Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz vs Bisben - Breed Comparison

Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz is originated from Spain but Bisben is originated from India. Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz may grow 33 cm / 12 inches shorter than Bisben. Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz may weigh 46 kg / 101 pounds lesser than Bisben. Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz may live 3 years more than Bisben. Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz may have less litter size than Bisben. Both Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz and Bisben requires Low maintenance.

Basic Information

Terrier dog
Working dog
Height Male:
35 - 43 cm
13 - 17 inches
50 - 76 cm
19 - 30 inches
Height Female:
35 - 43 cm
13 - 17 inches
48 - 74 cm
18 - 30 inches
Weight Male:
6 - 9 kg
13 - 20 pounds
18 - 55 kg
39 - 122 pounds
Weight Female:
6 - 9 kg
13 - 20 pounds
16 - 52 kg
35 - 115 pounds
Life Span:
12 - 18 Years
12 - 15 Years
Litter Size:
5 - 7
4 - 10
Small dog
Giant dog
Other Names:
Andalusian Ratter
Bisben Sheepdog, Bisben Shepherd, Himalayan Bisben, Himalayan Bisben Sheepdog, Himalayan Bisben Shepherd, Himalayan Sheepdog, Himalayan Shepherd, Indian Sheepdog, and Indian Shepherd
Colors Available:
Mainly white with freckling - black and tan
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.
Short and smooth
long, wiry, coarse, harsh
Moderate, Seasonal
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Gentle, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Responsive, Sweet, Territorial
Aggressive, Courageous, Energetic, Independent, Intelligent, Stubborn
Low maintenance
Low maintenance
Kids Friendly:
New Owners Friendly:


ratonero bodeguero andaluzLong ago the English visited Spain to sample their wines, bringing with them smooth coated English Fox Terriers which were later crossed with other dog breeds of the area.

It is believed that the Andalusia Ratter’s ancestors were smooth coated fox terriers. The Club Nacional del Perro Andaluz Ratonero Bodeguero was established and in 1993 a standard for the breed was set.

It is only fairly recently that the breed was recognized by the Royal Canine Society of Spain but it isn’t recognized by any of the major kennel clubs.

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?


ratonero bodeguero andaluz puppyAlso known as the Spanish Jack Russell, the Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz looks very similar to this popular Jack Russell Terrier.

He is a small to medium sized dog with a lean, muscular body. The Ratonero developed in the south of Spain and is thought to be a mix of local ratting dogs and Fox Terriers. This ensured a quick, agile hunter.

The dog stands at between 35 – 43cm in height and weighs 6 - 9kg. The dog’s head is fairly small with dark brown eyes and half erect-half floppy ears. The coat is mainly white with some freckling. It is short and smooth with shades of black and tan covering the facial area. Some of these dogs are born with a natural bob-tail.


These dogs are known to have robust, hearty, happy personalities, full of the joys of living. They get on well with children as well as other pets if they have grown up with them.

Introductions should be slow if one of these dogs are brought into a home where there are already other pets. He is a very active breed and will be requiring plenty of mental stimulation and physical exercise.

They can provide quite a bit of entertainment for their human families as they can become quite clownish. They’re the kind of dogs that can adapt to life in the countryside or the city.

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

ratonero bodeguero andaluz dogWith good care, your Andalusian Ratter isn’t likely to get sick, but still, you would be better off knowing about some of the common dog diseases your pet could get.

Legge Perthe’s Disease:

This is usually seen in young dogs where there is lameness in the hind legs and hip pain. It is believed that Legge Perthe’s occurs because of a genetic predisposition, and when it develops, there is sadly no cure.

Skin Infections:

Skin infections may seem fairly mild but nothing can be further from the truth. They can be painful and frustrating. Skin redness, dryness, itchiness and pain can cause your pet to lick and bite and make the situation worse. If your pet is being driven crazy by a skin irritation, get him to the vet who will do a complete physical examination.

Other diseases to be aware of include hip dysplasia, obesity, epilepsy and bloat.

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

ratonero bodeguero andaluz puppiesThis is a fairly low maintenance dog as the short smooth coat will be easy to brush twice a week.

Check him over for unusual lumps, trim his nails and check inside his ears, look into his eyes to ensure they are bright and alert and look inside his mouth to make sure he doesn’t have any rotten teeth.

Have your pet neutered or spayed if you want to avoid puppies. This can be beneficial for your pet’s health too.

Feed your Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz only the best food there is. If you opt for commercially manufactured food, make sure its full of vitamins and minerals. Your little pet will want consistency and simplicity with his food to avoid digestive problems.

Try and provide him with some home-made food which can be added to the dry kibble twice a week as a treat. Boiled chicken, brown rice or pasta and spinach, sweet potatoes and carrots all chopped up ad mixed into the dry kibble will ensure your pet’s health.

Some raw meat added in occasionally will also go towards ensuring his good health.

Always make sure he has access to fresh, cool water.

Provide him with a safe, dry, warm, comfortable place to sleep.

Get him to the vet when you see he is sick.

Ensure he has sun and shade in the garden.

Never ever leave him in a hot car.

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.


ratonero bodeguero andaluz dogsYour Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz to this day is a ratter, always alert and ready to spring on prey. He is always lively and friendly, and with his loving nature, makes a splendid companion for his human family.

He is also a stubborn dog, liking to go his own way, and therefore will require training and socialization. He is an adaptable little dog too and when you bring him into your home he is willing to adapt to your way of life and become a loyal and loving member of your family.

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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