Estrela Mountain Dog

Estrela Mountain Dog
Estrela Mountain Dog pictures
Estrela Mountain Dog suitability

In my own words


I come from the high mountains of Portugal and have an illustrious past of herding and guarding sheep from fierce wolves. I’m loyal and fearless and will be sure to take care of you too (even if you do get a little sick of my tireless barking). I love being with my family and while I get a little nervous around strangers, it doesn’t take me too long to warm up. I’m a big dog, so naturally I need a lot of space to move in. Don’t pen me in inside a pokey apartment or I will most certainly misbehave. I do like to dominate, so you might need to teach me a thing or two about my role in the house. Don’t worry; I’m very intelligent and quick to learn so a few firm words and training sessions should put me in my place. I love children and with my hardy frame and energetic nature, I make the perfect playmate.

My ideal owner(s)


Experienced dog owners


Active owners

Country dwellers

What they say about me






Please read on, to find out more about me, and whether I will be someone you can be happy with for the next 12 years, or even longer!

Is this Estrela Mountain Dog for you?

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Information essential about the Estrela Mountain Dog


Kennel Club Group:




Weight Male 75-110 lbs (34-45 kg) Female  60-90 lbs (27-41 kg)


While extremely popular in it’s native Portugal, the Estrela Mountain Dog is relatively rare in the US and UK

Breed History:


Originating from Portugal’s Estrela Mountain region, the Estrela Mountain dog is one of the country’s oldest breeds. Used for herding and guarding, they were prized by both farmers and aristocrats for their ability with both flock and estate. It took hundreds of years of breeding the best guardian-herding dogs to produce today's standard of Estrela Mountain Dog. Breeders selected the largest and strongest dogs in the hope of creating a dog that was fearless, independent and loyal. While the standard of the breed was developed in 1933, there was so little documentation by the original shepherd breeders that the standard was not actually honed until the late 1950s. The Portuguese police use Estrela Mountain Dogs for police work as well as to pull carts. The dog is quite rare in the United States, although there are a growing number of breeders, as well as the Estrela Mountain Dog Association of America.



While your Estrela Mountain Dog will be loyal and affectionate towards you, it may be aloof towards others. It is integral that they are well socialised with both dogs and people, especially with children, when young as the breed tends to be naturally wary of strangers. Very friendly by nature, they will warm up once they become familiar with people. Having originally been bred to fight off wolves and protect sheep, they are very defensive of their territory. Intelligent and alert, it is their natural instinct to assume the dominant role. It is integral that you, as the owner, assert your position and the lines are clearly defined and rules are set. Like many other mountain dog breeds, the Estrela Mountain Dog is particularly good with children. The Estrela Mountain Dog needs plenty of mental and physical stimulation. They are not designed for apartment life and at the least need a large yard to play in. Because its thick coat protects it so well, it can happily cope with living out-doors provided it has proper shelter. Patient, kind and gentle, it makes a great family dog as well as a protective guardian. This assertive and versatile dog is able to switch from defensive mode to nurturing mode as needed. You will enjoy living with your Estrela Mountain Dog as long as the leadership is clear.



The Estrela Mountain Dog is an agile and hardy breed. Loving and affectionate, they form deep attachments to their family and do not take well to being re-homed. Alternatively, they are aloof and wary with strangers and will not hesitate to protect their home and territory. Ever alert, they make excellent guard dogs and are prone to barking. They are also prone to wandering and are best kept in a securely fenced yard. While they are very independent and headstrong, the Estrela Mountain dog is also loving and affectionate. They are great with children and are hardy enough to make a tireless playmate. Endlessly loyal, the Estrela Mountain Dog is the perfect family companion.



The Estrela Mountain Dog is a formidable, beautiful dog. The head is long and powerful with broad, slightly rounded skull. It should have a large black nose, well developed jaws and tightly closed black lips. The eyes are black rimmed and oval in shape, coloured amber or darker. The ears should be small and moderately high set, while the jaw and teeth should be very strong with a complete scissor bite. The forelegs are straight and well muscled, while the back is preferably short, slightly higher at withers and almost level. The chest should be moderately deep and broad and the ribs well sprung. The tail is feathered and set low. The feet are oval with thick, hard pads and tightly closed toes with black nails. The Estrela Mountain Dog has a thick, coarse coat that comes in both long-haired and short-haired varieties. Those with the long coat have a thick outer coat that is slightly coarse without being too harsh. The hair lies close over the body and is flat or slightly waved and never curly. The undercoat is very dense and normally lighter in colour than the outer coat. The head features short and smooth hair that diminishes in length from the base of ears to the tip. The hair is thick and abundant around the neck and chest and forms a ruff, particularly in the male. The forearms, thighs, rear pasterns and tail are abundantly feathered, while there is short, smooth hair on the front of the legs. Those with a short coat have a thick and slightly coarse overcoat with a shorter, dense undercoat. Any feathering should be in proportion.



