top of page

What is a Catalan Sheepdog?

Updated: Feb 1

That was the first thing I had to research when Linda got in touch recently and sent me her photos of Buddy and Bessie. What makes a Catalan Sheepdog and how do you make a shaggy ball of fun distinctive from a Cross Bearded Collie?

Sadly Buddy is no longer with us so this is both a Pet Memorial and a celebration of Bessie who misses her mate. Before those dog aficionados email me saying that only Bessie is a Catalan Sheepdog, I know. Buddy is a Cross Bearded Collie. Well, in truth, I wouldn't have known the difference before I started this.

Courtesy of Wikipedia I discovered that the Catalan breed is used for herding and as a pet dog. Because of its intelligence, the Gos D'Atura (Alternative Catalan Name), like most sheepdogs, is easy to train. This cheerful dog excels at dog-sports, such as agility and doggy-dance. In spite of its appearance, this courageous dog is also used as a watch-dog. An "all-round-dog" and great companion.

They guard sheep without needing instruction. Enough (outdoor) activity and distraction makes this dog a quiet and well-balanced home companion. This breed is appropriate for people with firm techniques and who can give the dog enough exercise. Early socialization is important, particularly if the dog will be around children. The dogs defend their family and become attached to it.

Whilst Buddy is no longer with us, Bessie is well into her teens so Linda thought it would be the right time to commission an artwork of both of them.

I decided to produce the portrait on Frisk A3 Cartridge Paper. I find it both forgiving and tough enough for lifting out as well as providing a very consistent surface which takes both charcoal pencil, block or powder.

Looking at the original image, provided by Linda, my resident art critic (wife) gave instructions to not include a background. Now that immediately adds complications when you are dealing with light fur and sunlight but we all know our place. Both dogs' coats were a challenge because Bessie in particular looks like a yeti, especially as the image supplied was taken after a grooming session. So the challenge was to create softness in the coat at the same time rendering the image by the use of a mixture of charcoal powder, charcoal pen (dark/soft and light/hard). Thank goodness for the Tombo eraser supplied by the SAA web site.

End of Day 1 - Bessie the Catalan Sheepdog

Bessie took about 4 hours to get to this stage, but it was time to take a break and reflect on the progress to date. Buddy however is looking decidedly unimpressed with the work to date. When working on portraits I always like to start with the eyes and work out from there. Not easy in the case of these two as with the amount of facial hair the eyes were pretty much obscured. A bit of poetic license and further trial and error in my sketch pad resulted in something I was happy with to continue. I know several artists who prefer to do the eyes last. That just doesn't work for me. If I can't get the character in the eyes I would rather stop and start again. I also decided to add just one simple colour to the composition - the pink tongues. It's almost becoming a trade mark of my portraits now, I just think it adds a little bit of interest to the images I produce.

Day 2 was all about Buddy. It was important to reflect the different characteristics of the Bearded Collie. It is believed that the breed was developed in the 1500’s when Polish Lowland Sheepdogs taken to Scotland by Polish sailors impressed local Scottish shepherds so much that they traded them for sheep. These dogs were then crossed with local Scottish herding dogs to form the Bearded Collie, which was widely used for herding sheep and cattle throughout Scotland. As a result their coats are a little more wiry and waterproof than the Spanish Catalan breed.

So here we have the pair together and I hope you can see the difference.

Both looking particularly smart which, according to Linda was unusual as they both loved to find the dirtiest, smelliest puddles to wade through as well as testing the weatherproofness of their coats.

Catalan Sheepdog + Cross Bearded Collie
Bessie and Buddy

The finished artwork has now been framed and is ready for shipping.

Every day is a school day and today I know a little more about two breeds which have moved from being working dogs to fun family pets.

The research and reading I did highlighted the agility and fun that both breeds display and I hope that the artwork has picked up the character and intelligence of both Bessie and Buddy.

If you have either a Catalan Sheepdog or a Bearded Collie and would like me to produce an artwork for you please don't hesitate to get in touch.


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page