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.
A) The Greyhound, simply because the breed is the most physically perfect of any breed of dog known to man. It seams 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.
B) 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 nuzzled 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.
C) 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.