The Alangu Mastiff is an ancient breed believed to have been used extensively by the the Persian Army for guarding soldier’s camp-sites and enemy prisoners-of-war in their campaigns during antiquity. In modern times the name Alangu Mastiff (as this breed is known in India) has become synonymous with the Bully Kutta, a large Mastiff breed found mainly in Pakistan. The Alangu Mastiff is also known as the Sindh Mastiff and is one of three mastiff type breeds along with the Alaunt Mastif and Assyrian Mastiff to be found in the areas around Persia and India.Today this breed is typically owned by wealthy farmers who use the breed for either protection or dog fighting in heavily rural areas of the Indian Sub-Continent.
The origin of the Alangu Mastiff can be traced back to parts of Rajasthan, the Bhawalpur area of Punjab, and the desert area of Kutch. Although this breed is rare it is most commonly found in the Thanjavur and Trichy districts of Southern India. Prior to the Independence of Pakistan from British colonial rule in 1947, the Kutch area of Rajasthan, in present day Pakistan was under Sindh rule. Thus in Pakistan locals refer to the breed as the Sindhi Mastiff, whereas in the rest of the world it is known as the Pakistani Mastiff or Bully Kutta and in India, the breeds agreed upon country of origin it is known as the Alangu Mastiff.
The Alangu Mastiff is considered to be an ancient breed and like many ancient breeds of dog, the process of determining its exact origin is hampered by a lack of surviving accurate documentation. This has led to the creation of numerous theories and most of what is put forth in modern times as fact is merely speculation and conjecture. Of the many theories put forth to explain the development of this remarkable breed is that the Alangu Mastiff was likely developed by the intentional crossing of pointers with English Mastiffs and several other breeds of British hunting dogs during the time that India was under British Colonial rule. This theory is widely refuted by many historians who assert that the Alangu Mastiff is much more ancient in origin; stating the the breed likely dates back to a time before the birth of Christ. These historians base their ancient Alangu Mastiff theory on evidence that Mastiff type breeds are documented to have existed in India and Pakistan centuries before the British legion arrived and conquered the area.
Another and likely more probable theory is that the birth of the breed is tied to the Persian Army, which is known to have made use of Mastiff type breeds extensively for guarding soldier’s camp-sites and enemy prisoners-of-war in their campaigns during antiquity. The crux of this theory revolves around Xerxes I of Persia who is believed to have introduced the antecedents of the breed to the Indian continent between 486-465 B.C. That these early mastiff types accompanied him when he marched into Greece to punish the Athenians, Naxians, and Eretrians for their interference in the Ionian Revolt and their victory over the Persians at Marathon. Shortly after conquering the area Xerxes was forced to send the majority of his forces back home to prevent a revolt due to civil unrest in Babylon. He would; however, leave behind a contingent force in Greece under the command of Mardonius, who would be defeated the following year by the Greeks. The Greeks would also attack and burn the entire Persian Fleet anchored at Mycale. Their navy in ruins and unable to resupply their army, the Persian forces were forced to retreat likely leaving behind some of these early Mastiff type breeds. These early Mastiffs would then remain in the sub-continent of Indo-Pakistan and become known as the Indian Mastiff where they would be used for hunting, guarding and other purposes.
Historians also point to writings by Alexander the Great and his boyhood tutor Aristotle which describe not only his campaigns, but also the dogs brought with his armies. These early descriptions of similiar large mastiff type dogs are used to support the fact that the Alangu Mastiff is an ancient breed likely descended from the white Alaunt of Persia, from the ancient Persian Hyrcania dog and from the Assyrian Molossus.
In 326 BC, Alexander the Great invaded India, fought against and eventually defeated the Hindu King Porus, at the Battle of the Hydaspes River on the banks of the Hydaspes River (Jhelum River) in the Punjab near Bhera in what is now modern-day Pakistan. However, when his exhausted army learned of his plans to push on and cross the Hyphasis (Beas River) they mutinied and refused to go any further into India. Alexander then led some short yet victorious campaigns against Indian clans residing in the area, to secure his rule and found cities to serve as outposts and trade centers before returning to Babylon.
It is known that he brought dogs very similar to the Alangu Mastiff back with him to Babylon upon his return. Thus it is likely that Alexander the Great through his military campaigns is responsible for the breed through his introduction of the Assyrian Mastiff of Iraq to India where they were bred with the Alaunt and Indian Mastiff to create the Alangu Mastiff. Due to the constant interaction between Persia and the Assyrian empire, it is highly possible that the Indian and Persian mastiff dogs have influenced each other.
The ferocious nature of the Alangu Mastiff led to them being adopted and utilized by the Indian royal family for the sport of hunting large game. The Alangu Mastiff was later demoted to use as a simple guard dog when its role as a sport hunting dog came to an end when the royal family began to use Cheetahs for this purpose instead.
