1) Two types
The Basque Shepherd comes in two types. The first type is called Gorbeiakoa and it is a slightly taller and heavier type with smooth coat. Most of the dogs in this video will be Gorbeiakoa type. The second type is called Iletsua and it is slightly smaller type with rough and coarse coat. I only found few usable photos of Iletsua Basque Shepherds, but you will see them in the video as well.
The Basque Shepherd has been associated with the people of Basque region for hundreads, if not thousands of years. It is definitely very old dog breed, that was developed by adapting to its local environment rather than human interventions. Its history is not very well documented, but skeletal remains that are dating back thousands years of dogs similar to Basque Shepherd have been found in Neolithic caves. Dogs similar to Basque Shepherds also appeared in frescoes and paintings from 16th century. The exact ancestry and date of origin is unknown, but this is definitely ancient dog breed.
The name Basque Shepherd is pretty much self explaining, it is a shepherd dog from Basque country. The dog is also known as Perro Vasco, which means Basque Dog or as Euskal Artzain Txakurra, which is the dogs name in Basque language and again, it means the same as its english name, Basque Shepherd. The Gorbeiakoa type is named after the region of Gorbea and Iletsua type is named after its rough coat, because Iletsua means "hairy" or "shaggy" in Basque.
Throughout its history, the Basque Shepherd was always used for one main purpose, which is herding and guarding flocks of sheeps. This breed has admirable work ethic and they just love to work with the flocks, they are born for it. They are absolutely tireless and dedicated for the work and they can work all day even in harsh terrain and bad weather. Even though they mainly work with sheeps, they can succesfully work with goats, horses, cows or chicken as well and they are also good adepts as farmhouse guardians, since these dogs are very loyal, brave and they have natural protective instinct. As you can see, it is no wonder, why Basque people value this dog highly and they use it as a working companion to this day.
The Basque Shepherd is not only exceptional working dog, but also amusing companion pet with clownish, affectionate and friendly personality. They create a very strong bond with its family and is absolutely devoted to it. They are known to be patient and gentle with kids, but of course, you should never leave any dog breed with a very young child unsupervised. The Basque Shepherd can also live with other dogs or pets in the family, as they do not have high prey drive, but early socialization with other pets is always essential.
As i just said, the Basque Shepherd is absolutely loving, charming and friendly companion pet, but they are not this friendly towards everyone. Typically, this breed is alert and watchful when they are around strangers, around people they do not know. They are not agressive, definitely not without a reason, but they are not very trustful, until they get to know the stranger properly. This is a reason why these dogs can make very good watchdogs, as they will most likely alert you when they will see or hear something suspicious around your property.
I said in the beginning of the video that there are two types of Basque Shepherd, the slightly larger Gorbeiakoa and slightly smaller Iletsua type, but the difference in size is not extremely big. On average, these dogs have height between 46-63 cm, which is 18-25 inch and weight between 17-36 kg, which is 37-73 lbs. Females are typically slightly smaller than males.
8) Txakur Probak
The Basque Shepherd is traditionaly used in Basque dog sport called Txakur Probak, which are basically sheepdog trials. It is a living prove of the dogs working skills and Basque traditional pastoral lifestyle, which is just perfect for these dogs.
The Basque Shepherd is very rare dog breed which can be mainly found in Basque country and in smaller numbers in other parts of northern Spain. Outside Spain, this breed is extremely rare. It is estimated that there is something around 1000 pure Basque Shepherds these days.
Although the Basque Shepherd comes in two coat types, both varieties have similar grooming needs. They tend to keep their coat in good condition by themselves, but of course regular brushing is always beneficial to remove any dirt and loose hair and to prevent any mats and tangles. But no other grooming is required. Just like with all dogs, you should regularly check their eyes, ears, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.