.5 cm) and weigh between 66 and 88 pounds (29.9 to 39.9 kg), while female Alanos are slightly smaller at 22 to 24 inches tall (53.3 to 61 cm) and weigh between 55 and 77 pounds (24.9 to 34.9 kg).

Portrait of Spanish Alano dog

Alano Español puppies grow steadily for the first few months of their life. They reach maturity and their full physical structure around 12 months of age.

However, they can continue to grow bit by bit until they are 18 months old.

In addition, Alano Españols are known for their robust and sturdy body. They have a strong muzzle with a square-shaped head and muscular legs with big paws.

Also, they have a short double coat that can be fawn, brindle, gray, red, or black.

Side view portrait of Alano Español dog
A side view portrait of Alano Español dog – Image source

Alano Español is one of the top dog breeds with the strongest bite force of 227 psi. They have strong jaws with powerful and firm reverse-scissors bites.

But despite that, Alanos have a low chance of biting somebody. They only bite people for protection, pain, or when they’re being provoked.

If you’re looking for a family dog, Alano Españols can be just that. They’re known to be quiet, patient, and affectionate.

However, they can be stubborn and love to work, so they require plenty of physical activity and mental stimulation. Overall, they’ll be an excellent watchdog, guard dog, and great companion for adults and children.

Alano Españols will do well on a high protein diet due to their high energy levels. For instance, they can run up to 18 MPH.

You can be sure that your Alano Español will have a long, healthy, and happy life. For instance, they have an average lifespan of about 11 to 14 years. 

Read on to learn more about the Alano Español dog breed and how to keep them happy and healthy.

What is the Alano Español Dog Breed?

Spanish Alano dog hunting in the field
A Spanish Alano dog hunting something in the field

The Alano Español dog breed is a medium to a large-sized working dog that originated in Spain. They have been used for many tasks, such as catching cattle, hunting, and guarding.

Before then, they were used for Spanish bullfights. Today, they can be affectionate and loyal companion dogs as long as they’re trained and socialized well.

What is the Etymology of Alano Español Dogs?

Alano Español dogs go by a few different names, such as Alano, Alano Mastiff, Spanish Alano, Perro de Toro, or the Spanish Bulldog.

They got their name from a chapter from a book called Libro de la Montería de Alfonso XI, which means “Book of the Hunt of Alfonso XI.” Hunting dogs called Alani are mentioned in the chapter as having beautiful colors.

What is the History of Alano Españols?

Alano Español dog sitting on nature
An Alano Español dog sitting on nature – Image source

There are references to this dog from the 14th century, but Alano Españols are known to be an ancient breed, dating back to the fifth century.

For instance, it’s believed they arrived with the Nomadic Iranian Alani Tribe after the Roman Empire fell.

Alano Español dogs were bred for many purposes, such as hunting, herding, and guarding. In addition, they were used for bull-baiting and fighting.

When this act was banned in 1883, the breed declined heavily. In fact, this breed almost went extinct. 

Luckily, some villages kept these dogs as working dogs. As a result, they bred more, thus increasing the numbers of the breed.

Even though this is a purebred dog, neither the American Kennel Club (AKC) but the Spanish Kennel Club recognizes it.

How Many Alano Español Dogs Are There in the World?

Alano Español dogs are an extremely rare breed. In fact, they almost went extinct. They still reside in Spain primarily and aren’t well-known around the world.

At this time, about 300 Alano Españols are populating the Encartaciones Valley in Northern Spain. However, a few have been found in Extremadura (southwest of Spain) and Castille (central plateau).

What are the Variants of Alano Españols?

Great Dane portrait
Close-up portrait of a Great Dane dog

It’s not sure how this dog breed came to be, but it’s believed that some variants of Alano Españols are Molosser dogs, such as the Great Dane and the Dogue de Bordeaux.

In addition, they may also be connected to Mastiff-type dog breeds.

What are the Characteristics of Alano Españols?

Alano Españols are known for hunting and working. They’re a strong dog breed that wasn’t initially bred to be a family dog. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t make a great family companion.

