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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Alaunt and its origins (the "gripping dog myth")


When the original Alaunts (alaunt dogs) were „multi-purpose dogs“ of the Alani people and were of Sarmatian, Scythian and Alani origin, a Caucasian Volkodav of this phenotype (many lines don´t have this phenotype) is likely pretty close to a type of dog, some people consider as „ancestral type of gripping dog“, where according to them western Bulldogs originate from! Some people go so far to speak of „Scythian gripping dogs“ (Scythians were Eurasian nomads, probably mostly using Eastern Iranian languages), but I am not sure if it makes sense to use the term „Scythian gripping dogs“, as the Scythians were defeated and assimilated by the Sarmatians. The dogs in Caucasus go back to flock guardians & all-purpose dogs of nomadic tribes. The descendants of the Sarmatians became later known as the Alans during the Early Middle Ages & settled in Caucasus. So these first Alaunts (if you want to use this name), the dogs of the Alani people who setteled down in Caucasus, will have had different influences too. But just imagine this dog would have a smooth coat, it would look easily like some of the few good looking western Bulldogs, especially like a bigger type of Alano. However coming back to different Celtic tribes in Continental Europe, keep in mind, there were far more Celtic migrations throughout Europe than ever there were „Alani migrations“, yet so many people still use these term „Alaunt“ to define dogs of Europe. If at all, my guess is the „European Alaunts“ were a mix of Alani dogs from Caucasus and Celtic gripping dogs. I doubt that Celtic tribes only had hounds, but the „Beisser type“ too. (Bullenbeisser & Bärenbeisser) The „hound stuff“ might be right for ancient dogs of Britain (mainly rough coated Wolfhounds), but in Continental Europe there already was used a Bulldog type for catching and they were for example known in Germany as „Bärenbeisser & Bullenbeisser“.

So where comes the „gripping dog myth“ from? A few people saw Caucasian Volkodavs as well as Volkodavs from Kazakhstan and Russia in fighting tournaments (I definitely don´t want to endorse such dog tournaments) and there they realized that these dogs use one on one in a dog fight, gripping skills, or in other words, they hold a dog (grip it with their mouth) and try to wrestle it down, to be in a dominant position. This is what lead to the myth that these Volkodavs must originate from „ancient gripping dogs“ and the speculation that Scythian people in Caucasus had gripping dogs that were later mixed with LGDs (Livestock Guardian Dogs). However this is definitely a misconception, because „gripping skills“, don´t come from gripping dogs. These „gripping skills“ are a very primitive trait, or let´s say a „basic instinct“, you even can find in wolves!

„I have seen huskies grab and hang on, and I have seen films of a wolf hanging on to the leg of a well-known ethologist to the extant that he had to be pried loose with what amounted to a breaking stick!“
This is the APBT, Stratton, 1976
In other words, the trait to maintain a grip (catch & hold) came first from wolves.

The people that have this misunderstanding only have seen Volkodavs using „gripping skills“ and came to the false conclusion „Well, they must be influenced by some kind of „ancestral gripping dog“ and are the big exception among „Livestock Guardian Dog“ (LGDs) that use „gripping skills“ in a dog fight. But this is simply wrong! Kangals do that as well, Sage Koochees do that as well, Sarplaninacs also do it and the Turkish Akbash does it too and all these dogs are LGDs. Even very old breeds like „Spitz type dogs“ do that. I have see Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies using „gripping skills“ to hold another dog in a fight and to wrestle it down. This is nothing special, that only belongs to „Western gripping dogs“, or some kind of „ancestral Scythian gripping dog“, it belongs all kinds of types of dogs, as it is a skill that is a „basic instint“ fighting one on one in all kinds of dog breeds, rather than an advanced or modern skill! With that said it is wrong to say that working type of Volkodavs, were influenced by „ancestral Scythian gripping dogs“. Gripping & holding a dog is just a „basic instinct“ coming from wolves!

