The Cao de Fila de Sao Miguel or otherwise known as the Saint Michael’s cattle dog or the Azores cattle dog is considered a rare breed of dog that originates from the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores. The dog’s history and its breed dates back to the 19th century and was breed to work with cattle and be a companion. The dog’s general appearance is that of a large but not oversized dog, with a deep-chested muscular build with a broad head and straight neck. This is an excellent breed for farmers since they love keeping busy and are eager to please their owners. They have been used to work with cattle in the Azores since the 19th century moving cattle from one area to another and back into the barns. These are loyal but territorial dogs and will obey commands given by their owner if adequately trained. They will guard and protect their surroundings and enjoy being outside as much as possible. The breed’s average life expectancy is around 15 years with no none medical conditions that plague the animal.
The dogs’ popularity has significantly increased over the last couple of decades, with dog lovers from Finland to Canada all exporting these rare dogs for their farmlands. It is crucial to socialize your puppy with other humans at a young age, teaching them not to be aggressive when they are friendly natured humans around. If not properly socialized, these dogs can be slightly aggressive as an indoor house pet, as they were breed as a cattle dog. These dogs play an essential role in Azores’ history and culture as they worked side by side with their owners in this predominately agricultural-based society where there were always lots of long days and hard work. There is even a statue on the island of Sao Miguel in the city of Vila Franca, where the dog was initially bred. A book was just released in the fall of 2017 about the rare Azorean cattle dog and its significance in Azorean culture, which is worth exploring if you can read Portuguese.