The Portuguese Sheepdog, also known by its original name Cão da Serra de Aires - from the mountains of Serra de Aires, is a Portuguese breed that originated in the southern part of a country. It has been used for guarding and herding flocks of sheep, cows, goats, horses and even pigs.
The origin of this breed is not very clear. There are two versions. One is that the Portuguese Sheepdog comes from crossing between French shepherds and the other - that its grandparents are other local Portuguese shepherds.
Much credit for preservation and dissemination of this breed had the Count de Castro Guimarães, who in the late nineteenth century made crosses with local shepherds to obtain the Portuguese Sheepdog. The breed was officially recognized in 1932. It is very popular in Portugal, but puppies for sale can be found also in the Netherlands and Belgium. The original standard was officially published in 2008.
The Portuguese Sheepdog is a medium sized dog, very resistant to cold and heat. Its head is massive and square. Eyes are round, preferably dark, but yellow in color dogs may have brown or amber. Ears are triangular, medium length, set high on head and hanging down, if not cut. Their height is equal to a width - about 10 cm. Muzzle is black, in dogs with a yellow hair it is brown. Limbs are strong, equidistant. Paws are rounded, not flat, and fingers are long. Dog's coat is smooth, long, slightly wavy and tousled, and its color is yellow, brown, gray, black or ginger. It is longer on head and limbs.
Height is between 42 and 55 cm. Average weight is about 12 - 18 kg.
Character and behavior
It is believed that the Portuguese Sheepdog is one of the smartest and most loyal dogs. It is lively, active, very adroitly kept flocks and finds lost animals and warns of approaching predators. These dogs are hardworking, inquisitive, courageous and loyal to their masters. They are, however, distrustful of strangers, but without showing aggression.
This breed skillfully navigates at night and is always ready to selflessly defend the flock entrusted to it.
Training and education
This dog is very smart and loyal to its master, so it's easy to train. Personal example is a best method. With a good training, you will develop natural qualities of this breed - energy and intelligence, and you can turn your dog into an excellent participant in various dog competitions.
Grooming and care
Fur of the Portuguese Sheepdog has no lower layer, thus making it relatively easy to maintain. It is enough to brush it on a daily basis. Like all shepherd dogs, this one also needs long walks and time to spend its energy. It is best to raise in a house with a large yard.
The Portuguese Sheepdog generally has amazing health. It rarely gets sick, but can develop kidney stones at an older age, mostly because of poor nutrition.
Average lifespan is 12 to 13 years.
Children and other pets
This dog quickly adapts to any environment. It is kind and nice with the whole family and loves to play with children. It behaves friendly and calm at home. The dog is not jealous of other animals and gets along very well with them. It is not aggressive even towards dogs of same sex.
In Portugal, this breed is called "Monkey dog" or "Dog-monkey" for its playfulness, monkey mimics and great agility.