Breeds of dogs: Calabrian Shepherd Dog

Breeds of dogs: Calabrian Shepherd Dog

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Origin, classification and history

Origin: Sila, Calabria, Italy.
F.C.I classification: RACE NOT RECOGNIZED
Shepherd dog used for the protection of flocks and property

Its origins are indisputably ancient and according to some experts this dog would descend from the dogs imported by the Greek colonists when they settled in the region. It is described in many diaries and stories in the past two centuries. This dog was mainly used to keep wolves away from the flocks of sheep and goats that grazed, but since the wolf no longer lives in those Italian regions, these ancient dogs have weighed their function and therefore their local popularity, and is in fact quickly gone to disappear. In 1972 the "race" made its debut, out of competition, at the Cosenza exhibition; 7 rather homogeneous specimens were presented.

General aspect

The Sila Shepherd Dog, aka Calabrese Shepherd or Silano, looks like a harmoniously built mesomorph, large, vigorous, with strong bone structure, but never heavy, and with a well-developed musculature. Equipped with great agility. The trunk is inscribed in the rectangle, but must never give the impression of being squat or low on the limbs. Sexual dimorphism is evident. The coat, rich in undercoat, long and dense, in the winter season, is of semi-vitreous texture, smooth, which accentuates the vigor of the dog.

Behavior and character

The Sila Shepherd Dog has always played the role of custody and support in the management of the flocks that populate the Sila and part of the Calabrian territory. Fearless and incorruptible. He carries out his work with great seriousness and dedication, without ever leaving the herd unattended with which he spends his entire existence. It is extremely rustic as it is used to living in extreme conditions, food shortages and climatic adversities, of the environment in which it has worked for centuries. He has a watchful and careful expression. With excellent memory. Wary of strangers from whom he hardly gets close, but in the presence of the shepherd / owner, being gifted with a great balance, he becomes familiar with great ease. If grown up in close contact with man, he shows great docility, great liveliness and great attachment to those who have looked after him. Loving with children, more fiery and impetuous with adults. Great learning ability. He loves to be caressed. His psychic abilities suggest that the usefulness of this dog is not only limited to the guard, his sensitivity and sweetness sees him as suitable not only as a companion dog but also for use in Pet Therapy. Thanks to its athletic ability and its easy learning, it is also indicated for sports activities or for social utility. The Sila Shepherd Dog can be considered a dog with a multifaceted function, capable of being used in various activities.

Calabrian Shepherd Dog


Of the mesocephalic type, large and massive, powerful but not heavy. Seen from the other, it is shaped like a cone trunk.

The skull has a length almost equal to the width. The side and front profiles are slightly convex. The craniofacial axes are parallel.

Moderate, not too pronounced, sweet.

Wide and deep at the root, the tip of the truffle tapers slightly true.

Big and black, with nostrils well open.

The upper lips barely cover the teeth of the jaw. The labial margins are always pigmented in black.

Wide and robust.

Healthy, strong and well developed.

In semi-lateral position with bulb neither protruding nor sunken. Not too large compared to the size of the skull. They have an almond shape. The eyelids are well fitting and well pigmented in black. The color of the iris varies from ocher to dark brown. Lively, alert and cheerful expression.

They are inserted far above the zygomatic arch, courses adhering to the cheek, triangular in shape with a slightly rounded tip. Not too big compared to the dog's head. The habit is pending and mobile.

Medium length, strong and muscular, thick and free of dewlap. Always covered with abundant hair, especially in the adult male. The hair that surrounds the neck is much thicker and longer in adult males, almost forming a mane, very useful for defense.

Strong and robust. Slightly longer than the height at the withers. The upper line is straight from the withers to the rump.

Moderately high on the back line. The distance between the tips of the shoulder blade is somewhat wide.

The profile is straight. The loins are well fused with the line of the back. Solid and muscular.

Large, solid and muscular, with a straight profile.

It is deep up to the height of the elbows, relatively wide, in harmony with its mesomorphic constitution. The ribs, long and inclined, large intercostal spaces, are an indication of great lung capacity and therefore of resistance.

The ventral sternum profile highlights a long sternal region that develops in a semi-circle with a very wide rope, which gently climbs towards the abdomen.

Its junction is located at the bottom, it goes beyond the dog's hock in a normal station; kept leaning at rest, it is instead brought above the line of the back in excitement, with the tip rather curved, but never rolled up on itself. It is well trimmed with thick hair without fringes.

Muscled and strong bones. Appiombi correct both front and side. The development of the limbs is in good proportion with the somatic development and the individual regions relating to said limbs are also among them.

The shoulder is long, inclined, equipped with strong muscles and free in movement.

Well welded to the trunk in its upper two thirds, it is equipped with strong muscles.

Adherent to the side, covered with, soft and relaxed skin. They must be in a plane parallel to the median plane of the body. The tip of the elbow is located on the perpendicular dropped from the caudal angle of the scapula.

A straight vertical line follows; it has strong bone structure.

It is located on the vertical line of the forearm. It is strong, dry, smooth, of good thickness, with well protruding pisiform bone.

It is very dry, with minimal subcutaneous cellular tissue. Seen in profile, it appears slightly extended.

Large, rounded shape. It has fingers tightly closed together, covered with short and thick hair. Nails are pigmented in black Posterior limbs The appiombi both in front and in profile must always be correct. The development of the hind limbs is well proportioned to the body and also well proportioned to each other are the different regions pertaining to the limbs.

Long, wide, covered with salient muscles, with slightly convex posterior margin. Its direction is somewhat oblique from top to bottom and from back to front.

The bone structure is strong and the musculature is dry, with a marked leg groove. Knee It must be perfectly perpendicular to the limb: it must not be deflected either inwards or outwards.

Its faces are very wide. Good thickness.

Sturdy, dry wide. With spurs, often double, but also without.

As for the front but more oval.

Long wheelbase, long trot.

Well adherent to the body and in every region. Rather thick. The pigment of the mucous membranes and scleroses is black: the same applies to the soles of the digital and plantar pads.

Very abundant, long, rather rough to the touch, well adherent to the body: a slight undulation is tolerated. Forms a rich collar around the neck and limited fringes on the posterior edge of the limbs. Instead, it is short on the muzzle, on the skull, on the ears, on the front edge of all the limbs. The texture of the fur is semivitrea. The length of the hair on the trunk reaches 8 cm. The undercoat is abundant only in the winter season.

The colors allowed are similar to the colors of the indigenous Calabrian goats, bred for centuries on the Sila plateau.
Size and weight:

Height at the withers:
In males from cm. 65 to cm. 73 at the withers, in females from cm. 60 to cm., 68 at the withers. Weight For males of 35-45 kg. Females of 30-40 kg. The males must have two testicles of normal appearance and well descended into the scrotum.

Any deviation from the characteristics indicated in the description of the various regions constitutes a defect that must be penalized in the judgment in relation to its seriousness and its diffusion.

Eliminating defects:
Head: converging cranio-facial axes, marked disfiguring prognathism. Tail: carried rolled on the back. Height: above or below the indicated limits. Pace: continued ambition.

Disqualification defects:
Truffle: total depigmentation. Nasal bridge: decidedly sheepish or concave. Eyes: moderate or bilateral depigmentation of the eyelids. Gazzuolo. Bilateral strabismus. Jaws: enognatism. Sexual organs: monorchid cryptorchidism, evident developmental deficiency of one or both testicles. Tail: anurism, brachiurism, both congenital and artificial. Hair: curly. Color: piebald coat.

Thanks to Alessandro Reale

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