The Castro Laboreiro Dog (Cão de Castro Laboreiro) It is a breed of Portuguese dog of large size. Originating in the parish of Castro Laboreiro, Melgaço, is a dog type Lupoid amastinado is lighter than other breeds of cattle dogs.
The Castro Laboreiro Dog it has its origin in the region that gave it its name, the people of Castro Laboreiro, in the municipality of Melgaço. It is a rugged mountainous region that extends from the River Miño Peneda and Soajo mountains between the rivers Trancoso, Laboreiro and moro, until around 1400 m above sea level.
Like the dog, Castro Laboreiro is one of the oldest regions of the land of Portugal. The prehistoric remains such as dolmens and rock paintings, They demonstrate the presence of man in the region for thousands of years. The strengths are evidence of the strong presence of Celtic culture in the region. Also the Celts and the Romans came here, Roman roads and building bridges with their milestones. The castrejas communities have always lived of hunting, fishing, grazing and agriculture.
The search for good grazing for livestock carried out a kind of short transhumance, It has become a seasonal migration still occurs in some sectors of the population characterised by a curious adaptation to the mountainous terrain and climate.
The dogs that accompanied (and accompany) These movements of transhumant cattle that, being a short distance, Unlike what happened in the rest of the Iberian Peninsula (including the transhumance of herds of sheep in the Serra da Estrela, whose movement reached several hundred miles), an animal so powerful is not necessary.
The number of sheep and goats, It has been declining in recent years and it is gradually replaced by cattle. The Castro Laboreiro Dog has been adapting to social changes, It is still as effective in protecting the sheep, goats and cows as yesteryear, but it has also acquired new features. Due to the emigration of men over the years 40, mainly to France, leaving women alone to care for the Earth and the animals, dogs have developed a very important role in the custody of property and of the members of the families, In addition to the protection of livestock that was his main work.
This special character, carved by the hardness of the mountains and the pace of life of the inhabitants of Castro Laboreiro, He was also a result of the isolation of this region of difficult access - until very recently – the first dirt road was completed in 1948.
Scientific advances have enabled geneticists to confirm certain tests (for example, Archaeological, morphological and behavioral) who claim that the wolf is the ancestor of the Castro Laboreiro Dog. According to fossil records, the domestication of the Wolf has been hace aproximadamente 14.000 years in the region of the fertile Crescent, dogs have spread rapidly throughout Europe, Asia and North America. Genetic studies also indicate that domestication must have happened only once.
Despite the presence of dogs in the Portuguese territory since the Mesolithic period, the first traces appear in depictions of scenes of hunting in Roman mosaics. The earliest references to the national races in the century. 16TH, He suggests that they may be at least 300 - 600 years.
Cattle dogs have always been an important element in the agropastorales communities. Regarding the Castro Laboreiro Dog, their quality and their importance are highlighted by various authors. Leal Augusto (1874), describing the region, makes mention of the existing dogs, also the ethnographer José Leite de Vasconcelos (1933) refers to the Castro Laboreiro as. There are also references to race in literature, like the novel of Camilo Castelo Branco, Prazins Brazil (1879).
The national pride generated by Castro Laboreiro Dog shines all year in the Castro Laboreiro Dogs competitions, the oldest existing in Portugal canine competition. Developed by father Aníbal Rodríguez, Castro Laboreiro priest from 1945 (died in 2003), This competition is traditionally held every year since the middle of the 50, It was held for the first time in October and in recent decades 15 August. The competition has been very important in the dissemination and the maintenance of the characteristics of the breed.
In fact, mixing with other races was a serious problem until very recently. The introduction of other races, facilitated by greater openness to the outside of the region, produced crossing, not controlled, with the native dogs that led to the emergence of copies with less common features that alerted many judges in contests and those interested in the race through various media.
This problem is greatly exceeded by responsible breeders through greater control of mating. Were they interested in learning all about the characteristics of the breed, winning a lugarcito in the Portuguese Kennel Club (CPC), Noting the parents of the litter and placing copies in the genealogical book of the race.
Despite the recognition of his seniority, only in the second quarter of the 20th century relevant studies were initiated to achieve a definition of the standard of the breed. What was published in 1935 by Professor Manuel Fernández Marques. This was an important milestone for the conservation of the breed, being a guarantor of the preservation of its original features. In effect, the standard represents the ideal type of race, the description of the characteristics that define, they form the basis of reference to follow in selecting. Despite the fact that the standard was published in 1935, the earliest records in the genealogical book of the race were provisionally in 1932. In 1993 adopted an amendment to the height at the cross, was increased in 4,3 cm., reflecting the trend in the race in recent years.
Despite their smaller body size, Agility is also an advantage in the fight with the Wolf, easy to escape the attack of these. There are many stories of dogs who helped pastoralists to capture wolves when they were attacking livestock, Yet there are few reports of dogs fatally attacked by wolves.
