Graham MacKay’s article covered the background of the recreation of the Alaunt from Brian’s initial concept to the production of the first litter. Hopefully, this article will bring the story up to date and set out Brian’s plans for the future of the breed.
Brian had two objectives in mind when he set about his task. The first was to produce a superb large hunting dog, and secondarily but of equal importance was that the breed should be genetically as sound as possible. It is for the latter reason that Brian was so emphatic about the use of greyhound blood both in the creation of foundation stock and also the need for regular infusions in future stock.
When the first litter was born Brian was pleasantly surprised at what an even litter had been produced. All the pups were a dark brindle colour, which Brian considered pleasing to the eye and remarkably similar in size. As the pups grew Brian kept in touch with their owners and was pleased to see how even the pups remained as they grew into adulthood. Above all he was delighted that from an early age, they displayed a very strong hunting instinct. At the time of his tragic death the dogs stood about 25” and weighed about 80 lbs.
Being so pleased with the first litter Brian repeated the breeding earlier this year and again produced a large litter which was not quite as even as the first but the pups certainly displayed the same strong hunting instinct.
The above brings the story of the Alaunt up to date and we now come to the future of the breed. Basically Brian’s view was that there were two real challenges ahead. First, ever the perfectionist, he was not completely satisfied with the dogs he had bred to date. He said one of the first litter was very nearly the ideal he was aiming to achieve but ideally would have another couple of inches in height. He therefore suggested that the bitches should be mated to a very large bull/greyhound. The resulting offspring should then be mated back to the dog from the original litter with which he was so pleased. Obviously we are proposing to follow his instructions, so for the foreseeable future there will be three generations of the Alaunt. To summarise:
1. First Generation. These are the dogs produced as the result of a bullterrier/greyhound x bullmastiff cross. At present two litters have been produced both by Brian.
2. Second generation. These are First Generation bitches x bull/greyhound. Two litters were produced on the 27 & 28th October 2003.
3. Third generation. These will comprise Second Generation bitches x First Generation stud dog mentioned above. Hopefully this will produce the dogs that will represent the realisation of Brian’s original ideal although, inevitably, it cannot be achieved for two or three years
Earlier this year Brian suggested that Frank Dobie mated two of his bitches when they came into season. Arrangements were duly put in hand and a suitable very large dog was found. Unfortunately, when the time came a complete breakdown in communications and other problems meant the dog was not available. After numerous frantic phone calls and criss-crossing the country viewing potential studs, Frank located a superb bull/greyhound first cross with a very good working record and this dog was used. The mating was successful and the pups have now been born. Their arrival was eagerly awaited and Frank is very keen to see the results of the mating as the pups mature. He believes the pups will be slightly taller than the first generation, with some loss of head quality. This should be compensated for by a considerable increase in speed and agility. Time will tell!
The second problem that Brian foresaw was the obvious point that at present the gene pool is extremely small. In June he did ask me to find him an adult working bull/greyhound that he could mate to another Gracie mastiff he had purchased. This was no easy task and unfortunately before I could find a suitable dog his health had deteriorated to the point that the venture was no longer feasible. Brian’s death hit all who knew him badly and matters were left in abeyance for a couple of months but Club members are now actively seeking a suitable bull/terrier bitch to found a separate blood line. Hopefully this venture will be successful and the future of the breed will be placed on a sounder footing.
They are very affectionate towards their owners and extremely powerful. When I went to view other littermates to my own dog I was surprised at just how fast and agile they are. They were playing around on the fields and ran into each other at high speed. I heard an almighty crack of skulls but they just picked themselves up as if nothing had happened. As for working ability, I have no doubt the breed has a good future ahead. Their hunting instincts shine through from an early age.
So this is the story so far. From now on we can only try to follow Brian’s instructions to achieve the ultimate standard he did not live to see. Any help or assistance, particularly from people with a good knowledge of genetics would be appreciated. Already we have had some valuable input from another breeder, so if you have any observations please let us have them.