According to the breed standard, the Pastor Garafiano is medium to large sized dog breed, with relatively small head, in relation to the body. The dog should have lupoid appearance, which means they should resemble a wolf. These dogs should have a strong body with deep broad chest and slightly arched ribs.
The average height of the Pastor Garafiano is between 55-64 cm, which is 22-25 inch and weight should ideally be between 24-35 kg, which is 53-77 pounds. Females tend to be slightly smaller than males.
The Pastor Garafiano has relatively long coat, longer around on the ears, tail, neck and on the legs. Especially the tail tend to be very bushy. Interesting fact is, that these dogs changes color over the time. Puppies are born brownish and they change the colors as they grow. Adults are typicalyly fawn or gray in different shades. Rarely, these dogs can also be brownish or black.
This dog breed was bred to work which formed the dogs personality and temperament. The main utilization of this breed was to herd and protect the flocks. That is why these dogs have to be adaptable, endurant, capable of working for long hours, intelligent and confident. These dogs definitely have high working ethic and they love to have some kind of a job.
But the Pastor Garafiano is not only a great worker, they are also very good companion dogs. They are known for their calm, patient and dociel temperament. Thanks to their high intelligence, they are also capable of fast and relatively easy training. They are absolutely friendly towards its owner and whole family. They are also good partners for kids and they will enjoy company of other dogs in the family as well, especially if they are socialized together from the puppyhood.
These dogs can be alert and suspicious towards strangers, which makes them okay watchdogs. But they should never be agressive towards them without a reason.
If you will choose Pastor Garafiano as a companion dog, you should be prepared for a highly energetic dog, that will need daily proper exercise. Daily longer walks, hikes or jogs are must with this breed and you should also challenge them mentally. You can play some task oriented games, dog sport or just do fun daily training sessions with your dog.
The name Pastor Garafiano comes from the municipality La Villa de Garafia, which is located on the northern coast of the island of La Palma. The name can be translated as Garafian Shepherd.
We are not sure about the exact ancestry of the Pastor Garafiano, but it is a distinct dog population native to the island of La Palma where they were used for herding for centuries.
Later, when European settlers came to this island, they brought their own dogs with them and it is possible that Pastor Garafiano was crossed with some of them. The dogs that could have been crossed with the original Pastor Garafiano are mainly Belgian Shepherds, but also dogs such as Estrela Mountain dog or Basque shepherd.
During the 20th century, these dogs almost dissappeared. The reason behind this was crossing with other dogs, which is why pure Pastor Garafiano became very rare. To avoid the disappearance of the dog breed the working group to recovery of the Pastor garafiano was created and they were pretty succesfull, because the Pastor Garafiano is not on the verge of extinction anymore and their numbers are still slowly raising.
This dog breed is not yet recognized by FCI or AKC, but they are recognized by Spanish kennel club called La Real Sociedad Canina de España where you can also find their official breed standard.
Health and grooming
This dog has a long doublecoat and they do shed, but the grooming is not very hard. You should brush the coat from time to time to prevent tangling and matting. These dogs also do not need frequent bathing. Just like with all dogs, you should regularly check their eyes, ears, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
There are no scientific studies about the breeds health and according to the owners, this is usually very healthy dog breed with average lifespan around 13 years.