Cão de Castro Laboreiro has been recognized for a very long time. Though there is no certain evidence to ascertain their origin, these dogs have to be one of those earliest breeds that originated in the Iberian Peninsula.

Cão de Castro Laboreiro sleeping

These breeds appear mostly in an area that is limited to the mountains of Suajo and Peneda as well as to the rivers Lima and Minho.

Several examples of this dog can be found scattered at different other places that are next to Miho and in Douro province as well. They seldom spread in the South and the Center of the country, where they pass unseen.

Also, the Cão de Castro Laboreiro has been recognized throughout Portugal because of its guarding skills. They served as guard dogs for remote farmers and their main purpose was defending them from the predators.

The isolated mountains of Northern Portugal remained to be one of those wildest zones of Europe and a lot of great predators have existed there such as the golden eagle, Iberian lynx, red fox, brown bear and wolves.

These predators are so much eager to look for an easy and quick meal from flocks of goats, cattle and sheep. They also have a knack for suddenly appearing without a warning.

They were bred to sense these beasts’ presence before they will be able to attack. They will first bark loudly to warn their master and they would then strike the beasts if they are not frightened.

Traits and Behavior

The Cão de Castro Laboreiro is a very loyal companion. They are obedient to their owners and are very useful in defending the flocks against unwanted predators. They are ideal as guard dogs in all the places they are entrusted with.

They are resilient as a climber and have a severe and strong expression. They may sometimes have an aggressive attitude but they are not quarrelsome.

Just like most of the dogs that have guarding impulses, The Cão de Castro Laboreiro may also acquire issues with the other animals. When they are being properly trained as well as socialized, they will be able to learn how to dwell with other dogs or household pets and they can also form a close relationship with those they know in their entire life.

Also, the males may develop dig aggression problems to a point that they need to be the only dog in the house. These dogs also have a strong impulse to hold off other animals as well as attack and possibly kill creatures like cats.

This breed is an outstanding guardian for big livestock though they need to be raised together with them at an early age.

Pet Care and Diseases

The Cão de Castro Laboreiro needs minimum grooming requirements. They don’t need professional grooming and just an occasional brushing will do. Aside from that, they also need those routine procedures for their maintenance like ear cleaning and nail clipping.

There are not so many health problems being documented in this breed. Although visual and skeletal problems aren’t common with this breed, testing them by Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) as well as the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals is highly recommended.


The Cão de Castro Laboreiro is strong and has a pleasant appearance with a striking coat. Their gait is easy, free and has full of boldness. They have a distinctive bark that is wavering and very loud, with a low tone that ends up in an extended sharp sound comparable to howling. Their head is slightly long, somewhat rectangular and is well set.

Their eyes are diagonal, medium-sized and tonsil shaped with a color of various tones of brown. Its eyes also have a hard and stern expression. Their ears are medium-sized, have moderate thickness and triangular but have a rounded end.

Additionally, their nose is straight, large and well developed with black color. They have powerful jaws and their teeth are strong, white and are well set.

Also, the Cão de Castro Laboreiro has a straight body that is medium in length. It has short, wide, well-muscled and strong loins and a chest that is broad, high and slightly deep. Their tails are long, thick, and hairy at the bottom. It is set high bending forward, upward or slightly sideways when they are excited. Also, their hair is resistant, thick and slightly rough to touch.

It is also normally shorter, softer and thicker on their head and ears but longer on their tail, most especially at the bottom part. The color of this breed comes from a shade that is very pale to medium as well as dark, though the latter is more common. Also, it is very unusual to have all three shades present on a single dog.

General Information

There is no approximated life expectancy available for this breed though based on their related breeds, it’s most likely between 10 to 14 years.  Litter size is about 5-10 puppies (average of 8). Other names include Dog of Castro Laboreiro, Portuguese Cattle Dog, and Portuguese Watchdog.

Breed Club

Visit this dog club website dedicated to Cão de Castro Laboreiros. Click this link: