If you are coming to Centennial State, you must know they take great pride in their mountains, beer, and songs, but also in breeding and registering their own working dog,the Colorado Mountain Dog breed.
Like the Columbines, this large dog overlooks the plains far below, ensuring everyone is safe.
Let’s get to know this hardworking Coloradan.
What Is The Colorado Mountain Dog?
The Colorado Mountain Dog or CMD is a large dog, purposefully bred to become a livestock guardian dog at ranches and as a working dog for small acreage farming. But not only that!
The Colorado Mountain Dog was bred to be a great companion dog and especially to be of predictable acceptance of human visitors.
Many great dog breeds went into the making of the Colorado Mountain Dog. We are going to mention them all.
The Colorado Mountain Dog Origin
Photo from: @tyrrellable_acre
This prompted her to think of all the great livestock guardian dogs (LGD breeds ) and made her want to find the one ultimate dog breed that would be amazing with children, but also great at defending the ranch and all the livestock on it from various animals, like coyotes and bears, not just mountain lions.
The problem with most livestock guardian dogs /livestock protection dogs (more about LPD/LGP dogs and their purpose on the USDA official website), is that they are not overly friendly dogs. They are amazing protectors, very brave, and will fight for their families. But, if you are not a part of their family, no matter if you are a postman or a neighbor, you can have a problem with livestock guardian dogs. This aggressive and territorial trait is what Wendy Francisco didn’t want her new dog breed to have.
Wendy found the Caspian dog breed and realized they possess 3/4 Great Pyrenees and 1/4 Anatolian Shepherd breeds in them. The genes from these amazing livestock guard dogs make this dog breed, a Caspian, an exceptional guardian, but at the same time, very friendly and accepting of the visitors.
But the problem with the Caspian dog breed was the fact that not all dogs from this purebred line of dogs showed these traits. And, they had a lot of genetic health issues.
So, finally in 2005. Wendy Francisco crossed her Caspian dog with a dog named Snow, who was half Great Pyrenees and half Hungarian Kuvasz, and the magic happened! A new breed of dog was made called the Colorado Mountain Dog.
Thank you, Wendy!
The Colorado Mountain Dog Appearance
This is a large dog breed. They are tall and of a lean build.
Male Colorado Mountain Dogs are between 30 to 34 inches tall (76-86cm) and female Colorado Mountain Dog is between 26 and 29 inches (66-73cm).
Males are also heavier, weighing between 110 and 130 pounds (49-54kg) and females’ weight is between 80 and 100 pounds (36-45kg).
As you can see, the Colorado Mountain Dog is a true canine. Their breed standards are accepted by the Colorado Mountain Dog Registry (CMDR) and are under the protection of the Colorado Mountain Dog Association.
The registry specifies that the CMD should have a medium-length coat, with an undercoat during winter. This undercoat should thin out in the summer. They also accept longer hairs on the neck, back of the legs, and on the tail.
Because it is a new dog breed, the colors can vary, from different blends of fawn and brown to badger markings. But the white color is preferred.
They should have strong and long, firm legs.
Their head should be refined with a longer snout and no excessive drooling.
Eyes should be round, alert, expressive, set wide apart, and dark in color.
The tail should be long, sturdy, and covered in thick fur.
The Colorado Mountain Dog Temperament
Photo from: @panorama_hills_animal_hospital
Basically, they are a mix of Great Pyrenees, Anatolian Shepherd, and Hungarian Kuvasz dog breeds, which means they got their temperament and appearance traits from mixing up the traits of these three dog breeds.
So, what do they get from these breeds?
The Great Pyrenees Part
These dogs were bred as very powerful, mountain working dogs. Their role was to fight wolves and other wild animals on mountainous terrains. They are sturdy, vigilant, and intelligent. But they bark a lot! They had to, working in dangerous terrains predominantly with sheep herds, they had to be heard loud and clear across the Mountain tops. They are not very friendly to unknown people and animals.
The Colorado Mountain Dog inherited the following traits from the Great Pyrenees:
• coat type
• body, head, and tail shape
Of all the breeds involved in the making of the CMD, this dog breed has the highest percentage of genes in the gene pool. If you are interested in this amazing breed, you can check out the best 13 breeders from the US to find out more about them.
The Anatolian Shepherd Part
Anatolian Shepherds were originally bred in Turkey for the purpose of guarding flocks against predators.
They are an ancient dog breed and very independent. They were bred to be able to take care of themselves for long periods of time if needed when they were out on the vast plains of Anatolia.
They are serious, protective, and large dogs, not to be played with if you are not familiar with them.
The Colorado Mountain Dog inherited the following traits from the Anatolian Shepherd:
You can check out another 15 Anatolian Shepherd Mixes that have amazing Anatolian genes, like the CMD.
The Hungarian Kuvasz Part
As the name implies, this breed originates from Hungary. It is also a very old dog breed.
They too were bred to protect livestock, especially sheep. They are very protective, which makes them aggressive towards unknown people, other dogs, and other animals – if they are not a part of their own flock that they are protecting.
Although they are amazing with their own human family, it is better not to approach an unknown Kuvasz dog, especially not while on their land.
The Colorado Mountain Dog inherited these traits from the Hungarian Kuvasz:
• body shape and size
• family oriented
The Colorado Mountain Dog – a mix
So, as you can see the Colorado Mountain Dog is foremost a rancher dog. They were bred to be independent thinkers, wandering off on their own, acting as true guards of the farms, ranches, and all the livestock and people on them.
During the breeding process, the breeders eliminated the over-aggressive trait of the breeds they were mixing, as well as the barking and noisy trait of these breeds.
So, what did they get? The sweet, affectionate, quiet, and friendly Colorado Mountain Dog.
They are wonderful with children!
So, another temperament trait of these amazing dogs is that they are great family dogs. The breeders were looking for this exact trait and they cherish and promote it in future litters.
Another amazing trait of the Colorado Mountain Dogs is that they are accepting of all humans in general! Also, they do not attack unless extremely provoked! They would rather chase off coyotes and mountain lions than fight with them.
If I had to choose three words to describe this dog breed, they would be: friendly, brave, and loyal.
They go well with other pets too because they put everyone under their protective paw.
The Colorado Mountain Dog is a livestock guardian dog foremost, but they go great as guard dogs in general. If you are looking for guard dogs specifically, here are 19 Big Guard Dogs to choose from to protect your home.
The Colorado Mountain Dog Health
Photo from: @freespiritfarmco
They have a strong and healthy gene pool, especially because they are a newer dog breed and with a mix of strong dog breeds in their blood.
There are some health issues they can have, like any other dog, which are:
• Eye problems
But, in general, if you keep the vet checks regular your Coloradan will be fit and healthy.
Also, it is important to check the whole body, especially the ears, for possible foreign objects, various plant seeds, or cuts. They are working dogs, often wandering around so they can get scratched or injured.
If you notice these changes or injuries early, there will be no problems and your doggo can enjoy a healthy and happy life with you.
Now that we know the main characteristics of a Colorado Mountain Dog, here are some of the most asked questions and their answers.
The Price of The Colorado Mountain Dog
Photo from: @valhallahighlands
Now, that is pricy! But, given the amazing characteristics of the Colorado Mountain Dog, it is not hard to imagine why someone would consider selling them for such a high price.
Another fact that should be taken into consideration where the price is concerned, is that they eat a lot.
They are large, working dogs that need a lot of calories to endure all the work during the day, and sometimes during the night too. So, when you draw the line, the breeders spend a lot of money on the proper nutrition of these lovely dogs. Hence the higher price of the pups.
Where To Find the Colorado Mountain Dog?
We’ve discussed the price, but where can you find a Colorado Mountain Dog? The best option is to look through the Colorado Mountain Dog Association‘s official website and find a responsible breeder.
The CMDA work hard to make sure breeders go through a thorough and rigorous process to become registered Colorado Mountain Dog breeders.
Their dogs need to go through all respective and necessary tests to make sure that both female and male dogs are healthy and not prone to genetic health issues.
They also need vet examinations, microchips, and certifications regarding the hip condition through OFA or Penn HIP testing, as well as Brucellosis testing, and DNA testing. DNA testing is conducted to make sure that the dog is a genuine Colorado Mountain Dog because sometimes they just look like one.
Another thing that you will find on the CMDA website is that they promote breeders that breed only real working, livestock guardian dogs. The reason for this is to make sure that the natural guarding instincts are preserved in the dogs.
What Are the Cons of The Colorado Mountain Dog?
I have mentioned all the good things about the Colorado Mountain Dog and not a single bad one. It’s because they are truly wonderful. But I must clarify that they are wonderful working dogs!
So, depending on what you are looking for, that can be a con.
These dogs are amazing family dogs, but they were not intended to be indoor dogs. They need to roam, work, and use those big paws of theirs. However, I wouldn’t call this a con, more like a fact.
If you are more interested in dogs that are less active and would do perfectly fine being indoors a lot of time, you should see the list 33 Lazy Dog Breeds: Professional Chill Dogs At Their Finest, and find your perfect dog!
