Ca de Bou: Everything You Need to Know

Ca de Bou is a noble knight of Spanish descent. His character combines restraint, courage, and devotion – the best qualities of a pet destined to become an irreplaceable friend!

Ca de Bou are personable and serious Molossians who can make a lasting impression. Only a few people guess: under the powerful dimensions of the dog, the character of a good-natured big man is hidden. These animals are non-aggressive towards strangers, with tenderness towards children, with patience towards pets. At the same time, the ca-de-bou makes great bodyguards. Despite their fighting past, dogs tend to assess the situation soberly before attacking an enemy. Correctly raised molossus is difficult to provoke, but if rage takes possession of it, the dog will turn into a time bomb. The offender is unlikely to be able to emerge victorious from an unequal battle with such a hardy animal.

The history of the origin of the Spanish Molossians dates back to the first half of the 13th century when the Aragonese king Jaime I the Conqueror defeated the Almohad Moors. They were forced to liberate the Balearic archipelago – a huge territory that included fifteen islands (four large and eleven small in size). On the largest piece of land, the kingdom of Mallorca (Mallorca) was founded, which became an Aragonese vassal. According to the generally accepted theory, it was here that the first ancestors of the ca-de-bou appeared – the Molossian dogs, brought by the Aragonese, and later – by the inhabitants of other states.

The possible progenitors of the breed include the Spanish Mastiffs and Bulldogs, Dogo de Bordeaux, Pyrenean Mastiffs, and English Bulldogs. Among the potential ancestors of Molossians, mastiffs were also mentioned, brought to the Balearics by the army of Jaime I. Uncontrolled mating led to the emergence of new dogs of the guard-fighting type. They were called the ca-de-bestiary. Dog handlers often compare this name with the word “beast” (rogue, rogue), but this judgment is erroneous. Translated from the Catalan language, “ka de bestiary” means “a dog that drives cattle.”

In addition to the main function, the animals successfully coped with the protection of port warehouses and residential premises. The physical qualities of these dogs were highly valued by local aristocrats who used Molossians to hunt wild boars, bears, and other big games. Even though the dogs differed from each other in size and hardly stood out in one breed, their popularity did not diminish. At the beginning of the 18th century, it acquired a more cruel meaning.

The Treaty of Utrecht, signed in 1713, ended a major European conflict – the War of the Spanish Succession. The Balearic Islands became a British colony. The British “shared” their leisure ideas with the locals. Then he was famous for cruelty and meant participation in underground sweepstakes during dog fights and baiting large animals. The inhabitants of Mallorca adopted the bloodred experience of the British, and by the end of the 18th century, cruel performances grew into a fanatical love of bullfighting.

Unlike the modern show, which consists of a battle between a bullfighter and a bull, the original version was very dangerous and therefore revered by the Spaniards. So, an unarmed man came out into the arena to an angry animal, accompanied by a dog, from which one thing was required – to protect the owner at the cost of his own life. The Mallorcan Molossians were unsuitable for bloodred entertainment. They died from wounds in the first minutes of the bullfight or seriously injured the bull, making the show less spectacular. So it became necessary to breed dogs for baiting.

Old English Bulldogs would be ideal participants in bloodred performances, if not for their angry and uncontrollable nature. To create a balanced breed, the Spaniards crossed the Bulldogs with the Ca de Bestiary dogs. The selection resulted in animals that closely resembled modern Mallorcan Molossians. They were used as four-legged gladiators until the middle of the 20th century (first in bull-baiting, and after its ban in 1883 – in dog fights).

The first representatives of the breed were subjected to cruel selection. During problem childbirth, females most often died without receiving help from the owner. Weakened puppies were not nursed, and strong and healthy ones were not protected from viral diseases. The Spaniards did not bother themselves with raising pets: this task was completely assigned to the female who instilled in the puppies the skills of socialization. Aggressive or cowardly dogs were killed; Molossians, who was seriously injured in battles, were not left alive.

Such a radical approach led to natural consequences. On the one hand, modern representatives of the breed are famous for their good health, remarkable strength, and calm character: the gene pool has lost its negative qualities over time. On the other hand, the Spaniards’ irresponsibility and negligence towards dogs threatened their continued existence. So, by the beginning of the 20th century, the stock of pickling Molossians was limited to several dozen.

In addition to fighting pits, animals were still used in a few livestock farms. The versatility of dogs has become the main reason why Spanish breeders are thinking about increasing their numbers. The breeding program, as before, included mating of the ca-de-bestiary (mostly brindle) and Old English Bulldogs. This time, the breeders paid attention to the exterior of the animals. The small size indicated the dominance of the genes of the “Englishmen”, and the impressive size indicated a close relationship with the Molossian shepherds.

Medium-sized specimens, which were quite rare, were suitable materials for breeding. Despite this, the breeding work bore decent results: in 1923, the Mallorcan Molossians were entered in the register of the Studbook of Spain as a ca de bou. The name of the breed appeared at the beginning of the century when the president of the Bordeaux dogs club spoke of the animals as quite promising participants in the persecution. In 1929, a representative of the new breed appeared for the first time at an exhibition in Barcelona.

A year after the end of World War II, the ca de bou standard was developed, but the registration of Majorcan dogs by the FCI organization took place only in 1964. First, Balearic breeders were still interested in the physical characteristics of Molossians, so animals with full compliance with the standard were quite rare. Secondly, in the 20th century, other breeds were at the peak of popularity: the German Shepherd and Great Dane, as well as the Rottweiler. Dog breeders showed interest in ca-de-bou after the 1980s. At the same time, the majority of lovers of Mallorcan Molossians lived in Poland and Russia: for example, in Moscow, by 1990, more than 2 thousand ca-de-bou were registered.

In other European countries – Sweden, Finland, Denmark – the breeders of these dogs were much less common. In the USA and Canada, the popularity of Molossians was negligible. A similar situation is observed now: ca-de-you are found mainly in Europe (least of all – in its western part).

As a medium-sized breed, the Ca de Bou is notable for its strong build and slightly elongated body format. Dogs impress with their agility and flexibility – especially for those who see Mallorcan Molossians for the first time.

The height at the withers and the weight of the animal are fixed by the FCI standard. The growth of males and females reaches 55-58 cm and 52-55 cm, respectively. The difference between males and females is also noticeable in weight: 35-38 kg and 30-34 kg. Gender dimorphism can be traced not only in the size of the animal: the head circumference in females is much smaller than in males.

The ca-de-Bou has a square head; its circumference coincides with the circumference at the withers. The shape of the skull is also close to a square, the back part is not visible when viewed from the front. The forehead is divided by a furrow and looks wider than the barely expressed occipital protuberance. The cheekbones are powerful, the chewing muscles reach the level of the eyes. The upper lines of the skull and muzzle are parallel.

The muzzle is cone-shaped, not pointed; the base is wide. The length is equal to one-third of the length of the skull. Any amount of skin folds is acceptable. The stop seems to be sharp when the head is turned in profile; invisible from the front, and this is due to the superciliary arches. The bridge of the nose is straight or slightly turned up. The lobe is pigmented black. The upper lip is dry and tight, the lower lip is looser, forming a small fold in the middle. The teeth, including the front incisors, are not visible even when the mouth of the animal is closed. The mucous membrane is colored red; transverse ridges are visible on the palate. The gums have a black border.

A wide and high set of ears is visible, as well as a rosy shape: the ears are broken in the cartilage and expose the ear canal. Most of the time, the rounded tips are located at or below the eye line. If the animal is alarmed, the ears are raised and slightly turned forward.

Quite large eyes of the ca-de-you are oval in shape, have an oblique cut. Settled like a bulldog: deep and at a great distance. When the dog’s head is turned full-face, the whites of the eyes are hidden by dense eyelids with black edging. The dark color of the iris is preferred, corresponding to the color of the coat. The eyebrows are weak.

The jaws of the Majorcan Mastiff form a bulldog-like bite (undershot). The gap between the teeth does not exceed 10 mm. The incisors are in line, the canines are distant from each other.

The neck is powerful and strong, in proportion to the body of the dog, smoothly passes into the pronounced withers. The skin is loose, a slight dewlap is acceptable. The diameters of the base of the neck and head are the same.

The body of the ca-de-bou is rectangular in format (which is typical of Molossian breeds), moderately elongated, with strong muscles. The massive ribcage is cylindrical, reaching to the level of the elbows and widening at the withers. The back is practically parallel to the ground. The short and wide loin passes into an oblique croup, set at an angle of 30 ° and rising above the level of the withers by 1-2 cm. The abdomen is moderately tucked up (like in greyhound breeds, but smaller), the groin is tucked up.

The tail tapers from base to tip and is set rather low. Usually lowered before reaching the hock. When the dog moves, the tail rises to the line of the back, forming a smooth curve.

The forelegs are notable for their wide carriage due to the massive chest, parallel. The shoulders of the ca-de-you are slightly arched and short, with a slight slope. In the area of ​​the forearms, relief musculature is noticeable. The elbows are not close to the ribcage, but neither are they turned out to the sides. Feet strong and rounded, with tightly knit toes. The pigmentation of the pads is weak.

The hind legs are notable for more powerful musculature in comparison with the forelegs. The thighs are medium in size, very broad; knees at a natural angle. The short legs pass into straight metatarsals. The latter end with oval paws with elongated toes. The pads are painted in a dark shade. The presence of dewclaws is discouraged.

Ca-de-Bou moves at a trot, alternately rearranging pairs of limbs located diagonally.

The short and harsh coat fits snugly to the body of the animal. There is no undercoat.

There are three main colors of the ca-de-bou:

  • brindle – both dark and lighter (marble) options are acceptable;
  • red (fawn, deer) – deeply saturated shades are desirable;
  • the black.

White points are allowed by the standard if they occupy no more than a third of the body area. Some Majorcan Mastiffs have a “mask” framing the muzzle.

By definition, a breed defect is the slightest deviation from its standard. In the case of the ca-de-bou, they call:

  • incomplete dental formula with missing premolars;
  • the difference between the height at the withers and the rump in favor of the first;
  • the gap between the upper and lower teeth is more than 10 mm;
  • ears atypical for the breed (erect or drooping);
  • scissor or straight bite;
  • bulldog tail shape.

Mallorcan Mastiffs are disqualified for the following reasons:

  • light or yellow pigmentation of the iris of the eyes;
  • white spots covering more than 30% of the body;
  • aggressive or timid behavior;
  • cropped ears or tail;
  • points of any color;
  • undescended egg-shaped glands

The fighting origin of the breed has led to the emergence of numerous stereotypes associated with the ca-de-bou. Scary stories about the bloodlust of dogs are the result of a lack of socialization or improper upbringing (including the deliberate development of aggression). In fact, they are psychologically stable, reserved, and calm animals that do not insist on constant communication. A friendly giant will gladly take a place near the owner and, closing his eyes, will go in a dream in search of his favorite delicacy.

Mallorcan Mastiffs easily join the collective called “family”. Dogs equally respect and love close people, subtly feel the prevailing atmosphere, show an amazing ability to rejoice and empathize with random events. Ca-de-you is not inclined to give obvious preference to one person, thereby awarding him the honorary title of master. This quality makes animals suitable for keeping in any “company” – be it a married couple with a child or an elderly married couple.

Being phlegmatic by temperament, Mallorca mastiffs do not see anything wrong in forced loneliness. The dog will patiently wait for your return from work, without disturbing the neighbors with loud barks or, worse, howling. A comfortable lounger, a bowl filled with food, and a favorite toy – three faithful “comrades” will help the ca-de-you pass the day while waiting for the owner!

The Molossian breed needs an experienced and responsible leader who will consistently build trust with the pet. Mallorcan Mastiffs are quite capricious and persistent. Dog owners note that the peak of the ca-de-bou obstinacy falls on the transitional age and the so-called gender hunt – an approving reaction of the female to the presence of a male dog. The Mastiff is inclined to defend his “point of view” to the last: if the bed seems more comfortable to him in comparison with the lounger, you will have to make tremendous efforts to get rid of the unwanted neighbor.

Distrustfulness and a tendency to defend their territory is a suitable foundation for the development of the protective qualities of the ca-de-bou. Vigilant and courageous defenders can be brought up from the representatives of the breed. Molossus will not attack a stranger if he invades the personal space of the family with the permission of the owner. The absence of the owner is a good reason to arrange a game of “peepers” for a stranger and, if necessary, rush to the attack. A course of training with a professional dog handler will help to improve the guarding qualities of a dog if you do not have enough experience.

Despite the potential danger posed by the guardian mastiffs, next to the child, their kind heart thaws. Ca-de-Bou is distinguished by their iron patience, and therefore they take part in games with a little friend – and even if this is fraught with painful jabs. However, it is still worth following the cheerful company: while frolicking, the dog can accidentally push the child – quite painful, given the impressive size of the animal.

Mallorcan mastiffs are loyal to their relatives (except for males that divide the territory among themselves). They are no less friendly towards cats, but it is better to refrain from the company of decorative birds and rodents. Although the ca-de-bou does not show hunting instincts, “communication” with small pets can end in unpleasant consequences. If small animals appeared before the molossus, keep their contact to a minimum if possible.

Representatives of the breed are very mobile, like long walks and fun games in the fresh air. Ideally, the owner of the Majorcan Mastiff should be an active person who is not intimidated by the daily promenade through the city park. Do not forget to take a ball or a frisbee with you – and the ca-de-you will show everything it is capable of!

Future owners of Mallorcan Malossi should remember: it is customary to start “work” on the behavior of a four-legged friend from the first day of his appearance in the house. Stock up on a huge amount of patience and time – you cannot do without them in education and competent socialization. The primary skills of interacting with the world around them ca-de-you are obtained in nurseries. It is at this time that dogs will have to learn to build trusting relationships, and not dictate their terms through an ultimatum.

Cynologists recommend combining the “human” education of a puppy with a “dog” one. To do this, babies must be periodically left in the company of other, older dogs. In the case of males, this can turn into a fight: even a six-month-old male is capable of sorting out relationships through teeth and claws.

When raising a puppy, do not let him do what you would not want to see in an adult dog. Ca-de-Bou’s behavior is best corrected in the first year of life. More mature individuals practically do not lend themselves to re-education and tend to take a dominant position in your “pack”. If you feel that it is more and more difficult to cope with an obstinate pet, seek help from a dog handler.

Successful training of Majorcan Mastiffs is possible with the right approach to business. It will not be difficult for people with experience in keeping dogs to teach the pet basic commands, while beginners will need the intervention of a specialist. The owners of the ca-de-you recommend taking a course of ZKS (protective guard service), which will help develop the protective qualities of the animal.

Important: Encouraging aggression is a direct path to raising an angry pet. Since the ancestors of the Molossians were used as universal “soldiers” for fighting pits, it is worth abandoning crude training methods.

Prospective show participants need to think about handling – the art of showing a dog during an exhibition. The training course will focus on the merits of the ca-de-bou and thereby hide the possible shortcomings of the animal. Depending on the style of handling (English, American, or German), the specialist will be able to “assemble” the Mallorcan Mastiff in parts, like a designer. This will greatly increase the dog’s chances of winning.

Please note: when resorting to the services of a handler, make sure that he teaches your pet to move in a well-coordinated trot and is patient with the examination. The latter most often includes palpation, as well as testing for cryptorchidism and the presence of a complete dental formula.

Mallorcan Mastiffs do not require much grooming. Like all short-haired dog breeds, the ca-de-bou retains a presentable appearance for a long time. The effect will be enhanced by the regular combing of the animal’s “fur”: no more than twice a week. As an aid, use a massage brush with thick natural bristles (a rubber analog is also suitable). Molossus hair is combed out more often during the molt period. This procedure can also be carried out outdoors, weather permitting. So you will save yourself from wet cleaning in an attempt to eliminate numerous hairs.

Bathing is a stumbling block for the owners of the ca-de-bou. Wanting to prevent the possible appearance of the “doggy” smell, the owners of the Mallorcan mastiffs arrange a bath day for their pets every week (or even more than one). Due to frequent water procedures, a thin protective layer is washed off the dog’s coat, and the work of the glands is activated, disrupting the natural fat balance of the skin. This leads to rapid contamination of the coat, which, in turn, leads to an unpleasant odor.

Remember: you need to bathe your pet as little as possible! It is advisable to avoid this, as a last resort, to minimize the number of procedures to one or two per month. Use hygiene products that are low in acids and alkalis, paying attention to the line for wire-haired dogs. In rare cases, dry shampoo is also suitable, which is rubbed into the coat and then combed out with a brush.

The anatomy of the ca-de-bou is the main reason why the breed rarely encounters ear infections, but a preventive examination is still required. Check and clean (as needed) your dog’s ears daily. Cotton swabs or discs moistened with a drying agent from a pet store will help in this matter. It is not recommended to use special sticks: careless hand movement can damage the eardrums.

The eyes of the animal are also examined daily. If foreign particles are present, carefully remove them with a swiping motion towards the inner corners. A special lotion acts as an auxiliary; Strongly brewed tea is also suitable. In case of eye redness, tearing, or sourness, contact your veterinarian.

The ca-de-bou oral cavity needs more careful care. The reason for this is the undershot mouth, which favors the formation of plaque and tartar. This can be avoided with preventive cleaning – both in the veterinary clinic and at home. In the latter case, you will need hard compressed bones and rubber toys.

To completely remove plaque, it is necessary to brush the animal’s teeth no more than twice a month. More frequent procedures are fraught with damage to the enamel. Use an old brush or compact finger attachment. When choosing a hygiene product, opt for special zoos with a neutral taste. The use of “human” analogs can cause allergies in the ca-de-bou.

For your information: dry food also promotes mechanical cleaning of teeth.

An equally common misconception of novice dog breeders concerns the animal’s claws, which are supposedly ground down naturally. In fact, the owner’s intervention is necessary: ​​a long “manicure” changes the dog’s gait, making it difficult to move. Some cases are fraught with deformation of the fingers of the front and hind limbs. To avoid problems, shorten your pet’s claws with a guillotine claw cutter. A file can help smooth out burrs and jagged edges.

Feeding occupies an impressive niche in the care of the ca-de-bou. Breeders who specialize in breeding the breed recommend choosing one of two options: commercial food (premium and super-premium) or dietary natural food. Diet is especially important during puppyhood when the Mandalorian Mastiff is prone to accelerated weight gain.

Please note: the use of natural products is always combined with the intake of vitamin supplements. At the same time, the period of changing teeth requires a more careful dosage. The alternation of several vitamin complexes is necessary, so before purchasing this or that supplement, you should consult with a specialist.

The natural ca-de-bou diet should consist of one to two-thirds of meat: lean veal or beef, chicken or turkey. Choose sinewy pieces – they have a beneficial effect on the digestion of the animal. As a source of protein, by-products and raw frozen fish – sea or oceanic – is suitable.

Seasonal fruits and vegetables, fermented milk products, and eggs complement the natural “menu” of the Malor Mastiff. To improve the condition of the dog’s coat and skin, it is necessary to add a tablespoon of vegetable oil (flaxseed, sunflower, corn, or olive) to the food daily.

Be sure to exclude from the diet:

  • fatty meat (boiled pork in small quantities is acceptable);
  • Raw cabbage, beans, and peas (cause bloating)
  • foods high in carbohydrates;
  • pickles and products with spices;
  • fried and smoked food;
  • river fish in any form;
  • seeds with seeds;
  • sweet and starchy foods;
  • tubular bones;
  • whole milk.

Provide the ca de you with regular access to fresh drinking water – preferably bottled. It can be replaced with a running one, having previously infused it for more than 6 hours. The use of boiled water is not recommended.

The average size of the Majorcan Mastiffs makes them versatile in terms of keeping. Dogs feel comfortable both in an apartment and in a private house with a fenced area. In the latter case, the ca-de-bou satisfies its physical needs. Keeping an animal in an apartment means daily walking (about an hour, at least twice a day). Walking should be moderately active – with elements of agility and more familiar sports games.

Severe natural selection among the Majorcan Mastiffs has resulted in a healthy breed with strong immunity and minimal propensity for common diseases. However, ca-de-bou still has a predisposition to some ailments. Among them:

  • sensitivity of the digestive tract;
  • food allergy;
  • dysplasia of the joints;
  • hepatopathy;
  • demodicosis;

Timely appeal to the veterinary clinic is the key to the longevity of your pet. An equally important point is prevention: take care of vaccination, treatment against external parasites, and deworming.

How to choose a puppy?

The search for a future four-legged friend must begin with official nurseries that specialize in breeding ca-de-bou. The reputation of the breeder is also worth checking, as you will need to keep in touch with him about keeping the dog. Decide what goal you are pursuing: acquiring a faithful companion or a future champion. In the latter case, you will need the help of an expert who will establish the compliance of the animal with the breed standard.

The second stage is getting to know the parents of the puppies. Closer contact with adult ca-de-bous will help determine the presence of defects that will appear in the future and the litter. Familiarize yourself with the conditions of keeping dogs, ask the breeder about awards and titles (if this is important). Only after clarifying the nuances can you start examining candidates for the role of your friend.

When choosing, be guided by individual points.

  • The suitable age of a puppy for adoption into a new family is 1.5-2 months. The baby has already formed the basic skills of interacting with the outside world. It should be noted that all puppies are subject to initial examination by the breeder no earlier than 30-40 days. Already at this time, it is possible to establish compliance with the ca-de-bou standard.
  • A bump on the head of an animal is one of the “indicators” of future growth. The larger it is, the taller your pet will be.
  • The coat of the molossus should be uniform and clean, the eyes and ears should be free of discharge, the tail should be free from creases.
  • A healthy puppy is active, shows interest in the world around him, and is happy to “get acquainted” with new things for him. Aggression or cowardice are alarming bells: a balanced dog will not grow out of such a baby.
  • The behavior of the ca-de-bou largely depends on gender. Males are more likely to show self-will and independence in comparison with females – more affectionate and docile.

When buying a puppy, the breeder must provide a veterinary passport and accompanying certificates of deworming and timely vaccination. If you wish, you can get a breeding certificate, which fixes the pedigree of your pet. This is true for show-class dogs that are planning to participate in exhibitions.

Alice White

Written by Alice White

Alice White, a devoted pet lover and writer, has turned her boundless affection for animals into a fulfilling career. Originally dreaming of wildlife, her limited scientific background led her to specialize in animal literature. Now she happily spends her days researching and writing about various creatures, living her dream.

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