The Cao de Gado Transmontano, also known as Transmontano Mastiff is a huge, rustic looking dog with powerful, yet very noble appearance. The breed has almost squared shape, high limbs, massive head, strong well developed jaws and teeth, medium almond shaped eyes and thick tail.
There is a visible sexual dimorphism between the males and females, where the males are taller, heavier and bulkier. The average height of the Transmontano Mastiff is between 68-85 cm, which is 27-33 inch and weight is usually between 50-75 kg, which is 110-165 pounds. As you can see, this truly is very big dog and it is one of the largest breeds from Iberian peninsula.
This is doublecoated dog with very dense undercoat. The coat has a medium length and it is very smooth, thick and abundant. Most commonly the coat comes in white color with large patches of black, fawn, yellow or wolf grey, but this breed can also be found in solid colors and brindle.
For centuries, these dogs were used as skilled livestock protectors and this utilization formed their personality. This breed was always used for protection purposes and even today, they have strong guarding instinct. But this is not agressive breed. It is true, that they are alert, cautious and they do not trust strangers, but they should not show any sign of agression if its not absolutely needed.
Cão de Gado Transmontano is very curious, independent and territorial dog. When they are protecting the livestock, these dogs are able to work very independently and on their own. They are also very intelligent and good problem solvers. This breed is also known for being pretty possesive over food and toys, which should be controlled since the early days.
But this is not only amazing livestock protector. The Transmontano Mastiff is also calm, gentle and sensitive companion. They bond closely with its master and most of the time, they will love to be patted and just spend their time around its people. Despite its giant size, this is very docile and well behaved dog breed.
As you can probably imagine, these dogs are very athletic and they love to be free. They will love long walks or hikes and they can walk all day long withot being tired. They should live in a house with big property where they can run freely. Without enough exercise, they can develop some unwanted behaviour, such as digging, because they love to dig.
According to the official FCI breed standard, the origin of Cao de Gado Transmontano is similar with origin of all Iberian mastiffs and it is closely linked with Peninsular transhumance routes. In ancient times, ancestors of this dog settled in Northern Portugal in higland region known as Trás-os-Montes. We are not sure about the ancestors, but it is believed that they are related to ancient Molossus dog. They are also probably related to another Portuguese livestock guardian dog, the Rafeiro do Alentejo.
The mountainous region where this dog was used to protect livestock from dangerous predators such as wolves is known for steep pastures and warm and dry climate. Over the centuries, this breed adjusted to the region’s conditions and it slowly evolved into the breed we have today.
Today, the breed is provisionally recognised by the FCI, where you can also find their breed standard.
Health and grooming
The maintenance of this breed is very easy. They do not need any grooming and they will keep the coat in good condition. They do shed some deal and if want to keep the coat in best condition possible and also minimize the shedding, you can brush the coat regularly. Just like with all dogs you should also regularly check the eyes, ears, nails and teeth and clean them or clip them if needed.
There is not enough studies and information about the breeds health, but it should be usually hardy and healthy breed with not common health issues. Ocassionally they can suffer from hip dysplasia and dilated cardiomyopathy. The average lifespan is between 10-12 years.