Livestock guarding dogs
From Wolf to dog. And the dog to the dog. It was long and torturous evolution. Hard. But the features that are currently set in the national breeds of livestock guarding dogs are an enviable genetic heritage. You can't lose. Contribute to the preservation of livestock guarding dogs and to publicize the demanding task that constitutes the hard everyday life of these dogs is the challenge of this book. This book lives of the image and the testimonies of pastors and researchers – full of colour, action and drama. The reader will be a return to a world that thinks lost: the countryside, with the dogs in action guarding flocks and herds, defending them from wolves and conducting fighting life or death. The scenarios are natural: the great mountains north of the Douro, the ridges of Castro Laboreiro, the alcantis da Peneda, Alvão slopes. There, in these environments, we will see how lattices destinations: sheep and cows of endangered breeds, old shepherds armed with staves and dogs. And how to survive the old ways and knowledge-before the disappearance of traditions such as transhumance.
Interview with Paulo Caetano:
What are cattle dogs and since when are there?
Livestock guarding dogs are dogs who have to defend the cattle, both flocks of sheep and goats-that is the most common case, whether they are herds of cows and horses or even herds of pigs. It's hard to know since when the dogs perform this function, but we can say with some security that there are dogs of this that man tamed cattle and that, to keep you fed, I needed to follow in search of fresh pastures. These herds, during their movement, were particularly vulnerable to predators like wolves, lynxes, bears or other men-began to use large dogs in their protection. I'd say the livestock guarding dogs, which later give rise to the current races, have some thousands of years.
In the same herd, can co-exist that drive the cattle dogs and dogs that protects it from attack from predators. What is the specific function of each?
The own designation helps to understand the function. O cão de gado is what protects the sheep dog or dog driving is leading the flock or the herd, following the directions of the owner. And of course you can and must co-exist in the same herd, living peacefully with each other, when well socialized.
In Portugal, which are breeds of dog that are best suited to this work?
The raças portuguesas de cães de gado are the Castro Laboreiro dog, the Cão da Serra da Estrela, the Alentejo Mastiff Dog and o Cão de gado Transmontano-race latest in official terms.
Are genetically close races?
Yes, very close! Some more than others, because various races were confined to his Manor of origin and cattle in the region were only small movements and the mountainous access imposed a great isolation. In the case of Castro Laboreiro or do Cão de Gado Transmontano. Already among the Rafeiro do Alentejo and the Serra da Estrela mountains there is close proximity because, traditionally, transhumant flocks of the star spent the autumn and winter months in the fields of the Alentejo or the Idanha, and dogs accompanied these dislocations, covering or females giving birth outside of your solar …
How to train a cattle dog?
No train. The dog must be born in a cattle-cutting or be misplaced there is weaned and must socialize with members of the flock who will defend. For him, the cattle becomes your family, which will defend even if I have to risk your life to fight a predator.
How the dog and cattle interact?
The dog is part of the herd, accompanies him wherever he goes. Resting when the flock folder, moving in front of you or in the middle of other animals on these walks. Often, the dog licks the newborns of the flock in a gesture of acceptance in the family and recognition. When juvenile, play with goats or sheep, as you would with another dog or with a human.
Just as transhumance disappeared in our country, the grassland is also a practice less and less used. How this abandonment of pastoralism has affected the survival of the Portuguese livestock guarding dogs?
The confinement of livestock stables or surrounded, the loss of knowledge tradicioinais and ancient arts, the devaluation of the rural world and its products are, in fact, kill the pastoralism of course and, with it, the livestock guarding dogs. These races are very threatened and the copies will no longer be used in work, getting as company dogs or as guards. If we want to defend and promote these races, we must also value the indigenous breeds of cattle, suited to our geographical spaces, and the products that they produce. If we did, we're defending a vast and ancient biológio and cultural heritage that identifies and distinguishes us as a people.