Istrian Sheepdog vs Basque Shepherd - Breed Comparison

Istrian Sheepdog is originated from Slovenia but Basque Shepherd is originated from Spain. Both Istrian Sheepdog and Basque Shepherd are having almost same height. Istrian Sheepdog may weigh 11 kg / 25 pounds more than Basque Shepherd. Istrian Sheepdog may live 3 years less than Basque Shepherd. Istrian Sheepdog may have less litter size than Basque Shepherd. Both Istrian Sheepdog and Basque Shepherd requires Moderate maintenance.

Basic Information

Group:
Working dog
Working dog
Origin:
Slovenia
Spain
Height Male:
54 - 63 cm
21 - 25 inches
47 - 61 cm
18 - 25 inches
Height Female:
54 - 63 cm
21 - 25 inches
46 - 59 cm
18 - 24 inches
Weight Male:
26 - 40 kg
57 - 89 pounds
17 - 29 kg
37 - 64 pounds
Weight Female:
26 - 40 kg
57 - 89 pounds
17 - 36 kg
37 - 80 pounds
Life Span:
10 - 12 Years
12 - 15 Years
Litter Size:
3 - 6
6 - 9
Size:
Medium dog
Medium dog
Other Names:
Karst Sheepdog
Basque Herder, Basque Sheepdog
Colors Available:
Dark and Light shades of Grey
fawn, yellow orange or copper coat with other shades being red, blue and black
Coat:
Long, thick and harsh
smooth and soft to rough and coarse
Shedding:
Moderate, Seasonal
Moderate
Temperament:
Affectionate, Aggressive, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Responsive, Social, Stubborn, Territorial
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Responsive, Social, Sweet
Grooming:
Moderate maintenance
Moderate maintenance
Trainability:
Easy
Easy
Hypoallergenic:
No
No
Kids Friendly:
Yes
Yes
New Owners Friendly:
Yes
Yes

History

Known also as the Karst Sheepdog, the beautiful, medium sized Istrian Sheepdog hails from Slovenia, Yugoslavia in the 1600s, being used to guard sheep. In fact, the Karst Shepherd was recognized as the Illyrian Shepherd in 1939.

The dog is fairly scarce in his own country, but interest in the dog started developing in the late 1970s. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale recognizes the breed and it has also been exported to the United States, being recognized by the United Kennel Club.

It is also recognized by a number of smaller kennel clubs. The dogs numbers have declined at certain periods in its history but fortunately breeding programs boosted its numbers.

The Basque Shepherd is one of the oldest dog breeds. With this Spanish dog, you’ll find paintings dating back 12,000 years ago. The Basque Shepherd is known as a landrace breed, which means the dog hasn’t gone through the same selective breeding programs as what other breeds have. Landrace breeds have more variations in appearance and temperament than regular breeds.

The Basque Shepherd has 2 distinct varieties, the Gorbeiakoa and the Iletsua. The smooth-haired Gorbeiakoa has a softer coat that is fairly short while the rougher-haired Iletsua has a lighter coloured coat, and unlike the Gorbeiakoa, the ears are not typically erect.

Even though this is an ancient breed of dog, only the Royal Canine Society of Spain recognizes the breed with the two varieties, and in January 1996, the two breeds - Iletsua and Gorbeikoa – were recognized.

Description

This is a medium sized, muscled, strong dog with an iron-grey coat that has shades of deeper grey. His beautiful coat is long, thick and fairly harsh to the touch, with the undercoat protecting the dog against cold weather.

Around the neck area the hair is longer, forming an eye-catching-like mane. The stomach area has longer hair too. He has a noble look about him with kind, brown eyes and a round skull. The muzzle of the dog is dark, the limbs long and muscular and the tail is long and covered in thick fur.

The dog is slightly longer than its height, and both males and females stand at 54 to 63cm in height and weigh between 26 and 40kg. The long tail reaches right down to the hocks. The ears of the dog are fairly short and are floppy.

Temperament:

This dog has always made an excellent guard dog, being alert and also being distrustful of strangers. He will need to be trained and socialized if you want him to be obedient to you and more amicable around children in the home as well as visitors to the home.

If he is trained and well socialized, he is able to make a good pet. However, he is an energetic dog, used to working and he isn't recommended for life in the city if there is only a tiny garden. He needs space and will require a large garden.

He will also need to be exercised and not just left to his own devices in the backyard. Because he is essentially a working dog he doesn’t easily fit into the role of pet and companion. He is a working dog and will need to be kept busy.

Two Varieties

The Basque Shepherd is a strong, well proportioned dog with brown eyes and medium sized ears, which sometimes have folds. This medium-to-large dog has a beautiful fawn coat of medium-length hair that can be straight or slightly wavy. He has a long feathery tail that will wag readily when he sees his owner. You’ll find other colors for the Basque Shepherd shared between the two varieties - a yellow orange or copper coat with other shades being red, blue and black. His hair is shorter on the head and he doesn’t battle with hair over the eyes.

