Saint Miguel Cattle Dog (Cão Fila de São Miguel) FCI Standard
In times the Saint Miguel Cattle Dog earned wide appreciation throughout the Azores as a competent herding dog and dependable property guardian. At daylight it was made responsible for driving and herding cattle and at night it protected the farmers’ property and family from intruders. Breeders put emphasis solely on those features, which influenced the breed’s working talents such as quick-wittedness, sturdiness and well-developed protective drive. Until late in the XX century very few specimens of the Saint Miguel Cattle Dog left its native Azores although some dogs were most likely exported to Brazil, mainland Portugal, Madeira, Cabo Verde, Angola, Mozambique, East Timor.
Due to its comparative rarity and working background the breed entered dog shows only in 70s of the XX century. Nevertheless it attained recognition of the Portuguese Kennel Club only in 1984. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognised it as a unique breed in 1995.
In the recent decades the Saint Miguel Cattle Dog enjoys much wider awareness in European countries then previously. It attracts attention of dog’s lovers by its strong protective drive and herding prowess. That’s why the most of its specimens are either active or retired working animals. There are also reports that this dog perfectly adapts for the role of a family companion.
The Saint Miguel Cattle Dog is endowed with innate suspiciousness towards all strange people. Without early and deep socialisation this distrustfulness can gradually transform into open aggressiveness. At the same time the breed member won’t snap unless it’s fully convinced that something is threatening its family or territory. This fierce and brave dog fits ideally for the work of a guard dog. It also highly territorial and vigilant it usually makes a wonderful watch dog.
The breed was developed to manage half-feral and therefore dangerous and unpredictable livestock. Animal aggression is an inescapable part of this kind of work. That’s why the Saint Miguel Cattle Dog doesn’t get along well with other species of animals. Moreover the dog tends to be fairly aggressive towards other canines. It does best as an only dog although it can co-exist with few problems with an individual canine of the opposite sex. The vast majority of its specimens will be polite with a household cat with which it has lived since its puppyhood. It’s worth to remember that some of them will never accept the presence of another pet in the household.
• canine hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• gastric torsion;
• eye problems;
• brachycephalic syndrome;
• shortness of breath
• heat intolerance;
• skeletal growth abnormalities;
• demodex mange.
Remember that this dog will ignore commands from timid or passive handler who doesn’t have permanent control over the situation. It is strongly recommended to train this dog only with reward-based methods, which focus on food incentives. The Saint Miguel Cattle Dog usually responses to unfairly harsh attitude with defiance and open disobedience.
Anyway this breed should receive a regular opportunity to exercise not only its physical body but also its inquisitive mind. The bored specimen of the Saint Miguel Cattle Dog will find its own ways to direct its excessive energy and will eventually become a destructive, hyper active, aggressive and unmanageable creature.