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Basque Shepherd or Euskal Artzain Txakurra - Getting to know this Basque dog breed

Pastor Vasco o Euskal Artzain Txakurra - Conociendo a esta raza de perros vasca

Lobo Azul |

For those of us who like to have pets, it is very interesting and beneficial to know their most relevant characteristics, such as those that define a breed, even breeds that could well be considered exotic or little known.
  • Size : Medium/Large.
  • Weight : Between 17 and 36kg.
  • Hair type : Long and dense.
  • Character : Sociable, Friendly, Calm
  • Health : Healthy
  • Life expectancy : Between 13 and 15 years.
The Euskal Artzain Txakurra or Basque Shepherd Dog is a medium/large dog, accustomed to wide and steep terrain like those of its land of origin. With this we do not mean that they cannot live inside an apartment, they are very versatile dogs and will adapt to it; However, a Basque Shepherd Dog will need to be walked daily otherwise, like people, confinement will stress and depress him. Additionally, if you live in an apartment you should keep in mind that due to their lush fur, during shedding season, you may find hair in the most unexpected places in your apartment. Having said the above, it must be taken into account that shedding is a natural adaptation process; the dog tends to shed its excess coat in hot weather and accumulate fur when it is cold.
Illustration 1995 of the 2 varieties
Illustration 1995 of the 2 varieties
Needless to say, the land of origin of Euskal Artzain Txakurra is. The normal thing in the Basque Country is that each person dedicated to herding had a specimen of the breed at their side. In this way, and over many generations, the breed evolved, perfecting its abilities to gather and control flocks. With the virtual disappearance of herding over the years, the breed was neglected to the point of almost disappearing. It was not until 1995 when recognition was finally achieved by the Royal Spanish Canine Society, beginning a difficult recovery process that still continues with difficulties. It is important to highlight that the Société Centrale Canine (France ) decided in 2018 to accept the Basque Shepherd and that the ultimate goal is for this breed to be recognized by the International Canine Federation . According to some studies of bone remains found by archaeologists, it is believed that this breed, comparing it with the characteristics of the current specimen, may be up to 12,000 years old . The Euskal Artzain Txakurra has featured in paintings from past centuries, which confirms that it has been a known breed for years and is also highly valued.

History of the Basque Shepherd

The history of the Euskal Artzain Txakurra , a beautiful and faithful dog, has been recorded since the 16th century where it appears portrayed in some European frescoes. Which gives indications that they used to be pets of wealthy families with an important position in society.
History of Euskal Artzain Txakurra
In the first decade of the 20th century, they began to be integrated into herding work, this was mainly due to the proliferation of wolves in the region which used to attack the flocks. The so-called Euskal Artzain Txakurra were mixed with other larger dog breeds so that they could serve as shepherds and caretakers. It was in 1995, specifically on June 1st, when the Royal Canine Society of Spain recognized the Euskal Artzain Txakurra breed as a Basque Shepherd Dog. Because it is a geographically located breed, the number of specimens is limited. Currently there are less than 1000 specimens of this breed . However, they are recognized throughout the world for their willingness and great intelligence in herding flocks. Herding competitions are frequently organized, events that take place in some places in Spain where the Basque Shepherd dog finds the possibility of exhibiting its skills in ordering and organizing farm animals. They also compete in categories such as beauty, agility, obedience and even rescue.

