Male Height (typical): 46-56 cm. (16-22 inches)
Female Height (typical): 46-56 cm. (16-22 inches) Size: Small – Small to Medium
Male Weight (typical): 12-18 kg. (26-40 pounds) Female Weight (typical): 12-18 kg. (26-40 pounds)
Country of Origin: Portugal
Exercise Required: Daily long walks and occasional runs.
Expected Life Span: 12 – 14 Years Best suited as: Working Dog, Family Pet
Other names: Portuguese Shepherd Dog, Cao da Serra de Aires, Serra de Aires Mountain Dog
Description – The Portuguese Sheepdog is a relatively young breed of dog that has existed for about a hundred years. It is a small to medium sized dog with a long and wavy coat of fur. This unique coat helps protect it from the harsh climates found in the Serra mountain range in its native Portugal and allows it to work in both cold and warm climates. One distinguishing feature is the longer stiff hair on its face that gives a “monkey-like” appearance to many unfamiliar with the breed. Its coat can be found in several colors including while, brown, black and gray and covers its entire body for protection.
Origin & History – This dog originated in the mountains of Portugal and was primarily bred to be a herding dog. It is capable of managing a large flock of animals and has an uncanny ability to locate and return stray animals to their flock. It was originally used to help the shepherds of Portugal move their flock around the countryside for grazing. It has since been adopted by families all over the world and has become a loyal and protective pet.
Temperament – This breed has a single-minded obsession with the flock it protects and will do all it can to keep them together and safe. It can independently locate stray cows or sheep and return them to the main herd. If the Portuguese Sheepdog is brought into a home as a pet it will treat its family as its flock and apply the same protective approach to the members of the family and their property. This dog bonds strongly with its master and aims to please at every turn. The Portuguese Sheepdog is a natural leader and will try to assume a dominant role with other dogs in the home. If introduced to other pets at a younger age it can find a balance within the family as a second or third dog over time.
Exercise & Grooming – This dog has high exercise requirements and may not be well suited to apartment life. Because it has been bred for outdoor activities that require a lot of running, it needs to be walked daily to allow it to burn off its energy. A run on or off leash is a good idea a few times a week as well and a large protected backyard is the perfect place to allow the dog to explore and exercise on its own. Because of the unique nature of the breed’s long and wavy coat, it has no undercoat and is essentially maintenance-free. An occasional gentle brushing once or twice a month is all that is needed to keep the Portuguese Sheepdog looking great.
Health Concerns – Because of the dog’s high energy levels, the main health concern for this breed is weight gain from not getting proper exercise. When used as a working dog, the Portuguese Sheepdog will run enough to keep itself healthy but being confined to a home can limit this activity. It has no other major health concerns that are specific to the breed. If the dog is fed a balanced diet and allowed enough exercise, it can live a long and productive life.
Portuguese Sheepdog Organisations in Australia
No club information listed
Portuguese Sheepdog Organisations in the UK
Portuguese Water Dog Club of Great Britain
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