Spartan Dogs - Non-Bulldog Alaunt: Alaunt Gentil and Alaunt Veantre 

Category: Dogs, Working Dogs, Molossers, Mastiffs, Extinct, Asia, England, Hunting Dog, Guard Dog, War Dog

Alaunt Non-Bulldog: Alaunt Gentil and Alaunt Veantre / Alaunt Gentil / Alaunt Veantre
Names non-Bulldog type Alaunt, non-butcher type Alaunt, Alaunt Gentil; Running Mastiff, Light Mastiff, Sight hunting Mastiff, Alaunt Veantre; Alant Vautre, Plummer Alaunt, New Alaunt, British Alaunt
Origins Asia (and futher developed in Europe), recreations especially from England
Tasks Hunting Dog, Guard Dog, War Dog
Height 58-68 cm
Lifespan 10-12 yrs; if a lot of greyhound infused 12-14 yrs
Registry British Alaunt Society (BAS), some other local initiatives
Group Molossers, Mastiffs, Extinct

The Non-Bulldog type Alaunt, known from the types of Alaunt Gentil and Alaunt Veantre (Vautre) represents a dog that has a bit of sight hound in it with maybe a bit of Mastiff. Alaunt Gentil should not be confused with the "heavier" catch dog type of Alaunt/Mastiff used to go in at the kill (Alaunt Veantre do (attempt) do this if not assisted in time). The Alaunt Gentil should be not unlike a heavy built greyhound with a strong head, broad medium lengthed muzzle. These running Mastiffs are tall, rangey, but strong "par force" hounds. Alaunt Gentil should be athletic, well muscled, with thick tight fitting coats with the ability to follow scent as well as using sight, they should have lots of drive. They are of a type, being bred for form and function and purpose not bred for looks.

The Non-Bulldog Alaunt: Alaunt Gentil and Alaunt Veantre History

The Alaunt type was first employed in central Asia by the Alani of Pontic Steppes, , the Kavkaz nomads of Sarmatian Indo-Iranian ancestry, who were known as superb warriors, herdsmen and breeders of horses and dogs. Alaunts were bred as war dogs and protectors of livestock and caravans. This use and type, (form and function), can be traced back to this region over 5000 years. From this area, the type can be traced north into Russia, east into Mongolia, Tibet, and China, south into India and Egypt, and west into Europe. The Alani, along with their Alaunts, were driven from the steppes by the Huns during the 4th century AD,(370 AD), finally arriving in Spain and France in 406 AD. 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. 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 working gripping dogs such as the Gampr and the Sarmatian Mastiff from the Caucasus and the Alabai from Central Asia, but also the shorthaired hounds of India and Persia.

Where the Alani and their Alaunts were dispersed, (north into Russia, east into Mongolia, Tibet, and China, south into India and Egypt, and west into Europe), we find that from this type, the Alaunt, new breeds emerged, the Alaunt type having been crossed with various local types for various alternate functions, primarily hunting, and thus establishing new form as well. However, the function of the Alaunt, as war dogs and protectors of livestock and family, remained. So too did the type. Form always follows function. If a type is bred and used for an alternate function, then that type becomes modified, emerging into a new type in it's own right. The famous dog connaisseur Dr. Dieter Fleig summarized it as such in one sentence: "So, the original war dog was turned into the essential brave hunting dog."

In medieval Europe, the Alaunt was classified into three distinct types; (I) The Alaunt Gentil, a light greyhound type; (II) the Alaunt de bucherie, the traditional Alaunt type used with livestock; and (III) the Alaunt Vautre (veantre), an aggressive hunting type, and also called the running Mastiffs. The Alaunt de bucherie was the progenitor of the Mastiff and bull breeds, though the modern Mastiffs and bull breeds no longer resemble the Alaunt. Especially the Alaunt de Bucherie type continued to be used as war and battle dog.

David Hancock put it like this: 'The former, Alaunt Vautre, were par force hounds, used in the chase... In France, the word 'vuatre' was eventually used exclusively for boarhounds. Cotgrave defines the 'vaultre' as a 'mongrell between a hound and a Mastiffe... fit for the chase or hunting of wild Bears and Boares.'

