CASTRO LABOREIRO DOG
Portuguese Kennel Club. Revised by Jennifer
Mulholland and Renée Sporre-Willes.
DATE OF PUBLICATION
OF THE ORIGINAL VALID STANDARD
Guard dog, watch dog and livestock guarding dog.
Group 2 – Pinscher and Schnauzer, Molossoid breeds, Swiss Mountain and
Section 2.2 – Molossoid breeds, Mountain type.
Without working trial.
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.
The breed has a slight mastiff type. A vigorous animal, of attractive
morphology and often of striking coat. It has a severe an serious
expression and the rusticity of a mountaineer.
Moderately long (Sub-longilinear), with length of body to height at
withers relation of 7:6; the depth of the chest is slightly less than
half of the height at withers.
The superior cranium-facial axes are slightly divergent. The muzzle is
slightly shorter than the skull, i.e. skull to muzzle relation is 6:5.
A loyal and docile companion to its family, it is essential in flock
protection against wolf attacks which, in the breed’s area of origin,
are still very frequent. Due to its constant vigilance, it is an ideal
sentinel of property entrusted to it, patrolling it frequently. Of
noble nature. Very agile and active, it can show some hostility,
without being quarrelsome. It has a characteristic alarm bark, starting
with a deep sound, rising to low-pitched and ending in prolonged
Of medium size, showing lightness rather than coarseness; smooth
without being lean; skin well developed but without wrinkles; long and
tending to rectilinear.
Skull: Moderately developed, slightly prominent and moderately
The superior cranium-facial axes are slightly divergent with a profile
tending to rectilinear.; The superciliary arches are slightly developed
with a hardly noticeable frontal furrow;
the occipital protuberance is not pronounced.
Stop: Not pronounced, placed at greater distance from the
protuberance than from the tip of the nose.
Nose: Well developed, in line with nosebridge and large.
Nostrils wide open. Always black.
Muzzle: Long, straight; strong; tapering gradually towards the
tip, without being narrow or pointed.
Lips: Well cut, with medium and inconspicuous commissures;
neither fleshy nor pendulous; the mucous membranes of palate and edges
of lips are strongly pigmented in black.
Jaws/Teeth: Powerful, well muscled and close fitting jaws. Full
dentition, strong, white teeth, well adjusted and well set into the
jaw; scissors bite, a pincer bite may be accepted.
Cheeks: Flat, converging moderately to the tip of the muzzle
Eyes: Of medium size, almond shaped, slanting, set level,
prominent nor sunken. Brown in colour, ranging from light brown in
paler coats to dark brown, almost black, in the darker coats. The
expression is somewhat severe. Black eyelids.
Ears: Fairly high set, falling naturally parallel to both sides
head; hanging. Thin and almost triangular, rounded at the tip; of
medium size (length equal to width). When attentive the ears turn
Well set into the body and head, conferring to the head a proud
carriage; short; straight; well developed and of proportional
thickness; without dewlap.
Top line: Level or slightly sloping.
Withers: Well set into the neck and body.
Back: Medium length; strong; longer than the loin.
Loin: Short; broad; well muscled; in harmonious connection to
Croup: Short, broad, well muscled, with a smooth inclination.
slightly higher than the withers.
Chest: Oval shaped medium width and depth.
Underline and belly: Considerable rise from sternum to groin;
belly is not voluminous and shows a distinct difference in line between
the sternum and the belly area.
Natural, of higher than average set, thick at the base; at rest, it
falls down to the hock, hanging not too close between the fringed
buttocks; tail with thick and long hair, especially on the underside,
giving it a thicker look in the middle, with a very hairy underside on
the third part of the tail. It has a graceful scimitar shape and is
carried low; if the animal is excited, the tail rises over the top
line, tilting up, forward and slightly sideways, but never down to
touch the back.
FOREQUARTERS: Strong and well muscled. Very straight, when seen
from the front and sides; well developed bones.
Shoulder: Well developed joints. Medium angle between
Upper arm: Well developed with powerful muscles.
Forearm: Straight and gradually tapering from top to the
developed bones, somewhat cylindrical in shape.
Metacarpus (Pastern): Neither too long nor too inclined.
Forefeet: Proportioned to the size and more round than long,
cat feet; with thick, tight-fitting toes, naturally arched, neither
turning outwards nor inwards; well developed nails, black or dark grey,
smooth, hard, moderately worn. Thick and hard pads.
HINDQUARTERS: Strong and well muscled. Very upright, when seen
back; well developed bones.
Thigh: Well developed with powerful muscles, easily seen from
Stifle joint: Moderately open femur-tibial angle.
Second thigh: Well developed bones, well muscled.
Hock: High; the hock line slopes slightly forward; well
joints and moderately open tibia-tarsus angle.
Metatarsus (rear pastern): Well developed bones, somewhat
in shape. May have single or double dewclaws.
Hind feet: Identical to the forefeet.
The gait is rhythmical and easy, with the legs moving parallel to the
middle body line. The most common gaits are a natural walk and
sometimes an easy amble trot; it will only move faster (trot or gallop)
when a strong reason urges it to do so.
HAIR: Short hair on body (approximately 5 cm); without undercoat.
Slightly dull, smooth, flat on most of the body and very thick; in
general it is shorter and denser on the head and ears, where it is thin
and soft, and on the limbs below the elbow and hock. The hair
is thick and long on the buttocks, which are very hairy; thick,
resistant and somewhat harsh to touch.
COLOUR: The most common is the wolf colour and the most
colour is the “mountain colour”, so called by the locals and considered
as an ethnic trait by the breeders in Castro Laboreiro. It is a brindle
coat with a base colour of different shades of grey
overlaid with lighter and darker shades of black brindling. It is
typical with hair of three different colours; ranging from pine-cone to
reddish and mahogany. The brindling can be of lighter and darker shades
on different parts of the body; darker on head, back and shoulders;
medium dark on body, croup and thighs and lighter on belly and lower
parts of the limbs. A small white spot is permitted on the chest.
HEIGHT AND WEIGHT
Height at the withers:
Males: 58-64 cm (with a tolerance of + 2 cm).
Females: 55-61 cm (with a tolerance of + 2 cm).
Males: 30-40 Kg.
Females: 25-35 Kg.
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault
and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be
in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and
welfare of the dog.
Behaviour: Animals showing signs of shyness or distrustfulness.
Head: Too voluminous, bony or fleshy, too narrow, long or
Ears: Atypical set-on, too big, fleshy and round.
Colour: Small white spot outside the limits set by the standard.
Eyes: Yellow, loose lids.
Tail: Hunting-horn shape, curled or with hook at the tip.
Behaviour: Aggressive or overly shy.
Skull/Muzzle: Convergent longitudinal superior cranium-facial
Nose: Any colour other than black.
Jaws: Undershot or overshot.
Eyes: Wall eye or difference in sizes.
Tail: Docked or rudimentary. Anurous.
Colour: Albinism. Pied or very different from breed type.
Size: Oversized or undersized.
Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be
N.B.: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully
descended into the scrotum.