Estrela Mountain Dog

66-88 lbs
Iberian Peninsula
Cao da Serro da Estrela

The Estrela Mountain Dog is an independent dog who has the typical mountain dog personality. He will make an excellent guard dog, always watchful and defending his home against strangers. He is loyal to his person, and while he will accept others in the family, he will need a definite leader. The Estrela Mountain Dog is not recommended for families with small children unless he is raised with children. He can be a dominant dog with other dogs, especially other males. Socialization and training are important to ensure that he is an obedient and well-rounded companion. The Estrela Mountain Dog is not recommended for an inexperienced dog owner.

purpose Purpose
Livestock Guardian
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
Mountain Dog

Estrela Mountain Dog Health

Average Size
Male Estrela Mountain Dog size stats
Height: 26-29 inches Weight: 88-110 lbs
Female Estrela Mountain Dog size stats
Height: 24-27 inches Weight: 66-88 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Hip Dysplasia
Minor Concerns
  • Entropion
  • Ectropion
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Bloat
Occasional Tests
  • OFA
  • Heart
  • CERF
  • Full Physical Examination

Estrela Mountain Dog Breed History

The Estrela Mountain Dog was developed in the Estrela Mountains. Throughout the centuries, his history has become muddied and it is unknown when he came into existence. He is considered to be one of the most ancient breeds of the Iberian Peninsula. The Estrela Mountain Dog lived mainly at the foot of the Estrela Mountains and would travel to the summit in the summer when the herds migrated to the green pastures found at the summit. Historians believe that the Estrela Mountain Dog was already in existence when the Romans invaded Portugal. It is believed that the Romans brought several Estrela Mountain Dogs back to Rome from the Iberian Peninsula to introduce to their flocks of sheep and cattle. He became a trusted companion of the shepherds and followed the flocks into mountain regions to protect them against thieves and wolves. These early mountain dogs are somewhat different than the Estrela Mountain Dogs of today. Now, there is a set breed standard that breeders try to adhere to and produce more uniform offspring. When the breed was first developed, there was no set breed standard and shepherds chose their dogs based on their ability to protect the flock, not looks or how well the dog conformed to a standard. The Estrela Mountain Dog became accepted into the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service in 2004. This means that the Estrela Mountain Dog could now be registered with the AKC under the FSS. In 2008 the AKC began allowing the Estrela Mountain Dog to compete in companion events that are sanctioned by the AKC. He has been assigned to the working group for AKC events.

Estrela Mountain Dog Breed Appearance

He is a large dog and is well muscled with a lively expression. He is generally calm in demeanor until he encounters predators threatening his flock or family. The Estrela Mountain Dog has a thick topcoat that is harsh. Many people think the texture of his topcoat resembles goat hair. His hair must protect him against the harsh elements of the mountains. He comes in two coat lengths: longhair and shorthair. He can be found in four distinct colors: brindle, fawn, wolf grey and yellow. His undercoat should be abundant with fine, short hair and is usually lighter in color than his topcoat. The long-hair variety should have a straight topcoat that is uneven in some areas. His coat can have a slight wave to it but should never be curly. His tail should be bushy and well feathered. The hair around his neck and backs of his legs should have nice feathering that does not hinder his ability to protect livestock in mountainous regions. The short-hair variety has evenly distributed short hair that has no feathering.

Eye Color Possibilities
brown Estrela Mountain Dog eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Estrela Mountain Dog nose
Coat Color Possibilities
gray Estrela Mountain Dog coat
fawn Estrela Mountain Dog coat
brindle Estrela Mountain Dog coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Estrela Mountain Dog wavy coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Estrela Mountain Dog Breed Maintenance

The Estrela Mountain Dog does require weekly brushing. His coat does tend to tangle and mat, therefore, you may need to spend some extra time de-matting him. He can get hotspots if knots are left against his skin. Damp or wet weather conditions can also cause hot spots. Use a natural bristle brush and a steel comb when grooming him. Check behind his ears, along his tails and leg feathers for tangles and mats. He is a seasonal shedder and shedding can be heavy at times. During heavy shedding it is best to brush him daily. The Estrela Mountain Dog does not require many baths throughout the year. He should only be bathed twice a year. Waterless shampoo can be used on his coat throughout the year if he gets a smell or into a muddy situation. His nails should be trimmed as needed, usually every 2 to 3 weeks. His ears should be checked weekly and cleaned as needed to prevent infections from occurring. Routine dental care needs to be set for him to ensure that he has healthy teeth and gums.

Brushes for Estrela Mountain Dog
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Slicker Brush
Slicker Brush
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Estrela Mountain Dog requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Estrela Mountain Dog Temperament

The Estrela Mountain Dog is a loyal and affectionate dog toward his family. He is aloof and suspicious of strangers and can be extremely defensive of his property. Socialization must begin at an early age to ensure he is a well adjusted companion. He does require a strong, tall fence to keep him contained.  Since he was bred to be a guardian dog, he will be an excellent guard dog for your home when correctly trained. The Estrela Mountain Dog is not the best choice for an inexperienced dog owner. Training is a must and a pack leader must be established or he will try to take that position. The Estrela Mountain Dog must respect his leader and human family or he can become aggressive and difficult to handle. He is intelligent and an independent thinker, therefore, he can easily become bored if he does not have a job. He can become destructive and a nuisance if left alone for too long.

Estrela Mountain Dog Owner Experiences

5 Months
A large, athletic dog, the Estrela Mountain Dog is a formidable opponent for any predator - fortunately, it is not often called upon to rise to anyone's life-or-death defense. It is calm but fearless and will not hesitate to react to danger, making it an exceptional watchdog as well as an excellent guard dog. It is intelligent, loyal, and faithful, affectionate to those it knows but wary of those it does not. It is instinctively protective of any children in its family. It needs early and continued socialization to be trustworthy around small pets and other dogs. It's important to begin training and socializing the Serra da Estrela dog from puppyhood to nurture its acceptance of different situations. This is a strong independent-minded breed that will need persistent training and consistent leadership. It has a tendency to bark, especially when protecting his or her territory. As with most livestock guardians, the Serra da Estrela dog is not a "pet" for everyone. Strong ownership is paramount.
6 years, 6 months ago
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