The Can de Palleiro is a traditional shepherd dog from northwestern Spain. It is most likely very old breed and the ancestry and exact origin is unknown. It is believed that they evolved from dogs native to Galicia and from dogs that were brought to this region by Galicians during the Palaeolithic era while expanding from the British Isles and European continent. It is more than likely, that the breed share similar ancestry with other European shepherd dogs, such as German Shepherd, Dutch Shepherd, Belgian Shepherd or Portuguese Castro Laboreiro.
The breed was traditionally used by shepherds of Galicia as versatile working dog. As their name, Galician Shepherd, suggest, their primary work was to herd and protect the livestock, but they were also used as courageous farm and property guards. And the breed was excellent for this purpose. They create close bond with the livestock and with the owner, they are very alert, watchful, brave, loyal and they have the much needed athleticism and endurance for this kind of a job.
The breeds name Can de Palleiro has a very specific meaning. It is from Galician language and it translates something like haystack or hayloft dog. And why haystack dog? Well, when these dogs worked on farms, they would usually sleep in the hayloft, hence the name. But the english name, Galician Shepherd, is very well fitting as well.
4) Almost extinct
For centuries, the Galician Shepherd was quite popular working breed in Galicia. That changed in the middle of 20th century with the introduction of foreign shepherd breeds. Local farmers started to prefer these foreign breeds and many pure Galician Shepherds were crossbred with these newcomers. This caused significant reduction of pure Can de Palleiro dogs and this breed almost went extinct. Luckily in 1990s, regional government decided to try to revive the breed and they found few surviving specimen. They also wrote an official breed standard and the official breed club was formed. Since than, the breed is not on the verge of extinction, but it is still pretty rare breed. The Can de Palleiro popularity increased after the breed was shown in TV commercial of a local supermarket chain. After the commercial, many people all around Galicia wanted to buy a Can de Palleiro.
You already know that the Can de Palleiro is excellent working dog, but how do they do as companion pets? Well, just like any other breed, they love to live with people, they are loyal to them and they show great affection towards its family and owners. This is an adaptable breed that is typically protective over their loved ones. The Can de Palleiro tends to be suspicious and distrustful towards strangers, but once they get to know the stranger, they accept it as a friend and have no problem with it. The breed truly is very friendly, playful, affectionate and loyal with people they know. It is also incredibly smart breed, capable of learning all the different tricks and commands quite easily. They can also live with other dogs, pets or kids in the family without problems, especially if socialized together from the puppyhood. But of course, you should never leave any dog breed with a very young child unsupervised.
This is pretty big dog breed with athletic and muscular body. The average height is between 22-26 inch, which is 55-66 cm, and weight should be between 60-88 lbs, which is 27-40 kg. Females are naturally slightly smaller than males.
If the Can de Palleiro is used as a working dog for herding or guarding, they do not need any additional exercise. But if they are kept as companions, they need some kind of a job, some kind of an exercise in their life. These dogs have incredible stamina and they love to go on outdoor walk, hike or jog anytime. They will be ready for any adventure any time you want to. But even though active, they are not hyperactive. With few daily longer walks accompanied with some playtime and fun traning sessions, these dogs will be pretty calm and relaxed when they are at home. Of course, they will prefer, if they will live in a place with big yard, where they can stretch their legs whenever they want to.
8) Coat and color
And what about the coat and color of the Galician Shepherd? They have very thick and dense doublecoat, which is helping the dog withstand bad weather, wind and other nature elements. The coat is pretty harsh to touch and it typically comes in light unicolor, such as beige, chestnut, gray or light brown.
Speaking of the coat, it is important to mention the maintenance and grooming as well and luckily it is nothing hard. These dogs do shed all year long, so be prepared for that. Regular brushing will remove any loose and dead hair and minize the shedding. Regular brushing will also keep the coat clean and it will redistribute natural oils all over it. No other grooming, other than the brushing, is needed. This breed can keep itself pretty clean. Of course, just like with any other breed, you should regularly check their eyes, ears, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
The Can de Palleiro closely resembles its relative, the German Shepherd, but luckily, it does not suffer that much from serious health issues such as hip dysplasia. But of course, they can still suffer from it, and from some other health problems, like various musculoskeletal issues, bloating, allergies and infections, but this should be usually very healthy and hardy breed and the health issues should be rather rare. This is very strong and resistant breed. And what about the lifespan? For a big dog, it is pretty good! Around 13 or 14 years.