However if LGDs have to defend a flock against multiple predators, their first jobs is to scare off the predators, such as wolves etc. The first step is solving the problem by showing their strong will to protect. In many cases this is enough. If it isn´t enough they go over to attack the predators. There often other skills than „gripping skills“ are needed too, as it is a situation that is not like a dog fight (one on one), so other skills than only „gripping and holding“ are needed, because this would be a bad skill against multiple attackers! LGDs then adapt their style to fight and work together as a team to protect the flock.

https://alaunts.wordpress.com/2018/09/02/alaunt-alaunt-dog-ancestral-alaunt-type-2/

Here an article about their connection with Iranian dogs:
https://iranian.com/2018/09/11/iranian-dogs-in-history/ rs9dea.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
The Alaunt Gentil is still being bred, or we could also say it is a reconstruction of the Alaunt Gentil of the middle ages bred by the British Alaunt Society.
It is the smallest of all the Alaunts and a smaller Sighthound type hunting dog.

This is how they define the origins of the Alaunt:
The Alaunt was bred and formed by the Alani tribes, the Kavkaz nomads of Sarmatian Indo-Iranian ancestry, which were known as superb warriors, herdsmen and breeders of horses and dogs. The Alans bred their dogs for work and had developed different strains within the breed for specific duties. The Alaunt's primary ancestors are the dogs of the Caucasus and Central Asia, namely the Gampr and the Caucasian Volkodav (in Daghastan and Georgia). The large, massive guard dogs were not much different than the typical Eastern mountain dogs, even though the hunting variety was leaner and had a smoother and shorter coat.
When the Huns conquered the Alani tribes, the nation was separated in the 370's 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 410's, 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 the 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.
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 same occurrences happened in other countries, such as England and Spain, where the alaunts gave birth to mastiffs and bulldogs, which in return influenced nearly every European guarding, baiting and fighting breed.
 

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Been quite a while since I read your last version of this. (Pretty sure your the same person).

I would say there is arguable merit to some of the things stated, but
The heavier mastiff variety, known as the Alaunt de Boucherie, was crucial is the development of the fighting and baiting dogs of France. The same occurrences happened in other countries, such as England and Spain, where the alaunts gave birth to mastiffs and bulldogs, which in return influenced nearly every European guarding, baiting and fighting breed.
is highly debatable.

English Mastiffs and Bulldogs: The Alans provided cavalry for Rome and in 50AD, 5,500 Alans were sent to Britain to guard Hadrian’s Wall. Thus, the Alaunt genetic template most plausibly gave rise to the British Pugnances as fighting dogs which English Mastiffs and Bulldogs descend from. There are countless bull and mastiff breeds of the world that owe their existence to the Canis Alani, aka Alaunt.
That would be ignoring a lot of stuff to make that giant leap and I would say false, though no I was not alive then for first hand knowledge.

I've debated this theory before as to Alaunt and Mastiff history. I do find it kind of funny that this version and the articles completely leave out any mention of the Molossus.

Sadly I'm on a new computer so I don't have the links to Modern Dog of England written in 1870's or the version written in 1700's.

So I would ask how would the Molossus factor into your theory or how would the Alaunt factor into the Alpine Mastiff?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I would say there is arguable merit to some of the things stated, but is highly debatable.


That would be ignoring a lot of stuff to make that giant leap and I would say false, though no I was not alive then for first hand knowledge.

I've debated this theory before as to Alaunt and Mastiff history. I do find it kind of funny that this version and the articles completely leave out any mention of the Molossus.

Sadly I'm on a new computer so I don't have the links to Modern Dog of England written in 1870's or the version written in 1700's.

So I would ask how would the Molossus factor into your theory or how would the Alaunt factor into the Alpine Mastiff?
In which way would you say that the "Molossus" has to do with the development of any "Alaunt type", concerning here, as there the Alaunt de Boucherie was mentioned, what does the Molosser have to do with the Alaunt Boucherie? The latter was a Bulldog type dog that was used to tame unruly cattle and basically was used to help the Butchers to drive their unruly cattle. So in type a dog very similar to an Alano Espanol. I can see no similarities between this Alaunt type and the Molosser of Epirus that in phenotype and in function is a totally different type of dog!

Concerning the Alpine Mastiff I indee would love to hear your opinion and debate this with you, as for me too, some things about this "old giant" seem to be myth-enshrouded and not totally clear yet. It basically added power and strength to the St. Bernard as well to the English Mastiff and was according to all sources the biggest and most powerful Mastiff at that time...bigger than the English Mastiff. What is your thought, where this dog had its enourmous size and power from?
 

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The hardest part is how you look at Molossus and the Alaunt as the same breed or one being from the other.

