Have you ever seen a Spanish Bulldog? The Spanish Bulldog, also known as the Alano Español, has that classic bulldog appeal but with something extra. Often referred to as a molosser, or large sturdy dog whose origins are in Molossia, the Spanish Bulldog has a primitive body, capable of running at high speeds over long periods of time while carrying wild game - or cattle for a long time if ordered.
All about the Spanish Bulldog
Spanish Bulldogs will typically weigh between 75 - 89 pounds and have a well-proportioned body structure that is suitable for hunting or working with cattle. A Mastiff dog breed, their rib cages are arched rather than cylindrical, and their chests will normally reach elbow level. They have strong, solid withers and shoulders, standing between 22 and 25 inches in height. The front legs of a Spanish Bulldog are straight and much stronger than the back ones, and their paws are typically quite larger than those of other dogs of similar size and weight.
Recognizing the Spanish Bulldog
It is easy to recognize the Spanish Bulldog as their profile is different than many other dog breeds. The Alano's backbone ascends slightly or appears level near the backside instead of descending, and the hindquarters are highly developed in terms of muscles; this definition and superior angles includes the Bulldog's back legs and paws. With the Spanish Bulldog, you can expect a thick tapered tail; it is never cropped as this dog breed will use it as a rudder while cattle working.
Spanish Bulldog's Unique Stance and Appearance
If the Spanish Bulldog holds its tail low, you can be sure that none of its length is being carried by the hind area, and the dog exhibits a more athletic look than other heavier molosser breeds due to a retracted belly and strong neck, which features two double chins that do not hang low.
The head of the Spanish Bulldog resembles a classic look that is common to this dog breed called brachycephalic, which describes a square shape, large nose, wide muzzle (35 percent of the head) and serious look. The ears are typically cropped with a slightly round tip. However, if the ears have not been cropped, you can expect to see medium length ears that fold over the dog's face.
A feature relevant to the Spanish Bulldog is strong and powerful jaws with wide teeth that are significantly separated from one another. Due to this appearance, this breed has a strong bite and firm grip. The under-bite is also allowed if two mm or less. These feature are responsible for the Bulldog's participation in big game hunts and even bull-fighting, which is now illegal.
Speed and Stride
A Spanish Bulldog are tireless molossers, moving with agility and speed. This dog breed has a stride that is akin to that of an agile panther, holding its head low yet moving from side to side in a way that shows off the shoulder muscles. It appears as if the entire body is fully extended with each step yet this dog rarely gets tired, even after traveling or galloping several miles.
A surprising feat among most dog breeds, the Spanish Bulldog is capable of climbing trees with cat like agility. They can also leap to great heights and impressive distances from a standing still position.
Spanish Bulldog Coat
Coat colors for the Spanish Bulldog include yellow and wolf gray or fawns and reds. These colors can be seen in light or dark tones, possibly with brindling, which is also called tigering, and a black mask. If the dog is brindled, you can expect a black and tan coat with the tigering on the tan color. According to Spanish standards, this is "negro y atigrado" which simply put means black and tigered. White markings are allowed only on the neck, chest, snout, belly and lower legs. While white may also be seen at the tip of the tail, it should never dominate the Spanish Bulldog's body.
Considered an average shedder, the Spanish Bulldog has short coarse hair that does not require much grooming. With regular brushing, shedding can be kept at a minimum and frequent baths are not recommended, especially since this is an outdoor dog breed that does not house train easily.
Temperament and Needs
The Alano is dominant and serious, attentive to his master's commands, but will also show signs of affection for his family and interact positively with children. While they bark very little, the Spanish Bulldog will watch strangers with a wary eye and, because they are a protective dog breed, attack fearlessly and without warning if they sense danger, and have been known to fight until death under their owner's command. A loyal and devoted worker and friend, this Bulldog breed has a high tolerance to pain and is very confident.
For the reasons above, the Spanish Bulldog needs a dominant owner with a firm hand and an understanding of instinctual canine behavior. Owners should train this dog as a pack leader with clearly defined lines of communication and responsibility. This is the only way you can successfully train, socialize and demand respect from the Spanish Bulldog.
Other dogs are not an issue for the Spanish Bulldog unless he feels the need to square off, protecting his property and family, since this breed is used to functioning as a team. Around other (friendly) dogs, you will see the playful romping side of your serious pet. Maturity is typically reached when the animal reaches two and one-half years of age.
If you adopt the Spanish Bulldog as a male pup, you can expect a lot of destruction and chewing. The females are slightly less destructive. Both the male and female Spanish Bulldog requires daily exercise, or a minimum of three walks each day.
Health Concerns for the Spanish Bulldog
The Spanish Bulldog lives, on average, eleven to fifteen years, there are little health concerns as this breed is not prone to any specific diseases. Resilient and quick to recover, this Bulldog breed can handle extreme hot or cold temperatures, needing only regular veterinary check-ups, worm and heartworm prevention, and standard immunizations.