Here are some of the best characteristics of the Alano Español dog below.

  • Affectionate: Despite the background, Alano Español dogs can be quite loving with their family members. They know who their “pack” is and will love them, whether adults, children, seniors, or other dogs.
  • Courageous: Alano Español dogs make excellent watchdogs and guard dogs. They won’t have any trouble protecting their loved ones when given the order to.
  • Loyal: This dog breed can be reserved when it comes to strangers. They know their family as their “pack” and will remain loyal to them through anything.
  • Obedient: The Alano Español dog was initially bred to hunt, work, and fight. So, it might take some time to train them, but they’re responsive and are ready to do whatever work you need them to do.
  • Quiet: Surprisingly, Alano Español dogs are a relatively quiet breed. They rarely bark, keeping watch in silence. So, for instance, if they decide to attack, you won’t know it’s coming until they’re already attacking.

Alano Español Dog Breed Characteristic Traits

The behavioral qualities of an Alano Español dog with the respective ratings can be found below.

Alano Español Character Features Rating
Relation with family 4
Good with children 4
Friendly with strangers 2
Friendly with other dogs 3
Easy to train 3
Energy level 5
Barking level 2
Mental stimulation needs 5

What is the Physical Structure of an Alano Español?

Alano Español hunting on the bushes
An Alano Español dog hunting on the bushes – Image source

The Alano Español is a large dog breed with a sturdy appearance. According to the breed standard, their body is put together well with a solid bone structure. The ribcage is arched with muscular legs.

In addition, this dog breed has an almost square head. They always have brown eyes with a black nose with a drop or rose-shaped ears. Alano Español dogs are seen with a serious, well-composed, watchful expression. 

How large are Alano Español paws?

Alano Españols have large paws with compact, round feet. The toes are well-arched, and they have tough pads. Their front legs are stronger than their hind legs.

How powerful of a bite does the Alano Español have?

The upper and lower jaws of the Alano Español are equal in length with great bone structure. Its powerful jaw allows them to bite and work in many different ways.

In addition, the Alano Español is famous for its destructive jaws and inverted scissor bite.

For instance, they use their whole jaw and grab the prey with its molars, holding on for as long as it takes to defeat their catch or let it go when told to by their master.

How fast is the Alano Español?

The endurance capability of the Alano Español is high. This dog breed was expected to chase down wild animals, such as boars, and hold them down until the hunter arrived.

Instead, they are incredibly fast and never seem to run out of energy. 

Does Alano Español have a short neck?

According to the breed standard, the Alano Español has a short but powerful neck with double chins sittings on well-developed muscular shoulders. They never have an exaggerated dewlap.

Overall, their neck should cause sloping shoulders and long, straight front legs.

How big is the Alano Español?

Male Alano Españols are usually slightly bigger than females of this breed, standing between 23 and 25 inches (58.4 to 63.5 cm) tall, while female Alanos can reach between 22 and 24 inches (53.3 to 61 cm) tall.

The general characteristics of the Alano Español dog breed can be found in the table below.

Alano Español Physical Features Male Female
Height 23 to 25 inches (58.4 to 63.5 cm) 22 to 24 inches (53.3 to 61 cm)
Weight 66 to 88 pounds (29.9 to 39.9 kg) 55 to 77 pounds (24.9 to 34.9 kg)

How long does an Alano Español grow?

Since an Alano Español is a large dog breed, you can expect them to reach their full physical growth by 12 months of age. However, every dog is different, so they may continue to grow up until they’re 2 and a half years old. 

What is the average weight of Alano Español dogs?

Male Alano Español dogs can weigh anywhere between 66 and 88 pounds (29.9 to 39.9 kg). On the other hand, female Alanos can weigh between 55 to 77 pounds (24.9 to 34.9 kg).

What is the Average Alano Español Life Expectancy?

The average life expectancy of an Alano Español is about 11 to 14 years. Many factors can shorten their lifespan, such as illnesses. However, with proper care and nutrition, the Alano Español can live a long, healthy life.

What Coat Type Do Alano Españols have?

