The roots of the Basque Shepherd Dog can be traced back 12,000 years ago in a place called Basque country, situated in the western Pyrenees that spans the border between France and Spain on the Atlantic coast.
Fanciers said that these dogs are among the most ancient of all breeds in the region due to vague artworks of the time and skeletal remains found in Neolithic caves, though this has never been fully proven scientifically or otherwise.
Images of this breed have been represented in several paintings and frescoes during the 16th century.
For centuries, the Basque Shepherd Dog has been used to look after livestock from animal attacks made by wolves and other wild predators.
Locally, the breed has achieved utmost popularity as a working and companion dog. Despite this, the Basque Shepherd Dog currently remains uncommon beyond the borders of its native Spain.
Traits and Behavior
The Basque Shepherd Dog, according to some, is one of the most suitable breeds for a family. It is highly alert and agile so it loves to keep busy with tasks or any other activity.
These adventurous dogs are always on the go, and often quite amusing and entertaining to watch while at play.
It is gentle and playful and is very good around small children as well as elders. Although to strangers, it can be suspicious at times.
This breed is very intelligent, yet somewhat stubborn and independent, making it a little bit challenging to train.
They have a tendency to become territorial, which is evident in their actions when they try to patrol the area.
Pet Care and Diseases
As a breed, the Basque Shepherd Dogs generally have a strong immune system, but some known health problems have been reported such as:
- Hip dysplasia
- High risk for cancer cancer
- Congenital heart defects
- Primary lens luxation (dislocation of the lens)
- Chronic ear infection
Training should start as soon as you get the puppy, and it should be regularly, but not too strict.
This breed of dog should learn how to socialize with other dogs or else it can be quite aggressive towards visitors and other dogs unfamiliar to him.
When the bones and muscles in its body begin to grow, teach the dog how to swim. They enjoy being submerged in the water.
By exposing this dog to this kind of exercise, the blood circulation in its body will improve leading to a much healthier condition.
The coat needs significant grooming. Brush it using only a soft-bristled hairbrush to protect the hair.
Also, bathe the Basque Shepherd Dog only when needed to retain the coat’s natural waterproofing.
These dogs typically stand at a height of 47-63 cm and weigh around 17-25 kg. The Basque Shepherd Dog is well proportioned, with strong, rectangular bodies and trotter features. The eyes are oval and are brown or amber in color. The ears are medium in size, triangular in shape and sometimes show folds.
This breed is well covered with a wavy coat of gold or copper rustic hair, much longer over the trunk than over the head.
However, the coat color can also come in Mahogany Merle, Red Merle, Blue Merle, Solid Mahogany, Solid Black and Solid Red.
The estimated lifespan of this breed is about 12-13 years. The average litter size is approximately 6-9 puppies.
Basque Shepherd Dog is also called Basque Sheepdog, Pastor Vasco or Perro de Pastor Vasco (Spanish name), Euskal Artzain Txakurra (Basque name), Euskara Herder, and Chien de berger basque.
After much research in January 1996, the Royal Canine Society of Spain finally recognized the Basque Shepherd Dog as a breed with two varieties: the Iletsua and the Gorbeikoa.
Visit this dog club website dedicated to Basque Shepherd Dogs. Click this link: http://www.pastorvasco.com/