The exact ancestry of Cão do Barrocal Algarvio is unknown. The most accepted theory claims, that the first ancestors of this breed got into the southernmost part of Porgual, also known as Algarve, on the boats of Phoenician traders or Berbers. It is very likely, that one of the breeds brought to this area was the Egyptian Greyhound, who was crossed with other dogs that already lived in Portugal, for example the Border Collie and Podenco breeds, such as Portuguese Podengo and you can see some clear similarities between Podencos like Ibizan Podenco, Podenco Andaluz or Portuguese Podengo and the Cão do Barrocal Algarvio. The breed also share notable similarities such as its double suspension gallop with Galgos.
The Cão do Barrocal Algarvio was developed by local hunters as an ultimate hunting dog breed specialized on predominant prey, which were wild rabbits. They had to hunt quick and agile rabbits in sharp and rocky terrain of Algarve and hot Portuguese weather. And indeed, the Barrocal Algarvio is just perfect for this purpose. These dogs love to work, they can hunt all day long, they can withstand hot climate, they have higher prey drive, they have extremely good hearing and vision, they can work independently, but they are very loyal to the hunter and they are very quick, agile and endurant, all very important traits for a succesfull hunting dog. Barrocal Algarvio dogs also have the ability to dig deep holes quickly and easily when they are searching the prey. They have thin paws perfect for digging and thanks to the slim body they can reach bottom of the hole quickly and easily.
3) Almost extinct
For a long time, the Barrocal Algarvio was fairly popular hunting breed in southern Portugal. That started to change with the introduction of foreign hunting breeds. Hunters started to use different Setters and Pointers and forgot about the local breed, the Barrocal Algarvio. The Barrocal Algarvio was often times crossbred with these new breeds, which almost caused the extinction of pure Cão do Barrocal Algarvio dogs. Just compare these numbers. In 1950s, there were around 3500 pure Barrocal Algarvio dogs, but it is believed that already in 1960s, there were only around 30 specimen. Luckily, thanks to a hard work of the breeds enthusiasts and group of hunters, the breed survived. One of the few men credited for saving the breed are José Afonso Correia and Rogério Teixeira. Today, the breed is still considered as rare and you can hardly find it outside the Pyrenean Peninsula, but luckily, it is not on the verge of extinction anymore.
You already know that the Barrocal Algarvio is excellent rabbit hunter. But it is also a very playful, curious, but also patient, docile and gentle family companion. These dogs are very smart. They most likely have a Border Collie in their lineage which gives them great intelligence, eagerness to please and trainability. These dogs can also happily live with kids in the household and they typically have no problems with other dogs, especially if socialized together from the puppyhood. On the other hand, other smaller household pets, like cats, might be problematic, due to their high prey drive. The Barrocal Algarvio is known for its social, sweet and friendly temperament and it truly makes extraordinary companion pet.
I just told you, that the Cão do Barrocal Algarvio makes amazing companion pet, but, they are not for everyone. It is important to say, that this is highly active breed and they need an active owner, who will provide them with intense exercise. They love to run and you should let them run as they wish every day. But if they have enough exercise, they will be very calm and relaxed indoors. The Barrocal Algarvio will be always ready for any outdoor adventure with you and they truly need plenty of physical exercise. Without enough exercise, they might develop some bad behaviour, such as destruction.
The Barrocal Algarvio is a rustic and athletically built breed, relatively slender, but in reality very strong. The average height of this breed is between 45-58 cm, which is 17-23 inch and weight between 15-25 kg, which is 33-55 lbs. Females are naturally slightly smaller than males.
7) Coat and color
The breed has a very smooth and dense coat in medium length. The coat is very soft to touch and it has no undercoat and the coat is abundant around the neck, thighs, back of the limbs and under the tail. The Barrocal Algarvio dogs come in several color combinations. The most common colors are fawn, yellow, brown, black and gray, unicolor or piebald or piebald whites. The coat should be brushed from time to time to keep it tangle free.
8) Living conditions
The breed was developed in relatively warm climate and it adapts very well to high temperatures and they can stay outside all day long if they are provided with enough water and some shaded shelter. Their medium long coat provides great protection against sunburn. But these dogs will be happiest if they will have access inside the house to be in direct contact with its family.
Today, in 2022, the breed is still not officially recognized by any major kennel club, such as FCI or AKC, but they were already acknowledged by the Portuguese Kennel Club and i would say it is only matter of time before these dogs will gain more international recognition in other foreign kennel clubs as well.
The grooming and maintenance of this breed is not extremely hard. They do shed some deal of fur all year long but it is nothing terrible. As i already mentioned, you should brush them from time to time, lets say weekly, in order to keep the coat tangle and mat free and to allow good ventilation to the skin. No other grooming is required. It is also very clean breed, that always washing itself and they keep the fur in very good condition bythemselves. They also do not drool. Of course, you should exercise the breed regularly and check out their nails, teeth, eyes and ears and clean them or clip them if needed.