Castro Laboreiro Dogs
Preservation, Breeding and Selection of Castro Laboreiro Dog
incontestable fidelity,
courage and
The Best Castro Laboreiro Dogs of Portugal


Reference FCI-Standard Nº 170 / 05.01.2011 /  GB

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY : One of the most ancient breeds in the Iberian Peninsula, it owes its name to the village of Castro Laboreiro, located in the Melgaço municipality in the extreme north of Portugal, where it comes from.  It is a rustic mountainous area, ranging from the Minho River to the Peneda and Soajo Mountains with altitudes of up to 1400 m. It is delimited by the Minho, Trancoso, Laboreiro and Mouro rivers.

Breed´s History
The origin of Castro Laboreiro dog is lost in the mists of the most immemorial times.

The once hidden and ancient spot  and also the culture of a mountainous region - Serra da Peneda- are among others some of the reasons why this legendary and so typical breed is one of the oldest  in the Iberian Peninsula.

The Castros - ancient settlements of early populational centers - were inhabited continuously after their foundation at the end of the Bonze age (c. 9th century BC) until it was subsumed in local Roman culture.

These  small villages  were fortified by long and thick walls for defending purposes. It is believed that  Castros (Castrum from the latin) were places of refuge during frequent and bloody  fights between Celtic and pre-Celtic groups that lived on the northwestern regions of Iberian Peninsula.

The small village actually known as Castro Laboreiro has always been isolated and confined by mountain picks and meandering rivers. The benefits of progress late arrived to this fairy tale place. Remains of an old castle conquered by the first King of Portugal himself are nowadays a special gift to the visitor that bears the top of the magnificent and central hill. Every single family has two distinct houses. One of those is usually located at the highlands and called “Branda”  and the other called “Inverneira” is placed at the warmer lowlands to protect humans and animals from the severe climate conditions. Some anthropological research has been made during the last decades to explain such an interesting culture. Local natives still wear some peculiar garment pieces such as the “capa castreja” a kind of overcoat specially used by women and the “polainas” a kind of wool leggings to protect against the windy and cold weather.

So isolated and pure remained the breed for centuries till nowadays. Fully satisfying people and herd protection needs and also naturally selected during thousands of years  the breed become well adapted to hard living conditions such as poor feeding schemes and extreme weather conditions.

The breed was naturally selected for hunting and also as a livestock guardian dog due to its versatility and courage. Nowadays only a few number of bitches are suitable to breed but despite of this handicap the breed is growing in number and quality. It is spread all over the world from the American Continent to the most inhospitable places in Australia following the footprints of the Portuguese Emigration. 

New bloodlines soon will be established as a must to evolve the breed and reinforce it’s vitality.

At the 21st Century Castro Laboreiro Dog will be known as a guard dog, a watch dog and an exceptional livestock guarding dog.

This is a living legend that transforms every ordinary person into a very proud one.



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