Cao da Serra de Aires is a breed of dog grazing sheep native to southern Portugal. For most of the 20th century, the breed was kept as a Working Dog almost exclusively in southern and central Portugal, but in recent years it became increasingly popular as a Companion Dog throughout Europe is. Cao da Serra de Aires is known for athleticism, intelligence, ability to work, attractive appearance and good temperament. Cao da Serra de Aires is also known as Portuguese Sheepdog, Portuguese Shepherd Dog, Cao Macaca, Monkey Dog and Serra de Aires Mountain Dog.
Cao da Serra de Aires is considered a relatively recently developed breed, but its history is actually quite mysterious. No one is completely certain how the breed was formed, but there are many theories. All this is known with certainty that Cao da Serra de Aires was developed in Portugal, probably southern or central Portugal, and it has been found in the mountainous region of Serra de Aires since the early years of the 20th century.
The first record of Cao da Serra de Aires dates from the first decades of the 20th century. Because of this, it is widely believed that the breed was first developed at that time. However, the lack of evidence is not entirely conclusive as accurate records of most European herring breeds do not exist prior to that time. Even early mentions of the breed claimed that it was found in the Serra de Aires Mountains, a small range located mainly in the south-central part of the country. The Serra de Aires Mountains formed the boundary of the traditional areas of Ribetozzo and Oeste, with the Alentezzo considered to be the primary houses of the breed.
Although the records of Cao da Serra de Aires are known only from the 20th century, the area in which it was developed has been breeding sheep dogs for thousands of years. Breeds such as the Catalan Sheepdog and the Pyrenean Shepherd are considered to be the oldest of all European herring breeds, and may possibly descend directly from sheep dogs from the Middle East. These breeds are similar to Cao da Serra de Aires, and are generally considered part of the same family. Some also claim that the Cao da Serra de Aires was developed by crossing these dogs with other Iberian herring breeds, but there is no firm evidence to support this claim.
The most prevalent theory for the origin of Cao da Serra de Aires assumes that it was developed in the early 20th century by Conde de Castro Guimares. Although the sources are not specific as to which holder of that title developed the breed, they almost certainly mean the first, Manuel Ignacio de Castro Guimares. The King of Portugal specifically coined the title for Manuel Ignacio in 1909, meaning that if this theory is correct, Cao da Serra de Aires was not developed earlier than at the time. Reportedly, Konde had several birds imported from France which he used to flock to his sheep. This seems highly probable because the brayard was a very well-regarded breed at the time, and it was very well known throughout Europe during 1910 and 1920 as a result of the service of the French Army in the First World War. Proven to be excellent shepherd dogs, but they were not ideally suited to the local climate and terrain. To develop the best possible breed for sheep working in the Serra de Aires Mountains, Condé crossed his dogs with local Iberian herring breeds, possibly the Catalan Sheepdog and the Pyrenean Shepherd. It is not clear what evidence exists to support this theory, but it seems that the presence and characteristics of the breed are stated as circumstantial evidence exists. Although Cao da Serra de Aires was developed, it was well known by the late 1920s in its mountainous home and neighboring area of Alentezzo. The breed was maintained for many decades, especially by working farmers in central and southern Portugal. The dog was mainly used to herd and drive sheep, but was also used to work with cattle and other livestock on the occasion. These breeders focused only on traits that affect a dog’s ability to function, such as intelligence, training, climate resistance, athleticism, and the like. The result was an excellent herring dog ideally suited to the environmental conditions found in their homeland. The breed is commonly referred to as Cao Macaca or Monkey Dog, as it had a monkey-like face. Although primarily kept as a Working Dog, the Cao da Serra de Aires was standardized at a relatively early date. In 1932, the Portuguese Kennel Club founded Drs. Antonio Cabral and Drs. Granted full recognition to the breed, using a standard written by Felipe Morgado Romiros. Fortunately for the breed, Portugal’s participation in World War I was very limited, and it did not enter World War II. This meant that the Cao da Serra de Aires did not suffer the dramatic population decline experienced by many European herring breeds.
