Homeland and Character
The History of the Gos d’Atura Català
The homeland of the Gos d’Atura is the north Spanish province of Catalonia, which extends from the coast near Barcelona up to the Pyrenees. This breed come originally from Catalonia’s Pyrenees region after which they appeared in other regions of Catalonia, where livestock, primarily sheep, were reared. The qualities of the Gos d’Atura were described in an early Spanish document this way: These dogs are the helpmates of the shepherd and servants of all herdsmen. They direct a herd, where the herdsman wants them to be, with a wonderful simplicity. Neither the wildest bull nor the wildest colt dare to disobey this dog, who enjoy the submission of the herd through their cunning, their strength but most of all through their perseverance. It is truly a wonder to see how a shepherd or a single herdsman, with one or more of these dogs, can lead a large herd with such reliability, quickness and an exactness in movement and execution of the commands. These dogs would be excellent watchdogs, police dogs, military dogs and their size, intelligence and hair-coat even make them good high-society dogs.
In 1915, “Piar“, a male, was the first Gos d’Atura to be entered into the Spanish registry (LEO). In the following thirteen years only four Gossos de Tura were registered. This is not enough to work toward a specific breed. After “Tac“ and “Iris“ in 1929 won at an exhibition in Barcelona, Dr. Augustin Franco worked out the first standard. Tac and Iris were a grey colored and even tempered pair. This was the first standard for a Spanish breed and was officially recognized by the FCI in 1929. Initially the attempts at creating a pure breed did not progress that well. This may have been, in part, due to the Spanish civil war. Also breeders and exhibitors viewed the breed simply as a work dog and it didn’t receive CACIB authorization. In 1978 a club for the advancement of the Gos d’Atura was founded in Catalonia. The president Dr. Evaristo Sannlehi adopted the breed. The first and later leading Gos d’Atura breeding club “Los Lakentia“ was founded with “Menut“ (male) and “Tina“ (female). One of their sons “Ungos“ was the Spanish and french champion and in 1974 in Paris world champion and also one of the most important roots for this special breed.
Between 1972 and 1982 31 dogs were selected and determined to be acceptable for breeding. Fifteen years earlier the Gos d’Atura was unknown outside of it’s own region. Prof. Rafael Saraz at the university of Madrid began breeding these dogs for research purposes. This was, however, abandoned in 1972. His best dogs later became Spanish champions. One of the students of Prof. Saraz wrote a doctoral thesis about the Gos d’Atura in 1982 and lectured about it at a symposium of Spanish dog breeds in Córdoba. I the meantime the Gos d’Atura has become so popular in Spain that it is a fundamental part of every exhibition. But still it remains a rural working dog. By the shepherds meetings in the mountains annual prizes are given for the best and most beautiful dogs. The Gos d’Atura still performs his work as a shepherd dog and can be seen at the work check but it has solidified its place as a guard dog and companion.
The Gos d’Atura has been bred in Germany since 1988. The first registered breeder was “de Marotte“ from Frau Lassen, which formed the basis of the German breed. For several years it was difficult to ascertain any enthusiasm for the Gos d’Atura. In magazines and other literature nothing was mentioned. In the meantime that has changed, the demand for the attractive dog with long bushy hair has grown. As of 2007 the number of breeders has risen considerably. The breeding basis is small but still, due to careful breeding, the offspring are healthy and robust.
Character and Appearance of the Gos d’Atura
The homeland of the Gos d’Atura is the north Spanish province of Catalonia, which extends from the coast near Barcelona up to the Pyrenees.
The Catalans maintain their traditions, language and their dog breeds. The shepherd dogs have worked with sheep here for centuries.
The work, the climate and the living conditions have formed their appearance and character: robust, frugal, unaffected by the weather, lively, watchful, but do not bark without reason. Older descriptions mention the following qualities: intelligent, very lively, mid-sized length, well built, a splendid coat, a noble gaze, able to cope with heat and cold.
The breeding selection follows the above mentioned criteria, sometimes very natural — ???, which results in a diverse appearance: some are brown, some gray, sand colored or black. Usually they are a mix of several colors or just three. Pure white spots are not desired. The missing appearance criteria, which is normal for other breeds, have resulted in a robustness and naturalness of the breed. Its intelligence makes them easy to train, but a trait of stubbornness requires a consistent training, especially with males.
Dogs of this breed love kids, are faithful to their family and master but require close contact with people. This means they often lay down at the feet of someone. They are, however, very reserved toward strangers and have a certain “natural edge“: they guard their house, garden and pack and bark at intruders. When a stranger is accepted by the master, then the dog quiets down quickly and even “demands“ to be petted. Because of its herding instincts they like activity and have perseverance. They like long walks, playing in the open, excursions with bicycle or on horseback and also playing with children. A loving but consistent training is necessary for this breed. Their intelligence is a joy for their owners. They can do tricks, agility, tournament sports and dog-dancing. Many like their long stride, a kind of floating trot, as a running gait.
A Gos d’Atura can handle terrain like a chamois and is just as modest in care requirements. They eat only the amount they need, often at nighttime after work is completed. Their coat is impressive: it is fluffy stands way from the body and is almost bristly. On the back, the legs and the paws it is long and flows down soft and silky. They don’t require intensive hair-care, since the coat does not tend to entanglement (youth coat!). Practically this means that a brushing once per week is enough in a typical situation.