The inherently aggressive nature of the breed led locals to further develop it for use as a fighting dog. Although these tournaments are technically illegal, numerous dog fighting tournaments are held annually in Pakistan and Afghanistan annually due to the rural nature of the country and poor enforcement of the law.
In modern times the Alangu Mastiff is primarily used as a guard dog for the home, and as a fighting dog for these illegal tournaments. Although, the Alangu Mastiff is considered to be one of the most dangerous fighting dogs and superior to the true Bully Kuta, in Pakistan, all fighting dogs including the Alangu Mastiff and real Bully Kuta are known under the same name of Bully Kuta.
The Alangu Mastiff as with most other breeds of mastiff is massive in size and like most fighting dogs was bred for performance not a unified appearance. In the era of its use as a hunter, guard dog it was larger than the current day representation of the breed. Those interested in improving its agility and ability to fight reduced the size of the breed from over 34 inches at the withers down to 29-30 inches with an average weight of around 150lbs. A solidly muscular giant breed that Alangu Mastiff is slightly longer than it is tall. The head is large but proportioned well to the rest of the dogs body with a thick broad skull and a muzzle that is roughly half the total length of the skull. The short small pricked ears are set wide apart and high atop the skull giving the dogs head a rather square appearance. They eyes are set wide apart and recessed deep into the skull giving the dog an alert appearance.
The initial appearance of the Alangu Mastiff is that it is a dog that possesses extreme power. The medium length neck is muscular and powerful often with muscular striation being clearly evident. The forequarters are squarely built with powerful shoulders set wide apart on the chest. The fore chest is deep and solidly built extending down near the elbows. The ribs are well sprung from the spine. The back is straight, long and extends solidly from the withers to well developed and muscular loins and rear quarters. The thighs are double muscled and powerful in appearance. The legs are well boned leading to large bear like feet with thick pads. The flews are generally large and hang, dewlap may or may not be present under the jaws. Overall the skin is rather loose, a likely adaptation for fighting to lesson injury during these contests. The tail is thick and tapers gradually to a point.
The coat of the Alangu Mastiff is short and double coated. The guard hairs of the short outer coat are thick, coarse and straight laying flat with the body. The undercoat is also short, dense and lies close to the body. Coloration varies within this breed as it does with many fighting breeds of dog that were bred for performance not appearance. The coat may be brown, fawn, brindle or most often white but other colors are not unusual. Members of this breed may also have a black mask as part of their overall coloration.
The Alangu Mastiff owes its dominant and aggressive personality to its long history of use as a war dog and fighting dog. A fairly intelligent and highly territorial dog they have strong natural guarding instincts and are reportedly difficult to train. This is a breed that is highly unsuitable for first time dog owners or individuals unable to properly assert themselves as the dominant figure in the dogs life. Thus it is recommended only for experienced dog handlers and those individuals that posses strong Alpha personality traits.
This breed has gained a reputation for being ferocious and blood thirsty. It is also a breed that is naturally territorial and dog aggressive. The Alangu Mastiff will not co-exist with other dogs and may very well kill them as it establishes its territory and itself as Alpha. This breed also poses a threat to other animals and livestock as well. The aggressive nature of the breed makes is wholly unsuitable for homes that have children. This is not a breed that enjoys being teased and unsupervised children that take it upon themselves to tease the dog may very well be risking their lives.
With proper early socialization and appropriate training, the Alangu Mastiff can make an amenable companion for strong, responsible and knowledgeable owners. Overall this breed is very loyal to its master and will aggressively defend its master, his property and his home from strangers. Owners of this breed need secure fencing that can be locked not only to keep the dog in, but to ensure that no one may enter its territory when the owner is not present as the dog will act aggressively toward strangers.
Due to its size, and relatively high energy level it is unsuitable for apartment life and requires a lot of space and exercise to remain healthy and happy.
The Alangu Mastiff can be summarized as a very large, territorial and aggressive dog that possesses not only the size and strength but also the instincts and will to kill other animals. As such ownership of this breed; unless your into blood sports, your name is Michael Vick or you’re a drug lord trying to protect your stash is not recommended.
One of the few benefits of owning an Alangu Mastiff is that it is a breed that requires little in the way of grooming maintenance. As a short coated breed the Alangu Mastiff is a moderate shedder that requires only occasional brushing with a slicker brush to keep the coat in good condition. Bathing would be a hosing off in the yard affair and even below that a damp towel can be used to remove dirt and bring out the sheen of the coat.
The Alangu Mastiff is considered to be a very healthy breed of dog with a low propensity for congenital health defects. The only known issues to be listed as associated with this breed is a tendency to develop arthritis and blindness in later life, which is not uncommon for most dog breeds. Due to its size bloat may also be a concern or other illnesses generically associated with large breeds of dog.