Although Portugal did not suffer as severely as many other breeds, it became very rare in the years following the war. The introduction of modern technology made the breed increasingly less necessary. At the same time, the vast tracts of the breed’s traditional homeland transitioned from farm to suburban housing development as the Portuguese capital of Lisbon continued to develop.
Work that it was not recognized by FCI and therefore the international popularity that came with such recognition was not gained. By the late 1970s, Cao da Serra de Aires was very rare, and many thought it was on the verge of extinction.
Cao da Serra de Aires may have been lost forever were it not for the dedicated work of a small number of followers. In the late 1970s, a group of breeders and owners banded together to save the breed. For the last forty years, they have gradually worked to increase the number of the breed while maintaining its overall quality. Cao da Serra de Aires has benefitted greatly from a new group of radicals. During the 1970s and 1980s, the breed was increasingly discovered by middle class Portuguese suburbanites. The breed was well liked due to its intelligence, good temperament and attractive appearance. Realizing that the future of the breed is probably primarily as a companion, breeders are increasingly focused on the qualities that make the breed ideally suited to life as a Companion Dog.
During the last 2 decades, an increasing number of Caos da Serra de Aires have been exported to other countries. Outside Portugal, the breed is specifically known as a companion animal and a show dog. In 1996, FCI formalized the breed as a member of the breed group. It is not clear whether members of any breed have been exported to the United States, but if there are any, it is a very small number of individual dogs. Despite this rarity, the United Kennel Club (UKC) granted full recognition to the breed in 2006 as a member of the Herring Dog Group, although the UKC officially calls the breed a Portuguese sheepdog. Although there are now many breed members outside Portugal, the breed is extremely rare outside their country. Some Chaos da Serra de Aires are still operating in Portugal, particularly in the mountainous homeland of the breed. However, a large proportion of the breed’s members are now primarily kept as Companion Dogs, which presumably lies the future of the breed.
The Cao da Serra d’Ayers is very similar to many other Iberian herding breeds but has a coat similar to that of some French herding breeds. It is the symbol of a medium sized dog. The average male cao da serra de Aires is between 17½ and 21½ inches tall at the shoulder while the average female is between 16 and 20½ inches tall at the shoulder. Although weight is greatly affected by gender, height and build, most members of the breed weigh between 25 and 45 pounds. Much of the body of the Cao da Serra de Aires is obscured by the breed’s coat, but underneath is a very muscular and athletic dog. Due to its coat, the breed is roughly built and even looks a bit stocky, but this dog is actually quite lean. The tail of the Cao da Serra de Aires is long, strongly tapered, and pointed straight out or down. The tail usually has a slight but noticeable curve. Occasionally, a Cao da Serra d’Ayers will be born with a naturally bobbed tail, but such dogs are punished in the show ring.
The Cao da Serra de Aires’ facial features are largely obscured by its coat. In fact, this is a breed that has so much facial hair that many people look like they can have a hard time seeing with their own eyes. Underneath the hair is a skull that is slightly longer than broad, and lies flat between the ears. The muzzle and head are quite distinct from each other, meeting at a sharp angle. The muzzle and skull do not run parallel to each other, instead having separate top lines. The muzzle itself is quite short, only about 2/3 the length of the skull, and has tight-fitting lips. The nose of the Cao da Serra de Aires is preferably black, although other colors are permitted as long as they are darker in shade or color than the coat. The Cao da Serra d’Ayers ears are of medium length and have fine leather. Sometimes this breed’s ears are cut off and made into a straight triangle to enhance the breed’s ability to locate sources of sound. However, this practice is quickly falling out of favor and is actually banned in some countries. The Cao da Serra de Aires’ natural ears are turned down close to the sides of its head.
