A ferocious dog breed extinct for hundreds of years has been brought back to life and is believed to be involved in many of the 100 plus badgers killed by baiters in Scotland in this year.
The alaunt was the deadliest fighting dog the world had ever seen.
Bred to take down wild boar, bears and even lions, the alaunt ‘war dog’ was the ultimate medieval status symbol.
Scotland’s leading animal welfare charity has now voiced concern that the large canines a dangerous mix of bull terrier, mastiff and greyhound are being rebred for illegal badger baiting.
Undercover Scottish SPCA investigators have seen a ‘significant increase’ in alaunts across Scotland and believe gangs are now choosing them over other breeds because of their size, speed and ‘fight to the death’ instinct.
Standing tall at more than two feet, twice the height of a Staffordshire bull terrier, adult male alaunts can reach more than seven stone in weight.
Their existence as war dogs and protectors of livestock dates back to 2,000 BC in central Asia but they became very popular in Europe in the middle ages as hunting dogs. In 17th Century France, the Alaunt de Boucherie (Alaunt Butcher) was a hunter’s weapon of choice.
More than 100 badgers have been killed in Scotland in this year alone and the charity has briefed Police Scotland and local councils to be aware of the resurgence of the alaunt.