What is Vicky’s Breed?

“Vicky,” the dog in the photo, was six years old at the time of the photo was taken. Can you determine what Vicky’s breed is? 

We’re betting you’re able to guess that Vicky is a type of Molosser (dogs that are typically large, heavy boned, well muscled and usually with pendent ears), and you’d be right. Vicky is a Terceira Mastiff (also known as the Terceira Island Watch Dog or  Terceira Mastiff,  Rabo Torto, Terceira Island Watch Dog  Rabo Torto), a breed that is quite rare because it’s so isolated.

Vicky’s home is Terceira, an island in the middle of the North Atlantic and part of the Azores archipelago. As far as we know, it’s the only place her breed has ever existed. It’s believed to have descended from the Rafeiro da Alentejo, dogs who accompanied the Portuguese who colonized the islands in the 15th century. Over time, the dogs changed as they adapted to island life.

Some might say that Vicky is a member of a land race (a locally adapted variety of a domesticated animal that developed over time, but some experts believe that a landrace could be considered a “stage” in a breed’s development. Given the isolation of Vicky’s home, however, we suspect that Terceiras are genetically uniform enough to be a breed.

Both of Vicky’s images came from Pinterest and we’d be very happy to credit the original source upon receipt of information

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