The three types of Alaunt, as seen in the image below:

  • top: Alaunt Bucherie
  • middle: Alaunt Gentil
  • bottum: Alaunt Veantre

These old Mastiff / Alaunt types were serious cattle / property / family protection dogs that served as superior war dogs throughout Europe and middle Asia for thousands of years. This type was first brought to America by the Spanish for use as war dogs (see picture Conquestadores) and for defense and protection. They served the Conquistadores, cattlemen and settlers families.

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 new breeds based on Alaunt bloodlines, such as the New Alaunt, Dogo Belgrado, Antebellum Bulldog, Abraxas Bulldog, Altamaha Plantation Dog 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.

When you look at breed histories carefully, you notice that a lot of breeds that are thought of as ancient are really recreations of the original form.

The Irish wolfhound is a very good example. The Irish wolfhounds were rare in the eighteenth century. Indeed, the last of the Irish wolfhounds died off around the turn of the nineteenth century. When wolves became extinct in Ireland in 1786, the dogs were out of work, and they fell on very hard times. A Scottish soldier by the name of Captain Graham recreated the breed using the Deerhound, the Mastiff, the Great Dane (German Mastiff, probably a very close relative of the Irish Wolfhound), and the Borzoi.

Brian Plummer known within the hunting faternity, creator of the Plummer Terrier and countrysports writer, set out to (re)create a large Hunting-Guard dog, a dog closely resembling the ancient Alaunt Gentil/ Alaunt Veantre, a large game hunting, Mastiff type. A dog from which many breeds throughout the world are thought to be descended.

Plummer took a greyhound cross, which we'd normally call a lurcher, and he bred her to a Bull Terrier. He kept a puppy from that breeding, which was then bred to a different Bull Terrier. Then he took a pup from that breeding and bred it to a greyhound.

And then from those dogs, he bred to a Bullmastiff. He then added some more Bull Terrier to the strain, and then some more Bullmastiff.

Plummer thus started by using three English breeds in it's creation, Greyhound, Bullmastiff and Bull Terrier (like he did with the Plummer Terrier too; we at By Spartan Law would rather seen him use more working type of dogs: swap the bull terrier with good apbt and the Bull Mastiff with good working Boerboel (boerboel is closest to a working original Bull Mastiff) blood) and later American Bulldog (Scott type; we prefer the Scott type but would rather see the use of good Dogo Argentino blood since the purpose is hunting). By Spartan Law recognizes Brian Plummer as a good dogman, but would attempt a little different if we would need to recreate the hunting Alaunt of old (sacrificing his guardian instinct): base would be hunting Dogo Argentino combined with hunting Grey Hound, with a little spice of very game American Pit Bull Terrier. In 2003 Brian Plummer passed away, but a few of his associates are said to be continuing with it's breeding. This breeding is clearly in the early stages of development, but has an obvious amount of growing popularity.

The full explanation by Brian Plummer is included below:

I am on the very brink of creating a new breed: The New Alaunt; a functional replica of the medieval hunting dog The Alaunt. By definition the Alaunt was "fleet enough to hold a wounded deer, brave enough to hold a wild boar and easily able to dispatch a wolf and also a fierce guard". Above all the dog must be free from dysphasia, which is the curse of most Mastiff types and most of all free from the dreadful ataxiate, paralysis of the hind limbs, which seems to be the scourge of the present Bull Mastiff. Six years ago I owned an ataxiate animal, a delightful bitch who developed this paralysis of the hind limbs. I loved her dearly but as soon as I realised her problems I took her to my vet and while the lethal injection started to work I allowed her to gorge on tinned cat food, her favourite 'tipple'. I missed her dreadfully though to admit such feelings brands me as slightly less than being masculine by some standards, but I resolved to breed a Mastiff type, which was free from congenital defects.

