Do you want a breed with excellent guarding skills and loyalty to humans? Basque Shepherd Dog is the one for you. One of their best quality is that they barely bark! 

And there is so much more to know about this magnificent breed. So, to help you with that—we have covered everything from their appearance and personality to their grooming and training needs. Let’s explore it all!


Height18-24 inches
Weight50 lbs
Life span12-15 years
Exercise needs1-2 hours daily
TemperamentCourageous, Family dogs, Little stubborn
GroomingModerate maintenance
OriginBasque Country, Northern Spain

Origin of the Basque Shepherd Dog

As their name suggests, the Basque Shepherds originated from the region in northern Spain called the Basque Country. They are also famously called “Perro de Pastor Vasco” in Spanish. The primary purpose of this breed is to herd and hunt.

They spend most of their time in the regions between southwestern France and northern Spain. The Basque Shepherd Dog breed worked in packs of dogs. This is why these dogs have evolved a keen sense of intelligence and loyalty. 

In recent years, they gained popularity among dog enthusiasts for their unique personality traits. One cannot limit Basque Shepherds for their looks or herding skills. Over the years, they have proved their loyalty as faithful companions to humans. Unfortunately, in the modern world, this breed is very rare. So, to make you fall in love with this breed, we have more information below.

Appearance of the Basque Shepherd Dog

A Basque Shepherd Dog is a medium-sized dog known for its edgy appearance. Some other features include:

1. Thick fur

Their bodies are well-proportioned, and you can tell by looking that these dogs have a history of hunting. They have a thick layer of fur coat that protects them from harsh weather conditions. Their fur is somewhere between being wavy and straight. It is soft to the touch and can be an excellent cuddle pillow!

2. Coat varieties

Now, talking of their coat, they come in various colors. The colors include- red, blonde, fawn, tan, and copper. There are also blue-ish coat ones, which are highly rare. Basque Shepherd Dogs also have markings on their face and bodies, primarily white or black. This adds more depth to their appearance. 

3. Muscular bodies

Moreover, their strong demeanor can be sensed through their agile walks. Their muscular bodies suit their edgy, long face. The Basque Shepherd dog breed indeed resembles a Superman’s sidekick. 

Personality and Temperament

The Basque Shepherd Dog is fiercely independent and is a head-strong dog. They also have unique personality traits:

1. Courageous

Due to their independent nature, Basque Shepherd Dogs can take their stand. If their owner is in trouble, they will not think twice to step ahead. When it comes to courage, this breed has to be the one who can fight off the threats. (they may not win, but do not take a step back). Also, their courage to stick to their ground makes them an excellent herding dog. 

2. Territorial and protective

Basque Shepherd dog is an excellent guard dog. They are territorial and prove to be a loyal companion. Their erect ears are always alert and can sense the threats. These dogs take their time to sniff around strangers before trusting them. If not corrected, this behavior can make them overprotective to a problematic extent. 

As they have a rich history of guarding and hunting, Basque Shepherd dogs may not be aggressive but can be very territorial of their belongings. 

3. Family dogs

If you give them proper socialization, Basque Shepherds can be friendly and adapt quickly to families. Indeed, they take their time to adjust to unfamiliar faces, but once they do, Basque Shepherd dogs can be the best company! Especially they can be very gentle and affectionate towards children. 

However, as they are overprotective and can be hyperactive at times, we do not recommend leaving kids with Basque Shepherd Dogs alone. Rest, if they are under supervision, your dog and children can have excellent playtimes together.

4. Energetic

Another fantastic personality trait of the Basque Shepherd Dog breed is that they are highly active. Do you want a company to go to market? They will go with you. Do you want to hit the gym? They’ll train with you. Do you want to jog? They will jog with you. This quality also makes them a highly trainable breed. It would be best to stimulate them physically and mentally for their well-being.

5. Stubborn

The Basque Shepherd Dog breed can sometimes be stubborn. They may not give a response to the owner that is not dominant to them. This is also one of the reasons why this dog breed is unsuitable for new dog owners. Especially during training, they may not respond to the commands or throw tantrums.

6. Intelligent

One of the best traits of this breed is that they are quick learners. So, if you start early obedience or socialization training, Basque Shepherds can quickly adapt to them. With their creative and critical thinking skills, this breed is good at solving problems. To encourage this, you must mentally stimulate them with puzzling games. 

7. Low barking

Saving the best one for the last! If your neighbors often complain about dogs barking and how it doesn’t let them sleep- they will have relief from barks and you from their complaints! The Basque Shepherd dog breed does not bark excessively. As they used to protect and hunt in quiet groups, these canine companions developed the habit of barking only when necessary. 

However, if your dog barks a lot for no reason, it can also be a behavior problem. Also, if you are looking for a dog with low barking abilities, you will love the barkless dog- Basenji.

Did you know?

There are two types of Basque Shepherds—Gorbeiakoa and Iletsua. They differ in size as the Gorbeiakoa is slightly larger than the other one.
a Basque Shepherd Dog outdoors

Grooming Needs of the Basque Shepherd Dog

This medium-sized dog, a Basque Shepherd, has moderate grooming needs. As a responsible dog owner, you must cater to your dog’s everyday requirements. In the case of Basque Shepherds, they have medium-length hair coat which needs grooming. Along with this, there are grooming essentials and tools that you should use for them! Let’s explore them:

1. Supplies needed

You should have a kit specifically for grooming the Basque Shepherd dog breed! This kit will have everything you need to care for your dog’s coat and skin health. Here is the list of “must-have” supplies:

  • A slicker brush and wide teeth comb
  • Dog-friendly shampoo, conditioner, and soap
  • Clean cloth or towels 
  • Fleas and ticks repellants
  • Dog-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste

2. Brushing the coat

The Basque Shepherd can shed excessively during the shedding season. To take good care of their coat, you must brush them regularly. You can take a slicker brush and comb them twice to thrice a week. This will help to remove any loose hair or dead hair sheds.