But here it is, some of the possible cons of a Colorado Mountain Dog.
1. They can be intelligently stubborn. This means that their intelligence makes them stubborn from time to time. This especially applies if they are only indoor dogs with occasional walks. This leads us to the second possible con.
2. They are large dogs. So, honestly speaking, it would be best if this great dog had a lot of space to run and roam. Their genes come from vast plains and mountains, and they’ve still got them. It’s in their name after all. The Colorado Mountain Dog, not the Colorado Apartment Dog. That doesn’t mean they can’t live in an apartment, it’s just for the best that they have a spacious yard.
3. They eat a lot. This goes with being a large dog breed. Approximately, they can eat 4 cups of kibble food daily. The amount can be higher or lower depending on whether they actually work or if are they just family pets. But, be prepared to spend at least $100 a month for just the food.
4. Grooming. The Colorado Mountain Dog has a double coat. That means they need to be groomed regularly and extensively. The grooming needs to be done thoroughly, at least once a week, so that there won’t be any fur mats.. You will need all kinds of grooming brushes as well as a nail clipper.
5. Expensive. This is a con if you are not willing to spend a lot of money on a dog. Even though your spending will be rewarded with the most wonderful tail wags, they can be very expensive.
6. Need lots of exercise. If they are not working, then they do need a lot of exercise to stay healthy and happy. Daily walks of at least 60 min, are the minimum recommendation. The best would be to incorporate walks with playtime, running, or going on hikes with your dog.
Once again, these should not be adamantly accepted as cons of having a Colorado Mountain Dog. These are simply facts that should be considered before getting one.
Is The Colorado Mountain Dog a Good Family Dog?
The shortest and truest answer is yes.
The Colorado Mountain Dog was bred to be just that: a great family dog. They are great with children and are very protective of them.
If you add a new Colorado Mountain Dog puppy to your home, you can be sure that you are adding a great, loyal friend that will keep you and your children safe, as well as your other animals.
This was the long answer to reach the conclusion: The Colorado Mountain Dog is a good family dog.
The Colorado Mountain Dog Nutrition
This is often a question when it comes to a large dog breed.
The Colorado Mountain Dog needs about 4 cups of kibble food per day to keep him healthy and strong. This can change depending on whether the dog has a lot more or a lot less work to do.
In either case, they will need high-energy and high-quality food to satisfy their nutritional needs.
For most working dogs, their diet needs to be full of animal protein, which should be the main ingredient, meaning that protein makes up the biggest percentage of their general diet.
The food needs to be high-quality. This means that it needs to have all the necessary vitamins a dog needs, especially a working dog.
You should also enrich your dog’s diet by adding some vegetables suitable for dogs. For example vegetables suitable for dogs to eat, include carrots, green beans, sweet potatoes, peas, etc. Vegetables contain fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins that dogs need in order to stay healthy and strengthen their immune system.
You shouldn’t give your Colorado Mountain Dog or any other dog fat trimmings, bacon, or ham.
Also, raw meat should be avoided because it can contain bacteria like E. Coli or Salmonella that can be very harmful to your dog. Cooking meat ensures any bacteria is killed off because it can’t stand high temperatures.
The Colorado Mountain Dog Colors
The most common and desirable color of the Colorado Mountain Dog is white.
As mentioned before, this is a newer dog breed still developing its physical characteristics because the breeders focused on getting a perfect temperament.
So, while the white color is the one color you’ll see the most in Colorado Mountain Dogs, there are other accepted colors too.
These are the other colors they can have:
• badger markings
• tan with dark muzzle
Badger markings refer to the white color with grey or reddish-brown markings on the dog’s face and body. This color is characteristically from the Great Pyrenees dog breed.
After reading all the Colorado Mountain Dog traits, including the cons, I am certain you are ready to turn on John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High and start searching for the nearest Colorado Mountain Dog breeder.
If you live on a ranch, a small family farm, or if you have a large backyard, this dog is an amazing choice. You can get this amazing doggo even if you live in an apartment building, but then you have to make sure they get proper daily exercise. That means walks, playing games, or even jogging with your pet.
They are great with family and especially children.
They will be protectors of your home and family, including all the pets and animals you have.
As with any dog, they need proper socialization when they are young, in order to teach them all the things they can do and those they cannot do.
But, given the fact that the Colorado Mountain Dog is highly intelligent, training and socialization won’t be a problem.
And remember, every dog is unique with its own special traits, but they all have one thing that they need in common: proper care and lots of love.