Dogs similar in type to the medieval Alaunt exist today. The Dogo Argentina (illegal in Britain) closely resembles the Alaunt, but I can see flaws in the make up of these rather beautiful but aggressive breed. The Dogo Argentina, the creation of the brothers Martinez, is a compendium of Mastiff, great Dane, pit dog, and primitive bulldog together with a dash of Pyrenean mountain dog, is sadly often used for dog fighting though it was originally bred to hunt puma and jaguar. I feel that too many different breeds were used in its creation, so that the breed type took too long to settle and breed type to type. Personally I can see no reason for the inclusion of Pyrenean mountain dog in the mix, though the Pyrenean Mountain dog is also a modified type of Mastiff. Over the last few years I have studied the make up of the New Alaunt carefully and I have decided that only three breeds should be used in an amalgam that is to spawn the New Alaunt.

  1. The Greyhound, simply because the breed is the most physically perfect of any breed of dog known to man. It seems free from any of the congenial disorders known to man. Furthermore the addition of greyhound blood ensures the hybrid will be fleet of foot and agile enough to avoid the thrust of a large predator.
    I believe Martinez should have used the greyhound as a starting point for his Dogo Argentina - and I consider it as an oversight that he failed to do so. Although I shall consider my next litter the finished product, I reserve the right to add further infusions of greyhound blood to increase the size and possibly improve type.
  2. Bull Terrier blood is also essential in the formula. The correct strains of bull terrier that are not only game, but also free of physical and mental faults. The most fierce natural selection has produced the Bull Terrier. Few are lacking in courage - a delicious understatement - for no breed of dog on earth is as courageous as the Bull Terrier. Furthermore some breeds of Bull Terrier are not only bright but also reasonably tractable. Prior to the 1992 Dangerous Dogs Act - an iniquitous act of parliament that has made the keeping of an entire and muzzled Pit Bull Terrier illegal - I trained three pit bulls to performing dog level. Not one showed extreme hostility to other dogs (and one was severely provoked) all were slavishly adoring, I hasten to add that I have avoided using bull terrier dogs which have an unnatural hostility to other dogs, and have used studs which have shown a strong hunting instinct.
  3. Bull Mastiff blood. I have used the son of the very tall strong headed Graecia Marcus, the crufts winning Bull Mastiff of 2001. On reflection I believe I made a mistake in the selection of the she and should have asked to use the champion dog and not his son. My own stud Naglum, has a lovely strong head and is 'up to size', but his dam line has many smallish bitches in its pedigree. I shall correct this small problem - if it manifests itself - in later generations, for I also have easy access to an oversize Bull Mastiff stud dog, bred by CH Naukeen Heath Thyme.
    My next litter in this financially ominous project will be the first of the Alaunts involving mixtures of all three breeds in roughly the right proportions.

Using show stock Bull Mastiff blood is according to the By Spartan Law crew a big mistake Brian Plummer made, using non-dog aggressive Bull Terriers is also one that deviates from the original Bull Terriers and Bull Terriers in general. Hunters don't breed for "massive" bone and weight, but always prefer "quality" and "flexability" of bone and "good" muscle not dead weight, and as such the hunter's type of dog stays and/or becomes more athletic and flexible making it more able to take prey, less prone to injury and enabling the animal to recover much faster.

These reconstructed Alaunt Gentil dogs are bred without all the "excessive" bone and weight of the "normal" Mastiff types of this degenerated day and age and some enthusiast have produced "strong" headed, "good" boned, intelligent, athletic, greyhound bodied dog's of the Alaunt Gentil type, that do possess the necessary drive and a keen hunting instinct.

Non-Bulldog Alaunt: Alaunt Gentil and Alaunt Veantre Appearance

Body: the original Alaunt is believed to have resembled a Central Asian Ovcharka. As said above, the dog breed was categorized in France based on its appearance. Alaunt Gentil was a lighter dog, which shared similarity with the greyhound. The Alaunt Veantre were large dogs and more heavily sized. It is well built, has strong body features. Greyhound bodied in essence, but more strength added. The non-bulldog Alaunt should be able to call upon it's great strength and speed, suppleness of joints, lightness of foot and it's endurance to get it both in and out of trouble.

Head: the existing Alaunt has a typical broad and flat head. It resembles the Caucasian man, in having the long broad head, along with a square shaped jaw. Strong, good nose length and non-exaggerated.

Height at Withers: dogs between 58 - 68 cm; bitches between 58 - 68 cm.

Weight: dogs from 61 to 71 kg; bitches from 36 to 41 kg.

