Castro Laboreiro (Dog standard)

Castro Laboreiro is a loyal companion, obedient to his own family, absolutely necessary as defender of the herds against the wolf which still abounds in the neighbourhood; he is the ideal guard dog for the places entrusted to his protection.

FCI-Standard N° 170 / 24. 08. 1995 / GB

(Cão de Castro Laboreiro)
TRANSLATION : Kennel Club Portuguese and Mrs. R. Binder-Gresly.

ORIGIN : Portugal.


UTILIZATION : Watch and guard Dog.

CLASSIFICATION F.C.I. : Group 2 Pinscher and Schnauzer- Molossoid Breeds- Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs and other breeds.
Section 2.2 Molossoid breeds,
Mountain Dogs.
Without working trial.

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY : With his name closely linked to a small village in the mountains, Castro Laboreiro, where he is mostly found nowadays, this dog has been known since very remote times. Although there is no definite proof to ascertain his origin, as it happens with the Serra da Estrela dog, he must belong to one of the most ancient breeds in the Iberian Peninsula.
He appears mainly in a zone limited by the mountains of Peneda and Suajo and the rivers Minho and Lima, at variable altitudes, up to about 1400 m.
Some specimens of this breed can also be found scattered in other places alongside the Minho and in the Province Douro. He spreads seldom in the Center and the South of the country, where he passes unnoticed.

GENERAL APPEARANCE : A mastiff type lupoïd dog with rather rectangular lines. A strong dog, of pleasant appearance and often of striking coat. His gait is free, easy and full of nerve. His bark is quite characteristic, very loud, starting in variable, generally low tones and ending up in prolonged high-pitched sounds similar to howling.

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT : A loyal companion, obedient to his own family, absolutely necessary as defender of the herds against the wolf which still abounds in the neighbourhood; he is the ideal guard dog for the places entrusted to his protection. Noble carriage, with a strong and severe expression, hardy as a mountaineer. He sometimes takes a hostile attitude, but he is not quarrelsome.

HEAD : Even in size, showing lightness rather than coarseness; dry but not too lean; skin well developed, but without wrinkles; slightly long head, rather rectangular and well set.

Skull : Fairly developed and seen from front slightly salient. Profile almost straight. Frontal furrow hardly noticeable. Occipital crest hardly marked.
Stop : Not very marked, nearer to the tip of the nose than to the top of the skull.

Nose : Well developed, large, straight, nostrils well open, always black.
Muzzle : Nasal bridge long, strong, straight throughout its whole length muzzle tapering towards the tip of the nose, without however being narrow or pointed. Mouth well cut.
Lips : Regular, neither pendulous nor fleshy, close fitting, with labial corners hardly visible. Mucous membranes of the mouth, the hard palate and the edges of the lips strongly pigmented with black.
Jaws/Teeth : Jaws powerful with good occlusion. Set of teeth whole, teeth strong, white and well set into well muscled jaws. Normal bite.
Eyes : Slanting, even with the socket, tonsil shaped, medium sized, perfectly equal and well open. Severe and hard expression. Different shades of brown, from hazel in dogs with a light coat too very deep brown, almost black in dogs with darker coats.
Ears : Of medium size (12/12 cm), moderately thick, almost triangular with a rounded tip; fairly high set, hanging, falling naturally close and flat to the head, parallel to each other. When the dog is attentive, the ear turns forward, its outer surface remaining in forward position.

NECK : Straight, well shaped, short, well set to head and body, of well proportioned thickness. Proud carriage. No dewlap.

Back : Straight, of medium length.
Loins : Strong, wide, short and well muscled, nicely joined to the croup.
Croup : Gently sloping.
Chest : Ogival in shape, high, broad and rather deep.
Underline : Rather flat belly, even somewhat narrow, with distinct difference in level between the xyphoid and the groin, forming a noticeably rising underline.

TAIL : Entire, not docked. At rest the tail should reach the hock. Nicely dressed sabre tail, long and thick at the set on, very hairy on the underside, well attached to the croup; set higher than usual. At rest, it falls down naturally to the buttocks which should be covered with abundant hair, yet not between them. When the dog is excited, the tail is carried above the topline bending upward, forward and slightly sideways, but never carried downward like a hunting-horn.


FORE- AND HINDQUARTERS : Both fore-and hindquarters very correctly vertical, either seen from the front or from the rear; seen from side, the forelegs still appear upright whilst in the hindlegs the line of the rearpastern below the hock joint to the ground slopes a little forward, off the vertical (dog standing too far under). Well developed bone, well covered with powerful muscles especially on the upperarms and on the thighs, the latter showing distinct muscular masses, easily seen from the rear. Forearm rather cylindrical, straight, slimming gradually down to the pastern which should be neither too long nor too bent (not down in pastern). Joints and articular angulations well developed; medium open angles (shoulder-upperarm almost straight, tibio-tarsical angle medium blunt).

FEET : Well proportioned to the size, rather rounded than long, almost cat feet. Large toes, naturally arched, neither turned outwards (splay feet) nor inwards (bow feet), and well connected. Thick, tough pads. Well grown nails, black or dark grey, strong, smooth and regularly worn. Single or double dewclaws acceptable.

GAIT / MOVEMENT : Easy rhythmical gait, the legs moving parallel to the median plane of the body. This dog normally moves at a natural walk or sometimes in an easy amble, unless a strong reason urges him to trot or even to gallop.


HAIR : Thick, resistant, rather rough to the touch, slightly dull, smooth, very close over the entire body and very dense. Short hair (about 5 cm) is the usual, longer or shorter hair is exceptional. Generally the hair is thicker and shorter on the head and the ears where it is softer and finer as well as on the lower parts of the fore-and hindlegs. It is thicker and longer on the tail, especially on the underside, making it appear heavier in the middle part. Very hairy thighs. No undercoat.

COLOUR : Wolf colours in all shades from very light to medium and dark shades, the latter being more usual. Exceptionally all 3 shades may be present on different parts of the same dog : dark wolf colour on the head back and shoulders, medium shade on the chest, rump and thighs, light colour on the belly and the lower parts of the limbs. The most preferred, however, is the locally called “mountain colour” considered by the breeders in Castro-Laboreiro as a characteristical ethnic trait : a mixed coat, similar to the coat of a wolf, greyish, in lighter or darker shades, not black, with brown (pine-seed colour) or reddish (mahogany colour) hairs interspersed on parts or over the whole body.

Height at the withers :
Males 55 to 60 cm.
Females 52 to 57 cm.

Size and weight of a typical dog :
Length of skull 13,5 cm
Width of skull 13 cm
Length of muzzle 11 cm
Girth 72 cm
Width 20 cm
Height 27 cm
Upper line
Length of the trunk 62 cm
Width 14 cm
Body 68 cm
Tail 38 cm
At withers 60 cm
Of the forelegs 33 cm
At the croup 60 cm
Weight 40 kg

FAULTS : Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.
Head : Oversize, too bony or too fleshy. Too narrow, too long or too pointed.
Nose : Any other colour than black.
Jaws : Under-or overshot mouth.
Eyes : Wall eye, different in size.
Ears : Atypical set on, very large, fleshy or rounded. Deafness : Either congenital or acquired.
Tail : Hunting-horn tail, docked tail, congenital short tail, tail non existent (anury).
Coat : With markings or very different from the breed typical colour. Albinism.
Size : Much above (giantism) or much below (dwarfism) normal.

Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.

N.B. : Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

Source: FCI >>>

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