Morphology of the Barbado da Terceira

See also:    [Standard]    [Comments to the standard]

Ch Cortiça de Aradik

Click here to see photos with dogs from different breeding lines.


The Barbado da Terceira is a medium sized dog, with a voluminous and robust look. The heights and weights are 52 to 58 cm and 25 to 30 Kg for males, 48 to 54 and 21 to 26 Kg for females. Height has a tolerance range between 48 and 50 cm.

The head is strong, with parallel axes. The muzzle is relatively short and wide, with abundant beards which name the breed. The nose is wide and cube-shaped, framing the face with a characteristic look. They eyes are very expressive, showing intelligence and naughtiness; their color varies between honey and dark brown, but they should not be totally or partially blue. The ears are medium sized, hanging and set high. The neck is short and well muscled. The body, bulky and with a deep chest, is just slightly longer than the height at the withers. The tail has a medium to low setting; it is usually long reaching at least the hock, but bobtails are accepted. The limbs are well muscled and broad boned; the posteriors are well angulated showing a good impulsion.


As happens with the St. Michael Cattle Dog, in the Barbado da Terceira traditionally the tail is docked and the ears are cropped round. Today, it is now relatively common to see dogs with natural ears, but dogs with natural tails are still rare – due to the age of the amputations, ear cropping is the owner’s choice, whereas tail docking is decided by the breeder.

 At Aradik kennel we do not dock or crop. Any dog we have bred will be delivered to his owners in its natural state!

You can read our resons at this blog post.


Dogs with natural and cropped ears

Dogs with natural ears (Multi-Ch Figo and Multi-Ch Sheila) and with cropped ears (Ch Adágio)

The coat is long and slightly wavy, with dense undercoat. Current coats are still quite varied in terms of color and texture, but should not be harsh. The most common colors are black, grey, fawn and yellow in different shades, from darkest to palest nearly off-white; all colors are accepted except brown and merle (see comments to the standard for further development of this issue).

It is normal and common that dogs are born with a darker color; during their first months of life, it will gradually pale off to its final color. For example, a dog that was born dark fawn may as an adult be nearly white, and grey dogs are born black. In these cases, if the dog is injured and loses some hair, the new one will grow in the “original” color, which will then progressively pale off to its final color.

Evolução de cores

The dogs' colour changes often changes during growth; adults are usually much lighter in tone than when puppies (in the photo, Ch Ali-Babá de Aradik and Ch Ananás de Aradik at 2 months of age (left) and as adults (right))

The Barbado can have white spots in the head, neck, chest, belly, limbs and tip of toe. Historically, “collared” dogs (with white around the neck) and “open fronted” (with white spots in the head and muzzle) were preferred for working.

It was common for dogs to have dewclaws (simple or double) in their hindlegs. This is a trait much appreciated by farmers (as occurs in several herding and livestock guarding dog breeds), so they are not usually clipped. Nowadays they don’t seem to occur as much.


Personal Comments

In the breed, the ears and tail are typically cropped and docked. Nowadays, it is relatively common to see dogs with entire ears, but the tails are normally all docked – due to the age the cuts are done, ear cropping is an owner’s choice, while tail docking is the breeder’s choice. At Aradik Kennel, we do not dock or crop. We believe the future of the Barbado da Terceira, just like that of other breeds that are traditionally docked and cropped, will necessarily involve the divulgation of “whole” animals. Therefore we try to contribute today to the knowledge of what should be selected tomorrow as the ideal.

The Portuguese standard mentions ticking (mosqueado) as a disqualifying fault. However, according to informations given by one of the persons who worked on its original version, what they meant to consider a disqualifying fault was actually merle (also called harlequin in some breeds); the word “mosqueado” comes only from a mix up in the specific terminology.

Regarding the Barbado coat, the standard says that:

Work clipping is admissible, shortening the coat evenly, and should be used in conformation dog shows

This sentence is a nonsense… In a first approach, it starts with saying that the “work clipping is admissible”. Well, if it is admissible, it is not desired. However, the sentence continues saying that this clipping should be used in conformation dog shows. This means the clipping is not “admissible”, but “mandatory”. So, where do we stand?

On the other side, since the breed was provisionally recognized by the Portuguese Kennel Club it has been discussed, internally, which clipping should be defined, which clipping should be created to show the breed in dog shows! Well, the standard is very clear, by saying the clipping is the work clipping – in the beginning of the Summer, dogs are fully clipped to short hair, and then the coat grows over the year, until next Summer. As the clipping is defined in the standard, there is no need to “invent” any make-up.

Efeito visual da tosquia

Impact that clipping can have in the visual appearance of a dog, in this case an animal who himself already has a shortish coat – Ch Adágio. In the case of a dog with a fuller coat, this difference will be even greater.


Virtually all long-haired European dog breeds were traditionally clipped when Summer approached, at the same time as the sheep were clipped. However, for them to attend dog shows this clipping is not required. Instead, each breed naturally evolved to its own coat arrangements for shows. In my opinion, forcing the Barbado to a specific clipping (especially when it is created instead of using the tradition clipping) serves no purpose other than discouraging people potentially interested in the breed, apart from the rare breeders existing today.