The Lessinia and Lagorai sheepdog dog breed is a very ancient breed and was developed in Italy between the provinces of Trento, Vicenza, Verona, Belluno and the surrounding areas, but is very well spread thanks to important transhumance routes throughout Friuli Venezia Giulia, parts of Emilia Romagna and eastern Lombardy.
Its origins are very old and not very certain; there is evidence of the existence of dogs helping to herd sheep and goats as far back as the Neolithic era, traces of which have come down to us thanks to rock engravings. It is probably descended from the ancient shepherd of the Alps, who is the ancestor of several herding breeds, but also from migratory waves of original shepherds from Anatolia and Eastern Europe starting 4500 years ago.
The Lessinia and Lagorai shepherd is still mainly bred as an auxiliary for work in the shepherd’s huts and on agro-pastoral farms. This has made it possible to preserve intact its natural qualities, which make it a rustic dog, of excellent constitution and health, free from the main hereditary diseases. A single dog can easily manage a flock or even a herd of a hundred or so animals, leading and guiding them with both bark and bite. It is also tireless, capable of covering several kilometres a day. It is also known as the “Italian border collie” because of its strong intelligence and agility. Unfortunately, there are only a few hundred of these dogs, generally located in northern Italy.
Character of the Lessinia and Lagorai shepherd dog breed
The Lessinia and Lagorai shepherd dog is purely a working dog. It has a lively, curious and docile character, but when necessity requires it, especially when working with cows and horses, it can be perceptive and combative. It establishes a relationship of complete trust and great loyalty with its owner. It is also a reflective, thoughtful and caring dog when working, on guard it is gritty and quick, but it is very balanced and is never dominant or aggressive with people or other animals.
It is a tireless worker and requires a lot of movement and exercise. It has no problem working in extreme climatic and environmental conditions. When working he does not feel hunger, thirst or fatigue, and snow, rain, winter frosts and summer heat are dealt with just as easily. Used to working with other dogs, it is naturally predisposed to being close to other pets. It is not a flat dog and is not suitable for elderly or sedentary people. It needs to be outdoors for a good part of the day and needs plenty of exercise.
Appearance of the Lessinia and Lagorai shepherd dog breed
The Lessinia and Lagorai sheepdog is a medium-sized shepherd dog, morphologically of the wolf type. The height at the withers for males is about 58 centimetres and the weight ranges from 33 to 40 kilograms; females usually weigh slightly less.
It is slightly longer than tall, with a dry constitution and a strong musculature; but it is elegant and agile in its movements. The tail is of medium length, strong and firm especially at the attachment; when at rest it hangs down or is carried horizontally, when the dog is in action it is arched and carried high.
The length of the skull exceeds even if slightly the length of the muzzle, the ears are large, triangular and generally carried upright, but also semi-erect or drooping. The eyes are slightly oval, of medium size, usually dark, hazel or amber in colour. The truffle is black, or brown in brown coats.
The coat of the Lessinia and Lagorai shepherd is semi-long with a thick undercoat, at times it is goat-like, to protect it from climatic adversities during outdoor work it is generally black, or brown or even with bizarre irregular black, grey or liver spots on a white and grey background, the latter colour is called merle.
Care and health of the Lessinia and Lagorai shepherd dog breed
As already mentioned this shepherd is a rustic dog, of excellent constitution and health and free from the main hereditary diseases. It does not need much care for its coat, just brushing once in a while and a bath if necessary.