Portuguese Sheepdog

26-40 lbs
Cão da Serra de Aires, Portuguese Shepherd Dog, Serra de Aires Mountain Dog, Monkey Dog

The Portuguese Sheepdog is an extremely rare breed and there are not many found outside of his native Portugal. He is a herding breed and therefore can be a very vocal dog if he is left to his own devices. He will tend to pull double duty by also being a livestock guardian and a herder. Training the Portuguese Sheepdog is relatively easy when using positive reinforcement. He does make a good family companion and gets along well with children and other dogs as long as he understands his role within the family. Since he has strong herding instincts, he should be kept on leash when he is out of the yard. 

Date of Origin
Early 1900s
Briard, Berger des Pyrenees, Calatan Sheepdog

Portuguese Sheepdog Health

Average Size
Male Portuguese Sheepdog size stats
Height: 16-22 inches Weight: 26-40 lbs
Female Portuguese Sheepdog size stats
Height: 16-22 inches Weight: 26-40 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Usually Very Healthy
Minor Concerns
  • Hip Dysplasia
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA)
Occasional Tests
  • Hip And Eyes

Portuguese Sheepdog Breed History

The Portuguese Sheepdog, known as the Cão da Serra de Aires in Portugal, dates back almost a hundred years and is said to have developed in the southern plains of Portugal. Many people believe that the Portuguese Sheepdog directly descended from Briards that were imported into Portugal by Count de Castro Guimaraes. Some people claim that the Portuguese Sheepdog actually comes from the Berger des Pyrenees and Catalan Sheepdog, but there is no reliable evidence or documentation to support this claim. He became a trusted companion to the common Portuguese shepherd, herding sheep, goats, cattle, horses and even pigs. However, because they were mainly found within the southern region, they did face extinction in the 1970s. Through the dedication of breeders who fell in love with his easy-going demeanor, he was resurrected and has been an appealing companion for the middle class of Portugal. He was given the nickname little monkey dog because of his odd muzzle and expression that is reminiscent of a monkey’s quizzical look. Not many people know about the Portuguese Sheepdog outside of Portugal but he has found his way into the United States in limited numbers. The official breed standard was set in Portugal in 1930; however, his breed type was not fully fixed until after the 1970s when the breed was revived. Breeders and enthusiasts in the United States have promoted the Portuguese Sheepdog by breeding and exhibiting him throughout the country. In 2006, the United Kennel Club (UKC) recognized him as a rare breed. 

Portuguese Sheepdog Breed Appearance

The Portuguese Sheepdog is a medium sized herding breed. Many call him a monkey dog because of his quizzical expression and characteristics. He has a black nose with large nostrils. His eyes are round and medium sized, they are dark in color and the eye rims are also dark, preferably black. The Portuguese Sheepdog has a very lively and curious expression. The coat of a Portuguese Sheepdog is long and can either be straight or wavy.  Even the hair on his head, legs and between his toes is very long. His expression is quizzical because of his long beard, moustache and bushy eyebrows that form as he matures. His coat is dense and is harsh to the touch. He does not have an undercoat. The Portuguese Sheepdog is found in five different colors: yellow, chestnut, fawn, wolf grey and grey. He should never have white patches on his body but a small white patch on his chest is acceptable. 

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

Portuguese Sheepdog Breed Maintenance

The Portuguese Sheepdog has a weather resistant coat that does require weekly brushing using a pin brush and a metal comb. It is important to check him often for tangles and either work through them with your fingers or use a comb. Do not over brush his coat, too much brushing can cause the texture of his coat to change and he will lose the rugged look that makes him unique. He should only be bathed when absolutely necessary and only using a gentle shampoo that will not alter the texture of his coat. You can use a waterless shampoo in between baths but even this should not be used often. He has a naturally mild smell and will rarely have a doggy smell unless he has been out in a muddy field working. The hair between his pads should be trimmed every few weeks and his nails also should be trimmed as needed, usually every 2 to 3 weeks. 

Brushes for Portuguese Sheepdog
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Portuguese Sheepdog requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Portuguese Sheepdog Temperament

The Portuguese Sheepdog is a very loyal companion and is always willing to get to work. He is happy and energetic. He will bond closely to his family and will be naturally suspicious of strangers. Keep in mind that the Portuguese Sheepdog will try to take the leadership role within the family if he senses there is no established leader. He can have a stubborn streak and be dominant. It is easy to train a Portuguese Sheepdog when positive reinforcement is being used and he understands his place within the family. He does require a fenced yard to keep him contained so he is not out trying to herd the neighborhood pets or children. Since he is a herding breed, he can be very vocal and become a nuisance barker when left alone for long periods of time. Be sure to provide him with plenty of toys and social interaction to keep him happy. His devotion and loyalty makes him a great choice for dog sports where he works closely with his master. 

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
8 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
45 minutes

Portuguese Sheepdog Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2.1 cups
Daily Cost
$1.20 - $1.40
Monthly Cost
$34.00 - $45.00

Portuguese Sheepdog Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Portuguese Sheepdog size stats at six months
Height: 15.0 inches Weight: 16.5 lbs
Female Portuguese Sheepdog size stats at six months
Height: 15.0 inches Weight: 16.5 lbs
12 Months
Male Portuguese Sheepdog size stats at 12 months
Height: 17.0 inches Weight: 28.5 lbs
Female Portuguese Sheepdog size stats at 12 months
Height: 17.0 inches Weight: 28.5 lbs
18 Months
Male Portuguese Sheepdog size stats at 18 months
Height: 19.0 inches Weight: 33.0 lbs
Female Portuguese Sheepdog size stats at 18 months
Height: 19.0 inches Weight: 33.0 lbs

Portuguese Sheepdog Owner Experiences

18 Months
2 People
House & Yard
She is absolutely adorable. Very affectionate and loyal. Extremely friendly with other dogs and people. Never shows any sign of aggression or fear.
2 years, 12 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd