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Cao de Castro Laboreiro

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Is the Cao de Castro Laboreiro right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): Portuguese Cattle Dog, Portuguese Watch Dog

The basics:
The Cao de Castro Laboreiro, one of the oldest breeds from the Iberian Peninsula, originated in the village of Castro Laboreiro. First developed to guard sheep flocks, it became a popular guard dog throughout Portugal and can also serve as an effective police dog. Like other livestock guardian breeds, it needed to be courageous and capable of making independent decisions in order to defend the flock against dangerous predators like wolves. If you can't be a consistent alpha who knows how to properly control a large protector breed, you should pass on this dog.

Appearance / health:
The Cao de Castro Laboreiro is a large breed with a thick resistant coat. Its head is of medium size, and has no wrinkles. The stop is not pronounced. It has a long, straight nose bridge and powerful jaws. The ears are of medium size, thick, and almost triangular with rounded tips. The eyes are set obliquely in the skull. They are light brown in color in the light-coated varieties and dark brown in dark-coated varieties. The body is rectangular with a short neck without dewlap. They have a broad, deep chest. The tail is thick and bushy reaching the hock joint and carried in the shape of a saber.

The short and sleek coat of the Cao de Castro Laboreiro only requires daily brushing.

The Cao de Castro Laboreiro requires ample exercise, including walking, and running off the leash.

The Castro Laboreiro is generally quite healthy. It is resistant to a large number of diseases. As with all large breeds, there is a slight risk of cancer. Hip dysplasia, a crippling hereditary disease caused by a malformation of the hip joints, also occurs in the breed.

Behavior / temperament:
The Cao de Castro Laboreiro considers all those whom it does not know as suspicious, and keeps a watch on them. It instinctively patrols its territory and locates a high spot to sit and watch over its flock.

The breed is bright and learns quickly. It is intelligent and not as stubborn as other dog breeds. Though it is a strong dog, it does not try to dominate its owners. However, it may require early socialization to enable it to adjust well to its environment. These dogs may be difficult to control sometimes and need experienced training and firm handling. They are not for everyone or every situation.

The Laboreiro has a distinctive bark. However, it is not a noisy breed and barks only with good reason.

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