The specific characteristics of the environment of the region and the grazing system, along with geographical isolation, they have given rise to a single cattle dog. Despite the probable common origin for more than 50 cattle dog breeds recognised in Asia and throughout the Mediterranean region, It is distinguished by being a smaller dog. In fact, It is a breed of dog of mountain, of medium to large rather than amastinada Lupoid – with a lighter head, but powerful, and with a height to the cross which can vary between 55 and 64 cm. (more than 2 cm tolerance) and a weight of between 25 and 40 kg. These features allow you to be more active and therefore restless, always alert, easily to be quickly has the presence of predators, When caring for cattle is about.
The eyes of the Castro Laboreiro Dog they are sloped almond-shaped and medium in size. Its coat consists of a layer of light brown pelage tends to dark brown. The ears are triangular, rounded at the tip and pendants. When is the dog attentive, the ears become forward. The tail is broad and thick, up the legs when the dog is calm and movement takes the form of Saber, beyond the bottom line. The hair is short (5 cm.) thick and resistant, hard to the touch, soft and abundant throughout the body. Usually, the hair is soft in some areas, as the head and ears. The color of the coat is composed of a layer of dominant spot color often has striations.
Because of their proven effectiveness in the protection of herds against wolves and other predators such as foxes or feral dogs attacks increasingly are used to protect the flocks of goats and sheep or herds of cows, Castro Laboreiro until Alvão mountains plateau. In this region there is a kernel race dogs growing integrated by Wolf Group – Association for the conservation of wolves and its ecosystem. The Wolf group has developed an innovative project of great interest, whose objective is to promote the use of dogs Castro Laboreiro in the protection of livestock, in order to reduce the losses caused by wolves, and thus reduce the conflicts faced by rural communities with this predator.
The Iberian wolf, the last of our large carnivores fauna, It is in danger of extinction and are fully protected by law from 1988. Thus we reach a situation in which it is affiliated to the conservation of the recovery of the Wolf to a national breed of dog, the Castro Laboreiro Dog, is also at risk of extinction. The genetic heritage of animals is part of the national biodiversity we have responsibility for the preservation, its loss would be irreversible.
During the first months of life, especially of 2 - 6 months of age, progressive contact with a variety of environments and situations should be given to the dog (for example, walking in the street or traveling by car, get in touch with strange people and children and other dogs). An adequate education, with positive stimuli and without the use of force, It is the basis for the development of a balanced and healthy pet.
The dogs may have two litters a year, the first - in general- After 6 months of age. The litters tend to have, on average, seven dogs, can, However, achieve the 14 dogs.
When the pups are born they have a darker coat that tends to gradually lighten as they grow and acquire the typical striped. Also the texture and hardness of hair change accompanied with growth.
With respect to the height of the samples was proposed in the meeting General annual of the Club of Castro Laboreiro dog (10 in July of 1993) the change in height for males 58 - 64 cm. (with a tolerance of + 2 cm.) and females in 55 - 61 cm. (with a tolerance of + 2 cm.). The proposed modification of the standard was adopted by unanimity and, later, subject to approval by the Portuguese Kennel Club, where be later reviewed by the Technical Committee, It was adopted by the General extraordinary Board of the canine Portuguese Club the 24 in August of 1993.
Character and skills
Despite her natural aptitude for the protection of animals is a very versatile breed, he excelled in different roles. It was used as a military police dog and the Marine Corps in Portugal to maintain order. Some are also used in packs for hunting.
It is also an excellent guard dog and companion, by his innate to protect ability and complete dedication to its owner, will be of great delicacy, especially with the children.
It is an intelligent dog, easy to train, but with a somewhat independent temperament, It is derived from its task of protecting the herd, which acts independently of the Shepherd.
It establishes a strong link with his family (human or not) It protects instinctively from all danger. It has a great capacity for the protection, always vigilant, attentive to any thief or dangers that come, looking for possible amenazas… Males tend to be more dominant and aggressive in the presence of other males, but, used from small, You can easily live with other males of owls size.
His bark is very distinctive and very sound: begins with varying tones, only serious, and it ends with a howl-like extended treble.
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Type and recognitions:
- CLASSIFICATION FCI:Group 2 –> Pinscher and Schnauzer- Molossian - Mountain and Cattle Dogs. / Section 2.2 –> Molossoid breeds. Without working trial.
- FCI 170
- Federations: FCI ⓘ, UKC ⓘ
- FCI breed standard "Castro Laboreiro Dog"
1. Portuguese cattle dog, Portuguese watchdog (English).
2. Cão de Castro Laboreiro (French).
3. CCL, CASTRO-LABOREIRO-HUND (German).
4. Cão de Castro Laboreiro (Portuguese).
5. Perro de Castro Laboreiro (Spanish).