Cao de Castro Laboreiro vs Bisben - Breed Comparison

Cao de Castro Laboreiro is originated from Portugal but Bisben is originated from India. Cao de Castro Laboreiro may grow 16 cm / 6 inches shorter than Bisben. Cao de Castro Laboreiro may weigh 15 kg / 34 pounds more than Bisben. Cao de Castro Laboreiro may live 3 years less than Bisben. Both Cao de Castro Laboreiro and Bisben has same litter size. Both Cao de Castro Laboreiro and Bisben requires Low maintenance.

Basic Information

Group:
Molosser dogs
Working dog
Origin:
Portugal
India
Height Male:
55 - 60 cm
21 - 24 inches
50 - 76 cm
19 - 30 inches
Height Female:
52 - 60 cm
20 - 24 inches
48 - 74 cm
18 - 30 inches
Weight Male:
45 - 70 kg
99 - 155 pounds
18 - 55 kg
39 - 122 pounds
Weight Female:
42 - 70 kg
92 - 155 pounds
16 - 52 kg
35 - 115 pounds
Life Span:
10 - 12 Years
12 - 15 Years
Litter Size:
5 - 10
4 - 10
Size:
Large dog
Giant dog
Other Names:
Portuguese Cattle Dog
Bisben Sheepdog, Bisben Shepherd, Himalayan Bisben, Himalayan Bisben Sheepdog, Himalayan Bisben Shepherd, Himalayan Sheepdog, Himalayan Shepherd, Indian Sheepdog, and Indian Shepherd
Colors Available:
Shades of grey, chestnut and black
jet black, either solidly or with white markings on the feet and chest. Other commonly seen colors are tan, tricolor, and “wolf-color,” which probably means grey, brown, black, and/or various shades of sable.
Coat:
Fairly short, thick and course.
long, wiry, coarse, harsh
Shedding:
Minimal
Minimal
Temperament:
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Responsive, Social, Stubborn, Territorial
Aggressive, Courageous, Energetic, Independent, Intelligent, Stubborn
Grooming:
Low maintenance
Low maintenance
Trainability:
Easy
Easy
Hypoallergenic:
No
No
Kids Friendly:
Yes
No
New Owners Friendly:
Yes
No

History

Cão de Castro Laboreiro originates from Portugal. Also known as the Portuguese Cattle Dog he was used long ago to guard livestock. Today, the modern Cao de Castro Laboreiro is descended from the molosser type dog.

There are hints to the dog's origins from the 19th century, but changes in agricultural methods meant a disappearance of the dog as a livestock protector. Today the dog is mostly kept as a pet and was first seen at a dog show in 1914.

The Cão de Castro Laboreiro is recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale as well as being recognized by the United Kennel Club in the United States.It is a rare dog and not many exist today but in Portugal, the USA and United Kingdom you will find a few breeders.

There is a lot of mystery surrounding this large herding dog said to come out of the Himalaya Mountains of Asia. The belief is that sheepdogs were crossed with wolves toward the end of the 18th century, but his origin is basically unknown. They are both herding dogs and guard dogs. Others theorize that rather than a wolf, the breed arose from the Mastif family. Still others claim that the Bisben is not a breed at all but rather a “landrace”. A landrace is an animal group that is only found to exist in the local area or is bred locally for a specific reason, while a breed is developed intentionally and from a select purebred with pedigree. The Bisben may be a landrace since it is very popular in India but hardly known anywhere else. What is known is that the Brisben was in existence at the end of the 1700’s and its job was to protect and herd livestock. There are three main theories about the origin of the Bisben. They are, in no particular order:

1. The Bisben was developed by mixing several different Himalayan and Indian Sheepdogs with wolves. The wolf population in the Himalayas and in India live in very close proximity to dogs and people and this population is quite large. These Tibetan and Indian wolves are known to be smaller, more comfortable with people and less aggressive than wolves from other parts of the world.

2. The Bisben was developed by mixing local sheep herding dogs with the Tibetan Mastiff. This gave the breed its protective nature and its large size according to this theory.

3. The Bisben was developed by mixing local dogs with the ones the British, Portuguese and French imported to the India subcontinent.

