The Villano is a native breed to the region of Las Encartaciones in the Basque country. The history and origin of Villano is not very well documented and we do not know when it was developed, but it is believed that it was developed by the ranchers of Las Encartaciones, who were looking for a strong, fast, endurant and athletic dog, that will be able to work with their cattle, mainly as catch dogs. Main breeds they used in creating the Villano are Alano Espanol and Presa Canario, which created very agile and effective breed.
2) Working dog
The main utilization of this strong dog was to work with specific mountain cattle breed Monchina, more specifically to catch the wild cows in forrest. The connection between the Villano and the cattle is very close. To be good at this job, these dogs must be very endurant and fast, reliable, devoted to the herd and to its people, brave, independent and confident and the Villano posses all these qualities. The Villano was also used to protect the cattle, sometimes even to herd it and lately, they were also sucessfully used as rescue dogs.
The Villano is not only a cattle dog and catch dog, but also a skilled big game hunter. Their strength, good senses, speed and courage makes them amazing for this purpose as well. Its qualities of a great catch dog are handy when hunting for example wild boars and other big game. So as you can see, this is truly very versatile dog breed.
4) Companion dog
The Villano de Las Encartaciones is not only a worker, but also a loyal and devoted companion dog. Even though intimadating in appearance, these dogs have pretty balanced temperament and they are known to create very strong bond with its owners. They are typically cheerful and friendly towards its whole family and they can make playful and active partners for older kids. Of course, you should never leave any dog breed with a very young child unsupervised. On the other hand, these dogs are suspicious and alert towards strangers and they need proper early socialization and training. Becaue of that, they are only suited for experienced owners who know how to handle strong-minded dogs.
The Villano breeds numbers declined a lot in 20th century and in 1960s they almost went extinct. It took concerted efforts in the 1960s to bring numbers back and many times it was done by some crossbreeding with Alano Espanol dogs. Today, the breed is not on the verge of extinction anymore, but it is still extremely rare breed, which is almost exclusively found in the Basque country and in northern Spain and it is believed that there is only something around few hundread of pure Villano de Las Encartaciones dogs.
The Villano is a large sized dog breed with muscular and athletic body and rustic apperanace. The height of Villano is typically between 55-65 cm, which is 21-25 inch and weight is usually around 35 kg, which is 77 lbs. Females are typically slightly smaller than males.
The Villano de Las Encartaciones job needed them to be kind of agressive, tenacious and decisive. They are not agressive without a reason as they were never used for dog fights, but when the situation needs it, they must be a little bit like that, there is nothing wrong with it. And their name, Villano, can be translated to english as villain, which fits perfectly this temperament. The other part of their name, de Las Encartaciones, is describing place of their origin.
8) Coat and color
The coat of Villano is pretty short and it is lying close to the body. These dogs are known for their beautiful dark brindle color, but they can also be found in solid colors, for example in all black, dark brown or tan, rarely in red as well.
Speaking of the coat, it is important to mention the maintenance as well and luckily, it is very easy. Even without any grooming at all, these dogs will keep their coats in excellent conditions. Of course, brushing them from time to time is only beneficial, as it will remove any dirt and loose hair from the coat. Just like with any other breed, 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, but this should be rather healthy dog breed with average lifespan around 12 years. Of course, they can suffer from similar health issues as other larger breeds, such as bloating, some joint and eye problems, allergies or infections, but none of these is extremely common in this breed.