The Ovelheiro Gaucho is a medium sized dog breed with coat of moderate length. The breeds appearance is similar to the old working Collie dogs or to Border Collies. The average height is also similar to the Rough Collie height and it is between 55-65 cm, which is 22-26 inch and weight is usually between 20-35 kg, which is 44-77 lbs. Females are naturally slightly smaller than males.
The coat should not be too long and its density depends on the climate, season and weather, but normally the coat is not as profuse as the Collie coat. There is no limitation when it comes to color. All the colors are permitted and the breed can be found in different color combinations as well.
Even though the breed looks a lot like a Border Collie, they have, unlike the Border Collie, upright working stance. Very often, they carry the tail high, sometimes even curled over the back. The ears are set high on the head and they may vary from semi-erect to fully erect or may be a rose ear.
The head has triangular shape with strong muzzle and scissor bite. The chest is deep and the breed has strong back, strong neck and overall quite muscular and very athletic body.
The Gaucho Sheepdog is a dog breed used for centuries for working with sheep and cattle. Their job is herding and they are great at driving sheep, look at them in the field and to bring them back home to the pens. They are known to do the job naturally, even if they are not directly trained for herding. It is just their natural instinct. But of course, training makes them better at their job.
The breed has amazing personality traits for being great herding dog. They are very intelligent and they are great problem solvers. They are loyal to the owner, but also to the farm animals. They are very lively, alert and watchful. And most importantly, they just love the work, they love to be outside all day long working on the farm and they are very determined to their purpose.
But of course, not all Gaucho Sheepdogs are used on farms. Today many of them are also typical companion pets. And of course, they make very good companion dogs. These dogs are very docile and affectionate companions to its own family and owners. The Gaucho Sheepdog is adaptable breed with cheerful, playful and faithful temperament. They are very good and tolerant partners for kids, but of course you should never leave any dog breed with a very young child unsupervised.
They can also try to herd the kids, or some other smaller household pets, it is their nature. But they do not have high prey drive and they can happily live with other pets, like cats, or other dogs in the household, especially if socialized together from the puppyhood.
If the breed is not used for working puropses, they should have some other kind of a job in their life. It can be regular exercise, long walks, hikes, jogs, playtime and fun training sessions. Or you can try some dog sport with this dog. The Gaucho Sheepdog is known to have amazing results in agility, where they can combine their extraordinary intelligence with athletic and agile body.
We do not know much about the exact origin and ancestry of the Ovelheiro Gaucho, but we have some hypothesis and theories about it. These theories are mostly based on physical, behavioral and morphological similarities with other breeds.
The Gaucho Sheepdog breed was discovered in the southern part of Brazil, in the state Rio Grande do Sul. This region is known for pampas, which are very fertile low grasslands, excellent for agriculture and for farming and ranching. This is a reason why herding dogs were necessary and why the Gaucho Sheepdog was mainly used in this part of Brasil.
The most accepted theory says, that the breed was developed from herding breeds brought to South America by European settlers. And it is believed that it is the Estrela Mountain dog and Collie that played the major role in the breeds development. These two breeds are present in South America for relatively long time, at least since the 19th century.
The other two breeds that are often times mentioned as the ancestors of Ovelheiro Gaucho are German Shepherd and Border Collie, but these two dogs were not present in Brasil until the 20th century and their contribution on the development of Gaucho Sheepdog is most likely small.
Health and grooming
If you want to keep the coat of Gaucho Sheepdog in best possible condition, it is recomended to brush it regularly. Brushing will keep the coat tangle and mat free and it will get rid off dead and loose hair which will minimize the shedding. It will also redistribute natural oils all over the coat. No other grooming is required. Of course, just like with all dogs, you should regularly check their eyes, ears, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
And what about the health? Well, there are no scientific and genetic studies about the breeds health, but it should be rather healthy breed with average lifespan around 12 or 13 years. Just like any other breed, they can suffer from some health issues, but none of them is extremely common in this breed. The health issues that are ocassionally associated with the Gaucho Sheepdog are some eye problems like progressive retinal atrophy or Collie eye anomaly or some joint problems like hip dysplasia, but as i said, they should not be common in this breed.