There is a fourth theory as well and it combines all three of these, supposing that the Bisben is a product of crossing local dogs with wolves, Tibetan Mastiffs and European dogs.

Regardless of their origins, the Bisben grew into one of the most respected animals in the Southern Himalayas. Their assistance to the shepherds of the area was unquestioned and irreplaceable. They were touch enough to herd flocks of goats or sheep across several treacherous and unstable mountain passes. The environment in which these dogs worked when herding is one of the harshest environments on the face of the earth. Temperatures were dangerously cold, altitudes dangerously high and the terrain just plain dangerous. Many deadly large predators live there as well. This included tigers, Asiatic black bears, golden eagles, Himalayan brown bears, snow leopards, fox, dholes, wolves, and small cats. The Bisben had to be able to fight off all of these predators. In addition to these herding and protecting duties, the Bisben was also known throughout the region as an excellent hunting dog. They are capable to this day of hunting large prey such as antelope or deer. They are equally comfortable hunting alone or in a pack. He has grown into one of the most popular hunting dogs in all of India.

The Himalayas, being so rugged and treacherous, were inaccessible to most of India for many centuries and the Brisben was unknown as well. Through the British imperialist expansion across all of the Indian subcontinent, the lowlands people were connected to the highlands and mountain people for the first time. This also meant that the Brisben was no longer unknown. The entire country began to appreciate the dog for its protection and herding of livestock, as well as a companion animal who would protect its owner and family as well. As India continues to grow the popularity of the Brisben grows as well and its numbers increase regularly. The breed, if it is a breed, remains an Indian secret. They have migrated to the countries around India, but their number are small. It is only in India that they are revered and prosper. They are not present in any great numbers in Europe, North America, Japan, or most of Asia.

Whether or not the Bisben becomes a recognized breed depends upon those who own and fancy them. Most Bisbens are bred to only other Bisbens in an effort to purify the breed. However, few dogs have pedigrees and the practice of breeding the Brisben to other breeds and mixed breed to acquire specific characteristics continues to this day. It is unlikely that the Bisben will ever be a purebred dog. It is quite variable in how it looks depending upon what the breeding line of the individual dog actually is. Does it look like a wolf? Does it look like a larger version of a local or European dog? There will always be these questions around the Bisben. Is it a breed or a landrace?

Description

The Cão de Castro Laboreiro is a large dog, with height being in the region of 55 to 60cm and weight being in the region of 45 - 70kg. People describe the dog as wolf-like with a coat that is fairly short, thick and course. The coat is brindle with a base color of shades of grey, chestnut and black.

This large mastiff-type dog always has a black nose, his tail is long and carried high, but never curling over the back. He has a broad head and is much like the Labrador in looks, being free of wrinkles on the face.The ears of the Cao de Castro Laboreiro are medium-in-size and floppy while the eyes are dark brown.

Temperament:

The Cao de Castro Laboreiro makes an excellent pet as he forms strong bonds with his human family. He is territorial and makes an exceptional guard dog. He doesn’t particularly like strangers and is aloof around them.

This is an intelligent dog breed, he is strong-willed and stubborn, but when he is around the children in the family he is gentle and loving. When he has been trained and socialized, which is always highly recommended with every dog, he gets along with other pets in the home too.

As mentioned in the previous section the appearance of the Brisban can vary greatly from one dog to another based on the individual dogs’ ancestry. Breed or landrace, the Brisban breeding line is not very pure. Therefore, appearance can vary greatly from what is described here and there is no standard by which to measure the Brisban. Most are distinctly large animals, being as tall as the European mountain dogs – the Newfoundland or the Bernese Mountain Dog, Swiss Mountain Dog. St. Bernard and Great Pyrenees. Reports are that it is perhaps the largest dog in India. At least it is one of the largest dogs in India. The Bisben is said by some to be a large, bulky, husky dog while others claim it to be tall and athletic, leaner than the Mastiff bred. Again, there is disagreement on the size and shape of the Bisben’s head with some claiming it is massively square like a Mastiff while others say the head is long and like that of a wolf not a Mastiff. The long hair of the Bisben and its confusing heritage may be the cause. They are most often black but might also be found to be tricolor, tan and “wolf-color” or brown, grey, shades of sable and black. No matter how it looks, this is a dog that was designed to work in the harshest conditions known and their physical appearance should make that abundantly clear.

