Breeds of dogs: Cao de Serra de Aires

Breeds of dogs: Cao de Serra de Aires

Origin, classification and history

Origin: Portugal.
F.C.I classification: Group 1 - shepherd dogs and cattle dogs (excluding Swiss cattle dogs).

There are several theories on the origin of the Cao da Serra de Aires (Shepherd of the Serra de Aires - Macaque Dog). The most supported theory states that the breed descends from two specimens of "Shepherd of Brie" who were imported into Portugal by Count Castro Guimaraes, but the hypothesis turns out to be without foundation. More detailed studies have led to establish that the breed should have the same origins as the "Catalan Shepherd", observing the morphological affinities that exist between the two breeds. The Shepherd of the Serra de Aires therefore descends from dogs imported into the Iberian Peninsula by Roman legionaries. Until 1957 specimens of this breed were almost never exhibited in dog shows, and until this year, in fact, there were no samples of beauty. Since that year, the breed has spread more and more in Portugal, but also in many other European countries.

General aspect

Medium-sized dog, sublongiline. It has appreciable characteristics of rustic sobriety. Attitudes and appearance are similar to those of a monkey, for which he is known in his country as "Macaque Dog". Although it does not seem to appear, this dog has a very solid construction, very well proportioned and strong. Good relations between body, limbs and head.


The balance between liveliness and intelligence is one of the key points of the character aspect of the breed. It is mainly used in the Alentejo for driving sheep, goat and cattle flocks. The dog knows how to watch carefully over the cattle during grazing and also goes to look for missing animals. In solidarity with the shepherd. It is reserved with strangers. He keeps watch even during the night. It is a perfect breed to keep on the farm. Very affectionate and attached to the owner and to those whom he considers friends.

Cao de Serra de Aires (photo

Cao de Serra de Aires (photo

Cao de Serra de Aires (photo


- males between 45 and 55 cm
- females between 42 and 52 cm.
Weight: from 12 to 18 kg.

Trunk: the upper line is slightly arched and the lower one retracted. The chest is deep, descended with ribs stretched inside. Prominent chest, medium wide and descended. Ribs not very circled because the costal arches are pointed, they are oblique from the front to the back. Back straight or slightly curved and, at the same time, elongated. Short kidneys. Lean belly and hips, slightly raised. The croup has medium length and width, slightly steep.
Head and muzzle: robust, broad, neither elongated nor spherical. Rectilinear or slightly concave nasal bridge, short. Lips joined, not overlapping, thin, almost straight. Stop well marked. Skull slightly longer than its width, slightly convex on the two central axes, but not on the side. Divergent craniofacial axes. The eyebrow arches are not protruding.
Truffle: with well separated nostrils, slightly raised and with large nasal pits. Roundish, cylindrical and almost vertical trunk. Usually black, or however darker than the color of the hair.
Teeth: jaws normally developed in symmetrical opposition to each other. Teeth are white and solid.
Neck: harmoniously joins the head to the trunk. It is long and slightly horizontal. Of regular size and without dewlap.
Ears: are inserted at the top. If whole they are pending. If cut they are erect. Triangular in shape and medium in size, they are thin and smooth.
Eyes: have lively expression. With shaved hair around, they are preferably dark, rounded, of medium size, with horizontal cut. The eyelids have black pigmentation or however darker than the coat.
Limbs: robust forelegs, regularly spaced. Well in perpendicularity. Vertical and muscular forearm. Thin and not protruding carpus. Metacarpus of medium size and length. Rounded and not flat feet. Robust hindquarters, with medium length and wide thigh, muscular. Little inclined, long, muscular leg. Tarsus lower than high. Metatarsal of regular size, strong.
Shoulder: robust, medium length, muscular. Angle is right.
Pace: agile, without touching too much ground. Trot predominates. If the tasks performed demand it, the gallop is lively.
Musculature: fairly developed and evident.
Tail: attached high. Thin to the base. It ends up pointed and touches the hock. At rest it falls between the buttocks. More or less arched or slightly curved. On the move, it rises by twisting a little.
Skin: should not be too tight. Both the external and internal mucous membranes are usually pigmented.
Hair: very long, slightly wavy, it forms locks, mustaches and thick eyelashes which, however, do not obstruct the view. Longer on the head, trunk and extremities. Of medium thickness and similar to the touch to that of the goat. Regularly dense and distributed throughout the body. Undercoat and wool are missing.
Allowed colors: yellow, brown, tawny to red, more or less mottled gray with fiery red; more or less white hairs can be mixed, but there are never white spots except, a small one, on the chest.
Most common defects: prognathism, enognatism, pointed nostrils, overlapping or sagging lips, slightly marked stop, clear eyes, too sunken upper line, white nails, flat skull, not very long hair, amputated tail, dwarfism, narrow head, incorrect movement, monorchidism, cryptorchidism, convex forehead profile, low attached ears, horizontal rump, slightly rough fur.

curated by Vinattieri Federico -

Video: Cao da Serra de Aires (September 2021).