Catalan Sheepdog

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37-46 lbs
18-21"
Spain
Gos d'Atura Català, Catalan Shepherd, Catalonian Sheepdog, Perros de Pastor Catalan
Thanks to their extensive history of use for a variety of activities, the Catalan Sheepdog is known as one of the most versatile dogs around. Like other dogs that share the region such as the Great Pyrenees, this breed was bred to guard livestock. Some speculate the guarding instinct is so ingrained that they will guard flocks without instruction once introduced to the environment and if they don't have one, they will treat their home and family as such, keeping a steady watch for danger from the vantage point of their yard. So it likely comes as no surprise that they also make good watchdogs but what may be surprising is their overall agility. Despite having a heavy, lumbering look, they are actually quite athletic and often do quite well with skills and agility training. They're also known to be great show dogs, as they are surprisingly easy to train. Unlike some of their regional relatives, however, they are much more social and are much more likely to form close bonds with their family, although their mild independence still requires they be properly socialized to be around children and other dogs, even if they are considered a gentle breed. Because they were so long used for the endurance they developed guarding, they do require a lot of exercise, especially if they are primarily kept indoors, and generally do best with an active family and a big yard. But overall, given their versatility, ease of training, and temperament, still make great all-around pets for a good variety of people.
Purpose
Guardian, Companion, Watchdog
Date of Origin
Ancient Times
Ancestry
Catalan, Pyrenees Dogs and Ancient Roman Guarding Breeds

Catalan Sheepdog Health

Average Size
Male Catalan Sheepdog size stats
Height: 19-22 inches Weight: 44-55 lbs
Female Catalan Sheepdog size stats
Height: 18-21 inches Weight: 37-46 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Hip Dysplasia
Minor Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Dental Problems
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Occasional Tests
  • X-Rays
  • Eye Examination
  • Dental Examination
  • Physical Examination

Catalan Sheepdog Breed History

Catalan Sheepdogs are thought to be an ancient breed, the results of crossbreeding the native Pyrenees and Catalan dogs with two distinct types of Roman dogs, one used for herding cattle, the other for guarding them. The offspring of these dogs are thought to be the earliest ancestors of today's Catalan Sheepdog, as well as numerous others of similar types found throughout the region. Because of their high intelligence and overall versatility, these dogs quickly became popular in Spain, so much so that they were even used as both messengers and sentinels in the Spanish Civil War. Unfortunately, like many breeds, their numbers plummeted during WW II as food and supplies became scarce, and many owners were rightfully more focused on survival than breeding. But thanks to a passionate group of breed enthusiasts, the dog's numbers increased in the 1970s. Strangely enough, despite all their good qualities, Catalan Sheepdogs are still considered extremely rare outside of their region of origin, but continued breeding and awareness efforts have begun to change that narrative, including the 1992 Olympic Games in which they were the mascot.

Catalan Sheepdog Breed Appearance

Catalan Sheepdogs are a medium-sized breed, standing 18 to 22 inches tall at the withers and generally weighing 37 to 55 pounds, some of which is the weight of their lengthy hair alone. They are undoubtedly distinct with long, straight or slightly wavy hair that covers almost their entire body, including their face, with a soft, dense undercoat underneath throughout. Their coats come in a range of colors from fawn to shades of sable to grey to black. There are actually two varieties, one common and longhaired, the other shorthaired and considered not only extremely rare but nearly extinct. Despite the shaggy look of the more common longhair, this breed has a surprisingly muscular and athletic build. Their heads are well-proportioned with their skulls being longer than wide and also longer than their blunt muzzle. Their eyes are dark and round and usually at least partially buried under their facial hair. Their ears are high-set, triangular, and folded. They have a rectangular stance with a straight backline that terminates in a long, hairy tail. Their legs, especially their thighs, are highly muscular and their belly is slightly tucked, adding to their overall athletic appearance.
Eye Color Possibilities
brown Catalan Sheepdog eyes
Brown
Nose Color Possibilities
black Catalan Sheepdog nose
Black
Coat Color Possibilities
sable Catalan Sheepdog coat
Sable
gray Catalan Sheepdog coat
Gray
black Catalan Sheepdog coat
Black
fawn Catalan Sheepdog coat
Fawn
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Catalan Sheepdog wavy coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Catalan Sheepdog Breed Maintenance

Despite having massive coats, Catalan Sheepdogs only need a moderate amount of grooming and should be brushed numerous times a week to prevent their hair from matting. While they are not heavy shedders by any means, they do still shed, mostly into their own coat, which is usually what causes matting in the first place. Trimming them down a bit or using a dematter may help this as well, and many prefer to take them to professional groomers regularly to help maintain their coats as much as possible.  Brushing regularly will not only help keep their coats clean and tangle free, but help owners to identify any problem areas and give them an opportunity to check their dog for any extraneous lumps or other health issues, should they choose to take on the work alone. Their ears will also need frequent checking as the combination of being both hairy and folded increases the chance of excess moisture or wax buildup which can cause ear infections. Like any breed, their nails will need to be trimmed as needed and their teeth brushed on a weekly basis.
Brushes for Catalan Sheepdog
Slicker Brush
Dematter
Scissors
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Catalan Sheepdog requires daily brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Catalan Sheepdog Temperament

Catalan Sheepdogs are known to have very favorable temperaments and are able to live in numerous different home environments. Unlike many other guard dogs from nearby regions, this breed is much more likely to get attached to its family and generally forms strong bonds with them, especially with those who take the time and effort to train and socialize them. They are considered relaxed, easy-going dogs in the home but will take at least some socialization to get them on their best behavior around children and other dogs, even if they are considered a gentle breed overall. They thoroughly appreciate being given a job to do, whether that is patrolling the yard as a watch dog or even just playing games, but because of their endurance, take quite a bit of mental and physical stimulation to tire them out. They are inherently wary of strangers but are generally non-aggressive, choosing to calmly position themselves between unknowns and their home or family, as they would while guarding flocks of livestock. They are a highly intelligent breed and unlike many others who translate their smarts into stubbornness, Catalan Sheepdogs use their brains to the best of their ability, quickly learning commands and exercising obedience with regularity.

Catalan Sheepdog Activity Requirements

Catalan Sheepdogs are considered high energy dogs overall, largely thanks to their combination of muscle, size and historic endurance. They generally do best in a household with an active family or at least one with a large yard where they can run and play or patrol at will. Even so, they require between 16 to 18 miles of running or walking a week or at least 60 to 80 minutes a day if possible. Many owners will find a way to engage them on both a mental and a physical level, such as having them chase hard-thrown balls in the dog park, catching frisbees, or anything else that makes them both think and react physically, as it goes a long way towards keeping their behavior in and outside the home at its best.
Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
18 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
70 minutes

Catalan Sheepdog Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3.5 cups
Daily Cost
$1.5 - $2
Monthly Cost
$45 - $60

Catalan Sheepdog Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Catalan Sheepdog size stats at six months
Height: 14 inches Weight: 35 lbs
Female Catalan Sheepdog size stats at six months
Height: 14 inches Weight: 29 lbs
12 Months
Male Catalan Sheepdog size stats at 12 months
Height: 17 inches Weight: 42 lbs
Female Catalan Sheepdog size stats at 12 months
Height: 17 inches Weight: 35 lbs
18 Months
Male Catalan Sheepdog size stats at 18 months
Height: 20 inches Weight: 49 lbs
Female Catalan Sheepdog size stats at 18 months
Height: 19 inches Weight: 41 lbs

Catalan Sheepdog Owner Experiences

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