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Welcome to Our !RARE! Breed of the Month Feature!
Previous !RARE! Breeds of the Month
January's !RARE! Breed of the Month
February's !RARE! Breed of the Month
March's !RARE! Breed of the Month
April’s !RARE! Breed of the Month
May's !RARE! Breed of the Month
June's !RARE! Breed of the Month
July's !RARE! Breed of the Month
August's !RARE! Breed of the Month
September's !RARE! Breed of the Month
October's !RARE! Breed of the Month
November's !RARE! Breed of the Month
2011 !RARE! Breed of the Month Recap
Featuring December’s !RARE! Breed of the Month
the Rafeiro do Alentejo / Alentejo Mastiff / Portuguese Mastiff
What is a Rafeiro do Alentejo?The Rafeior do Alentejo, also known as the Portuguese Mastiff, is a large working and livestock guardian breed originating from Portugal. The breed has been used for big game hunting since the very beginning of its breed, but over time the use for big game hunting disappeared and the breed is now worked as a livestock guardian, watching and defending sheep and also cattle.
History & OriginThe Rafeiro do Alentejo’s known history is based mostly on legends, guesswork and speculation; it is believed to have migrated thousands of years ago from Central Asia, the Rafeiro do Alentejo gets its name from Alentejo in South-Central Portugal.
According to the AKC - "Rafeiro do Alentejo are often claimed to be descended from huge dogs on the vast Tibetan highlands, thousands of years ago. The Rafeiro looks and function is between the Anatolian Shepherd Dog and the Spanish Mastiff. In Portugal, with the geographic and climatic differences between North and South, the need arose of moving the cattle annually in search of better pastures. Consequently, for centuries, huge herds, accompanied by powerful mastiffs, were driven between the northern region of Douro and the Alentejo hinterland. As the population settled down, the dogs eventually remained in the southern prairies, where they adapted and began to be used to guard, not only the herds, but especially, in time, the big rural estates."
Appearance & StructureThe Rafeiro do Alentejo is a large sized, powerful dog with a general structure found to be longer than tall. The coat came come in either short or of medium length, which is thick, straight and dense.
ColorThe color of the Rafeiro do Alentejo can range from black, wolf grey, fawn or yellow, with or without brindling, yet always with white markings, or with patches of these colors.
TemperamentThe Rafeiro do Alentejo is described to be a useful protector found to be more vigilant during the night, and serious when guarding territory; the breed is said to be calm but also brave and confident, neither aggressive nor shy. The breed is independent and requires an experienced handler.
Featuring December‘s Targeted Breed of the Month
the American Akita & Japanese Akita / Akita Inu
Japanese Akita (left) & American Akita (right)
There are two breeds of Akita – the American Akita and the Japanese Akita, or Akita Inu, both are distinctively different, yet are equally subject to breed-specific legislation and other forms of discrimination, such as being regarded as a "high risk" breed by insurance carriers and ownership of this breed being prohibited in rentals, viewed as a breed to be feared by many all around the world.
This breed’s affectionate nature and loyalty was portrayed in the 2009 film Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, based on the true story of Hichiko the Akita Inu and the strong, lifelong bond between him and his owner.
American Akita (left) & Japanese Akita (right)
To learn more about the great differences between the American Akita and the Japanese Akita, please see www.akita-inu.com
• Country of Origin: Japan
• Functionality: Hunting dog
• Coat Colors:
American Akita – Any color including white; brindle; or pinto. Colors are rich, brilliant and clear. Markings are well balanced, with or without mask or blaze. White Akitas have no mask. Pinto has a white background with large, evenly placed patches covering head and more than one-third of body. Undercoat may be a different color from outer coat.
Japanese Akita – Acceptable coat colors are red, brindle and white. All colors except white must have urajiro (light cream or white markings or shading) on the sides of the muzzle, on the cheeks, the underside of the jaw, neck, chest, body and tail, and on the inside of the legs. Colors should be clear and bright.
American Akita – Dogs – 26 to 28 inches & Bitches – 24 to 26 inches
Japanese Akita – Dogs – 24.5 inches and over & Bitches – 22.5 inches and over