Cão de Castro Laboreiro FCI Standard
Up until recently there has been a theory that the breed descended from Mastiff-type dogs, which were imported to Portugal during Roman era. Some dogs’ experts even claimed that its direct forefather is the Molossus, the renowned Roman war-dog and predecessor of most mastiff-type breeds. This theory has been lately recognised as being beneath criticism for two major reasons. First of all, the Castro Laboreiro Dog very remotely resembles the descriptions of majority of Mastiff-type dogs. And secondly, newly conducted genetic research showed that it doesn’t share common ancestry with other Portuguese guarding breeds, considering that most of them are Mastiffs. With much more probability the breed can be ascribed to the group of the Lupomolossoids. Under this classification group dogs’ historians united breeds, which are considered to be a descendant from first guarding dogs. This implies that the breed was developed between 5000 to 7000 years ago when agriculture was introduced to this region.
For centuries the Castro Laboreiro Dog was used by Portuguese farmers as a highly reliable guard dog. The secluded highlands of northern Portugal served an habitant for various predators, which posed notable threat for local livestock. The dog was responsible for detecting a ferocious animal and notifying with its vocal bark about its approach. Throughout its history this region was frequently invaded by various armies as long as robbers and bandits so the security of the household was of first priority for poor farmers. The Castro Laboreiro Dog had to protect the farmer’s families at night.
The breed’s population concentrated predominantly in a small area around Castro Laboreiro but it was rather well-known in Portugal. During the XIX century and the beginning of the XX century local predators were driven to the edge of extinction. During this time the situation with banditry was taken under control by improved police forces. That’s why many local farmers deserted their Castro Laboreiro Dogs and its number shrank drastically. Thanks to several loyal fanciers the breed was preserved and nowadays it’s kept as property guarding dog and a home pet. In 1935 it received international recognition by Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI). The United Kennel Club (UKC) recognized the Castro Laboreiro in 2006.
It’s well known that the Castro Laboreiro Dog demonstrates distrust and even aggression when it meets unfamiliar people. Even properly trained specimen will welcome new acquaintances with fierce growl and threatening posturing. Although it seldom resorts to force and confines itself to stern warning. Its ferocity is capable to deter virtually any intruder so it will make an exceptional watchdog. And of course this dog excels as a guard dog both for property and personal.
Due to its powerful protective instinct the Castro Laboreiro Dog has bad reputation with other canines, which are oftentimes perceived as trespassers on its subordinated territory. It doesn’t mean that it can’t live with other dogs. Actually it usually closely attaches to the dog with which it has been raised together. However some males can develop notable canine aggression so they should be kept as a single dog. The breed is usually at odds with other species of animals and pursues and kills stray cats. Castro Laboreiro Dog can get on fairly well only with a home cat, which it has known since its puppyhood.
• canine hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• gastric torsion;
• eye problems.
It doesn’t purport that the Castro Laboreiro Dog can’t be trained but it definitely means that its master should be more patient, dedicated and consistent when things concern the dogs’ training. It doesn’t respond at all to tough methods of training so it’s necessary to apply only positive reinforcement while working with this dog.