Alano Español dog looking afar
An Alano Español dog being curious on the park – Image source

Alano Españols have a double coat that’s typically smooth and short with a flat, coarse topcoat. On the other hand, the undercoat might be slightly longer on its tail, back of its thighs, and on the withers.

What is Alano Español’s coat like?

Alano Español dog has a harsh, short coat that’s straight with a softer undercoat. Also, the coat is medium in length with normal density.

The coat sheds seasonally, so you won’t need to worry about keeping up with excessive brushing.

How long is the Alano Español dog’s coat?

The Alano Español dog has a medium coat. Luckily, you won’t need to worry about cutting it too often as it typically looks close and flat throughout their body.

How is the Alano Español dog’s coat density?

Alano Español’s coat density is normal. The coat is also harsh and straight with a softer undercoat. Their topcoat will never feel velvety. In addition, you won’t need to worry about too much maintenance for this coat type. 

What is the shedding level of an Alano Español?

While this dog breed is not considered to be hypoallergenic, an Alano Español does not shed much. It will shed seasonally during the spring and fall, but the rest of the year is minimal.

How often should you brush the hair of your Alano Espanol?

The Alano Español only needs to be brushed about once per month, unless it’s shedding season, then weekly or daily brushing will be ideal.

In addition, weekly brushing might be good all year round to keep their coat clean and free of dirt and any dead hairs.

Can Alano Espanol Live in Hot Weather? 

Yes, the Alano Español breed can tolerate living in hot weather. They can survive well in dry weather and humid weather as well.

For example, in central Spain, summers are extremely hot with a temperature of more than 35 degrees celsius whereas the south can be milder than that. Regardless, the Alano Español can live in it all. 

Does the Alano Español sleep better outside?

It sounds odd to keep your dog outside, but the Alano Español sleeps better outside. They can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as the frigid winter cold, scorching hot summer, and more.

They can tolerate hot, cold, humidity, and dryness in the air.

What are the Colors of Alano Españols?

Alano Español roaming around the lavender field
An Alano Español dog on trail – Image source

The Alano Español or Spanish Alano can be black, brindle, fawn, gray, red, or yellow. These are the most common colors you’ll find in this dog breed. But, in addition to these colors, some markings can occur on their coats.

What Markings Do Alano Españols Have?

You might find markings such as brindle, a black mask, or black & tan markings on an Alano Español. These markings can occur with any of the coat colors.

So, you may have a unique Alano Español at home, depending on their genes.

For example, the black and tan markings are also known as tigering. The markings are called “negro y atigrado” in Spanish, which means black and tigered.

In addition, white markings are allowed, but only on the snout, neck, chest, lower legs, bello, and the tail tip. White should never predominate the body. 

What is the Alano Español Dog’s Temperament?

Lazy Alano Español dogs lying on the same chair
Two lazy Alano Español dogs lying on the same chair – Image source

Overall, the Alano Español dog can make a great family companion. However, they’ll need plenty of training and socialization. Nevertheless, this dog will be affectionate and loyal to its family members.

However, this dog breed isn’t for the faint of heart. They’re not a great breed for novice dog owners and can be difficult to train.

In addition, since Alano Españols have high energy needs, they can easily become destructive if they get bored.

The behavioral traits of the Alano Español, with 5 being the highest, can be found below:

Alano Español’s Temperament Rate
Adaptability 3
Friendliness 3
Mouthiness 3
Playfulness 2
Family-oriented 4
Stranger tolerance 2

Can Alano Español dogs get along well with other dogs?

Yes, Alano Español dogs can get along well with other dogs. They’re used to hunting in packs, so it’s easy to socialize them with other dogs.

When they were initially bred, it was so they could operate as a team, working together and playing together. However, if one Alano Español challenges another, neither will back down.

For example, take a look at this video of Alano Español dogs playing with one another in the snow.

Can Alano Español dogs get on well with people?

Yes, Alano Español dogs can get along with people. However, they need plenty of training and socialization to do so. If they’re part of the family, then the dog will be friendly.

