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Azores Cattle Dog Temperament (Loyal & Smart) BUT Not for Newbies

The rugged Azores Cattle Dog temperament makes this breed an indispensable working dog in its native land.

The Azores Cattle Dog is a rare breed that hails from the Azores—an island chain in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. The Azores are an autonomous region of Portugal.

Cao Fila de Sao Miguel, the Fila de Sao Miguel, the Sao Miguel Cattle Dog, and/or the Azores Cow Dog are all other names that the Azores Cattle Dog is called at times.

These dogs are large, imposing, Mastiff-type guard dogs. They are perfectly suited to working long hours in punishing terrain. Their fearless temperaments make them ideal livestock protectors.

Azores Cattle Dogs are so scarce that there only about 3000 registered throughout the world, and most of them are in the Azores.

Even though they are rare throughout the rest of the world, there is actually an overabundance of Azores Cattle Dogs and Azores Cattle Dog mixes in animal shelters in the Azores, particularly on Sao Miguel Island.

There are some opportunities for outsiders to rescue some of these unwanted Azores Cattle Dogs from Sao Miguel Island, and we will discuss these options later in the article.

The Azores Cattle Dog temperament is definitely not for everyone. Before you commit to adopting one, learn as much as you can about common Azores Cattle Dog behaviors and traits.

This article will provide a good jumping off point for your research into the breed.

Understanding the Azores Cattle Dog Temperament: 5 Common Azores Cattle Dog Traits

In this section we will explore the ins and outs of the Azores Cattle Dog personality.

However, please keep in mind that all dogs are individuals, so there will be some variation between individual dogs within this breed.

Therefore, your Azores Cattle Dog may not display all of the traits listed below.

1. Protective

The courageous Azores Cattle Dog temperament makes this breed an outstanding guard dog for the home or farm.

A dog breed history book from the Azores describes the Cao Fila de Sao Miguel in the following words:

I cannot speak highly enough of these dogs; they are a true working dog with an extremely fierce, primitive and hard temperament.”

Azores Cattle Dogs are naturally protective of their owners, families, and homestead.

They also make excellent guardians for livestock—particularly cattle.

You must be mindful of this personality trait if you own one as a pet. It is important not to let this behavior get out of hand and turn into aggression towards animals or visitors.

Make sure you monitor all interactions between your Azores Cattle Dog and strangers, especially children.

If you see any signs of aggression, seek assistance from a veterinarian and/or a canine behaviorist.

Hard Working

The driven Azores Cattle Dog temperament makes this dog a hard working helper on the farm.

The early inhabitants of the Azores islands created these dogs to herd and guard their cattle in all types of temperatures and weather conditions. These are extremely hardy dogs that are not easily deterred from their work.

The Azores Cattle Dog will move herds of cattle by nipping at their heels. However, these dogs are selectively bred and trained to never bite their charges on the udder.

The power and size of the Cao Fila de Sao Miguel makes it the perfect breed for cattle herding, but it is generally considered too rough for sheep or other smaller farm animals.

If you do not have cattle for your Cao Fila de Sao Miguel to herd, you will need to provide another creative outlet for its working drive.

This breed is not content to lounge around at home. You must be prepared to provide your Azores Cattle Dog with at least an hour of vigorous physical activity each day.

Azores Cattle Dog exercise can take the form of jogging, hiking, and/or canine sports such as herding, agility, nosework or weight pull.

Without a proper channel for their energy, you can expect behavioral problems such as barking, chewing, digging, or even increased aggression.

Sufficient exercise is extremely important to this breed. If you work long hours, you might need to consider a dog walker or a doggie daycare to provide enough daily physical activity for your Cao Fila de Sao Miguel.

3. Loyal

The devoted Azores Cattle Dog temperament makes this breed extremely loyal to its master.

The Azores Cattle Dog is faithful to its family, but can be wary of strangers.

Make sure you have the proper lifestyle for this type of dog.

For example, if you live in a remote area with few visitors, this would be an ideal dog for you.

However, if you live in a busy city and you have an active social life with plenty of guests and parties, the Azores Cattle Dog will not be a good fit your lifestyle.

The Azores Cattle Dog is definitely not suited for apartment living. This breed is much better suited for rural life where there is plenty of open space.

4. Intelligent

The Azores Cattle Dog temperament is highly intelligent.

One farmer from the Azores claims that these dogs can learn dozens of different herding commands and can even differentiate between individual cows by their names!

If you own one of these dogs as a pet, you will need to provide plenty of mental enrichment to keep his mind engaged.

Because of their intelligence, Azores Cattle Dogs can excel in obedience and rally obedience competitions.

5. Not for Novice Owners

The Azores Cattle Dog temperament can be a good match for an experienced handler, but it is not an appropriate choice for a novice owner.

These dogs are large and powerful, and they can be a liability in the wrong hands.

It is best if owners have prior experience with Mastiff-type breeds before trying an Azores Cattle Dog.

Azores Cattle Dog History

The Cao Fila de Sao Miguel is named for the Sao Miguel Island of the Azores.

This breed was first documented in the 19th century, but it has almost certainly been around longer.

It is believed that the Azores Cattle Dog developed from an ancient breed called the Terceira Dog, which is now extinct.

The word “Cao” translates to “dog” in Portuguese. The word “Fila” means to hold something by the teeth or mouth.

The Federation Cynologique Internationale published the official breed standard for the Azores Cattle Dog in 1995.

The American Kennel Club does not yet recognize the breed.

Azores Cattle Dog Size and Appearance

The Azores Cattle Dog is a large breed with an imposing physical appearance.

The average Azores Cattle Dog weight is about 77 lbs, with females being slightly smaller.

The typical Azores Cattle Dog height is about 23 inches at the withers.

Azores Cattle Dog colors can range from fawn to brown to grey to black, but the coat pattern is always brindled.

Their tails can be kept natural or docked.

Their ears were historically cropped with rounded tips. However, now that ear cropping is being banned in many countries, their ears are more commonly left natural.

A Guide to Azores Cattle Dog Training

If you own one of these dogs