Euskal Artzain Txakurra (Basque Shepherd) – Characteristics and care

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The Basque Shepherd is a dog from the Basque Country, where in Basque it receives the name of Euskal Artzain Txakurra. It is a breed dedicated to grazing that stands out for its physical qualities and its great intelligence. Their agility in these tasks is such that annual competitions to evaluate the best sheepdog of the year are common.

We will review what are the characteristics, character and care of the Basque Shepherd, as well as the recommendations so that he has excellent health. If you are looking for a very active, intelligent and lively dog, this is your breed.

Index of contents

  • 1 Origin of the Euskal Artzain Txakurra
  • 2 Physical characteristics of the Basque Shepherd Gorbea
  • 3 Physical characteristics of the Basque Shepherd Iletsua
  • 4 What is the character of the Basque Shepherd?
  • 5 What care does a Basque Shepherd dog need?

Origin of the Euskal Artzain Txakurra

The Basque Shepherd is believed to be one of the oldest dog breeds. Its origins are traced in the Basque Country up to 12,000 years ago, at which time it was already used by the populations of the area as a sheepdog.

It is possible to find records of the breed during the Middle Ages, when it was referred to in paintings and manuscripts. In addition, there is a legend that assures that Basajaun, a character from Basque mythology, created him to defeat a gigantic wolf.

The shepherding skill of this breed is so great that it annually participates in the Artzai Eguna, or Pastor’s Day in Spanish. This festival is celebrated in the town of Uharte-Arakil (Navarra / Nafarroa), at the end of August.

At present, the breed is considered to be in danger of extinction, since the number of existing specimens is estimated to be 353 dogs. There are two varieties of Basque Shepherd: Gorbea and Iletsua.

Physical characteristics of the Basque Shepherd Gorbea

None of the varieties of Basque Shepherd is accepted by the International Cynological Federation (FCI). However, the Royal Canine Society of Spain (RSCE) recognizes the breed, and there is also a canine club of Basque origin, called Euskal Artzain Txakurraren Adiskideak Elkartea.

According to RSCE breed standard, the Basque Shepherd Gorbea or Goirbeikoa has a medium body with an elongated trunk. The nose has a black truffle, while the muzzle is long and the ears fall.

The eyes are almond shaped. The irises are brown and amber. Also, the legs are strong and muscular.

The coat of the Basque Shepherd Gorbea is of medium length in some areas, and long in others. It is soft and smooth, with a few fringes on the back of the thighs. As for the color, it is reddish or fawn.

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Height between 47 and 61 cm in males and between 46 and 59 cm in females

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Weight between 18 and 36 kg in males and between 17 and 29 kg in females

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Medium, straight, red or fawn hair

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Balanced, active, obedient and confident character

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Strong health

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Estimated life expectancy of 14 years

 

Physical characteristics of the Basque Shepherd Iletsua

The Basque Shepherd Iletsua has a very similar appearance to the Gorbea variety. It also has a medium body with a long back, and its truffle is black and straight.

However the RSCE standard It also establishes some differences between the two. One of them is the snout, slightly shorter. Furthermore, the Iletsua’s eyes are oval with black eyelids; the iris does have the same shades of chestnut and amber.

The ears are triangular, while the tail insert is high. The coat is long and rough on the back and tail, but shortened towards the face and limbs. Coat color is tawny or cinnamon.

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Height between 47 and 63 cm in males and between 46 and 58 cm in females

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Weight between 18 and 33 kg in males and between 17 and 30 kg in females

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Medium length, tawny, or cinnamon hair

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Faithful, active and somewhat territorial character

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Strong health

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Estimated life expectancy of 14 years

 

What is the character of the Basque Shepherd?

Despite their physical differences, the two varieties of Basque Shepherd have a similar personality. You will see that both are faithful to their masters, they are dogs of strong character, necessary characteristic to develop the work of grazing. Puppy socialization is recommended to prevent them from developing their territorial facet.

Apart from this, the Basque Shepherd it is a kind and good guardian dog. In addition, he shows self-confidence and is very intelligent, qualities that allow him to develop in grazing better than other breeds.

What care does a Basque Shepherd dog need?

Being a herding dog, You will need long walks daily. Also, try to provide varied exercises and plenty of fresh air. For these reasons, it is not recommended for living in urban areas, you should only adopt it if you can guarantee several hours of exercise and games daily. It includes intelligence games, it is capable of performing them in half the time than other races.

Despite this, we reiterate that its ideal environment is the mountain and the wide terrains. In general, this dog does not adapt easily to the small spaces of an apartment.

Both varieties require brushing two or three times a week. Take care to undo the new ones and pay attention to the development of external parasites. As with other breeds, it is recommended to bathe it once or twice a month, depending on the physical activity you do.

As for food, a high quality feed rich in fats is recommended, as long as the dog leads an active life. Homemade food, with diets like BARF, is also a good option for the Basque Shepherd.

No inherited diseases have been recorded in this breed. With basic care, mandatory vaccinations, and annual veterinary check-ups, your dog will live a happy and healthy life.

If you have fallen in love with the breed, we recommend that you visit these two Facebook pages dedicated to the Basque Shepherd:

  • Page of Eusebio and the PV in FB
  • Race Friends FB page