The Can de Chira breed was developed in the mountainous Spanish region of Alto Aragon. Most families in this region traditionally owned livestock, either sheep or goats, which is why herding dogs were highly valued by these people.
The Can de Chira has a common ancestor with many other European herding dogs. The ancestor is a dog of Asian origin that migrated with its nomadic tribes to Europe. This dog became very famous during the time of the Roman Empire for its herding abilities and quickly spread to all parts of Europe, where it would mix and cross with other local breeds. This is most likely how the Can de Chira dog came into existence. Other breeds with similar ancestry are, for example, the Catalan Shepherd, Basque Shepherd, Pyrenean Sheepdog, or Polish Lowland Sheepdog.
The existence of the Can de Chira breed has been confirmed by their appearance in pastoral photographs from the early 19th century.
And what about the name? Well, Can de Chira comes from the Aragonese language and can be translated as "dog that turns or rotates the flock." Basically, it means a herding dog.
And what about the situation today? The officially registered Can de Chira dogs count in hundreds, and it is still considered a rare dog breed, but their numbers are rising, and the breed can be found in a variety of Spanish regions, such as Huesca, Zaragoza, Girona, Barcelona, Teruel, Lleida, and Soria.
The Can de Chira is a medium-sized dog breed with a straight back, squared torso, and a small, wedge-shaped head. The average height is between 38-47 cm, which is 15-19 inches, and weight between 12-20 kg, which is 26-45 lbs. Females are naturally slightly smaller than males.
The Can de Chira has a semi-long coat, which is similar to the coat of a Border Collie. The coat is black with light gray, or even white spots on the body and face. Two light round spots on the eyes are very typical.
The breed has a relatively small head, straight muzzle, and lively, dark, and almond-shaped eyes
The Can de Chira is a worker. They love to be outside and work with the cattle. They are really passionate about this utilization. The Can de Chira creates a strong bond with the owner, but also with the livestock. A big advantage is that they can handle herds of sheep and goats without biting them.
Of course, today, this breed is not only a worker but also a companion pet. The Can de Chira is known for its obedient, disciplined, loyal, and playful character. It is a lively and intelligent breed, a great combination for various dog sports, such as agility. Because this is a quite energetic dog breed, they need daily longer walks, jogs, hikes, vigorous playtime, or fun training sessions to stay healthy and happy. This is definitely not a couch potato, quite the opposite, and they will be happiest in an active family.
This breed is pretty eager to please, which makes them very trainable. They can easily learn all the basic obedience commands fast and easy. The Can de Chira can live in the family with other dogs or other pets, especially if socialized together from puppyhood, and they can make good playful partners for kids. But, of course, you should never leave a very young children with any dog breed unsupervised.
Health and grooming
There are no official health studies about the health of Can de Chira, but it is typically a very hardy and healthy dog breed that does not suffer much from any serious health issues. However, they can sometimes suffer from typical dog-related health issues, such as joint and bone problems, eye problems, allergies, or infections. The average lifespan of Can de Chira is typically between 12-14 years.
Their semi-long coat is relatively easy to maintain. Brushing from time to time is beneficial to remove all the loose and dead hair and to redistribute natural oils all over it. No other grooming is required. Like all dog breeds, you should regularly check their eyes, ears, nails, and teeth and clip or clean them if needed.