Health Problems

The Cão de Castro Laboreiro is generally a healthy breed, but even so, it is good to be aware of typical canine diseases that your pet may develop.

Eye Problems:

There are many eye problems that dogs have to contend with and if you see any kind of ulceration in your dogs eye, get veterinary advice.

Heat- Stroke:

A dog should always have access to a shady spot. Never ever leave your dog in a hot car. Heat builds up quickly and death can result soon as the body temperature rises.

Parasites:

Roundworm and tapeworm can infest dogs and you’ll need to speak to your vet about a worming program. Lice, mites and ticks are all parasites which attach themselves to the skin.

Because he is not a purebred and is probably a land range, there have not been a lot of health studies done and written up on the Brisban. It is believed that the Bisben is for all practical purposes a healthy working dog. As long as the breeding practices are not compromised it should remain a healthy line. It is bred for temperament and work not for appearance and showmanship. Some problems that plague large dogs have been noted in the Bisben. These conditions include hip and elbow dysplasia; optical issues such as Entropion, Ectropion and cataracts; ear infections; and Demadex and Demodectic mange. Most of these conditions can be tested for either in DNA or early in a pup’s life and should be tested for by the breeder before a puppy is sold

Caring The Pet

Grooming:

The Cao de Castro Laboreiro has a short coat which requires minimal grooming. Brushing him twice a week to rid him of loose hairs will suffice.

Nail clipping as well as ear- and teeth cleaning are other routine maintenance procedures for your pet.

Diet:

The food you give your pet must be well-balanced and have protein and carbohydrates. If you want his skin and hair to remain healthy, vitamins, fatty acids and minerals will also be needed.

Boneless chicken and fish, brown rice and vegetables can be a good choice as well as some of the top quality commercially manufactured foods. An active dog will always need a higher protein content and therefore including raw meat into the diet is imperative – not every day as it can be very expensive, but every other day.

Remember that bones can be dangerous as they can splinter and cause your pet internal damage. Fresh, cool water must be available at all times.

The Bisben is a large working dog that needs a lot of calories if you are keeping him busy. Do not let him get overweight. The Bisben should not be free fed but rather given two controlled portion meals per day.

Health issues

As previously mentioned, the Bison was developed with the harshest of conditions in mind and long hours of hard work. It is a healthy breed that is however prone to any of the issues that any large dog is prone to including dysplasia and mange and well as optical issues.

Exercise and games

The Bisben needs a lot of exercise as the breed is developed for hard work. Walks are essential but if you have more than one dog, pack walks are even better and pack time at the dog park or in a fenced yard is great. The Bison was bred to hunt in packs as well as alone and they love to play in packs. In any respect they need at least an hour of strong exercise daily. If they don’t get enough exercise, they can become aggressive, destructive and fearful. This could result in destructive activity, barking and excess excitability. They are not very happy in the city and thrive in the countryside.

Characteristics

Environment and upbringing have plenty to do with how a dog turns out. People who just buy a dog for guardian purposes and nothing else can’t expect companionship in return.

The Cão de Castro Laboreiro has always been a fearless guardian of livestock with his strong protective characteristics. He is intelligent and recognizes that a child in the family needs his protection.

This is a large dog who is strong, brave and intelligent but with his human family he is gentle, loving and loyal. Nonetheless he still requires a firm owner, and if you’re fair and firm with him you get the best with him. With this dog you can form a close friendship and bond.

The Bisben was so important to the people of the Indian subcontinent because of her temperament. He is a loyal, productive and courageous worker who took care of her flocks, her family and her pack. They are devoted to their family and if raised with children will care for them as well. He is suspicious of strangers. They are territorial and great watchdogs. They can take on any large challenger if need be to protect what they consider to be theirs. They can be highly dog aggressive and must be socialized as a puppy. Do not mix them with strange, unknown animals as the Bisben might attempt to kill them. If he sees them as his “pack” he will love and protect them, but not if he does not know them. Take as much time as you need to introduce him to a new animal and do not leave them unsupervised. They are not easy to train as they are stubborn, intelligent, want to be dominant and is a problem solver. If he doesn’t want to learn something forget it – he won’t. You can still train them. It just takes time and patience.

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