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What Is a Basque Shepherd?

What Is a Basque Shepherd?

Today, we are looking at another breed from Spain and asking What Is a Basque Shepherd? Let’s find out a bit more about them.


The Basque Shepherd dog breed originated in the Basque Country of Spain and is now found all over the world. And it is believed that these canines descended from herding dogs from Central Europe at some point in their history.

This sheepdog is one of the oldest dog breeds still in existence.

Skeletal remains have been discovered in Neolithic caves that date back 12,000 years!

The Euskal Artzain Txakurra is a traditional breed of the Basque people, and canines of this type can be found in Basque mythology as well as in contemporary culture.
From the fifteenth century onward, similar dogs may be seen in frescoes in churches and monasteries throughout the Basque Country, as well as in the drawings and paintings of artists like Adolfo Guiard.

Iletsua and Gorbeiakoa are the two varieties that were recognized by the Real Sociedad Canina de Espaa in January 1996; the Gorbeiakoa originates from the region of Gorbea, and Iletsua is Basque for “hairy” or “shaggy.” The breed was recognized in two varieties by the Real Sociedad Canina de Espaa in January 1996.

Formal recognition by the national government of Spain – as well as the publication of a breed standard – occurred in 2001, initially only in the Gorbeiakoa type, with the Iletsua variant receiving official recognition the following year.
In addition, the breed, in both of its variants, was included in the official list of autochthonous Basque breeds published by the government of the Basque Autonomous Community in 2001; specific legislation governing breeding and registration was published in 2003, and the breed was recognized as a protected species in 2004.

The overall number of both subtypes of the breed was estimated to be 500 in 2009, according to available data.

Despite the fact that the Gorbeiakoa is historically associated with the municipals of the Parque Natural del Gorbeia, both it and the Iletsua are found across the historical Basque region of northern Spain.

When some Basques emigrated to the United States in the 1950s to work as shepherds, they brought their sheepdogs with them on their journey.

Character & Temperament

The Basque Shepherd Dog, like other sheepdogs, is exceptionally intelligent and is well-known for being quick to learn new things. They enjoy being outside and active, and can frequently be spotted circling their territory, a habit that they developed during their shepherding days and that has proven to be difficult to unlearn.

They are eager to please their master and can be a rewarding pet for an owner who is dedicated and involved. While their eagerness can be a blessing in some situations, it can also be a curse in others, as they are rarely tired and want adequate stimulation, both mental and physical.

They are often kept as family pets in the Basque Country, where they are well-known for being especially patient with young children due to their sweet and gentle disposition.

They can be protective of their family and are traditionally good guard dogs, being apprehensive of outsiders and usually suspicious of them.

They will, on the other hand, swiftly warm up to a stranger after their fear of being threatened has been alleviated. If they are socialized with other pets from a young age, they will most likely get along with them as well.


There are several characteristics that are shared by the two kinds. The body is sturdy and rectangular in shape, with a length that is typically 10–20 percent longer than it is tall.

The eyes are oval and may be brown or amber in color, while the ears are medium in size, triangular in shape, and maybe folded or pendent.

Having a velvety smooth coat of intermediate length that is shorter on the face and on the fronts of the legs, and somewhat longer on the backs of their legs, the Gorbeiakoa is easy to care for.

Depending on the color, it may be fire-red or fawn; if it is red, some darkening of the muzzle is typical. Dogs range in height from 47 to 61 cm at the withers and weigh between 18 and 36 kg on average; bitches are significantly smaller, weighing between 17 and 29 kg on average.

The coat of the Iletsua variety is rougher and wirier in texture than the coat of the Gorbeiakoa variation. It’s a medium-length dress that’s a little shorter on the front of the legs.
Depending on the variety, it could be cinnamon or fawn in color. Dogs range in height from 47 to 63 cm and weigh 18 to 33 kg, while females range in height from 46 to 58 cm and weigh up to 30 kg.

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The fact that the Basque Shepherd Dog is a Landrace breed, without a doubt, has resulted in it being significantly less susceptible to hereditary disorders than many of today’s modern breeds of dogs.

They have a long life expectancy of 12 to 15 years, however, they are susceptible to a number of diseases, including the following:

Hip Dysplasia is a condition that affects the hip joint.
This disease, which affects the hip joints of several breeds of dogs, causes persistent pain and lameness in the affected animals. As a result of the failure of the joint to form properly, the health of the joint deteriorates over time as a result of this failure.

