The Cimarrón Uruguayo (Uruguayan Cimarron) is a multipurpose working dog native to Uruguay, where it is the only recognized native breed. These dogs had many different names throughout their history and some of them were Cimarron Dog, Cerro Largo Dog, Uruguayan Gaucho Dog, Cimarron, Cimarron Creole, Maroon Dog, Perro Cimarron, and possibly many others but we cannot be sure about that. They are great guard dogs with a strong instinct to please their owner and their families.
21-24 in (55-61 cm)
72-99 lb (33-45 kg)
The Cimarron Uruguayo has first developed hundreds of years ago when these dogs were imported to Uruguay by European colonists. Their ancestors were huge, battle hounds of the Molosser type (large mastiff-type dogs) that were accompanying Portuguese colonists when they arrived in Uruguay.
Canine historians believe that these dogs date back to the 17th century and soon after they arrived in Uruguay, many of these dogs ran away or were abandoned by the European traders. Ancient Cimarrons had to adapt and in order to survive these dogs became hunters and lived in the wild. In the wild these dogs had no control and were interbreeding as they liked. Their lifestyle was similar to those of the wolves in the wild. In order to survive, they developed strong hunting and protective instincts.
In the 17th and 18th century Uruguay these dogs were considered wild animals and there was no interest in them of any kind. It wasn’t until later when their fate took a bit of a turn and these wild dogs started attacking livestock. There were even cases of dogs attacking humans so the government put a bounty on their head. They would pay hunters for every dog they killed.
These dogs managed to survive in the wild despite the odds and actually became pretty well adapted to that kind of living. People started getting interested in the Uruguayan wild dogs and came to the conclusion that these dogs would be excellent guardians and the process of re-domestication started. Breeders took matters in their own hands and started selectively breeding dogs that had specific traits and characteristics they believed would be useful.
As we know today, their efforts were not futile and they have successfully saved this breed and gave all of us the ability to enjoy the company of the modern-day Cimarrons.
Dog Breed Characteristics
Cimarron Uruguayo dogs were used for hunting, herding, cattle driving purposes. Today, they are used as guard dogs, for protection, or for companionship. These dogs are large and muscular with strong build and bones. Since they are primarily a working breed they are agile and athletic with great stamina and ability to work under the toughest of conditions.
This dog breed is not the oldest and is believed to be just over 350 years old. Even though this breed is native to Uruguay, South America, this breed has not yet been accepted by the American Kennel Club. They have been accepted by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale or the FCI. That was achieved thanks to the Uruguayan Kennel Club that is a full member of the FCI. The Uruguayan breeders and breed enthusiasts developed a standard for this breed that is still in place today. The FCI adopted this standard and here is how this standard describes these dogs.
The FCI standard clearly says that this breed is excellent guarding, hunting, and herding breed. They say that these dogs are medium-sized and are members of the dogue-type family. They are strong, compact, athletic, and well build. The FCI placed this breed in Group 2 (Pinschers and Schnauzers, Molossoid breeds, Swiss Mountain- and Cattle dogs), Section 2.1 (Molossoid, Dogue type). Even though this breed is mostly used for work, the FCI does not require a working trial. Male Cimarron Uruguayo dogs are up to 23-24 inches tall (58-61 cm) and weight from 84-99 lbs (38-45 kg). Females are slightly smaller. This breed has a short, smooth coat with a dense undercoat. The color is usually brindle or pale yellow with a black mask.
These dogs were fully recognized and registered with the FCI on the 7th of November 2017.
Cimarron Uruguayo care
Their coat is easy to care for does not need any special attention in grooming. Brushing is recommended to be done every week or so. Like most other dog breeds, these dogs shed more during the shedding season and at that time it would be a good idea to brush them at least 3 times a week in order to get rid of the dead hair and to control the mess they leave behind them. This breed does not require much coat care and bathing them once a month will be enough to control their odor and keep their coat shiny and clean.
These dogs love running and are naturally really active so most of the time they will wear down their nails. If that does not happen, keep in mind to trim their nails when you hear them clicking on the floor while the dog is walking. You should also take care of their teeth and try to get your dog used to brushing their teeth at least three times a week. You can get specialized dog toothbrushes that have elongated necks so it is easier to reach their back teeth. Make sure you use dog toothpaste as well and make sure that the toothpaste doesn’t contain any potentially harmful chemicals for the dog. Never use human products when cleaning your dog. Check their ears regularly for any signs of redness or infections. Clean their ears with soft cotton wipes and never insert anything in the ear canal.
