Rafeiro Do Alentejo

77-99 lbs
Alentejo Mastiff, Portuguese Watchdog, Portuguese Mastiff, Mutt of Alentejo

The Rafeiro Do Alentejo is a large, mastiff-type dog with a massive, bear-like head. He is a powerful dog and is not recommended for first time dog owners. If not properly socialized, he can become aggressive and dangerous. He is an independent and stubborn dog who will require continuous training throughout his life to ensure he knows his proper place within the family. He is a territorial dog and will protect his home and family if he feels they are threatened. The Rafeiro Do Alentejo can be a good family dog with proper training, socialization and boundaries. He does well with children who respect him and know how to treat him. 

purpose Purpose
Livestock Guardian, Protection Dog, Cart Dog
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry

Rafeiro Do Alentejo Health

Average Size
Male Rafeiro Do Alentejo size stats
Height: 26-29 inches Weight: 88-110 lbs
Female Rafeiro Do Alentejo size stats
Height: 25-28 inches Weight: 77-99 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Usually Very Healthy
Minor Concerns
  • Hip Dysplasia
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Elbow Dysplasia
Occasional Tests
  • X-Rays
  • General Physical Examination
  • OFA on hips and elbows

Rafeiro Do Alentejo Breed History

The Rafeiro Do Alentejo’s past is somewhat of a mystery. Many believe he has descended from the massive dogs found in the highlands of Tibet over thousands of years. Some think that his descendants migrated westward into Asia Minor, crossing the Balkans with the Roman legions. Throughout the years, the Rafeiro Do Alentejo developed his own physical characteristics and personality traits, differentiating them between the regions. He evolved into a mighty livestock guardian dog that fearlessly protected sheep or cattle from predators or cattle rustlers. As he evolved, many historians believe that the Anatolian Shepherd and Spanish Mastiff were bred into the bloodlines to create a quick-witted, territorial dog. In Portugal, cattle needed to be moved throughout the year, seeking better pastures and warmer climates. The Rafeiro Do Alentejo would follow the herds from pasture to pasture. They followed the herds for centuries and adapted to life migrating between the regions of Douro and Alentejo. As ranchers settled permanently, the Rafeiro Do Alentejo remained in the southern region near Alentejo and along with his livestock guarding duties, he was used to guard big rural estates. Around 1953 Antonio Cabral and Filipe Romeiras began taking an interest in these large dogs. They worked together to develop the first official breed standard. The breed began to disappear in the 1960s and 1970s and by the 1980s the breed was almost extinct. With the determination of a small group of breeders in Portugal, the Rafeiro Do Alentejo began to rebound and today, while he is still rare, is gaining in numbers. People began importing him into the United States and in 2006 he was recognized by the United Kennel Club. He has yet to be officially recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Rafeiro Do Alentejo Breed Appearance

The Rafeiro Do Alentejo has a massively broad head with a rounded skull. He is an impressive dog with dark brown eyes that are very expressive. He has triangular shaped ears that are small to medium sized and have rounded tips. His ears do hang to just past the eye. His nose, eye rims and lips should be black; lighter coloring on his nose, eye rims or lips is not desirable. His neck is short; his body is bulky and muscular. He has large bones and his legs are thick and sturdy. His tail is long and does have a curve. His tail should be in line with his spine and fall between the hocks, not touching the ground. Males are definitely bigger and bulkier than females. He has a very dense coat with his topcoat being harsher to the touch than his undercoat. The topcoat is of medium length and is straight. He comes in several different colors including black, fawn, brindle, yellow or grey. He can also have a white spotted pattern to his coat. 

Eye Color Possibilities
brown Rafeiro Do Alentejo eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Rafeiro Do Alentejo nose
Coat Color Possibilities
pied Rafeiro Do Alentejo coat
brindle Rafeiro Do Alentejo coat
fawn Rafeiro Do Alentejo coat
gray Rafeiro Do Alentejo coat
black Rafeiro Do Alentejo coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Rafeiro Do Alentejo straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Rafeiro Do Alentejo Breed Maintenance

The Rafeiro Do Alentejo does have a double coat, but he generally is a low maintenance dog and only requires weekly brushing except when he is shedding seasonally twice a year. The Rafeiro Do Alentejo who are working in the fields with livestock do not necessarily need to be brushed weekly, however, those that are being presented in conformation shows should be brushed at least weekly to ensure their coat is well conditioned. During seasonal shedding, he needs to be thoroughly brushed daily until all his undercoat has shed out. A pin brush, metal comb and deshedder will be useful when grooming him. He does not need to be bathed often, usually two times a year, when he is shedding heavily. When he is being exhibited at conformation shows, he will need to be bathed more often using a mild shampoo. His nails should be trimmed as needed and the hair between his foot pads needs to be trimmed to keep dirt, debris or knots from affecting his mobility. 

Brushes for Rafeiro Do Alentejo
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Rafeiro Do Alentejo requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Rafeiro Do Alentejo Temperament

The Rafeiro Do Alentejo is an impressive looking, large, self-confident dog that makes an excellent guard dog, especially at night. He can be very stubborn and does not respond well to most common training techniques; it takes an experienced handler to train him. He can be sensitive to overly harsh reprimands and will not work well for that trainer. He does require continual training throughout his life to ensure he is a well-adjusted family member. New dog owners should not consider him as a pet; he will be too much dog for them and without proper socialization and training can become aggressive. He does do well with children as long as the children understand that he requires respect. Children who do not respect the Rafeiro Do Alentejo will find him to be aloof and in some instances, aggressive. He is standoffish with strangers and will sound the alarm when they approach his property.

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
10 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes
activity minutes

Rafeiro Do Alentejo Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$1.50 - $1.90
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$39.00 - $52.00
food bag monthly cost

Rafeiro Do Alentejo Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Rafeiro Do Alentejo size stats at six months
Height: 20.0 inches Weight: 45.0 lbs
Female Rafeiro Do Alentejo size stats at six months
Height: 19.0 inches Weight: 39.0 lbs
12 Months
Male Rafeiro Do Alentejo size stats at 12 months
Height: 25.0 inches Weight: 72.5 lbs
Female Rafeiro Do Alentejo size stats at 12 months
Height: 24.0 inches Weight: 65.0 lbs
18 Months
Male Rafeiro Do Alentejo size stats at 18 months
Height: 27.5 inches Weight: 99.0 lbs
Female Rafeiro Do Alentejo size stats at 18 months
Height: 26.5 inches Weight: 88.0 lbs

Rafeiro Do Alentejo Owner Experiences

1 Year
3 People
House & Yard
She thinks everything you do is about her
2 years, 1 month ago
3 Years
2 People
House & Yard
My Rafeiro do Alentejo is very friendly with everything that walks this earth. They are known to be wary of strangers, Not mine, she loves everybody! Dog or human, goat or cow, she wants to play with it. She is also very calm and stubborn. She loves to be near us for hugs and kisses but also very capable of being a part of the day on her own. I love this dog so much!!!!!
4 years, 9 months ago
4 Months
5 People
House & Yard
Rusty is still 100% puppy perfect tense of energy. We do our best to allow the kids to wear him out. He is curious about our chickens and cats, but is coming to recognize them as family quickly. He wants nothing more than to play with our 8-year old coonhound in our children. Yet, he is happy to laze around at our feet and get tons of belly rubs.
3 years, 2 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd