Also known as the Cao da Serra de Aires, Serra de Arres Mountain Dog, and the Portuguese Sheepdog, the Portuguese Shepherd is an intelligent and loyal breed. But how do you know whether you are ready to purchase a pet and if this breed is right for you? This information is absolutely necessary in making the decision to purchase a pet.
The origin of the Portuguese Shepherd can be traced back to early 20th century Portugal, when Count de Castro Guimaraes began experimenting with crossing various breeds. Enthusiasts believe that the Portuguese Shepherd was developed by crossing such breeds as the Briard, Catalan Sheepdog, and the Berger des Pyrenees, though this has never been proven scientifically or otherwise.
Throughout its history, the Portuguese Shepherd has been most commonly used for herding, driving, and guarding cattle against predators such as wolves, proving its superior abilities to work in the harshest of terrain and climates while providing companionship.
Today, while the Portuguese Shepherd has attained a regional popularity as a working and companion dog, the breed remains rather rare outside of its native Portugal.
Best known for its outgoing and spunky nature, the Portuguese Shepherd is full of character. This breed thrives on strong and dependable relationships with humans, and loves to receive attention and be near its owner. These dogs are very bright, yet stubborn and overly confident, creating difficulty in training. As a pet, the Portuguese Shepherd is loyal, loving, and very affectionate. The Portuguese Shepherd is not suited for full-time indoor or apartment living, as it enjoys spending time outdoors, playing games such as fetch and tug-of-war, and having plenty of room to run, roam, and play.
Due to its stubborn and overly confident attitude, the Portuguese Shepherd can prove somewhat challenging to train. These dogs are known for growing bored and even annoyed with repetitive exercises and tasks.
Establishing immediate dominance, trust, and respect is key to successfully training the Portuguese Shepherd. This breed requires an experienced, confident, and strong handler with a stern yet gentle approach to repetitive exercises and tasks.
Benefits and Disadvantages of the Breed
There are many benefits to owning a Portuguese Shepherd. These active dogs are always on the go, and often quite amusing and entertaining to watch while at play. When properly socialized from a young age, the Portuguese Shepherd gets along well with children and other pets, known for its sweet and gentle approach to small children and for its ability to make friends quickly with other animals. This breed is alert, aware of its surroundings, and territorial, serving as an effective watch dog by announcing the arrival of guests and unwanted visitors. The Portuguese Shepherd is loyal, loving, and affectionate, making an excellent working dog, family pet, and companion alike.
Unfortunately, there are also disadvantages to owning a Portuguese Shepherd. This energetic breed requires large amounts of daily exercise and room to run and play outdoors, especially when under the age of two years. Anyone wishing to purchase this breed lacking the adequate amount of time and space to dedicate to the dog is strongly advised against doing so. A Portuguese Shepherd not receiving the proper amount of exercise and space will often act out by destroying property, chewing, barking, whining, and ignoring basic training such as housebreaking.
The Portuguese Shepherd has a strong instinct to herd and will occasionally indulge in a good chase. When on the run, these dogs are surprisingly quick, and may pose a threat to other animals, neighborhood pets, and small woodland creatures. The Portuguese Shepherd must be leashed or properly secured at all times when outdoors.
This breed’s thick and wiry coat requires almost constant attention such as brushing and grooming in order to prevent matting and maintain its attractive appearance.
As previously mentioned, the Portuguese Shepherd remains rather rare outside of its native Portugal and can prove difficult to obtain. Individuals seeking to purchase this breed often encounter such challenges as inability to locate a breeder, high prices, and being placed on long waiting lists.
Common Health Concerns
While the Portuguese Shepherd is typically known as a healthy and hearty breed, they do suffer from a few health problems, including: likeliness to develop cancer, progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, distichiasis – ingrown eye lashes, entropian – folding inward of the eye lid, ectropian – folding outward of the eye lid, cherry eye, obesity, and bloat.
Now that you know all about the breed, do you think you are ready to own a Portuguese Shepherd? Remember, purchasing a pet is a big decision and should be discussed thoroughly and seriously with your entire family.