1) Origin This is a very ancient dog breed from Iberian Peninsula, to be more specific from village of Castro Laboreiro, located in the extreme north of Portugal, where the breed also got its name. It is one of the oldest dogs of Europe and it has been around for thousands of years. Because of that, it is impossible to trace properly exact ancestry or exact date of origin of this dog breed.
2) Purpose The Castro Laboreiro dog had two main purposes. The first one was protection of livestocka and the second one was guarding its family and home. They had reputation of being able to deter wolves, which was very important back in the days. The Castro Laboreiro dog was able to protect the flock against any predator.
3) Rarity Today, the Castro Laboreiro dog is very rare and it is almost impossible to find them outside Portugal. It is estimated that there is only few hundreads of purebred Castro Laboreiro dogs in the world nowadays. If you would like to see them, your best bet would still be the Castro Laboreiro village and its surroundings. Today, they are mostly kept as companion dogs, rather than protectors and guards.
4) Companions And the Castro Laboreiro dog is a great companion for active people. They are known for being very docile, loyal and endlessly devoted. They are very affectionate towards their whole family, but they still have their protective instinct and are typically alert and reserved with strangers. But they should not be agressive towards anyone without a reason.
5) Exercise Just like majority of dogs that were raised for herding and guarding, even the Castro Laboreiro dog has excellent stamina and a relatively high need for regular exercise. They love outdoors and you must take them on several longer walks every single day, so they can stay in good shape, healthy and happy. This dog will always be ready for a good outdoor adventure.
6) Size This is a well built, muscular, robust and very strong dog with average height between 52-60 cm which is 20-24 inch and weight is typically around 40 kg, which is 88 pounds. The females tend to be slightly smaller than males.
7) Training This is definitely a very intelligent dog who is capable of learning a lot of different trick and commands. On the other hand, they are also known for being pretty sensitive dogs and they do not respond the best on harsh training methods. Positive reinforcement is the way to go. Also, they are pretty strong willed dogs, so a lot of patience and consistency is needed while training. This is not a dog for novices, but with experienced owners they can become superb companions.
8) Coat The Castro Laboreiro dog has unique coat, which is very thick, little bit coarse and weather resistant, which is helping the dog to work even in harsh climate. The coat is similar to coat of wolves and it even come in similar color. Very often the color is described as dark wolf color or light wolf color. The most preffered is a so called mountain color, which is a brindle oat with a base colour of different shades of grey overlaid with lighter and darker shades of black brindling.
9) Grooming Great fact about this breed is, that the maintenance and grooming needs are very simple. Even without any grooming, they will keep the coat in pretty good condition, but it is recommended to brush them once a week to remove the dead and old hair, which will also minimize the shedding. Just like with all dogs, you should regularly check the dogs ears, eyes, nails and teeth and clean them or clip them if needed.
10) Health This is usually a very healthy dog breed with average lifespan between 12-15 years. Ocassionally they can suffer from bloating, gastric torsion, hip and elbow dysplasia or some allergies, but none of these ilnesses are very common in this breed.