Cimarron Uruguayos need a lot of intense physical activity and mental stimulation. They love it when there is a job that needs to be done. They make excellent jogging or cycling partners. Cimarron Uruguayo dogs are very loyal and attached to their family and will protect them (and their property) no matter what. They make excellent watchdogs. Because this breed tends to be dominant and challenging, the Cimarron Uruguayo is not recommended for everyone.
Training and socialization are absolutely necessary for this breed. If raised and trained incorrectly, these dogs can develop aggression. It is in their nature to be aggressive toward other animals because they have a very high prey drive and they are driven to chase, catch, and potentially even kill other animals. In order to reduce this kind of behavior, make sure your Cimarron Uruguayo is properly trained and socialized.
These dogs are powerful and can be pretty intimidating but that does not mean that they actually like that. They are very intuitive and can quickly learn and absorb new things. They don’t react well to harsh training methods and punishment. To get the best possible results with your dog, use positive reinforcement training that includes a lot of praises and treats. Some breeders have described these dogs as “knowing” what order you want them to execute and when these dogs are properly trained, they are one of the best working dog breeds in the world. It is no wonder that Uruguayan military and law enforcement uses these dogs for service, they can even perform search and rescue missions.
Socialization is extremely important for large dog breeds that are powerful and dominant by nature and these dogs are no exception. They have naturally a high prey drive and can perceive smaller animals as prey. In order to control their behavior and make sure that you end up with a well-behaved dog, start the process of socialization as soon as your new Cimarron puppy arrives at your home. Expose them to many different situations, sights, sounds, dogs, and people. That way they will learn to adapt to new situations and learn how to properly react. Properly socialized dogs will never be shy or aggressive and that will also make your life easier.
They are naturally distrustful of strangers so you will have to properly introduce your guests to your dog. They are known to read situations well, but just to make sure, give them time to adapt and gain some trust towards the new people that arrived in their territory.
Cimarron Uruguayo and children
This breed is not recommended for households with small children. This doesn’t mean they are dangerous, quite the opposite. They are usually very attentive and careful around children from their family but as we already said, they are big and energetic. They love to play and they might unintentionally hurt a small child by knocking them over. They are better suited for older children who can understand that dogs are not toys for their amusement. You should teach your child how to properly interact with dogs and how to play with them. No dog should be left alone with a child unattended.
These dogs are dominant by nature so it is important to keep an eye on them when they meet other dogs for the first time. They get along great with other dogs generally and can learn to get along with other animals if they are raised together. As we already mentioned, they have a high prey drive so it wouldn’t be the best idea to keep them in a household that has other smaller pets such as hamsters, gerbils, cats, or rabbits. This is a breed that has been used for hunting and sometimes it is hard to suppress their genes.
Cimarron Uruguayos are considered to be highly intelligent. They are not made to please people and often are stubborn when given orders. This is why it is of crucial importance that owners of these dogs establish and maintain a position of dominance since day one. Their intelligence combined with their agility and stamina makes them great competitors in dog sports as well as great working dogs.
Although there are no diseases and health conditions that are specific for this breed, Cimarron Uruguayos are prone to some conditions. These conditions are hip and elbow dysplasia (you can find more about hip dysplasia here), hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid glands refer to an inadequate production of thyroid hormone that makes the dog sluggish and lethargic), gastric torsion/bloat (it occurs when the stomach flips over on itself, sealing gas within it causing extreme stretching of the stomach), cryptorchidism (a condition whereby one or both testicles do not follow the expected path and are retained in the body or groin and that retained testicle can become cancerous), etc.
There is one more thing that owners of the Cimarron Uruguayo need to be aware of – these dogs are working dogs and their metabolism is geared to being active all day. If these dogs are not exercised enough or are overfed, they are prone to gain weight and to be obese. When healthy, Cimarron Uruguayo dogs can live 10-14 years.
FUN FACT: The Cimarrón Uruguayois the mascot of the National Army of Uruguay.
Before you start looking for Cimarron breeders, make sure this breed will fit with you and/or your family. This is an active, smart, agile dog breed that has a working temperament and prefers an active lifestyle. Getting such a breed is a huge commitment and it is not recommended for new and inexperienced owners.
If you believe this breed will suit you and you still want to get one, make sure you find a reputable, registered, and respectable Cimarron breeder. Registered dog breeders will have no problem presenting you with the documents that will prove to you their status in the cynological community. They should show you all the necessary health certificates of their breeding dogs and their puppies. Try asking them as many questions as possible and try and find out as much as you can about these dogs before you get one. The breeder will certainly appreciate that one of their dogs is going to a well-informed household with owners that are interested in their dog’s wellbeing.
Hopefully, now you know a bit more about this impressive Uruguayan dog breed and you can fully enjoy your new life with your new Cimarron puppy.
World Dog Finder team