Alano Español Breed Profile: You Complete Dog Breed Information Guide

Alano Español breed, also known as the Spanish Bulldog

The Alano Español, also known as the Spanish Bulldog, is a breed with a storied past and a significant role in Spanish history. This robust and powerful dog was traditionally used for bull-baiting before the practice was banned. Today, they are appreciated for their loyalty and strength, making them excellent companions for those who understand the breed’s needs. With a solid structure and a formidable presence, they carry a look that reflects their ancient molosser ancestry, which has been confirmed by genetic variation studies carried out on Spanish dog breeds.

When you’re considering bringing an Alano Español puppy into your home, it’s crucial to learn about their specific care requirements, exercise needs, and training methods to ensure they grow up healthy and well-behaved. To get the most accurate and helpful information on these magnificent dogs, consulting expert sources like Luke Powell, who has extensively researched the breed, will provide you with a wealth of knowledge. His book offers unique insights into activities and training tailored specifically for the Alano Español, enhancing your understanding of how to raise a happy and obedient dog.

So, What Is An Alano Español? Dog Breed Overview

The Alano Español, also known as the Spanish Bulldog or Spanish Alano, hails from Spain as an ancient Alaunt Bulldog type. Not as famous as the Presa Canario or Spanish Mastiff, these dogs have a robust and significant heritage tied to the ancient Alani people, nomads who moved from Asia into Europe and Africa.

Characteristics of the Spanish Alano:

  • Size: Large and muscular
  • Temperament: Known for being loyal and brave
  • Use: Historically guarded livestock and assisted in hunts

Throughout their journey, the Alani utilized these muscular canines for protection and managing herds. In Spain, the dogs gained the name Alano and were employed for tasks such as cattle herding and, at one time, bullfighting.

Breed History:

  • Origins: Linked to the Alani nomads
  • Early Uses: Guarding, herding, and bull-baiting
  • Decline: Fell out of favor as the cattle industry modernized
  • Resurgence: Rediscovered in the 1970s in the Basque Mountain region

As industry practices evolved and bull-baiting outlawed, the demand for the Spanish Bulldog waned, nearly leading to its disappearance. However, a resurgence in the Basque mountains in the 20th century breathed new life into the breed. Since then, efforts to rejuvenate the population and awareness of the Spanish Alano have shown progress.

Alano Español History & Origins

Portrait of Spanish Alano dog laying in the field. prey dog

So, what breeds make a Alano Español dog and where do they come from?

Ancestral Breeds: 

The Alano Español, also known as the Spanish Bulldog, is a breed with mysterious roots. It is believed that this ancient breed may have descended from dogs that the Alani, a group of Central European nomads, brought to Spain around the fifth century. These dogs, possibly related to the molosser family, accompanied their owners on their migratory journeys during ancient times.

Historical Significance

By the fourteenth century, the breed was acknowledged in Spain, as documented in Alfonso XI’s “Libro de la Montería,” where they were noted for their striking colors. These dogs were not just companions but also served as war dogs. The bravery of the Alano Español is historically significant; such dogs were used in the exploration of new lands and in military campaigns, like those led by Juan Ponce de León.

As a breed adept in bullfights, they were even depicted by Francisco de Goya in his 1816 series “La Tauromaquia.” However, as bullfighting evolved and other hunting and herding practices diminished in España, the Alano Español faced decline in the late nineteenth century.

The Breed Today

It wasn’t until the 1980s that a surviving group of these dogs was discovered in the Enkarterri region of the Basque Country, sparking a movement to preserve and recognize the breed’s standards. Dedicated efforts by breed societies have now stabilized the Alano Español population.

Kennel club recognition

The Alano Español’s pedigree is recognized by kennel clubs today. Since its official recognition in 2004 by Spain’s agricultural ministry, the breed has also gained recognition from international organizations. For more detailed breed standards, you might look at the Federation Cynologique Internationale’s specifications. Further affirmation comes from kennel clubs like the Continental Kennel Club, underlining the breed’s resurgence and esteemed status among dog enthusiasts.

This breed’s influence extends beyond its homeland, as it’s suggested to be a progenitor of the Cimarrón Uruguayo in Uruguay. Despite its brush with near-extinction, the Alano Español’s legacy continues, a testament to the breed’s resilience and historical importance.

Physical Characteristics

two chained brindle Spanish Bulldogs or Alano Español dogs

The Alano Español is a powerful and large breed known for its well-muscled body and serious expression. Let’s take a closer look at the specifics of their stature and appearance.

Size and Body

Your Alano Español is a robust and sizeable or large dog, falling into the large breed category. Here’s how they measure up:

MeasureMalesFemalesMetric MalesMetric Females
Weight92-110 pounds84-99 pounds42-50 kg38-45 kg
Height23-26 inches21-25 inches58-66 cm53-64 cm

These dogs have a broad, brachycephalic shape, which means they have a wide skull and short muzzle. You’ll notice their withers stand out, giving them a distinguished profile.


Alano Españols exude a certain gravitas, thanks to their imposing stature and fearsome looks. Their body shape is somewhat rectangular and they have a strong neck, often with pronounced neck folds. Their eyes are relatively small and almond shaped, and their ears are of medium size, flat, and hang down, giving them a classic dog appearance. 

Many owners crop their ears to prevent damage when they attack predators to protect livestock.

Coat and Colors

Your Alano Español has a dense, smooth, and short coat that protects them well. 

Standard colors for this breed are fawn, black, brindle, and white. Often, they’ll have white chest flashes and may display a black mask on their muzzle, which adds to their distinct look. While they are moderate shedders, they’re not known for being hypoallergenic. Regular grooming will help manage their shedding.

Temperament & Personality

Before welcoming an Alano Español into your home, understanding their unique temperament and personality is key. These dogs are known for their protective nature and strong bond with family, making them excellent guards, but require strict training and socialization.

General Disposition

Your Alano Español is a breed that commands respect due to its powerful presence. They are highly intelligent and fearless, often showing a quiet confidence. When it comes to their disposition, they exhibit a well-balanced temperament, exuding strength without overt aggression. It’s their inherent patient and affectionate nature that makes them loyal to their family. However, remember that they can be territorial and dominant, traits that need to be managed with consistent training.

Interaction with Children and Other Pets

An Alano Español can be the perfect companion for your kids, displaying a protective yet patient nature. When properly socialized, they behave affectionately with families and are tolerant of the playful antics of children.

 Due to their ancestral pack behavior, they generally get along with other pets as well, especially if raised with them from a young age. However, their strong defense drive means supervision is important, especially around unfamiliar animals to ensure peaceful cohabitation. They are also hunting dogs, and may chase other animals if they are not properly trained.

Common Behavioral Traits

Training your Alano Español should be a top priority, as it harnesses their energy and trainability towards positive outcomes. They are hard workers and, if given tasks such as livestock guarding or other working dog roles, they will meet the challenge with enthusiasm and devotion

They thrive on being the pack leader in any situation, so establishing your role as the leader early on is crucial. With a lifespan that reflects their robust nature, investing time in proper training will ensure a devoted and loving companion for years to come. Remember, an untrained Alano can be a handful due to their strength and protective instincts, so steady training from a young age is essential.

Health and Lifespan

Portrait of Spanish Alano dog laying in the grass. prey dog

When it comes to your Alano Español’s health, understanding their average lifespan, common health issues they may face, and the best preventative care practices will help you ensure a long and fulfilling life for your pet.

Average Lifespan

Alano Español dogs, known for being a generally healthy breed, typically live between 11 to 14 years. Large breeds like the Alano can have a good quality of life with proper care.

Common Health Issues

Despite their robust nature, Alano Español dogs can be predisposed to certain conditions. One significant concern is dilated cardiomyopathy, a heart condition that can be life-threatening. Infectious conditions and Dirofilariasis, commonly known as heartworm disease, are also prevalent, especially for dogs living outdoors.

Preventative Care Tips

To maintain good health, regular veterinary checkups are crucial. Proactively monitoring for signs of heart conditions and ensuring your Alano is on year-round heartworm preventive medication is essential. As with many large breeds, keeping a close eye on their diet and exercise can prevent excessive weight that may exacerbate health issues. By completing these steps, you’re helping to extend your Alano’s lifespan and improve their overall quality of life. For more detailed information on predispositions and ways to support your dog’s health, consider referencing materials on breed predispositions to disease in dogs.

Exercise and Housing Needs

This is a very active dog that thrives best when they have a job to do.

Daily Exercise Requirements

The Alano Español needs a lot of exercise. You should plan for multiple long walks or runs every day. This breed loves staying active, so activities like playing fetch or agility training are also great. They are also fantastic guardians to livestock and property and they make excellent hunting dogs.

  • At least 1 hour of exercise daily.
  • Mental stimulation like obedience training is a plus.

