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The Garafiano Shepherd Dog Standard

Given that the dogs are moving away from the original line of work and that the desire of the Spanish Association of the Garafiano Shepherd Dog is to focus and promote the Garafiano Shepherd Dog in this sense, a study group was formed to review the original standard.
After several years of studies, measurements, and interviews, and several versions of the standard, it has been narrowed down more looking for a more specific and useful morphology as far as the Garafiano Shepherd Dog is concerned. The working group proposes the following standard as a conclusion, as of July 2021.

RSCE Standard No. 405 (Not accepted FCI)
Origin Spain
Use: Herding and sport dog (agility, canicross, useful in the canary shepherd jump)
RSCE Classification: Group 1 Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs).
Section 1 – Sheepdogs, without proof.

I. Brief historical summary

The isolation suffered by the island of La Palma with an area of 706 km2 and a population that today does not exceed 80,000 inhabitants has been the main reason for the conservation of this breed of dog. The name of Pastor Garafiano comes from the town of Garafia, a mainly livestock region, located in the Northwest of the island and where these dogs abounded, due to the isolation of non-existent communications, except on foot, on horseback or by boat.
This isolation until very recently allowed to find a large number of specimens with great purity, from which the breed that exists today started.

II. General appearance

Lupoid, mediolinear or moderately longilinear, eumetric, of medium size, croup slightly higher than the withers, rather short neck and small head in relation to the body.

Docile character, self-confident. It usually greets strangers with a typical attitude: loose barks, while it folds its ears, wags its tail and slightly turns its head showing the corners of its lips. Calm and calm in appearance, he is very active when he is working. The fundamental aptitude is grazing, although it assimilates any type of training, including guarding. It is a suitable companion dog.
Use: It is in the care of the herds, where the true essence of this breed is shown, since it not only does what the shepherd tells it to do, but in many cases it is capable of making its own decisions, directing the herd with remarkable ease.

III. Head

Practically dolichocephalic. Conical head, small in relation to the body. The ratio of the width of the skull to the total length of the head is 4:6.
The muzzle/skull ratio is 4:6
Parallel skull-facial axes with slight divergence.

  • a) Forehead: Slightly convex, which stands out for the somewhat rear implantation and separated from the ears.

  • b) Ears: They can be erect or with a tendency to split the tip forward. Never start from the base. Small in relation to the head, medium insertion and rear implantation. They have a tendency to keep them folded before some stimuli showing their inner face.

  • c) Nose: Always black.

  • d) Eyes: Oblique, honey-colored in different shades, and somewhat close. Intelligent and attentive look.

  • e) Eyelids: Pigmented, ellipsoid in outline, slightly protruding orbits and eye sockets gradually thinning to the nose.

  • f) Cheeks: Medium in size, covered with hair.

  • g) Lips: Well closed, brief, collected and highly pigmented.

  • h) Chin: Very little apparent

  • i) Mouth: dentition must be complete, the absence of any piece is considered missing. The bite is scissor.

  • j) Nape: Little marked.

  • k) Stop: Soft and slightly pronounced.

  • l) Muzzle: short in relation to the skull.

IV. Neck

Short, with a well-muscled upper border. Very full of hair in its entirety, especially in the throat. He does not have a double chin.

V. Trunk

Wide dorso-sternal diameter, with slightly arched ribs and great thoracic capacity.

  • a) Withers: Muscular, on a plane slightly lower than that of the croup, causing a straight thoracolumbar line and slightly ascending towards the sacral area. Difference between withers and croup of maximum 3 cm.

  • b) Loin: Well muscled but slightly narrow. The point of the haunch, like that of the buttock, does not protrude excessively, forming a hip with a smooth contour.

  • c) Flanks: Short, slightly muscled and well marked, presenting a tucked-up belly, which makes the groin deep.

SAW. Tail

Very bushy, saber or slightly coiled, but never on the back. Its length can reach or slightly exceed the hock. Insertion in continuity with the trunk.

VII. Extremities


  • a) General appearance: Long and muscular back, as well as the arm.

  • b) Arm: Oblique.

  • c) Shoulder and elbow joints: Very strong

  • d) Forearm: Perpendicular to the ground.

  • e) Carpus: Follows the vertical line of the forearm

  • f) Pastern: inclined forward.

  • g) Hand: Oval, with tight fingers and strong, curved and pigmented nails, just like

  • the plantar pads. It lacks spurs.


  • a) Thigh: Wide and well muscled. Buttock somewhat convex.

  • b) Knee: Located on the imaginary line that joins the point of the haunch vertically with the ground.

  • c) Leg: Long and muscular. Wide and tense hock.

  • d) Metatarsus: Robust, lean and perfectly plumb.

  • e) Foot: “hare foot”. May or may not have spurs.

VII. Hair

Abundant, more or less long, with a smooth texture in some cases and somewhat rough in others, accumulated mainly at the base of the ears, neck, skirts, tail, rear edge of the front legs and between the fingers. Smooth on muzzle, forehead, front of forelegs and on hind legs from hock down.

IX. Color

Fawn or alobada coat, in its different shades. .Exceptionally, a melanistic specimen may be presented. The puppies are born brown, a color that changes when they reach adulthood, and in some they appear hairs or small white spots on the chest, fingers or tip of the tail that usually disappear as they grow. There are specimens called "rooks" whose coat is usually black and with slight tawny hues on the legs, cheeks and perianal area.

X. Size and Weight

Height at withers:
Males: 54 to 60 cm.
Females: 50 to 56 cm.
With a tolerance of plus or minus 2 cm for specimens of excellent proportions, typicity and
devoid of faults.
Intermediate elevations are considered recommended
Males: 24 to 31 Kg.
Females: 18 to 25 Kg


Any deviation from the aforementioned criteria is considered a fault, and the severity of it is considered to the extent of the deviation from the standard.


  • Head that does not meet the established proportion

  • Very convergent craniofacial lines (excessive or very pronounced Stop).

  • Same height croup withers.

  • Hooked nasal dorsum.

  • Very little or excessive angulations.

  • Wrong plumbing.

  • High tail insert.

  • heavy look

  • Curled tail resting on the back or coiled.

  • Absence of any premolar.

  • Very high implantation ears and together that distort the expression.

  • joint of hocks

  • excessive shyness

  • Excess white color on the chest and legs, Presence of white color on any


  • Any dog showing clear signs of physical or behavioral abnormalities must be disqualified.

  • Unbalanced character, aggressiveness or extreme shyness.

  • Ears split from the base

  • Total or partial depigmentation of the nose.

  • Enognatismo or prognatismo in any degree.

  • Croup lower than the withers, descending dorsal line.

  • Blue eyes or with tonal difference.

  • Severed tail.

  • Monorchid and cryptorchid specimens.


NB: Males must have two normal-appearing testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

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