The coat of the Cao da Serra d’Ayers is perhaps the most important feature of the breed. The coat is very long and is either smooth or slightly wavy. The hair on the face forms a long beard, mustache and eyebrows. Ideally the hair should not cover the eyes, but some people have hair. The hair is usually longest on the head, body and legs. The hair itself is medium in terms of thickness and goat-like texture. This breed does not have a woolly undercoat or wool.
The Cao da Serra d’Ayers is found in seven acceptable colors: yellow, chestnut, fawn, grey, wolf grey, black and black and tan. Yellow, chestnut, fawn, gray and black dogs should be solid colors. Wolf gray dogs should be in shade from normal to dark. Black and tan dogs are largely black in color, but have varying degrees and numbers of tan markings, usually around the face, chest, legs, feet and vents. It can have white hairs along its coat in any color but the white markings should be completely absent except for a small one on the chest. Occasionally, C काo da Serra d’Ayers is born with an alternate color scheme such as the tri color. Such dogs are ineligible in the show ring and should not be bred, but otherwise make excellent pets and working dogs as members of any other breed.
The gestation period in lasts for 60-64 days The primary period of the reproductive cycle of the female is called Proestrus and goes on for around 9 days. During this time the females begin to draw in males. The subsequent part is the Estrus when the bitch is receptive to the male. It goes on for around 3 to 11 days. The third part is the Diestrus. Usually, it happens around day 14. In this period the bitch’s discharge changes for distinctive red and reaching its end. The vulva gets back to average, and she will no longer allow mating. The fourth part called the Anestrus. The time span between heat periods ordinarily keeps going around a half year. The litter size ranges between 6 to 8 puppies at a time.
Cao da Serra de Aires requires less grooming than its appearance. This dog should never require professional grooming, just a semi-regular brushing. Owners actually need to be careful to avoid grooming the dog often; Otherwise the hard texture and naturally rugged appearance of its coat can be altered. The coat entangles and mat on occasion, but ideally that part of the coat will be specially worked on. Probably the most important routine maintenance tasks are regular, thorough ear cleaning and regular clipping of the hair on the feet and between the toes. This breed should be bathed only when absolutely necessary to avoid the removal of body oil.
As with all breeds, initial socialization and puppy training classes are recommended. This breed has a reputation for being difficult to house. However, in every other case, it is very easy to train them. For example, They like to perform tricks and learn new ones quickly. They respond very well to training based on positive rewards rather than harsh or negative methods. This breed is required to live with his family and is likely to result in undesirable behaviour if he is regularly left alone for long periods of time.
They should perform well on high-quality dog food, whether it is commercially manufactured or prepared with the supervision and approval of your vet. Any diet should be appropriate for the age of the dog (puppy, adult or senior). Some dogs are at risk of being overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treatment training can be an important aid, but giving too much can lead to obesity. Know which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. If you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet, check with your vet. Clean, freshwater must be available at all times.
It does not appear that any health studies have been done on this breed, which makes it impossible to make a definitive statement on the health of the breed. However, most fundamentalists believe that the breed is in excellent health. This breed reportedly has no health problems of significant concern, and most of the breed members lead healthy lives. The health of Cao da Serra de Aires has likely benefited from many factors, including its medium size, being bred primarily as a Working Dog, and the worst commercial breeding practices have been spared. This by no means implies that the breed is immune to genetically inherited health disorders, but it does mean that the breed has less impact on them and is common at lower rates than pure-bred dogs.
Although skeletal and visual problems are not thought of in this breed at high rates it is advisable for owners to keep their pets by both the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) Do the test. OFA and CERF perform genetic and other tests before identifying potential health defects. It is particularly valuable in detecting conditions that do not appear until the dog has reached an advanced age, it is especially important for anyone considering breeding their dog , Which has tested them to prevent the spread of potential genetic conditions to their offspring.
Even though health studies have not been done on Cao da Serra de Aires, they have been for similar and closely related breeds. The biggest problems discovered include: