The Estrela Mountain Dog is determined, reliable, intelligent, calm, patient, loyal and gentle. Estrela Mountain Dogs make excellent guard dogs as they are naturally distrusting with strangers. They tend to bond closely to one person and can find it difficult accepting a new handler or owner. Estrela Mountain Dogs make excellent companions for children and regard all the animals and people within their household as their responsibility to look after. Estrela Mountain Dosg can be stubborn and needs a firm and patient handler to provide training from an early age.
Estrela Mountain Dogs need weekly brushing to keep the coat looking healthy. More grooming is needed for the long-hair variety and extra attention is needed when the coat is moulting as the entire under coat is shedded.
The large size of these dogs means they need a considerable amount of space and exercise. Estrela Mountain Dogs adore going for long walks, but will not make a fuss if that isn't always possible.
The Estrela Mountain Dog is the most popular Portuguese breed and is one of the oldest on the Iberian peninsula. This breed descended from ancient Asiatic mastiffs and is related to the Spanish Mastiff. They were bred as mountain herding dogs to keep away wolves and bears. Earlier in the twentieth century Estrela Mountain Dogs were cross-bred with German Shepherds affecting their purity, however they are now back to their pure form. The breed standard for these dogs was established in 1934.
General Appearance: Sturdy, athletic and powerful
Color: Fawn, wolf gray, yellow, reddish-brown, with or without white markings.
Coat: Two coat types (1) long-haired and (2) short-haired. Both are abundant with an under coat of fine, short hair.
Tail: Thick, set moderately low, tapering and carried low when at rest and high when active.
Ears: Small, set moderately high, rounded at the tip, triangular and carried falling backwards against the side of the head.
Body: The body is preferably square in outline, but slightly longer than tall will be accepted. The brisket extends to the elbow and the chest is broad and muscular. The ribs are well-sprung and extend well back. The loin is short, wide and muscular and the back is broad, strong and nearly level from the withers to the slightly sloping croup.
- Estrela Mountain Dogs are still reasonably uncommon outside of Portugal.