We recommend using a wide teeth comb as it suits their hair type. Also, you may spot skin infections, fleas, and ticks while grooming them. Brushing and grooming always help to bring the dog and owner closer.

3. Ear and eye infections

Getting ear infections is one of the common problems in the Basque Shepherd dog breed. Due to the shape of their ears, they can get frequent ear wax build-up. Also, eye boogers can be pretty normal unless you notice them all day. This can be a sign of infection. To prevent ear and eye infections, clean them daily with a damp cloth. This will remove all debris and dirt from these areas. 

4. Dental and paw care

Debris or moisture can also develop in other areas of the Basque Shepherds. It would be best if you cleaned the dirt under their paws when you come home after tiring training sessions. A build-up over time can cause infections. In addition, if your dog has a sweet tooth, you may want to look into their canines. To avoid cavities and mouth odor, you should brush Basque Shepherds daily. Ensure only to use dog-friendly toothpaste and toothbrushes. 

Also, dogs with short to medium-length fur coats are more susceptible to fleas and ticks. You should consult a veterinarian or use a repellent. It can be very unhygienic and can even make Basque Shepherds physically sick. 

Are Basque Shepherd Dogs Hypoallergenic?

The Basque Shepherd dog breed is not hypoallergenic. If you are sensitive to allergens, the breed is unsuitable. They have a dense double coat that sheds throughout the year, mainly during the seasonal changes. However, with proper grooming, you can manage the hair shed. There is no assurance that they will not spread the allergens.

Exercise and Training Needs

The Basque Shepherd breed is highly energetic, so they need rigorous training. This is one of the other reasons why we do not recommend this breed for new dog owners. It can be challenging to keep up with their energy levels and competitiveness. They require about 1-2 hours of training every day. It can be overwhelming for the owners as one can only find many dog exercises daily. So here is a guide for you-

Here we have divided the training hours into two halves. This goal will be achievable and keep Basque Shepherds fit and strong!

In the first half of the schedule-

1. Regular walking

Walking for 10 minutes will be a great kickstart to their day. At this stage, you can also do leash training. Loose leash training will help them to adapt to the leash. Starting the day with a walk around the city will be relaxing, and the dog will learn about its surroundings. 

2. Teaching commands

10 minutes for teaching them basic commands and giving them obedience training. You can do this effectively with the help of positive reinforcement. You can teach Basque Shepherds commands like— “sit,” “run,” or “stay.” 

3. Puzzles and games

30 minutes of mental stimulation is also essential for these dogs. As the breed thrives upon their creativity and intelligence, you can give them interactive toys and puzzles. They will also love to play scenting and tracking games. You can also play hide and seek or treasure hunts with the Basque Shepherd dog breed. 

The last 10 minutes can be for reviewing and revising the commands and treating them with positive behavior. You can also have a walk back home. 

In the second half of the schedule-

4. Take them jogging

For 10 minutes, you can jog with your dog. You can put them on a leash and follow them as they jog. Also, at this stage, you can give them commands like “stop,” “stay,” or “come.” 

5. Agility training

You can take them to a large fenced area where they can play fetching and running games. It would be best to enroll them in agility classes. 30 minutes of agility training daily would be enough to keep the Basque Shepherd breed physically fit. 

You can cool down with a 5-minute walk as they get tired. You may or may not include any other training at this part because the best one is yet to come!

6. Allow time to socialize

For the last 15 minutes, you can socialize the Basque Shepherd breed with other puppies and dogs. You can take them to a park to play with children or adults. Please keep a leash on them as they may scare the children. It would be best to look for signs like fears or anxieties when your dog meets new people or stimuli.

Knowing that you can only train Basque Shepherds with consistency and patience is essential. Even though they are fast learners, you must not beat or use harsh training methods. 

Final Thoughts

Our final thoughts on the Basque Shepherd dog breed are that they are very versatile. With their rich history, they also boast about their confidence and strength. Despite being a moderate-maintenance dog, we do not recommend it for new dog owners.

It is solely because of their high energy and training needs. Their stubbornness and attitude can come in between while training them.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the lifespan of a Basque Shepherd Dog?

The lifespan of the Basque Shepherd dog breed is 12-15 years. It also depends on the dog’s quality of life, especially in grooming, nutrition, and training. You must fulfill the dog’s requirements to exceed its lifespan and make it a good lifestyle.

Do Basque Shepherds shed?

The Basque Shepherd dog breed sheds a lot. You will often find hair shed on your clothes or sofa. Especially during the shedding season, you must take extra care of their care. For regular days, brushing their coat once a day would be best to remove any loose hair. As they have thick hair, brushing will also help detangle it.

Are Basque Shepherds good family dogs?

 If you live with your family and want to adopt a dog, Basque Shepherd is for you! They love to spend time with family and children. Unlike some dog breeds, Basque Shepherds can connect emotionally with human communities. They do not harm anyone unless they sense a threat. Also, give them early socialization training.

Are Basque Shepherds aggressive?

Yes and No. Basque Shepherds’s anger can cool down within minutes. Their territorial and overprotective nature can translate to aggression. However, they are not the ones to go wild over other dogs. They can learn to live a civilized life with proper training and socialization. If they show too much aggression, it can be a sign of behavioral problems. 

Are Basque Shepherds suitable for new dog owners?

We do not recommend Basque Shepherds for first-time owners. It is because of their grooming and training needs. They are high maintenance and need rigorous training sessions every day. Also, their territorial and overprotective nature can be challenging for an inexperienced person. If you are an experienced dog owner, you may also find slight difficulty dealing with their stubbornness. 

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