The varieties of the Basque Shepherd Dog

There are two varieties of the Basque Shepherd Dog: Gorbeiakoa and Iletsua. Their biggest difference at first glance is their coat; in fact, the meaning of the Basque word iletsua means woolly. The most obvious difference, and what is recognized at first glance, is the dogs' coat, the Gorbeiakoa has a silkier, softer coat and, in general, well adhered to the body while the Iletsua, with lighter tones, has a rougher and slightly curly coat, which looks voluminous.
Basque Shepherd Dog Varieties
Although the RSCE recognizes two varieties of the same breed, the two associations that represent it in Spain (on the one hand, EATE (official and acting at the national level) and, on the other, EATA (friendly association that acts at the regional level) ), have, among their main objectives, to ensure that they are recognized for what they are, that is, two differentiated races, as confirmed by the ancestral knowledge of the people of the Basque Country and the experts from the university level, where it was defended , in 1995, a doctoral thesis that paved the way for the breed's admission to the RSCE. Both varieties naturally have a friendly character, are very attached to the owner and have natural skills for herding. If they are also trained for work since they are puppies, you will have the best companion for your shepherd duties. In addition, given the tranquility of their character, if what you want is a life companion, you can choose a Basque Shepherd Dog with the security of choosing well. There are clear differences between both varieties: The Euskal Artzain Txakurra Iletsua has a rustic appearance and is reminiscent, with nuances, of dogs like the Gos d'Atura or the Berger des Pyrénées . The Iletsua can be distinguished by the following characteristics:
Basque Shepherd Dog Iletsua
The Iletsua is among those considered woolly dogs, its coat is longer and more lush than that of the Gorbeiakoa.
  • Its coat is fawn blonde or cinnamon.
  • Their ears are located towards the back of the head.
  • They can measure between 47 and 61 centimeters.
  • Their ideal weight, according to the standard, varies between 17 and 29 kilos for females and between 18 and 36 kilos for males.
  • Its snout is shorter than that of the Gorbeiakoa.
  • Its tail is a little shorter than that of the Gorbeiakoa, but it is not a very pronounced difference.
For its part, the Euskal Artzain Txakurra Gorbeiakoa or Basque Shepherd is a dog with stylized lines. If we want to make comparisons, we can find similarities between this herding dog with breeds such as the German Shepherd , the Belgian Shepherd and the Border Collie among others. As a curiosity, it is well documented that the Australian Shepherd is a breed inherited from the Gorbeiakoa that traveled with the Basque families that emigrated to Australia.
Basque Shepherd Dog Iletsua
  • The Basque Shepherd can be distinguished by the following characteristics:
  • His face is clearer of hair.
  • Its color, according to the RSCE, is fiery red, known as rojillo with frequent darkening on the muzzle.
  • Its tail is long and very lush with fur.
  • It is a medium breed of dog, it can measure up to 60 centimeters in height at the withers (the union of the scapulae with the nape of the neck).
  • He has an athletic and muscular build

Basque Shepherd Dog Puppies

The most important stage is the first months of the puppy 's life. First of all you have to make sure of the origins of the dog. Choosing a responsible breeder will make the difference between a healthy and balanced dog and one that is not. It must be taken into account that the puppies should not leave the nest until they are at least two months old, a period in which they will learn to relate to their mother, their siblings and the people who live in the environment. The first three months of a puppy's life will determine the degree of socialization they will have for the rest of their life. In addition to all of the above, it is of course essential to ensure that the dog has been given the appropriate vaccines according to its age, and that the microchip has been placed. Finally, it is very important to ask the breeder about the puppy's parents to prevent mixtures between inbred dogs that could cause genetic diseases in the animal. For the latter, there is a pedigree, which is nothing more than a canine family tree.
Basque Shepherd Dog Puppies
All of the above is just the run-up before the puppy arrives home, only then will the real work begin which requires time, patience and a lot of love although as everyone knows, the rewards are much greater than the sacrifices. It must be taken into account that there are precious specimens of this breed that have been abandoned and that need a family, therefore, it is always advisable to consider the possibility of going to one of them (even outside the Basque Country) and rescuing an animal from a of the many protectors. If you opt for this option, you must keep in mind that there are several requirements that you must meet. These include being of legal age, demonstrating responsibility in the care of your pet and signing a contract certifying that you will not use it for breeding. Likewise, the process verifies whether you can adopt a specimen that has been previously abandoned, before being able to access a puppy that has just been born. Likewise in this case, once you have acquired the puppy, you must take it to your local veterinarian to administer the corresponding deworming and vaccination plan. On the other hand, there is the option of going to a breeder specialized in the breed. Currently there are hardly any breeders dedicated to Basque Shepherds. It must be remembered that a responsible breeder is not a person who is dedicated to selling dogs, but rather a person who loves animals, opts for a particular breed and allows you to have one of their puppies, in exchange for this, your You help him raise him by paying a sum of money. A responsible breeder will make you sign a contract, remember that not only do you choose a puppy but the breeder also chooses you, because they trust that you will be able to provide a healthy and happy home for the animal.
Iletsua specimen
Be very concerned about the puppy's diet during its first months of life, providing it with special food for its age and weight, you will avoid allergies, indigestion and you will ensure that it grows strong and healthy. Also avoid giving your puppy sweets, chocolates, seasoned foods... For example, chocolate is a toxic food that is very harmful to dogs. The Euskal Artzain Txakurra, like all dogs, need to be educated and the earlier the education, the better habits they will acquire for the rest of their lives. Think that the puppy will do almost everything that you do not prohibit, it is important to teach him (with positive reinforcement and never mistreating him) what space he can be in at all times, what is the place where he should relieve himself, etc. There are very good publications about it but keep in mind that you are going to receive thousands of different advice from different people so it is best to trust the experts. Think that when they see you with the puppy, everyone will want to tell you what you should do, just like in football or politics where everyone believes they are a better coach or president than the coach or the president, in the world Of the dogs, the trainer and the president are you, so in the end, you are the one responsible and you must avoid being confused with bad advice. To help you, here you can find tutorials from specialized trainers. When the puppy arrives home, on more than one occasion (perhaps more than 100 occasions) they will behave inappropriately, remember that you are the one who must educate them, therefore, bad behavior that lasts over time is cause for no have been corrected in time by you. If they misbehave, which is the most common during their puppy years, since they are starting to get to know their environment and everything is new, attractive and interesting for them and, in addition, they will want to explore everything with their sharp teeth, the normal thing is that If you leave it within their reach, they break shoes, furniture or any other object that they can catch with their mouth. Tell them when they are doing a behavior that you don't like with a strong and firm tone of voice, dogs are very good at picking up different tones of voice. Remember that there is no need to be abrupt or mistreat them. Finally, so as not to confuse them with contradictory messages, remember not to indulge him for a while after reprimanding him. Like all dogs (and we would say like all living beings), the Basque Shepherd likes to receive affection. We are sure you will enjoy pampering this beautiful dog. So caress him, give him your friendship, show him that you love him and that he is another member of your family. Veterinarians usually recommend not letting puppies leave the house until they are 3 months old, for this reason it is important to remember here what we said before. If a puppy is separated from its mother and siblings at a very young age and you do not take it out of the house until it is 3 months old, the puppy will lose a very important period for its socialization which will largely determine its future behavior.


