Male Height (typical): 65-72 cm. (25.5-28.5 inches)
Female Height (typical): 62-68 cm. (24.5-27 inches)
Size: Medium – Large
Male Weight (typical): 40-50 kg. (88-110 pounds)
Female Weight (typical): 30-40 kg. (66-88 pounds)
Country of Origin: Portugal
Exercise Required: Daily long walks.
Expected Life Span: 9 – 13 Years
Best suited as: Guard Dog, Family Pet
Other names: Portuguese Shepherd, Cao da Serra da Estrela, Serra da Estrela Mountain Dog
Description – The Estrela Mountain Dog is a medium to large sized dog that was bred primarily to protect livestock. It can found in the Estrela Mountains in Portugal and is still used today to protect and control these herds of sheep and other animals. It is a Molosser type dog that can stand guard over its flock with intensity. The dog can be found in two distinct coat styles that are either shorter and closely cropped or longer with a protective undercoat. Their appearance varies greatly between these two coat styles, which include a variety of colours from grey to brown with white or dark highlights.
Origin & History – The exact lineage of the Estrela Mountain Dog has been lost to history but is thought to have started with the Romans who may have brought these dogs with them while invading the area across the Iberian Peninsula. This breed was then used by the local shepherds in the area to protect their flocks and remained in relative isolation for centuries. The early breed that was first introduced to the area was very different from the Estrela Mountain Dog we know today. Over the years the shepherds continued to breed this dog to improve its guarding abilities and produced one of the finest working dogs available. As often happens, the royal families in the area started noticing this strong and noble dog and took them home to guard their estates. Once they were associated with nobility their popularity started to increase as everyone wanted one.
Temperament – Because of their breeding, the Estrela Mountain Dog is a very independent animal. They are fine on their own and rarely need direction when guarding a flock. They are also loyal pets that will form a strong bond with their families over time. Once they have adopted the family members as their own, they will protect them from any threat. They are also creatures of habit and have a strong territorial instinct. They would not do well with constantly being moved from place to place. Unlike many other breeds that like to explore new areas, the Estrela Mountain Dog is more comfortable with settling into their surroundings until it knows every inch of the area.
Exercise & Grooming – This dog is a very powerful and active animal that loves to run free. Because of this they will not do well in a smaller home or apartment unless they have a large backyard where they can run. They like to be walked on a leash but really prefer the excitement of playing free in a well-protected yard. Their grooming needs really depend on the style of coat the dog has. The shorter haired breed is fine with a brushing a few times a week and the longer haired breed needs their brushing more often to prevent matting of their coat. These brushings can be a great time to bond with the dog.
Health Concerns – Because of its hearty nature, the Estrela Mountain Dog is a very healthy breed. They don’t suffer from any specific genetic conditions that affect their breed more than others and if properly cared for can live a long and happy live. They are prone to hip dysplasia because of their larger size and this can be treated if needed. The only concern is their innate need to guard, which can sometimes lead them into encounters with animals larger than themselves.
Estrela Mountain Dog Organisations in Australia
No club information listed
Estrela Mountain Dog Organisations in the UK
Estrela Mountain Dog Association (U.K.)
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