Cao de Gado Transmontano vs Bisben - Breed Comparison

Cao de Gado Transmontano is originated from Portugal but Bisben is originated from India. Cao de Gado Transmontano may grow 7 cm / 3 inches higher than Bisben. Cao de Gado Transmontano may weigh 10 kg / 23 pounds more than Bisben. Cao de Gado Transmontano may live 3 years less than Bisben. Both Cao de Gado Transmontano and Bisben has almost same litter size. Both Cao de Gado Transmontano and Bisben requires Low maintenance.

Basic Information

Group:
Molosser dogs
Working dog
Origin:
Portugal
India
Height Male:
73 - 83 cm
28 - 33 inches
50 - 76 cm
19 - 30 inches
Height Female:
65 - 80 cm
25 - 32 inches
48 - 74 cm
18 - 30 inches
Weight Male:
55 - 65 kg
121 - 144 pounds
18 - 55 kg
39 - 122 pounds
Weight Female:
45 - 62 kg
99 - 137 pounds
16 - 52 kg
35 - 115 pounds
Life Span:
9 - 12 Years
12 - 15 Years
Litter Size:
3 - 8
4 - 10
Size:
Giant dog
Giant dog
Other Names:
Transmontano Mastiff or Transmontano 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:
White with large patches of brown, fawn, grey, brindle and black shades
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:
Short to medium length
long, wiry, coarse, harsh
Shedding:
Moderate
Minimal
Temperament:
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Docile, Energetic, Friendly, Gentle, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Quiet, Responsive, Social, Stubborn
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

cao de gado transmontanoThe Cão de Gado Transmontano which is also known as the Transmontano Mastiff or Transmontano Cattle Dog is a large dog – in fact a giant dog breed. This is a rare molosser working dog, hailing from the region of Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro Province in Portugal.

The large dog has always been used to herd livestock and to also ward off wolves. It is believed that the dog’s roots come from the Tibetan Mastiff as well as a Portuguese cattle dog known as the Rafeiro do Alentejo. The dog also shares some similarities with the short-haired Estrela Mountain Dog.

In 1995 the breed was still exclusive to Portugal, but now the breed has been imported to Oregon, USA to be part of an experiment to document bigger breeds and their role in protecting livestock from wolves. They were re-introduced to north-east Oregon from 2008.

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

cao de gado transmontano puppyThe Cão de Gado Transmontano is a large dog, believed to be the biggest of the Portuguese dog breeds. He is powerful and muscular with a large head and can stand up to 83cm in height and can weigh up to 65kg.

He is tough, and is quite comfortable living outside. He is a long-legged dog with a wide chest with medium length floppy ears and a long tail. The coat is fairly short although it can be in a variety of lengths. It is the medium length coated dog with the right coloring that is looked upon as a pure breed. The dog is white with large patches of brown, fawn, grey, brindle and black shades.

Temperament:

The Transmontano Mastiff is an intelligent, obedient dog who is also independent and stubborn. As with all dogs, it is important to have him trained and socialized as this makes him obedient and eager to please. He loves to be patted by his owners and is a dog which is easy to train, responding well to firmness and fairness.

He is calm and somewhat docile but at the same time he is energetic and alert, making him a good watchdog. He won’t do well cooped up in a tiny space. He gets on well with children and other pets in the home.

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

cao de gado transmontano dogThe Cão de Gado Transmontano is a tough dog, used to spending long hours outside guarding sheep. These days however, he is also a companion dog and you’ll want to be aware of some common dog ailments that can strip him of his health and his joy of life.

Hip Dysplasia:

Hip Dysplasia is a looseness with the hip joint, and while it can occur with all dogs, it is more common in large dogs. It’s a disease which can lead to arthritis, pain and also joint degeneration. It’s a disease which can be debilitating for the dog and you will need to get your dog to the vet.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy:

This is a heart disease seen in large breed dogs and where the heart becomes weak and can’t properly pump blood throughout the body. Symptoms include coughing, weakness, difficulty with breathing as well as a fluid-distended abdomen.

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

Diet:

cao de gado transmontano puppiesJust because this is a large dog, doesn’t mean you need to over-feed him. He is muscular and athletic, and by watching his diet, he’ll continue to be strong, lean and healthy. You can feed him a top quality pet-food brand and include boiled chicken, rice and vegetables. Every now and then mix in some raw meat with his dog food to ensure that his skin remains free of rashes and itchiness. Fresh, cool water must be available to him day and night as he drinks abundantly.

Grooming:

Some dog breeds need to be trimmed or stripped to look good, and dog owners often invest in expensive equipment to groom their pets themselves, Fortunately the large Cão de Gado Transmontano is a low maintenance dog and all you’ll need to do is give him a good brush-down twice a week.

Check his eyes, ears, teeth and nails regularly. Remember that dental hygiene is imperative and special canine toothbrush and toothpaste is available to brush your dog’s teeth 2 or 3x a week to get rid of plaque and to prevent gum disease and tooth decay.

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

cao de gado transmontano dogsThe Cão de Gado Transmontano may look like a fairly formidable dog but they aren’t aggressive. They are full of courage and are above all, loving and loyal to their human family.

When you choose to have one of these large dogs as your pet, it is important to make sure he knows that you’re the leader. With training and socialization this dog is a gentle giant who makes an exceptional family pet.

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.

Comparison with other breeds

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