You do have to look at the factor that the complex evolution of the domestic dog took place not one but twice, the first time Europe and the 2nd time in Asia. This is according to test being done in 2016 at Oxford.

So I look More toward Molossus being from Europe and the Alaunt being from Asia and not being related, and that both have been mixed to a degree and the prior offshoots from them being breed to different degrees.

The Europe version was thought to have separated into 2 different regions and the Asian transported all the was to southern Europe.
So through breeding and the natural fact that anything will slowly change to the different climates, a lot of the facts are unclear after 30,000 to 40,000 years.

So it is unclear which side the power and size came from, older writings would lead a lot to lean toward the Europe side and a lot of more modern give credit to the Asia side.
Neither side has more proof than the other.

Concerning the Alpine Mastiff while there are some areas that proving it now, is impossible, there power being one of them, there size as a breed is pretty solid as it is a breed that was around with the Saint Bernard and English Mastiff, These went extinct around 1850, and is very closely related to both, though the 39 inches at withers and 350 pounds as a average height and weight seems extreme to me. William Cavendish raised and breed them and there where several painting and writings about this up till his death in 1811.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
About the Molossers I will get back later to you. I find it crazy that all kinds of breeds are called "Molossers", although they have nothing to do with these dogs from Greece.

On an Italian forum they said that the Cane da Presa type was around in Alps too, including the area where the St. Bernhard comes from and that the Cande da Presa landrace was one of the types that found its way into the St. Bernard.

Here is one of these dogs:
http://s1.bild.me/bilder/110417/696738633ude7k.jpg
A very nice athletic Bulldog in my opinion. Very similar in type to this undefeated "Alpine Mastiff" fighter named Couchez.
I guess it was in reality a Cane da Presa.
http://molosserdogs.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pid=69749

I guess even nowadays the St. Bernard could be a good fighting dog if it was selected for fighting. Considering its "genetic makeup" I don´t see why it should have less potential than a Kangal!


I think the early St. Bernards didn´t have that much Alpine Mastiff in them. It seems to have been added later. However I don´t know how long the Alpine Mastiff was around to add size & power to the St. Bernard and English Mastiff.

http://s1.bild.me/bilder/110417/4840938Alpine-Mastiff.jpg

A few Saint Bernards from longer ago:
http://s1.bild.me/bilder/110417/8928147ber.jpg
http://s1.bild.me/bilder/110417/9889317Alp-Mastiff.jpg
And here to compare a Cane da Presa:
http://s1.bild.me/bilder/110417/9986867Cane_da_Presa.jpg

"The Saint Bernard doesn´t group near the LGDs or TMs", because it obviously has other influeneces than Asiatic LGDs, but influences from their region (Sennenhunde etc.) Where the Alpine Mastiff would group is difficult to say. I guess definitely not close to Asiatic Volkodavs and especially not close to primitive dogs like the Tibetan Mastiff, but maybe close to the old Spanish Mastiff.

The Spanish Mastiff (still alive & popular) seems to be close in type to the extinct Alpine Mastiff.
http://s1.bild.me/bilder/110417/7984419spanish-mastiff.jpg
http://s1.bild.me/bilder/110417/7448752Alpine-Mastiff1.jpg

(I guess all three breeds the St. Bernard, the English Mastiff and the Spanish Mastiff could be related via the Alpine Mastiff.)
However the Spanish Mastiff differs, because it has no influence of Bulldog type draft dogs in opposite to the St. Bernard.

Another dog from the Alps:
http://s1.bild.me/bilder/110417/6061172alp.gif

Newer studies and pics from nowadays of St. Bernards:

"Two recent landmark genetic studies have confirmed Walsh to be correct. The first, “Multiple and Ancient Origins of the Domestic Dog” (1997), traced the mitochondrial DNA from ancient times to the present day Greyhound. Interestingly, three other breeds derive from the same strain, the St. Bernard, Miniature Schnauzer, and the Irish Setter, which suggests male-line introductions of other breeds to Greyhound-line females who were the foundations of those breeds. All three originate in areas where Celtic culture flourished.
The second, and more definitive study, “Genetic Structure of the Purebred Domestic Dog” (2004), used Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs), clumps of identical DNA strings that appear in groups of breeds, but often not in others. The study clearly showed that Salukis and Afghan Hounds were part of an “Asian” group along with the Chow, Akita, and Shar-pei. Predictably, the Greyhound appeared in what I’ll call the “Celtic” group along with the Irish Wolfhound, but also as a progenitor fo more recent breeds including the Whippet, Borzoi, Belgian Sheepdog, Belgian Tervuren, Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, and the St. Bernard. A glance at a map clearly shows that all those breeds originate within the influence of Celtic culture in Europe."

