The Portugese Xochaso was developed on the island of Madeira by crossing native dogs with African Boerboels and Rhodesian Ridgebacks, as well as Spanish Bulldogs and Presa Canarios. Smaller and leaner specimens were favoured over the mastiff-type for their agility and speed. Through working selection and the introduction of the Norwegian Hygenhund into its bloodline, the modern Xochaso was established and is bred consistently to a standardized type.
Used primarily on the banana tree plantations as a watchdog , the Xochaso also makes an excellent rabbit, bird and wild pig hunter. Whether used as property protectors or hunting dogs, the most common practice on the island is to employ a team consisting of three Xochasos. The Madeira Island Dog is highly valued for its great prey-drive and dedication.
Athletic and tireless, this energetic breed is devoted to its owner, playful with children and it makes an agreable urban pet. However, the Xochaso is very territorial and can be aggressive towards strangers and confrontational with other dogs, needing early socialization and proper training. The body is lightly built, but immensely strong and powerful.
The coat is short and dense, common in shades of yellow, fawn, brown, black and black-n-tan, with small white markings allowed.
Average height is around 20 inches.