Basque Shepherd Dog: Characteristics, Origin, Temperament

The Basque Shepherd dog is a landrace breed of dog. It is traditionally used by the local shepherds to help them take care of their cattle and sheep. It is also known by some other names such as Euskal artzain txakurra, Basque Herder, Perro de pastor vasco and Basque Sheepdog.

The Basque Shepherd dog breed was originated from the Basque Country of Spain. And it is believed that, these dogs were originated from Central European herding dogs.

These sheepdog is one of the oldest dog breeds. Skeletal remains were found in Neolithic caves dated to 12,000 years ago. They are interpreted as demonstrating that the people living in the area of what is now Basque Country were shepherds.

In frescoes and paintings of the sixteenth century, there are representations of the Basque Shepherd Dog. Nevertheless, their recognition has required extensive research on records from throughout the Basque Country.

Only after demonstrating their differences from other breeds such as the Pyrenean Shepherd and the Catalan sheepdog, did the Royal Canine Society of Spain recognize the Basque Shepherd Dog as a breed with two varieties: Iletsua and Gorbeiakoa, in January 1996.

Gorbeiakoa originates from the region of Gorbea and Iletsua means “hairy” or “shaggy” in Basque.[1]

Basque Shepherd Dog Characteristics

The Basque Shepherd dogs are very beautiful. They are well proportioned, with strong, rectangular bodies and trotter features. They have oval eyes which are brown or amber.

They have medium-sized ears, which are triangular and sometimes show folds. The vivid yellow medium length rough coat is longer over the trunk than over the head and is shorter on the face, but does not hide the eyes.

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The relation between height and length is about 1/1.2. The head is rather light relative to the trunk, which is attached by a short neck and muscular.

Average height of the Gorbeiakoa variety is between 19 and 24 inches at the withers for males, and between 18 and 23 inches for females. And their average live body weight is between 18 and 36 kg for males and between 17 and 29 kg for females.

On the other hand, average height of the Iletsua variety is between 19 and 25 inches at the withers for males and between 18 and 23 inches for females. And their average live body weight is between 18 and 33 kg for males and between 17 and 30 kg for females.

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Temperament

The Basque Shepherd dog is the quintessential family dog. They are full of energy, but they are also people-oriented. They love to spend time with family. They can be a little territorial, but would never hurt anyone.

The Basque Shepherd dog breed gets along well with children, but may require early socialization and training to get along with cats and other household pets.

Lifespan

Average lifespan of the Basque Shepherd dog is between 12 and 15 years.

Feeding

How much a mature dog eats depends on it’s size, age, build, metabolism and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t all need the same amount of food.

The Basque Shepherd dogs are medium in size. So, their diet should be formulated for a medium-sized breed with average to high exercise needs. You can consult with a vet in your area for better feeding recommendations.

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Caring

Taking good care of the dogs is very important for raising Basque Shepherd dog. As a herding breed, the Basque Shepherd dogs are highly active and energetic. They require a long daily walk as well as plenty of outdoor space to run.

Without adequate daily exercise not only can this breed become overweight, but he is also likely to develop destructive behaviors out of boredom.

Health

The Basque Shepherd dogs are generally healthy. But like all other dog breeds, they are also prone to certain health conditions.

Their common health problems include hip dysplasia, cancer, eye problems, ear infections, and heart defects. They may also be prone to bloat as a larger breed. Always keep good contact with a vet in your area.

Breed Name Basque Shepherd
Other Names Euskal artzain txakurra, Basque Herder, Perro de pastor vasco and Basque Sheepdog
Breed Size Medium
Height Between 18 and 24 inches at the withers for the Gorbeiakoa variety, and between 18 and 25 inches at the withers for the Iletsua variety
Weight Between 17 and 36 kg for the Gorbeiakoa variety, and between 17 and 33 kg for the Iletsua variety
Good as pets Yes
Climate Tolerance All climates
Color Gorbeiakoa variety: Red, fawn Iletsua variety: Cinnamon, fawn
Lifespan Between 12 and 15 years
Good for children Yes
Rarity Common
Country of Origin Spain