Dog Breed Group: Guard Dog
Life Span: 11-12 years
Weight: Male: 14-15, Female: 13-14
Height: Male: 18-19, Female: 17-18
Origin of Name: The Castro Laboreiro Dog, also known as the Portuguese cattle dog or Portuguese watchdog.
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The history of Cao de Castro Laborio is a great mystery. Even the Portuguese Kennel Club states that anything written about the origin of the breed is pure conjecture and expertise. This breed was developed long back when written records were kept of dog breeding, and kept almost exclusively by farmers in remote areas. This means that the breed was not recorded in historical records until the early 1800s. All early mentions of the breed state that it was native to the area around Castro Laborio and was known for its patronage ability. One of the best-known early mentions of the breed comes from Novelio a Brasileiro de Pazins, written in 1882 by Camilo Castello Branco. Branco writes, ""Castro Luborro's dog, very fierce ..."" Camilo Castello Branco was the most famous and famous of all Portuguese writers, and his breed would be mentioned in that it was well known at the time.
Although Cao de Castro Laborio first appears in historical records written during 1800, most believe the breed to be very old, possibly thousands of years old. Currently, there is a considerable amount of debate about how to properly classify Cao de Castro Laborio. Nearly all sources claim that it is a mastiff-type dog, the least exaggerated and most atypical member of the entire family. Those who claim this claim believe that the breed is most closely related to the best known Rafaero Alentezzo and Cao da Serra da Estrella. If this is the case, the breed has almost certainly descended from dogs brought to Portugal during the Roman Times. There is no debate among canine historians as fierce and varied as to the origins of mastiff-type dogs, and there are literally dozens of theories. If the Cao de Castro Laborio is a true mastiff, it is probably the most ancient of all such dogs, possibly evolved over centuries or centuries before the more exaggerated modern breeds. This brings to light an interesting possibility. Many claim that Mastiffs are descended from the famous war-dogs of Molosus, Ancient Greece, and Ancient Rome. However, descriptions of Molossus often indicate that it was a fleet-footed herring and Hunting Dog, in addition to being a fierce attack and guardian dog. As Cao de Castro Laborio very closely coincides with this description, it is possible that this breed is a direct descendant of Molossus, perhaps even its closest. However, there are several reasons to suspect a Mastiff dynasty for Cao de Castro Laborio. The breed has a very large disparity for most Mastiff-type dogs from neighboring regions of Portugal. Another recent genetic test carried out in Portugal appears to be that the breed is not closely related to other Portuguese patron breeds, almost all of which are mastiffs.
It is also commonly suggested that Cao de Castro Laborio is descended from very early livestock conservation breeds, and that it was first brought to Portugal with farmers from the regions. Although there is considerable controversy, most researchers now believe that the dog was the first domesticated species, and the process was completed about 30,000 years ago. It was not until about 14,000 years ago that other species were domesticated in the Middle East, including sheep and goats. These early Middle Eastern farmers quickly realized that wolf hunting behavior could be changed to the practice of conserving and conserving livestock in dogs. Agriculture proved so successful that these early Middle Eastern farmers moved across Europe, keeping their livestock and livestock with dogs. In recent years, many European and Middle Eastern livestock protecting breeds that were traditionally considered mastiffs have been reclassified into a new group Lupomolosoides. Lupomolossoids are considered to be direct descendants of these first livestock protectors. Almost all of the lupomolocids are massive in size and have long, predominantly white hair. The Great Pyrenees, Maremma Sheepdog, Kuvas, Tatra Mountain Sheepdog, and Akbush Dog are known as Lupomolsoides, although other breeds such as Komondor and Overachka are frequent. In the opinion of this author, Cao de Castro Laborio is a decidedly lupomolocid. Although this coat is quite different from other members of the family, it can easily be explained by crossing other dogs over the course of centuries, and by an adaptation to Portugal's warm climate. In all other aspects, the breed almost exactly matches the description of lupomolocids, and in general this dog is much more numerous than lupomolosids as it is for mastiffs. If the Cao de Castro Laborero is actually lupomolocid, it is one of the oldest European breeds and was probably introduced in Portugal with the introduction of agriculture, 5,00 0, 000 years before the birth of Christ.