Coat: short coat.

Colors: different colors, like fawn, white and brindle.

Non-Bulldog Alaunt: Alaunt Gentil and Alaunt Veantre Temperament

The Alaunt Gentil should have lots of drive. They are of a type, being bred for form and function and purpose not bred for looks.

Character: Stable, strong drive, people friendly.

Social Build: good hunting instinct, good with kids, should be socialized with other pets from young age. Alaunt was "fleet enough to hold a wounded deer, brave enough to hold a wild boar and easily able to dispatch a wolf and also a fierce guard".

Alaunt is highly agile and alert. It was primarily used as the guardian for livestock. In the earlier days, this dog also used to accompany its master to the battlefield. It used to fight along with its master, amidst the grassy plains of the west and north Caucasus. Today, most of the existing working Alaunts are used for the protection of cattle and other pets. The dog is highly protective of its master and has a suspicious eye for strangers. It is known for its high level of obedience and loyalty.

Non-bulldog Alaunts can make great family dogs despite their large size and intimidating looks. Generally a laid back and friendly molosser. They are an assertive molosser that is at ease with family and fine with strangers who are welcomed by family or as they get to know the stranger in question.

They need room to expend their energy and so do best in a home with a backyard. They are not always well behaved towards cats and smaller pets, but correct socialization at an early age can greatly increase the chances of them accepting these animals.

Non-Bulldog Alaunt: Alaunt Gentil and Alaunt Veantre Socially

Care: like any other short-haired dogs, Alaunt requires minimum or no grooming. However, it likes to be taken on daily walk, in order to stay healthy.

Education: should be socialized with other pets from young age, especially if bred from large game hunting stock. Non-bulldog Alaunts bond strongly with their master and family and have strong guarding instincts, which if not kept in check could develop into dominant attitude, they need a firm but fair hand; they should be socialized and obedience trained early to expose them to other dogs and people and to ensure that they can be controlled around company as they get older and larger. These dogs bond deeply with one family member or another.

Activity: high, but not extreme.

Usability: big game hunter; guardian.

Non-Bulldog Alaunt: Alaunt Gentil and Alaunt Veantre Quotes / Trivia

Historically dog's were bred for a job, a function, sadly the Mastiffs of today (like many dog breeds) are being bred for looks and size, being cross bred with the slower, taller, heavier herding dog's of years ago, these breeders are sacrificing good quality of bone and movement, for looks, mass and heavy bone.The Alaunt Gentil should be able to call upon it's great strength and speed, suppleness of joints, lightness of foot and it's endurance to get it both in and out of trouble. Today's modern Mastiff breeds are now resembling "hippo's" and "elephant's" in they're construction/build where as they should be more like the wolf in it's construction/build (a predator should always be more athletic than it's prey).

Alaunt was "fleet enough to hold a wounded deer, brave enough to hold a wild boar and easily able to dispatch a wolf and also a fierce guard".

In the earlier days, this dog also used to accompany its master to the battlefield. It used to fight along with its master, amidst the grassy plains of the west and north Caucasus.

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. 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: Alaunt fanciers are developing new breeds based on Alaunt bloodlines, such as the New Alaunt, Dogo Belgrado, Abraxas bulldog, Altamaha Planatation (Bull)dog, Antebellum Bulldog and the American Alaunt.

Original non-Bulldog type Alaunt; Alaunt Veantre and Alaunt Gentil:

Below non-Bulldog type Alaunt; Alaunt Veantre and Alaunt Gentil reconstructions:

Test your knowledge on the Alaunt Non-Bulldog: Alaunt Gentil and Alaunt Veantre. Take the test, find the Alaunt Gentil / Alaunt Veantre!

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[ 2018-01-13 ] :: Penny
I have a Ridgeback x Cane Corso, which seems to have reproduced this ancient breed in one generation!
[ 2014-01-12 ] :: Anthony Parrish
Excellant site all the info I needed on the alaunte gentil,as I have a7month old pup any more info or owners that would like to contact me would be most welcome
[ 2010-11-08 ] :: w moscrop
my own alaunts have scott am bull in them its my 2 dogs in the pictures

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