Can Alano Español dogs get along well with strangers?

Unfortunately, the Alano Español dog does not get along well with strangers. They need a lot of training and socialization by a professional. This dog breed is protective by nature and views strangers as a threat.

How do Alano Españols get along with young children?

Despite their big, tough appearance, Alano Españols are good with young children. This dog breed is patient, quiet, and makes great watchdogs.

Once they view the children as part of their family or pack, they’ll get along well with the kids.

Do Alano Españols cope with being left alone?

Yes, Alano Españols can cope with being left alone. They don’t usually get separation anxiety. However, if they’re home alone all day, they could get bored, thus becoming destructive. 

Can Alano Español Dogs Adapt Easily?

Usually, the Alano Español dog can adapt easily. However, they have their preferences when it comes to living situations.

For example, they won’t do well in an apartment. They prefer to remain outside of the house. They know what they want and, with proper training, they can adapt.

Are Alano Español Dogs Aggressive?

No, Alano Español dogs are not aggressive. In fact, they can hold their own from aggressive animals. This dog breed is courageous and fearless, so even if they don’t start the fight, they’ll finish it no matter what.

Are Alano Español Dogs Dangerous?

Alano Español dogs can be dangerous. They are strong, powerful, and bred to hunt and catch their prey.

They will hold an animal in its jaws, ignoring any pain or fear it may be feeling, only releasing the animal when told to by its owner. In fact, they will fight to the death.

Do Alano Español Dogs Ever Attack?

Yes, Alano Español dogs do attack. With a dominant owner, they’ll only attack when they’re told to.

However, if they don’t have a dominant owner that acts as a “pack leader” and is not adequately trained, then the Alano Español dog will attack anyone who poses a threat to them.

Also, this dog breed is silent. So, when they attack, there will be no warning until they’re already attacking.

Are Alano Español Dogs Protective?

Yes, Alano Español dogs are protective. They make excellent watchdogs and guard dogs. For instance, this dog was initially bred to guard and protect. They also used to work on cattle ranches, protecting the livestock.

Are Alano Español Dogs Easy to Train?

Alano Español dog playing a fruit on the backyard
A jolly Alano Español dog playing a fruit on the backyard – Image source

Alano Español dogs are somewhat easy to train. They’re intelligent and quick learners. In addition, this breed is obedient and submissive to its owner.

However, they’re also dominant dogs themselves. So, if you’re not more dominant than your dog, they won’t view you as the pack leader.

For instance, experienced dog owners must have Alano Español dogs as part of the family. You may need help from a professional dog trainer, but you’ll also need to consider that this dog is reserved around strangers.

Alano Español dogs need to be trained as early as possible. They need to know who the dominant one is right away. The older the dog gets, the harder it’ll be able to train.

When training your Alano Español dog, be sure to give them lots of praise and make training sessions short, especially in the beginning. Allow them time to get used to you, and you can get used to them.

Important things to teach your Alano Español dog is obedience to keep their attitude under control and socialization, so they get used to people and other animals easier.

In addition, the Alano Español can be taught herding, hunting, tracking, being a watchdog, guarding, doing police work, weight pulling, competitive obedience, and agility.

For What Purpose is the Alano Español Used?

The Alano Español was originally used to be a hunter, guard dog, and herding dog.

They were used for wild or half-wild cattle herding, bullfights (which was banned in the 19th century by Spanish law), big-game hunting, and guard and defense for war.

Today, this dog breed is better known to be a working breed. For instance, they are used to protect cattle and for hunting.

Was Alano Español used for bull baiting?

Yes, the Alano Español dog was used for bull-baiting, dog fights, and even war.

Since this dog is strong and powerful and was used for hunting large animals, people found it’d be useful in the fighting ring and for bullfighting until it was banned in 1883.

Is Alano Español a Hunting Dog?

Alano Español dog staring fiercely
Meet Thor, an Alano Español dog staring fiercely – Image source

Yes, the Alano Español is considered to be a hunting dog. This is because they were used as big game hunters back in the day.

For instance, they were often used for hunting and catching wild boars. Today, they are still used as hunting dogs.

