The Catalan Sheepdog or Perro de Pastor Catalan as they are also called, are lovely, spirited and friendly dogs, they are also very intelligent and extremely agile which means they make great agility dogs. The breed was chosen to be the mascot at the 1992 Olympic Games which is not surprising because not only are they gorgeous looking but very sporty too. They were originally bred for herding which they do very well, having a natural instinct to protect things. Because they are so smart, they will obey their shepherd but are also very capable of working on their own, herding and protecting their flocks. They are a very popular choice as a family pet because they adore children and get on with other animals whilst at the same time boast being brilliant guard dogs.
Catalan Sheepdogs are an ancient breed that date back to Roman times. It was the Romans who bought the breed with them to the Iberian Peninsula in around 200 to 100 BC when they invaded these lands. In fact, the Romans bought two kinds of dogs with them, the first was to defend/protect and tend flocks of sheep and to prevent enemies from attacking them. However, the second dog they bought with them herded cattle and are thought to be the ancestors of Italian Bergamascos. These dogs were subsequently put to dogs that were native to Catalan and so the Catalan Sheepdog was born. They gained popularity in Spain because of their courage and lovely natures, they were used as messengers and sentries during the Spanish Civil War and earned themselves a reputation of being brilliant guard dogs. However, the breed dropped in numbers after the Second World War and it was not until the seventies that a group of people got together to rescue the Catalan Sheepdog from vanishing off the face of the earth forever. Catalan Sheepdogs are still considered as “rare” dogs although thanks to the dedication of many breeders, their numbers are growing and many are still used as herding dogs.
This lovely breed is an active, hard working dog that loves to be doing things and kept busy. They have a strong instinct to herd, protect and guard. They are also very brave dogs but with this said, they are very charming characters. Catalan Sheepdogs are renowned for their loyalty and devotion to the people they love and who take care of them. They are a great choice as a family due to their kind natures, they get on well with other animals and they adore children. They are highly adaptable dogs but need to know who is boss. They are calm by nature but they do need lots of exercise and as such don’t make very good “apartment” dogs. They are much more suited to living where there is a nice big garden because they need lots of regular and energetic exercise to stay happy and healthy. Because they are so intelligent, Catalan Sheepdogs need to be well socialised and trained from an early age and they do well if they get a certain amount of training throughout their lives. This is because they need to know who is the boss but because they are so clever, training them is really easy. They are also brilliant guard dogs, having a strong natural instinct to guard and protect.
Catalan Sheepdogs are known to healthy dogs but they tend to suffer from a few health issues which includes hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy, glaucoma and a few dental problems. Regular health check-ups are a must as with any other breed of dog, especially as they get older. The breed boasts a long coat whether wavy or straight and this means regular grooming is a must to prevent it from becoming tangled and matted. Brushing them at least three to four times a week, gets rid of dead and loose fur which helps keep it off the furniture and carpets. Because they are very active dogs, Catalan Sheepdogs must be a fed good quality food and a well balanced nutritious diet. Just like any other breed, regular check-ups at the vets are a must as they get older, and so they are kept up to date with all their vaccinations. The vet will also be able to keep an eye on their teeth, to make sure they are not suffering from a dental problem which is often a condition they are prone to suffer from.