http://www.greyhoundinfo.org/?page_id=22

Modern pics of St. Bernards:
http://s1.bild.me/bilder/110417/2878246Saint-Bernard.jpg
http://s1.bild.me/bilder/110417/5126226Saint-Bernard.jpg
http://s1.bild.me/bilder/110417/5263654Saint-Bernard.jpg

It would be interesting to know where the enourmous size come from in the modern St. Bernard? :? Did it come from adding the now extinct Alpine Mastiff to Bulldog types & Sennenhunde of this Region?
And by the way has anybody information what type of work the extinct Alpine Mastiff had to do?
We know that the he original St. Bernard had a pretty short double coat. The bad idea at some point was to add the Newfoundland dog, that added the longer coat to the "long coated" version of the St. Bernard. The long hair got tangled in snow, so a short, but dense double coat was way better for working in this cold snowy conditions.
I only like the short coated type.
I guess the big size of the extinct Alpine Mastiff maybe was due to protection from harsh and snow-covered conditions.

However I doubt the Alpine Mastiff was as big and heavy, as old sources as well as wikipedia claims. The size definitely sounds exaggerated.

"The Alpine Mastiff was, along with the Tibetan Mastiff and Caucasian Shepherd Dog, one of the earliest breeds of dog to reach truly gigantic size. It was one of the very first true mastiffs, originating in northern Europe before 500 B.C. The largest individuals may have reached more than 1 m (39 in) tall at the shoulder and weighed 160 kg (350 lb) or more, surpassing the modern Saint Bernard and English Mastiff in size."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpine_Mastiff
 

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Reminder, swearing is NOT allowed in this forum. I only deleted the post this time, but the next post that contains swearing will not only be deleted, the poster will be treated to a temp ban.
 

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Reminder, swearing is NOT allowed in this forum. I only deleted the post this time, but the next post that contains swearing will not only be deleted, the poster will be treated to a temp ban.
I still have a copy of my post and I am surprised, because I am everything but an aggressive guy. I will send you my post via pm and then please tell me which part I should change. Thank you in advance!
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
For me the whole term "Molosser" is such a nonsense, especially regarding how it is used nowadays! It simply has become a synonym just for "big dog", but hasn´t anymore anything to do with where the origins of the breed are.
I mean if you call a dog Molosser that is a descendant from ancient dogs from "Molossia" in ancient Greece it actually would make sense.
With that said some of the breeds in Balkan have ties to dogs from "Molossia" and if you want it would be legit to call them "Molosser breeds", but talking about most western European breeds, or breeds from Caucasus, it absolutely makes no sense calling them "Molossers"!
The dogs from Caucasus have their roots in Alani dogs because the Alans settled in Caucasus long before they came to western Europe, so you could call them "Alaunts" or "Anciet type Alaunt", but definitely not "Molossers".
Just read this text from the page Molosser Dogs.
How many nonsense can you put into one sentence?
Quote: "The legendary Alaunt is one of the most important Molosser breeds in history, but also one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented ones in literature. "
http://molosserdogs.com/m/articles/view/3065-alaunt
If it is an Alaunt it definitely cannot be a Molosser at the same time period.
By the way on the same page they even call a Dobermann a Molosser. They just use the term "Molosser" for every big dog.
This is an Alaunt in type and origin: rs9dea.jpg
and this is a Molosser in type and origin: qrm8a8.jpg
And nice to see that there also are rare website that don´t make this mistake and distinguish correctly between Alaunt & Molosser!
Here for example:
"We see that the Molossi gave their name to the dogs of their country, and I would suggest that it is only probable that the Alani gave their name to the mastiffs of their land. Hence Canes Alani, dogs of the Alan's, and Molussus means the dog of Epirus, and in a secondary sense a watch dog or kind of mastiff. By the same custom Alani gives an Alaunt, or in a secondary sense a cattle dog or mastiff, employed as a guard against the wolf." The History of the Mastiff by: MB Wynn 1886
https://alaunts.weebly.com/the-alaun...nes-alani.html
 

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