Majorca Shepherd Dog (Ca de Bestiar - Perro de Pastor Mallorquín)
The Majorca Shepherd Dog is an average-sized herding canine variety, which is barely known outside its native land, Majorca. Due to its strong, self-willed and bossy character, this dog needs serious socialisation to become a good companion animal. Nonetheless an active person who has both time and willingness to properly train his pet will get an intrepid guardian and alert watcher for the properties.
The age of Ca de Bestiar as a separate breed counts several hundreds of years so it’s no wonder that its true origin remains the matter in dispute. However it’s known for certain that this dog came to existence in the Balearic Island of Spain. Canine historians made different assumptions about its ancestry. Some think that its forefathers were introduced to this area by merchants who crossed Balearic Islands along their path to the Mediterranean. Over time these dogs may have endured some natural mutations or mated with local breeds in order to accommodate to a very torrid climate of the islands.
Professor Barcelo, the scientist, and Gabriel Puigserer, the veterinarian, advanced a theory that the Ca de Bestiar was developed from the now-extinct Alan dog. Other expert, archduke Luis Salvador asserts that it may have been closely related to mastiffs or wolfdogs. Nonetheless overall appearance of the breed counts against the latter supposition.
The original duty of the Majorca Shepherd Dog was tending after grazing livestock but subsequently it became the helper of local lumberers who used it in the fight against poachers. In order to make this breed more aggressive and strong it was crossed with the Ca de Bou. This practice led to creation of the variety, which was an excellent candidate for dog fighting. The authentic version was also bred to the Ca Mè to produce more mild-tempered and stable dogs. Multiple crossings to hounds from Ibiza allowed to make this breed more dexterous and swift-footed so it could easily operate in the Mallorca Mountains. Subsequently the purity of the breed was undermined even further with importation of the Doberman, the German Shepherd and the Great Dane to the island.
More than twenty years ago several canine fanciers united their efforts to save the pure-blooded Ca de Bestiar from final demise. At that point hybrid dogs established a reputation of vicious animals that frequently attacked and killed masters’ chickens, ducks and even sheep. In 70s of XX century the group of the breed’s enthusiasts under leadership of Alonso Guasp organised the Club del Perro Pastor Mallorquin and began purposeful process of its reconstruction. Their diligent work was finally rewarded in 1980 when the Majorca Shepherd Dog gained recognition of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI). Nevertheless today the breed is still popular only in its homeland where it’s valued for its guarding and herding abilities as well as for its affectionate nature.
The Ca de Bestiar has loyal but dominant disposition and therefore needs proper socialisation to become a well-behaved member of a human family. It’s worth to know that it’s very difficult to re-home its specimen since it usually can’t forget its initial master and remains faithful to him. Despite the fact that the bred was an active participant of canine fights, it’s very gentle and careful in interaction with family kids. Of course, hectic behaviour of small children may get on nerves of this dog so their parents should never leave them one on one with the pet.
The Majorca Shepherd Dog dislikes strangers and often exhibits signs of aggression in their presence. Make sure to introduce your dog to people of all ages and show it that they don’t pose any menace for the territory or its pack. The breed is ferocious enough to become an excellent guardian. It usually reacts to any suspicious sound or smell with loud barking and can be turned into a very sound watcher. It’s advisable to teach your dog to stop baying at the command otherwise constant noise may start bothering your neighbours.
The Majorca Shepherd Dog is totally fine with those dogs, which don’t try to invade its territory or harm its masters. Of course, it can instigate a fight with an unfamiliar canine to find out its position in the pecking order. Nonetheless such unpleasant situations can be easily avoided if you always keep your pet on a firm leash. The Ca de Bestiar has a relatively weak hunting instinct so early socialisation makes it a good choice with families with pre-existing non-canine pets (including cats).
The most common problems for the breed include:
· canine hip dysplasia;
· gastric torsion;
· ear infections.
The Majorca Shepherd Dog has very basic grooming requirements. Its self-cleaning sleek coat should be brushed only occasionally to retain its natural shine and remove dead hair. Bathe your pet as rarely as possible because water and dog shampoos may destroy the layer of natural protective oils covering its skin.
Other care procedures, which are essential for good overall health of any dog, are regular nail clipping, weekly teeth brushing and periodic ear cleaning. This breed sheds moderately.
The training of the Majorca Shepherd Dog can be described as a task of reasonable difficulty. This breed is always ready to leap to the defence of its masters and their domain and undertakes this kind of responsibilities very naturally. But because of its intense suspiciousness to strange people, extensive obedience training is a must for its specimen.
The Ca de Bestiar got used to take dominative position in the pack and will listens only to handler with an authoritative and confident character. Remember that harsh discipline will make the breed member even more headstrong and can even provoke it to retaliatory aggression. It’s recommended to reward this dog with food incentives as well as ample amount of verbal praise.
The Majorca Shepherd Dog is a curious and merry breed with brawny body, which requires plentiful of strenuous exercises. Take your dog for a lengthy and brisk walk each and every day. It must also receive periodic opportunity to roam unrestrained in a properly enclosed yard. It’s almost impossible for a city dweller to satisfy the breed’s need for physical activity so it will make a lousy apartment dog.
Moreover the Ca de Bestiar prefers to have some important task to fulfil and may feel bored if left alone for any sizeable amount of time. Destructive actions are the most typical result of boredom but they can be successfully minimised if your pet is sufficiently exercised on a daily basis.