Medications, weight-control measures, and exercise programs are routinely used to treat this condition. Surgical intervention is recommended in the most severe situations.

Infections of the Ears that last a long time
Breeds with floppy ears, such as the Basque Shepherd Dog, will be more prone to acquiring ear infections throughout their lives than other types of dogs.

The moist atmosphere and lack of airflow within the ear canal provide an excellent habitat for the causative yeast and bacteria to thrive and multiply.

Keeping the ears as clean and dry as possible at all times is essential for preventing infection. When necessary, wax should be removed from the ear canals, and after swimming or bathing, the ear canals should be properly dried.

This life-threatening illness, also known as stomach dilatation, affects dogs with broad, deep chests and is most common in them. Stomach gas will accumulate, resulting in a nervous and uncomfortable dog who will pant excessively, slobber excessively, and be unable to settle down.

Dogs with stomach bloating will be plainly evident to the naked eye and will require emergency veterinary intervention. In some situations, a veterinarian may be able to insert a tube into the stomach to relieve the pressure there.

In the event that the stomach has flipped over, surgery will be required to repair the situation.

Because an untreated case of bloat can result in a fast death, the owner must handle any bloating symptoms with extreme caution.

Life Expectancy

12 to 15 years is common and expected for this breed.


This is a breed that is fairly rare therefore look to be paying between $1200-$1800. Always get the right info from the right breeder. Follow our great guide.


Exercise Requirements

For someone who maintains a sedentary lifestyle, this is not a breed of dog that would be appropriate. In addition to having a strong desire to exercise and a low tendency to feel tired, the Basque Shepherd Dog makes an excellent companion for a busy family who enjoys spending time outdoors.

Since it is a herding breed, the Basque Shepherd Dog is a very active and lively dog. This breed necessitates a long daily walk as well as enough open area to run around during the day.

For them, living in a rural or farm setting where they would have plenty of access to the outdoors and would be able to roam anywhere they wished would be the best situation to be in.

It will be necessary to take lengthy and frequent walks in addition to participating in a variety of games and activities in order to keep everyone entertained.

Absent proper physical activity, boredom can quickly set in, leading to the development of behavioral issues.


When cognitively exercised, the Basque Shepherd dog will prosper, and he will always be eager to please his master by obeying his directions. When teamed with an experienced trainer, this dog’s capabilities are virtually limitless.

They are extremely flexible and may be used successfully in a variety of disciplines including herding competitions, obedience, agility, flyball, and many others.

Positive reinforcement is essential in the training of this breed, as it is with many others. It is necessary to exercise caution, particularly during the initial training stages, because the Basque Shepherd dog has a history of testing limits.

When you combine their, at times, a mischievous character with their seemingly limitless energy, it becomes clear that they require a strong hand and continuous training if they are to achieve their full potential.

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A General Summary

The Basque Shepherd Dog is a traditional Spanish sheepdog. They originated in the historical Basque Country. According to legend, this breed descended from herding dogs of Central Europe.

The Basque Shepherd Dog is a very loyal dog. These dog breeds are also known as ‘Basques’.

They are very protective of their family members, especially the sheep. Their strong and sturdy bodies make them excellent watchdogs.

These dogs are known for their gentle and friendly nature. They are good guard dogs, but they are also protective of their families.

They are also friendly toward strangers but are not sociable enough to live with other pets unless introduced correctly. When socialized from a young age, they get along well with other pets.

They are very smart, and they need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. The Basque Shepherd Dog is a great companion, but it does need a stable, firm owner to keep it in check.

A Basque Shepherd Dog has a healthy, long lifespan and is an excellent watchdog. It is relatively unknown outside of Spain but is a good choice for families with young children and active pets.

The life expectancy of a Basque Shepherd is 10 to 15 years, so you don’t want to ignore him!

As a bonus, the Basque Shepherd Dog is low maintenance, meaning you don’t need to spend a lot of money on regular grooming.

Check out our great range of merchandise for this fabulous breed of dog below!
We have all kinds of shirts, hoodies, fridge magnets and stickers, mugs, and even kids-size shirts too!
Basque Womens Shirt
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