Space Requirements

Your Alano Español won’t be happy in a small apartment. They thrive in a house with a spacious backyard where they can move freely.

  • Fenced yard: Highly recommended to prevent them from wandering off.
  • Not well-suited for small indoor spaces.

Suitable Living Conditions

These dogs can adapt to various environments. They can live on farms or large estates and are excellent as livestock guardians or guard dogs. Despite their ability to live outdoors, they’re also loyal family members who do well living inside the home with you.

  • Ideal setting: A place with plenty of outdoor space.
  • Needs shelter from extreme weather if staying outside.
  • Enjoys being part of the family activities.

Training and Socialization

Training and socializing this powerful, ancient breed is critical to avoid severe behavioral issues.


When you begin training your Alano Español, remember they are a working breed — strong and active. Since they were bred for hunting and herding, they have a high drive and are quite powerful, requiring consistent and firm training. Start training early to ensure your dog understands basic obedience commands like sit, stay, and come.

Socialization Needs

Socializing your dog is key to helping them become well-rounded. Introduce your Alano Español to different people, dogs, and situations early on. This breed can be sociable with other dogs if socialized properly. But be mindful, as a hunting dog, they might chase other animals. Regular interaction helps mitigate this instinct.

Behavioral Training Tips

  • Exercise: Make sure your dog gets plenty of physical activity. A well-exercised dog is easier to train.
  • Agility: This breed takes well to agility training due to their natural athleticism.
  • Consistency: Be consistent with your commands and expectations.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Use treats and praise to encourage good behavior.

Your Alano Español needs clear instructions and a patient trainer. Keep your training sessions short and fun, focusing on positive reinforcement. By giving your dog the right guidance and social experiences, you’ll have a loyal and obedient companion.

Diet and Nutrition

When you’re feeding your Alano Español, it’s important to give them a balanced diet to keep them healthy and strong. This breed has a lot of energy and muscle, so they need plenty of protein. Here’s a simple guide for what your dog’s diet should include:

Dietary needs

  • Protein: Give your Alano high-quality meats such as chicken, beef, or lamb and fish. This helps with muscle growth and repair.
  • Fats: A bit of fat in their diet is good for their energy. Think about foods with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for a shiny coat.
  • Carbohydrates: These provide energy, too. Look for foods with brown rice or sweet potatoes. But not too much, to avoid any unwanted weight gain.

Remember to give your dog plenty of water, especially after exercise.

Feeding Schedule

  • Puppies: From birth to around 6 months, Alano Español puppies require frequent, small meals to support their rapid growth and development. Feed them three to four times a day.
  • Adults: Once your Alano Español reaches adulthood, typically around 12-18 months, you can switch to a regular feeding schedule of one-to-two meals per day.

Special Dietary Considerations

Don’t forget about vitamins and minerals. Sometimes a supplement might be needed based on your dog’s specific requirements. Always check with your vet before adding any supplements to their diet, since vitamins and minerals can cause health issues and even toxicity when a dog gets too much of it.

Since they may be prone to heart issues, make sure they get a heart friendly diet from the start, with plenty of taurine and carnitine. Deficiencies of these two amino acids are associated with the kind of heart disease (DCM) that may affect the Spanish Alano.

Treats are fine in moderation, but too many can lead to weight problems. Keep treats to less than 10% of their daily food intake.

Pay close attention to the portions you feed your Alano Español. They can be prone to obesity if overfed. Use a measuring cup to make sure you’re giving the right amount of food according to their weight and activity level.

Feeding your Alano Español might seem like a lot to keep track of, but it’s really about keeping a good balance. If ever in doubt, your vet can provide the best advice for your dog.

Grooming Needs

The Alano Español is a robust dog with minimal grooming needs, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about grooming altogether. Your Alano will still need regular maintenance to stay happy and healthy.

Grooming Frequency

You’ll want to brush your Alano’s coat once a week to keep it shiny and reduce shedding. Even though the breed’s short coat doesn’t require much effort, it does help to distribute natural oils and keeps their skin in good condition. Occasional bathing is also necessary, roughly every few months, unless your buddy gets particularly dirty during outdoor adventures.

Nail clipping should be done regularly, about once a month, to prevent overgrowth and possible discomfort. It’s also a good time to check on your Alano’s eye and ear health — make sure they’re clean and free of debris.

Dental care is crucial, so get into the habit of brushing your dog’s teeth several times a week to prevent dental issues.