Education of the Basque Shepherd Dog

As previously mentioned, the best stage to train a Basque Shepherd Dog is during puppyhood. Keep in mind that, in addition to the professional training techniques that you put into practice, it is necessary to take care of the dog's emotional needs, for example, it is vital that he feels loved and identifies himself as another member of the family, or on his terms. , of the pack. Likewise, it is important to understand that a dog that is not physically and mentally stimulated will get bored and may seek entertainment by breaking things or, in general, messing around at home. With this we do not mean that the dog should be tired to the point of exhaustion which is a mistake, in the puppy stage dogs need rest in the same way as playing and experimenting, in fact, excessive exercise will be detrimental to their growth. . As in everything in life, the key will be found in a dog that is active looking for a middle ground. The Basque Shepherd is a very intelligent dog from the factory, therefore it will easily learn things such as: where it should do its business, what objects it can take and which it cannot, and even some tricks.
Basque Shepherd Dog
The Euskal Artzain Txakurra have natural characteristics that make them ideal for herding; after all, the breed has been dedicated to it for several thousand years; However, if you want your Basque Shepherd to help you in your shepherd duties, it is very important that you start teaching him as a puppy. Nowadays you can also find sport herding clubs, although even in Spain this sport is not widespread except in a few specific clubs. The Basque Shepherd Dog is very intelligent and very protective , so it will be very easy for you to take advantage of those qualities. He will soon understand that in his shepherding work, he is the one who commands the flock, so he will be able to organize it successfully.

Basque Shepherd Dog Care

All dog breeds need special care so they can enjoy a full life. The Basque Shepherd Dog needs to be combed daily, since having a somewhat long coat, knots should be avoided. Likewise, this helps us reduce the amount of hair that would be scattered around the house if not removed with a comb. Their diet must be appropriate for their size and weight , your veterinarian advises you on this. Foods high in fat and protein are recommended, but not just any fat, so you need to make sure you are feeding him correctly. Avoid giving leftovers of what you eat. The food we eat contains spices and other elements that are not appropriate for the dog's health. Usually these dogs should be bathed between every 15 and 30 days, however it is something that will depend on each specimen and its coat. For this it is important to follow your veterinarian's suggestions. If you want your Basque Shepherd Dog to live healthy and strong, take him to the veterinarian regularly. Keep an eye on the vaccines and vitamins that they may need during their adulthood, as it is common for these controls to be neglected when dogs reach adulthood. Other dog breeds that may interest you:
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