Uruguayan Cimarron (Cimarrón Uruguayo)

Country of origin:
Uruguay
Height (cm):
55-61
Weight (kg):
33-45
Life span (years):
10-14
Colour:
brindle or all shades of fawn, with or without mask
Size:
large
Hair length:
short
Recognized by:
FCI
FCI code:
353
Intelligence:
Good with kids:
Trainability:
Shedding:
Watchdog:
Adaptability:
Allergy:
No
Overview

The Uruguayan Cimarron (Cimarrón Uruguayo) is a versatile dog and the only native breed acknowledged in Uruguay. The breed has exceptional health and stamina since it has been feral most of its history. It is also a true survivor that outlasted every vicissitudes of life to become a highly revered guarding and herding dog as well as the mascot of the Uruguayan army.

History
The Uruguayan Cimarron appeared well before the first written references of the breeds were produced by some meticulous breeders and existed large part of its history in a feral form. The dog’s descendants were brought to the region by the Spanish explorers and conquistadors, who widely used different types of dogs.

There were three kinds of breeds that were favoured over the others by the first Uruguayan settlers: the Spanish Mastiff, Alano, and various types of scent hounds. These dogs were used for the wide range of purposes, including guardians of Spanish fortifications, hunters, and to intimidate the local people. The most important assignment of these dogs was to catch half-feral stock by grasping it with its strong jaws and hang on until the owner could arrive to retrieve it.

During the colonial era the human population of the Uruguay was pretty scarce so the Spanish dogs quickly went feral and spread throughout the country. They had at their disposal vast territories on which they could prosper. The most common place of dog’s habitation was the Cerro Largo, which was particularly connected with the name of the breed. Dogs hunted in packs putting down deer, mara, rheas, rabbits, etc.

Gradually people from the Montevideo and other coastal areas began to occupy the inner territories of the country until the whole Uruguay was inhabited. The Uruguayan Cimarron switched from hunting on wild species of animals on killing livestock of local farmers whose source of living was the land. The dog’s attacks on cattle caused a devastating loss to the economy so the government decided to launch a program of extermination of the Uruguayan Cimarron. Thousands and thousands of dogs were killed as the result of this program forcing the survivors fell back to their last shelters of Cerro Largo and the Mountains of Olimar. The highest point the slaughter reached at the end of XIX century but went on the first part of XX century.

The farmers and ranchers sometimes picked up the Uruguayan Cimarron’s puppies and re-domesticated them. The dog soon proved to be the first-rate friend and companion and as good as other domestic dogs. It also turned out that it can become an outstanding guardian, which will bravely and fearlessly protect the owner’s domain and family. The breed was intensively used as a herding dog which is able to handle even the most ferocious Pampas cattle.

The Uruguayan Cimarron is highly treasured in its native Uruguay but it remains pretty unknown in western countries. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) gave the breed its provisional acknowledgment in 2006. The same year the United Kennel Club (UKC) recognized it as well and put it into Guardian Dog Group.
Temperament

The Uruguayan Cimarron is used predominantly for working purpose so it has developed the character, which is the most appropriate for its responsibilities as guardian and shepherd. It is claimed that the dog is very devoted and affectionate to its family. The Uruguayan Cimarron requires socialization with children and should be closely supervised in their presence. It always craves to take a superior position that’s why this dog isn’t recommended for a novice dog owner.

In its homeland the Uruguayan Cimarron successfully serves as a guardian and it’s going to put its life at stake to protect its master, his family and possessions. The dog prefers to stay aloof with strangers and can express aggressiveness towards them. If your dog is properly brought up in most cases it tolerates unknown people without showing unnecessary aggression. The Uruguayan Cimarron is vigilant as well so it will make a wonderful watchdog, which is capable to deter any intruder with its ferocious look and bellowing bark.

In its feral state the Uruguayan Cimarron survived by hunting on various kind of prey so it is considered to be highly aggressive to other animals, canine and non-canine. If the dog and other home pet of cat-size or larger have been reared together it most likely won’t bother it but some specimens will never accept it. The Uruguayan Cimarron is noticeably aggressive to its canine fellows and can display all kind of aggression including possessiveness, dominance, same-sex and so on. It can cohabitate with one dog of the opposite sex but the best option is to keep it as a single dog.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• canine hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• gastric torsion;
• eye problems.

Grooming

The grooming of the Uruguayan Cimarron won’t require much time and consists of regular brushing. The master should start routine care practices as bathing and nail clipping at a young age and as carefully as possible. Undoubtedly it’s much less stressful to bathe an inquisitive 5 kilograms puppy than a frightened 50 kilograms grown-up. The breed is a heavy shedder.

Training
The Uruguayan Cimarron has an acute mind and is a capable problem solver. But it also lacks natural willingness to please and most of the time the dog tends to do, what it likes. So this breed represents a considerable challenge to train.

The Uruguayan Cimarron can precisely determine the status of all members of the pack and it will ignore the commands from those who are perceived by it to be in inferior position in social hierarchy. This dog needs much more patience and dedication to be trained effectively but when properly trained it will be able to compete in virtually all canine sports including agility and competitive obedience.

Exercise

The Uruguayan Cimarron has a century’s long history of wandering on Uruguayan wilderness and later on it has been turned into a true workaholic by farmers. It means that this dog demands large amount of physical activity. The owner should spend minimum an hour daily on vigorous walk with the dog but 2-3 hours are much more preferable.

The Uruguayan Cimarron is going to become your willing jogging or cycling partner but it will greatly appreciate a chance to surf freely on the territory with a high fence. This dog isn’t suitable for life in a big city and will feel itself much better in the house with a spacious yard.
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