Grooming Tools

You don’t need many tools for your Alano’s grooming kit:

  • A sturdy brush for their short coat;
  • Nail clippers specifically designed for dogs;
  • Dog toothbrush and toothpaste;
  • Ear cleaner and a soft cloth for their ears; and
  • Mild dog shampoo for bath time.

Grooming Tips

  1. Turn grooming into a bonding experience! Stay gentle and make it fun for your Alano.
  2. If you’re not confident clipping nails, ask a vet or groomer to show you how, or take your dog in for professional grooming.
  3. Keep an eye on their ears and eyes, especially after outings, to ensure they haven’t picked up dirt or bugs.

By sticking to these simple grooming steps, you’ll keep your Alano Español in top-notch condition.

Cost of Ownership

So, how much does a Spanish Bulldog Puppy cost?

Initial Cost (Alano Español Puppy Price)

When you’re considering adding an Alano Español to your family, the first cost you’ll encounter is the price of the puppy. Expect to pay anywhere from $600 to $1200 for this breed, depending on the breeder’s reputation, location, and the dog’s lineage.

Ongoing Costs

Ongoing costs are part of the deal when you own a pet. For your Alano Español, these will include food, vet visits, and other essentials.

  • Food: A robust breed like the Alano Español needs high-quality food. On average, this could be around $50-$70 per month.
  • Healthcare: Regular check-ups and vaccinations are vital to keep your dog healthy. Set aside around $200-$400 annually for basic vet expenses.
  • Pet Insurance: To help with unexpected bills, pet insurance can be a good idea. This could be $20-$40 per month.
  • Miscellaneous: Things like toys, beds, and grooming tools add up. Budget $100-$200 a year for these items.

Remember, owning a pet is a big commitment, and you want to make sure you can provide everything your Alano Español needs for a happy and healthy life.

Adoption and Buying Tips

Closeup shot of a Alano Español puppy in front of a white wall

Now for the tricky bit, where can you find one of these rare dogs?

Where to Adopt/Buy

If you’re interested in an Alano Español, also known as the Spanish Alano or Spanish Bulldog, it’s important to find a reputable source. This breed can be a rarity, so consult with the Real Sociedad Canina de España (RSCE), the main canine organization in Spain, to locate trusted breeders or rescue groups that specialize in Alanos.

What to Look for in a Breeder

A good breeder should:

  • Provide a clean, healthy environment for the dogs.
  • Show knowledge of the breed and answer all your questions.
  • Offer medical records and health guarantees for the puppies.
  • Follow ethical breeding practices.
  • Allow you to meet the puppy’s parents and see the facilities.

Tip: Boldly ask if they follow RSCE guidelines!

Choosing the Right Puppy/Dog

When selecting your Alano Español, consider the following:

  1. Temperament: Choose a pup that is friendly and curious.
  2. Health: Look for clear eyes, healthy skin, and good mobility.
  3. Interaction: Pick a puppy that interacts well with you and its littermates.

Ethical Breeding Practices

Ethical breeders will prioritize the health and well-being of both puppies and breeding dogs. They ensure that the dogs are not overbred and that they live in comfortable, humane conditions. Their main concern is not profit, but the betterment of the breed.

By following these guidelines, you’ll be more likely to find a healthy, happy Alano Español that’s right for your home. Remember, patience is key — finding the perfect Spanish Bulldog companion might take time.

Breed-Specific Considerations

Climate Suitability

The Alano Español, also known as the Spanish Bulldog, is a robust breed with a short coat. You should be cautious when they’re in extremely hot or cold weather. During summer, ensure they have plenty of water and shade. In winter, they may need a coat when going outside, even though their tough nature often means they can handle cooler temperatures well.

Compatibility with Lifestyle

Your lifestyle is crucial to consider with an Alano Español. They’re energetic and need regular exercise. If you live an active life, this breed can be a good match. They enjoy long walks and playing in open spaces. Make sure you have enough time and energy to give them the activity they need.

Special Needs (if any)

Keep an eye on their diet to prevent obesity, which can lead to health concerns. Also, due to their strong jaws and high energy, they need durable toys for play and stimulation. Regular vet check-ups are important to monitor health issues common to the breed, such as hip dysplasia.

Breed-Specific Legislation

Some areas may have laws affecting the ownership of certain dog breeds, including the Alano Español. You should check local regulations to ensure you can legally own one of these dogs in your community. Understanding and compliance with these laws are essential for responsible Alano Español ownership.