The Estrela Mountain Dog comes in a range of colour variations. The fawn tone varies from burnt yellow to a deep red. The wolf grey tone is a mixture of grey and black hairs intermingled. The Estrela Mountain Dog also comes in brindle, where the fawn or wolf grey tones come with streaks or smudges of black or brown varying in intensity.



While they are trainable, the Estrela Mountain Dog has a tendency to be stubborn and wilful. Early socialization and obedience training is required. They will not respond to harsh or heavy-handed methods and as a result training must be done with fairness and consistency. Patience and time is required to make this a great family dog.



Grooming the Estrela Mountain Dog is surprisingly easy for the majority of the year -- just a brush a week -- but twice annually they shed heavily and need several daily brushings. Bathing should be done only when necessary.



The lifespan of a healthy individual is between 12 and 14 years, which is normal for a dog of this size. If you buy from a reputable, responsible breeder, health problems should not occur. However, if your Estrela Mountain Dog does achieve a good old age, the normal complaints that we all suffer from, such as arthritis and failing eyesight may begin to develop. The Estrela Mountain Dog is robust, with few recorded health problems and a long life expectancy for a large working dog. Hip and elbow dysplasia are the most common issues faced by this breed, and it is a good idea to get your puppy hip and elbow scored if you are thinking of breeding later on. However, if you are careful who you buy from, your Golden Retriever should give you many years of good health, fun and loving companionship.



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Advice on choosing your breed »

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The following grid gives a fast track review which covers all breeds. You can apply it to help you decide if an Estrela Mountain Dog is suitable for you, the environment where you live, your personality and your lifestyle. On the grid, 1= strongly disagree, and 5= strongly agree. For example, if you are looking for a dog that likes to run, look down the list under Activities, and you will see that Estrela Mountain Dogs are strong runners, scoring 5. If you want a protective dog, look down the  list under Role and Suitability, and you will see that Estrela Mountain Dogs make good guard dogs, and score 5. You might like to save or print off this section and keep it for reference while you check some other breeds before making your final choice

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Noahs Breed Rating | Community Breed Rating

Good jogging companion5/5
Good walking companion5/5
Likes water/swimming2/5
Likes learning new tricks2/5
Likes to hunt2/5
Likes to fetch2/5
Good gundog/retriever1/5
Barks a lot4/5
Gets easily jealous2/5
Friendly with strangers2/5
Expensive to insure1/5
Expensive to feed1/5
Happy to sleep outside2/5
Prefers countryside5/5
Suits urban environment5/5
Prefers temperate climate4/5
Prefers hot climate3/5
Prefers cold climate4/5
Moults a lot3/5
Requires lots of grooming3/5
Role and Suitability
Ideal for elderly3/5
Ideal for singles5/5
Ideal for couples with no children5/5
Ideal for family with children5/5
Good watch dog5/5
Good guard dog5/5
Good with other pets5/5
Good with other dogs5/5
Time and Energy
Happy being left alone for 4hrs1/5
Happy being left alone for 2hrs2/5
Requires lots of exercise5/5
Training and Obedience
Good for first time owners5/5
Good for experienced owners5/5
Good recall5/5
Easy to train3/5
Good jogging companion0/5
Good walking companion0/5
Likes water/swimming0/5
Likes learning new tricks0/5
Likes to hunt0/5
Likes to fetch0/5
Good gundog/retriever0/5
Barks a lot0/5
Gets easily jealous0/5
Friendly with strangers0/5
Expensive to insure0/5
Expensive to feed0/5
Happy to sleep outside0/5
Prefers countryside0/5
Suits urban environment0/5
Prefers temperate climate0/5
Prefers hot climate0/5
Prefers cold climate0/5
Moults a lot0/5
Requires lots of grooming0/5
Role and Suitability
Ideal for elderly0/5
Ideal for singles0/5
Ideal for couples with no children0/5
Ideal for family with children0/5
Good watch dog0/5
Good guard dog0/5
Good with other pets0/5
Good with other dogs0/5
Time and Energy
Happy being left alone for 4hrs0/5
Happy being left alone for 2hrs0/5
Requires lots of exercise0/5
Training and Obedience
Good for first time owners0/5
Good for experienced owners0/5
Good recall0/5
Easy to train0/5

*PLEASE NOTE: All our breed profiles are general, and all dogs are individuals. Always talk to the breeders and meet the owners you are buying from. Try to meet the dog and its parents if it is a puppy in their home environment.

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Estrela Mountain Dog Pictures & Videos



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