Although the Cao de Castro Laborio was developed, it was known throughout Portugal for its security capability. This dog served remote farmers as a guardian dog. The primary purpose of the breeds was to protect them from predators. The remote mountains of northern Portugal have long been one of the remaining wild regions of Europe. Until recently, the region was one of the last bastions of Europe's great hunters; Wolf, Brown Bear, Red Fox, Iberian Lenexa, and Golden Eagle. All these hunters are very keen to find a quick and easy meal from a flock of sheep or goats, and have the skills and abilities to appear without notice. Cao de Castro Laborio was bred to detect the presence of such animals before they were able to attack. The dog first barked loudly to warn the owner of its presence and then attacked the animal if it was not stopped. Cao de Castro Laborio was also banned for defending against human attackers. After Rome was driven from Portugal by the Visigoths, the region experienced nearly a thousand years of constant warfare. The first conflict was between Aryan Christian German-speaking Visigoths and Catholic Roman and Celtic-speaking natives. This was followed by a war between Catholics and Islamic Moors. This war made life very difficult for Portuguese peasants, who were often at the mercy of bandits, robbers and dozens of military factions. After a long day in the fields protecting livestock, Cao de Castro Laborio was often brought home from night to protect the family.
Although there are no definitive records, it is now believed that Portuguese sailors brought Cao de Castro Laborio to Newfoundland. Portuguese sailors and fishermen have been traveling to Newfoundland now since at least 1500, and the name Labrador is commonly mistaken for the Portuguese word ""lavender"", meaning landholder, although it is similar to laborero. It was common for these people to bring dogs together for company, protection, and to kill mice. Although the Podengo Portugueso and the Portuguese Water Dog were the most commonly bred breeds, others were known to travel along with sea voyages. Cao de Castro Laborio is believed to have been brought to Newfoundland, an unbelievable resemblance to a Labrador retriever. There is probably no breed that is as close to a Labrador retriever as Cao de Castro Laborio (were it not for color, the breed would be essentially indistinguishable). Interestingly, Labrador puppies are still often bred with brindle coloration, a trait possibly inherited from this breed. Additionally, the St. John's Water Dog, a breed from which both Newfoundland and Labrador retrievers descend, was described as highly protective and an excellent fighting dog. These traits would certainly describe Cao de Castro Laborio.
Although well known in Portugal, Cao de Castro Laborio was always apparently limited to where it lived. By the middle of the 20th century, the breed was found almost exclusively in a small area around Castro Laborio, roughly from the Spanish border to the Braga district. Because of this, the population of the breed was always quite small. This population greatly reduced during the 19th and 20th centuries. Better weapons technology and a growing population pushed the area's poachers to the brink of extinction. Improved police forces and political stability meant that human expulsors took very little risk. Rapid changes in farming methods have made the breed obsolete. Many local farmers gave up their Chaos de Castro Labourios, leaving them to fend for themselves. These dogs had no choice but to turn to hunting to survive. The breed became infamous as livestock killers, and while they worked in packs, they were able to kill prey in the form of cattle and horses. Fortunately for the breed, many devoted fans continued to breed them. Although the breed was no longer used as a livestock protector, it was quickly discovered that Cao de Castro Laborio made a very devoted companion animal and a fully devoted personal and property protector. These dogs were more and more kept as domesticated and guarded dogs, until the breed was essentially kept for other purposes. In 1914, the breed made its first appearance at a Portuguese dog show. Shortly afterwards, the first written standard was written by a local vet named Manuel Marques. In 1935, Cao de Castro Laborio was given full recognition with the Portuguese Kennel Club, and later also by the Federation Synthological Internationale (FCI). Until very recently, the breed was completely unknown outside it'S homeland, but in recent years a very small number has been exported to the United States and Germany.
Cao de Castro Laborio is a very rare breed. Estimates of the population worldwide range from 200 to 500 pure animals, almost all of which live in Portugal. There are currently about 6 breeders in Portugal, an additional 2 in Germany, and 1 known breeder in the United States, the Sunhearth Trails Kennel. Despite the breed's very small US population, the United Kennel Club (UKC) became the first major English-language kennel club to fully accredit Cao de Castro LaBorio in 2006 as a member of the Guardian Dog Group. Currently breeders around the world are working together to increase the population and popularity of the breed. Demand for this breed is increasing on the rare pet trade market, and also with people willing to experiment with new property and livestock conservation breeds.