Working dog pages - Breed in Finland

The breed in Finland

The first individual of the Azores Cattle Dogs was imported to Finland by our kennel in 1997 (male: Raid dos Açores ). Before that, we had done a very long preparative work among the breed, by acquiring information and creating contacts with the Azores. After having got acquainted with the breed, its characteristics and working manners, we were convinced of our will to work for this unique working dog. We bought our dog from Mr. Antonio José Amaral, whose work for the training of this breed stands above others (see the main point "Cão de fila de São Miguel, a working dog from the Azores: Background information").

Our next acquisition was a female, Ronda dos Açores , in 1999. It may be mentioned that before starting the actual kennel activity, we wanted to present our dogs also in dog shows. The fact that both dogs won the world championship in this area, tells much about the external quality of our dogs. But the most essential thing, the working character, will be weighed in practical work with the master.The quality of the work that our dogs do, is absolutely the most important standard in our evaluation of our own kennel work and beside that, all the other merits are secondary.
We made these two imported dogs whelp and the first litter (8 puppies) in Finland was born in October 2000. Another litter (5 puppies) with the same "combination" was born in December 2001. It means that there are now 15 Azores Cattle Dogs registered in Finland.
Recently (in February 2002) the third foreign importation by our kennel, a male puppy with about three months of age, called Nico, arrived directly from the Azores to Finland.

Experiences of the working
of our puppies

One of our males from the first litter (Auto de Fé Boomslang ) works in the community of Virrat, at a farm of ecological production that raises both cows and goats. When the puppy arrived to his new home at the age of 12 weeks, he already clearly demonstrated his herding instinct. He did not even allow the lady of the house to go alone to the toilet! From the very start he has got well along with the children, although at first he was running all the time alongside them, snapping their feet. So the children were forbidden to play chasing or other wild games with the puppy, because the games easily became too rough.
The puppy has gained experience of herding among the cows and goats and has learned from his painful experiences, of course! His eagerness for the work was not discouraged by the fact that he could get, during the very same day, kicked by a cow or butted by a goat. A kick given by a cow formed in his tongue a permanent "ginger bread border". For a while he pondered the experience and went then on as eager as before, although working with a more cautious style. He knows how to snap the back feet of an animal that he is herding, without hurting it. The family has noticed that the puppy possesses typical characteristics for his breed: he learns quickly, he is eager, works hard and is sociable. But when strangers arrive, he can also show distrust which is a precondition for the guarding work.

Our three female puppies (also from the first litter: Auto de Fé's Jeanne, Pimiko and Theodora) went, at the age of a little less than half a year, to a bull cattle farm in Miehikkälä. The puppies grew accustomed to their new owners in a couple of days. Since the second day at farm, the puppies have lived in the cowshed, in the room for giving milk for calves, moving around in the daily farm works with the master. Taking an example: the puppies push the bulls' heads off from the feeding table while it is being swept clean. A bite in the muzzle is effective even on a very big animal.
The puppies have learned the boundaries of the own area wandering around the borders of the fields. As it is natural, they started the herding work with the calves. At the very first time one of the puppies acted quite correctly: she walked calmly behind a calf while it went ahead and snapped it in a leg, if it went astray.
The puppies have proved to be very curious, sociable and eager to take contact, that is why they are very clever to learn. They also seem to have the guts to herd the bulls. And when they hear a strange voice or see unknown people, they give an alarm; so they do not lack the characteristics of a watch and guarding dog either.

Our male puppy Auto de Fé Krakatau went, at the age of about 9 months, to a cattle farm in Viljakkala, where he had for the first time a contact with the cattle. The late puppy age seemed to be no obstacle for adapting oneself. Very soon after having arrived, he started instinctively his herding work. He has worked on his own initiative and the masters have clearly noticed that the puppy understands where his help is needed. Very shortly after his arrival Krakatau, entirely on his own initiative, although nobody had asked him to do so, had gone and fetched the calves that had escaped outside. Krakatau also lives with the cattle in the cowshed and makes every evening a control round in order to ensure that every cow is surely present. It is very unlikely that any uninvited guests would come to the territory of this guard.

All the five puppies of the second litter have got work at a cattle farm, so we will remain waiting for the news about their work, after they have had time to grow a little more. While we are writing this text, just the moment of giving the puppies away is at hand. During the next spring and summer we will give new updated information and also photos of their work!

As a whole, the feedback that we have got concerning our puppies, has been very convincing and satisfied. Their work has spoken for itself, the owners have thought that the Azores Cattle dogs have got real natural gifts. We are very pleased to be able to offer for the Finnish farms an active working dog. We also want to thank those who acquired our puppies, for their unprejudiced attitude towards this rare breed.

Puppies by our kennel
and our future plans

As our kennel activity is still in its initial phase, we have puppies whelped only according to the demand, so if you are interested in acquiring a puppy from us, please contact us. Please find more information about the puppies and other related things under the title Puppy information , on the main page.
The convincing evidence that our puppies have given of their work, proves that the herding characteristic of the Azores Cattle dog is a inborn talent not acquired by means of training. We believe that this breed will find foothold in Finland, once we have managed to spread the knowledge of the breed to cattle farms. We find that this is the greatest challenge in our work at the moment.

In our work we want to foster the same principles and starting points that the breeders in the Azores have done. The most important of them is that the Azores Cattle Dog should even in the future stay as strong a herding dog as ever. So we will sell our puppies only for working dogs to herd the cattle or serve as watch and guarding dogs at the farms, not for being dogs of companion or hobby. Dog shows or other show business are not a part of our kennel work, because the Azores Cattle Dogs are unpolished rural dogs and working dogs that have every right to stay such. That is also their strong side.
We hope they will never be suitable for salons.