50 Best Names For A Spanish Bulldog

Choosing the right name for your Spanish Bulldog can be fun and exciting. You may want a name that reflects their strong appearance or playful nature. Below is a list of 50 great name ideas that could be the perfect fit for your Alano Español:

Male NamesFemale Names
1. Toro (Bull)1. Bella (Beautiful)
2. Bruno (Brown)2. Luna (Moon)
3. Pepe (Joe)3. Chica (Girl)
4. Carlos (Charles)4. Rosa (Rose)
5. Diego (James)5. Carmen (Song)
6. Javier (Xavier)6. Paloma (Dove)
7. Rafael (Raphael)7. Sierra (Mountain Range)
8. Miguel (Michael)8. Marisol (Sunny Sea)
9. Rico (Rich)9. Vida (Life)
10. Cesar (Caesar)10. Reina (Queen)
Powerful NamesPlayful Names
1. Titan1. Rumba (Dance)
2. Rocky2. Bandido (Bandit)
3. Hercules3. Zorro (Fox)
4. Thor4. Chispa (Spark)
5. Khan5. Salsa (Dance)
6. Samson6. Rio (River)
7. Brutus7. Bingo
8. Goliath8. Tito (Giant)
9. Leon (Lion)9. Fuego (Fire)
10. Fuerza (Strength)10. Nacho

When you choose a name for your Spanish Bulldog, remember that it should be easy to call out and one that your dog can easily recognize. The names above range from traditional Spanish names to those that celebrate their strength and lively character. Remember, the right name can capture the essence of your dog’s personality, be a nod to their Spanish heritage, or simply be one you love to say. Enjoy the process of picking out a name, and soon you’ll find the one that is just right for your four-legged friend.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In this section, you’ll find answers to common questions about the Alano Español breed, covering key aspects like its care, cost, temperament, and history.

What is the Alano Español breed?

The Alano Español, also known as the Spanish Bulldog, is a large and muscular breed known for its prowess in bull-baiting and hunting. Originally bred for work, this breed is distinguished by its strength and endurance.

How do I care for an Alano Español puppy?

Caring for an Alano Español puppy requires providing a balanced diet, ample exercise, and regular veterinary check-ups. Early socialization and training are important to ensure your puppy grows up to be a well-behaved adult.

What is the average price range for an Alano Español?

The average price of an Alano Español typically ranges from $800 to $2000, depending on the breeder’s reputation, location, and the pedigree of the puppy. Always look for reputable breeders who conduct health checks.

What kind of temperament does the Alano Español have?

Alano Españols are known for their calm demeanor, loyalty, and bravery. They make excellent family pets as they are typically good with children and protective of their home.

What is the heritage and history behind the Alano Español breed?

The Alano Español breed has a rich heritage dating back to the Middle Ages in Spain, where it was used for cattle herding, hunting, and guarding. They are believed to have been brought to Spain by the Alani nomads.

Where can I find a Spanish Bulldog or Alano Español for sale?

You can find a Spanish Bulldog or Alano Español for sale through reputable breeders, breed clubs, or rescue organizations. Always research and choose ethical sources that prioritize the health and welfare of their dogs.

Final Thoughts

When you look at the Alano Español, you’re seeing a dog with a rich history. This breed is known for its strength and resistance. It’s a working breed, used for handling cattle and wild boar, and its skills in these areas are impressive.

Keep in mind, the Alano Español requires regular exercise to maintain its health. This isn’t surprising — think about all the energy these working dogs have. Your commitment to their activity needs can help keep them happy.

Training is crucial, too. This breed is intelligent and eager to please, which makes training easier for you. But remember to be consistent. Your Alano Español should know that you’re the leader, and this will help in training sessions.

Remember, this dog might not be the right fit for everyone. They need someone who understands their history and respects their power. But if you’re up for the challenge and ready for the reward of loyalty they bring, the Alano Español could be a wonderful addition to your life.

Lastly, your Alano Español will need your love and attention. These are not just working dogs; they’re part of your family. They thrive on companionship and will be your loyal friend for life.

Tamsin de la Harpe

Tamsin de la Harpe, with a lively spirit and 15 years of experience in dog training and behavior, brings a unique flair to the team. Based in South Africa, she is deeply engaged in rehabilitating dogs, focusing on their mental and nutritional health. Tamsin's approach to dog behavior is hands-on and heartfelt, shaped by her life with her own dogs and horses. Her journey in canine behavior is ongoing, as she continues advanced studies in this field.

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