The Catalan Sheepdog, also known as Gos d'Atura Catala and Perro de Pastor Catalán, originated in Spain around 1700s and was first used for herding livestock. Bearing some similarity to Bearded Collie, the Catalan Sheepdog has a prominent beard and mustache and is about the same size (18-20 inches at shoulder) as the English Springer Spaniel. Developed in the region of Catalonia in northeast Spain, two distinct forms arose, differing in coat length. The short-coated variety, sometimes described as Gos d'Atura Cerda, is now very scarce. Traditionally, the ears of this sheepdog were cropped to make it appear more ferocious.
The area in which the Catalan Sheepdog evolved has a strong French influence, and this suggests a possible relationship with French dog breeds. However, nothing certain has been recorded about its origins. Dogs of this adaptable breed acted as messengers and guard dogs in the Spanish Civil War. Outside its native country, the Catalan Sheepdog is sometimes called Catalonian Shepherd.