An Intelligent Breed

The Basque Shepherd is a highly intelligent dog and also very energetic. Of the two different kinds of Basque Shepherd, it is the Gorbeiakoa which is the more outgoing. The dogs will require a firm owner and they thrive on the discipline when it is combined with lots of with lots of exercise and activities.

The Basque Shepherd is generally friendly with people, if not a little reserved with strangers. He gets on well with children and other pets in the home, although socialization and training will be necessary to bring out their best.

Health Problems

As with many other dog breeds, the Istrian Sheepdog is a healthy dog that, because of history of hard work, is robust and able to stand up well to common dog illnesses.

However there is one dog illness that strikes many dogs and at any age, and it is hip dysplasia. This is a malformation of the hip joints.

You'll notice that your once active dog is lethargic, doesn't want to play so much anymore and battles to get up after lying down. The disease is painful for your dog and it can lead to mobility issues. The disease is diagnosed with x-rays and your vet will recommend treatment options to make life more comfortable and less painful for your beloved pet.

Because this is an ancient breed, the Basque Shepherd doesn’t have to contend with genetic health problems such as more modern breeds. Just like other dogs though, he could be prone to certain conditions such as hip dysplasia, eye problems, ear infections and cancer. As a larger breed, he may also be prone to bloat.

Chronic Ear Infections

Breeds with floppy ears, such as the Basque Shepherd will be more prone to developing ear infections. To prevent infection, keep his ears clean and dry. If you’re unsure, the vet can guide you how- and what to do.

Hip Dysplasia

This is a disease which is common to other dog breeds too and not just the Basque Shepherd. This condition affects the hip joints and can result in chronic pain for the dog and also lameness. Checking your dog’s weight is important and the pain can be managed with medication.

Caring The Pet

Exercise:

This is a dog that is used to guarding his flock and he will need to be in a home that has a fair sized garden. He can adapt to life in the city or to the countryside, but wherever he is, he will need sufficient exercise. Take him with you on your walks or hikes and give him some rope- and ball games.

General Care:

Wherever you live in the world, when the Winter winds howl and blow in icy rain or snow, a dog is at an increased risk of illness. You decided to have a dog in your home and it is your responsibility to care for him. Winter weather is downright unpleasant and dangerous for most pets.

Bring your pet in during such weather and provide him with a warm, dry sleeping space. During hot weather, make sure your pet has a cool, shady spot to lie down in, out of the boiling sun. Whatever weather you're experiencing, your pet should never ever be without a constant supply of fresh, cool water.

Provide him with excellent food that is full of vitamins and minerals to keep him healthy. Learn to know what human foods can be toxic for him and cause him digestive problems.

Grooming:

Your double coated Istrian Sheepdog will need a thorough brushing at least twice a week because of his dense, double coat. He does shed and isn't a hypoallergenic dog. His thick coat can tangle easily if it isn't properly brushed and maintained.

Clip his nails when and if they grow long. Other grooming aspects for this attractive dog require checking his ears for infection and also checking his teeth as dental disease can lead to a host of serious illnesses in your dog.

This is a medium to large breed dog and he should therefore be fed a high quality food which has been formulated for medium to large breeds. Because he is a herding dog, you might want to also look at an active-dog or working-breed formula to supply him with that much needed energy.

Grooming

The Basque Shepherd’s coat is lush and long with either straight or wavy hair. Regular brush at least twice a week will maintain the coat, get rid of loose hair and prevent fleas.

Training

The Basque Shepherd is an intelligent breed that will respond well to socialization and training. He is a breed that loves sports too because of this very high energy levels. You need to be careful with the Basquae Shepherd around small children, not because he is aggressive in any way, but because he is highly active, and his exuberance and boisterous antics could see him unintentionally knocking over small children.

Characteristics

Your Istrian Sheepdog is a unique, strong-willed dog that is used to guarding, and working and he wants to be kept involved and busy.

He is wary of strangers and makes an excellent guard dog for any family home. Remember that it is never good to invest in a dog purely for guard dog purposes. A dog such as the Istrian Sheepdog is a social creature and he also wants- and needs to be part of a human family that provides him with plenty of interaction with them.

The Istrian Sheepdog is a loyal, loving dog who is capable of forming strong bonds with his human family. With proper training and socialization he makes a good friend of children and the elderly too.

Include him in all your family activities just like any human family member and he will make you a splendid, courageous pet.

The dog is well suited to being a family pet, loving to spend time with family, being a people-oriented breed. He gets on well with children as well as other pets in the home, but can be reserved with strangers.

He doesn’t have an aggressive nature, and yet he does what it takes to protect his beloved human family.

He is full of energy, hardy and tough. He loves his human family and wants to be included in all their activities. He is energetic though and as a responsible dog owner, you want to make sure that your Basque Shepherd has enough space to run.

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