Venezuela’s National Dog

A small town in the Venezuelan state of Merida noted for its windy moors and snow capped mountains gave its name to a breed of dog known in the area for at least a couple of millenium. The Mucuchies, or Perro de los Peramos, is a herding dog thought to have developed from the Algerian mastiff and Spanish Mastiff, though the Mucuchies is not as massive as either of the aforementioned breeds. In the Andean highlands, it was such a common sight to see a Mucuchies calmly circling a herd of cattle that the breed was designated the national dog of Venezuela in 1964.

Its loyalty and courage, a loving and gentle temperament, and outstanding working abilities made the breed popular from the Venezuelan Andes to Caracas and beyond. It’s historical importance to the region (a Mucuchies was Simon Bolivar’s companion as he battled to liberate Venezuela) also made it an attractive breed for proud South Americans to own, given that it is Venezuela’s one and only native dog breed.

That said, poor breeding lead to a decline in quality and purity in the first quarter of the twentieth century, and the breed degenerated. To save it from from extinction, the Foundation Aprovo Nevado was created, and a kennel established with six Mucuchies, two males and four females in the Avila National Park where the environment and altitude are similar to the breed’s native Andean highlands in the belief that it will be conducive for reproduction. It remains to be seen whether the original Mucuchies can be resurrected.

Image of a Mucuchies found on Pinterest and happily credited upon receipt of information.

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