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Basque Shepherd Dog
España Not recognized by the FCI

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Pastor Vasco

There are two varieties of Basque Shepherd Dog: the “Gorbeiakoa” and “Iletsua“.



The Basque Shepherd Dog (in Basque: Euskal Artzain Txakurra) It is a breed of Spanish dog originating in the Basque Country.. Is a breed traditionally used as a sheepdog and guard livestock. There are two varieties, the Gorbeiakoa and Iletsua.

The breed was officially recognized by the Royal Canine society of Spain the 1 in June of 1995. The official name of the breed is not "Basque Shepherd", as it is known mostly, sino “Basque Shepherd Dog”.

From the official club of the breed is referred to “Basque Shepherd Dog” to the mestizo wool dog that can be seen in the villages of Basque Country, mostly white, Tan or black, have nothing to do with the reddish or tawny of the pure specimens of Euskal Artzain Txakurra.

The “Shepherd dog” is the oldest dog. Since that man evolved from nomadic farmer and livestock has been using dogs to the work of grazing. Some bone remains found in Neolithic caves attest that, 12.000 years ago, the farmers in the region were using these animals to grazing. We can find the “Euskal Artzain Txakurra” in Basque popular mythology. Later, had it been recognized in various pictorial frescoes of the 16th century, witnessing a popularity that came to transcend from rural environments to the highest circles of the Court of the time. From the 18th century they appear painted or drawn on the canvas of Paret y Alcazar, Doré, Guiard, Arrue and others.

From the end of the 19th century to the first decades of the 20th century, a time of regression arose for this breed, especially in Guipúzcoa and Navarra due to the strong attacks of the wolf on the herd., reason why pastors replaced careadores dogs with the Artzanoras or mastiffs. In Álava and Vizcaya, however, this decrease was not as pronounced and they alternated grazing work with guarding and warning in the hamlets when they were not with the herds.. This know-how combining work, He was one of the keys for that race is not extinct.

Today, the Basque Shepherd Dog has only 413 copies recognized since the holding of the first monograph of the race.

Later they began to organize international competitions of pastoral dogs. Due to the admiration that sparked this breed among those who witnessed his task, a plan was started via scholarship and research project to study these dogs with ethnological methodology, biochemistry, genetics, reproductive and etological in 1991. After a thorough review of more than three thousand copies of the whole Basque country, the recognition of the Basque Shepherd Dog – “Euskal Artzain Txakurra”.

Unfortunately, the localism of a canine species generates, In most cases, Multiple obstacles to your survival.

Photo: elexartza

Physical characteristics

As we said above there are two varieties in the breed Basque Shepherd Dog, the "Iletsua" and the "Gorbeiakoa" and the standard marks the differences.

The differences between the two varieties most important morfoestructurales are as follows:

In the Iletsua:

  • Longer hair on the back
  • Longer hair on the front limbs.
  • Greater width of the face in the female.
  • Greater width of the chest.
  • Greater cephalic index.
  • The typical color of blond or leonado coat
  • Most with floppy ears.

As to the general appearance, has a trunk strong and rectangular. It has the body covered in a typical mantle of bristle hair, blondes or leonadas and canelas layers.

Has the head elongated, cover of hair shorter than in the rest of the body, and uncovered eyes. The nose is always black. The snout color is more intense than the rest of the body or black cinnamon. Short hair. Firm lips, Pigmented in black. Scissor bite. Eyes oval, with black eyelids and Brown iris and amber.

It has the limb strong and covered with short hair on the front and back fringes. With one or two spurs or none in the hind limbs.

The fur is moderately long, rough, rustic looking. As we said above, It is shorter in front of the extremities and face.

Height in males of 47 to 63 and in females, of 46 to 58 cm.. The weight of the males is of 18 to 33 Kg., and in females, of 17 to 30 Kg.

In the Gorbeiakoa:

  • The male has a greater height at the withers.
  • Greater length of head.
  • Longer hair on the belly.
  • Greater width of the rump in the female.
  • Typical coat color is fiery red..

As to the general appearance, the trunk is elongated appearance. The layer red fire, known as "red", with frequent darkening on snout.

The head It has a pyramidal shape and is equipped with very short hair. Frequent presence of three Lunar, one next to each of the corners of the lips, and the other in the ventral and central part of the mandible, all of them with black setae of greater length than the rest of the head. Truffle always black. Snout elongated and thin, with frequent pigmentation. Eyes macaroons, Brown and amber.

The limb they are strong. With one or two spurs or none in the hind limbs.

The fur is moderately long and soft texture. It is shorter in front of the extremities and face.

The height males will of 47 to 61 and in females, of 46 to 59 cm.. The weight of the males is of 18 to 36 Kg., and in females, of 17 to 29 Kg.

Character and skills

Regarding the temperament of Basque Shepherd Dog, we can find special characteristics of each variety (Gorbeiakoa and the Iletsua):

  • Gorbeiakoa: It is safe to, balanced and above all very sociable, Sometimes it is considered to be one member of his family and his talent for grazing can be added. His instinct, as described, It focuses more on tasks of grazing.
  • The Iletsua: It has a territorial instinct, but he always maintains a strong bond with his master, as always happens with him and rarely is separated from it. His instinct, as described, It focuses more care tasks.

All training can start with a small basic education course (the dog learn to stay quiet, sitting, that moves when the owner order). Regardless of age you can start socializing so you can get confidence with his master and others.

The Basque Shepherd Dog lets touch, petting and running like a champion so he needs a field where he can romp freely for long periods of time. Give some walks and stay active either playing with the ball or small but intense session of game with the family. Its longevity is of 11 to 13 years.

Images Basque Shepherd Dog

Videos Basque Shepherd Dog

Alternative names:

1. Basque Shepherd Dog, Basque: Euskal Artzain Txakurra, Basque Sheepdog
Basque Herder
2. Berger basque, (en basque : Euskal artzain txakurra) (French).
3. Perro Pastor Vasco, (spanisch) oder Euskal Artzain Txakurra) (German).
4. Pastor Basco, (em basco: Euskal artzain txakurra) (Portuguese).
5. Artzain Txakurra, Euskal Artzain Txakurra (español).

1 thought on "Basque Shepherd Dog”

  1. Race that I was able to discover a short time ago….One “Male” of 5 month entrusted during 3 weeks
    EXTREMELY pleasant to live in community ( A “Golden Retriever” of 10 years and 6 chats )….Very quickly integrated and accepted….easy to live with while being VERY toned
    Quite likely of above-average intelligence of other races….Noted after observation of some improvised behaviors in situation “critique”
    VERY caressing, Very affectionate…..borderline excessive ( But he was a puppy )


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