Do Alano Español Dogs Bark a Lot?

Luckily, Alano Español dogs don’t bark a lot. They’re a relatively quiet breed because they were bred to be silent watchers.

So, for instance, they won’t bark to alert you of anything. In addition, they won’t warn you when they’re about to chase or attack something.

How does an Alano Español bark?

Luckily, the Alano Español rarely barks and is generally quiet overall. They don’t bark unless they have a reason.

For example, they’ll bark for protection, alarm, fear, separation anxiety, or if they’re greeting someone or want your attention and are bored. In some cases, they might be compulsive barkers.

Do Alano Españols Have High Energy levels?

Yes, Alano Español dogs have high energy levels. Since they were initially bred to work, hunt, and guard, they are quick and always work on their minds.

With that in mind, this dog breed needs plenty of physical activity and mental stimulation every day.

For instance, the Alano Español needs at least three walks per day. They’ll also want time every day to practice obedience training with their owner.

Overall, a good hour or two of physical activity every day will be ideal. Also, they should walk about 14 miles every week.

Are Alano Español Dogs Active?

Yes, Alano Español dogs are active. They enjoy having work to do and require mental stimulation every day. Otherwise, they could get bored and become destructive.

You’ll want to make sure you have a large, fenced-in yard where they can roam on their own when not working.

Do Alano Español Dogs Like to Play?

Alano Español playing a rope toy
An Alano Español dog playing a rope toy outside – Image source

Even though Alano Español dogs are considered serious, they do like to play. They’ll enjoy playing games like fetch and running around on their own.

In addition, they’re sociable with other dogs and will love to play and romp with them. 

Does Alano Español Drool a Lot?

Luckily, the Alano Español is one of the Molosser-type breeds that does not drool a lot. So, in addition to the Cane Corso, you can expect your Alano Español dog to have a clean face most of the time.

Does Alano Español snore?

No, Alano Español does not snore. This dog breed is quiet in more ways than one since they rarely bark. Even in their sleep, they’re silent.

What is the Family Life of Alano Español Dogs Like?

Spanish Alano dog giving high five
A Spanish Alano dog giving high five to the owner – Image source

Alano Español dogs can be stubborn and reserved, but they’re affectionate and friendly with their family. However, you won’t see this dog cuddling on the couch beside you.

Instead, this dog breed prefers to be outside and keep watch, protecting its pack and territory.

To bond with your Alano Español, they’ll do well in an active family. For instance, they’ll enjoy being outside with you for obedience training, long walks, or runs.

How to feed an Alano Español?

Since the Alano Español is a large dog breed, they’ll eat a lot of food. For instance, they’ll consume about three cups of food per day, split into two to three meals.

As long as the food is safe for dogs, approved by your vet, and is appropriate for their breed size, weight, age, and metabolism, you can give your high-quality dog kibble or canned wet food from commercial dog food brands.

What are the Best Alano Español Dog Foods?

Alano Español dogs don’t have any health concerns, so they don’t need specific dietary needs. However, since they’re such an active breed, they’ll most likely do well with a food that’s rich in protein.

For Alano Español puppies, we recommend:

When your Alano Español dog is ready for adult food, we recommend:

What Other Dog Breeds Look Like Alano Españols?

Even though the history of the Alano Español isn’t quite known, there are some guesses about where the dog originated. For instance, other dogs look like this breed from the Molosser group and Mastiff group.

Some dogs listed below are similar to the Alano Español dog breed in appearance, size, or maintenance.

Should You Get an Alano Español Dog?

Alano Español dog panting under the sun
A panting Alano Español dog resting under the sun – Image source

If you’ve had a large dog breed before and you can keep up with training and socializing this dog, then the Alano Español could be for you.

They’ll do well with an experienced, active, and dominant owner with a large, fenced-in yard.

Otherwise, there are other dog breeds available that are tamer when it comes to trainability and socialization. Regardless, Alano Español dogs are an amazing dog breed.

What do you love more about the Alano Español dog breed? Let us know in the comments below!

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