The Catalonian Sheepdog’s stance and proportions suggest this is a big dog, but it’s actually smallish to medium-sized. Their physique is athletic and solid.
These are furry, shaggy dogs with a longish, flat to lightly waved coat and undercoat. Their coats are sable, fawn, or gray, with small amounts of reddish brown, chestnut, black or white throughout. When they shed, they first lose hair on the back end, giving the impression of two different coat types on one dog for a while.
The Catalonian Sheepdog’s eyes are not covered with fur like other sheepdog breeds, but they do sport full beards and mustaches that give them a welcoming, almost goofy look.
Catalonian Sheepdogs are heavy-duty outdoor dogs despite their cute looks. They make good household pets, but are still very close to their roots: They like to be outside herding something. Ideally, you will have a fenced-in yard and exercise your dog at least twice a day.
This breed also calls for time spent grooming — these dogs need a good daily brushing.
These are intelligent, courageous, energetic, and obedient dogs. This breed is less independent than other herders so it bonds more easily with the family. Its gentle nature makes it a good choice for children.
Because of its herding background, the Catalonian Sheepdog can transfer its driving of flocks to the humans and other animals in its household. You’ll find this funny until the hundredth time you’ve fallen over because your dog is close at your heels.
Obedience training is helpful, but you may need special training to redirect its herding drive. Another trait seen sometimes is nervousness or extreme shyness.
This is a rare breed and, like many other rare breeds, it has few documented health problems. But, unlike most dogs of this smaller size, it can develop hip dysplasia.
As its name suggests, the Catalonian Sheepdog originated in Catalonia, Spain. It was probably bred from an ancient Pyrenees dog in the Pyrenean Valley. They are also known as Catalan Sheepdogs, Perros de Pastor Catalan, and the Gos d’Atura Catala.
This breed has served as guard dogs and messenger dogs in several wars, including the Spanish Civil War. They are used as search-and-rescue dogs and police dogs in Spain.
The breed was dwindling until the 1970s, when a group of Catalonian Sheepdog lovers started promoting it, but it remains a rare breed.