Estrela Mountain Dog

The Estrela Mountain Dog is a purebred dog from the Estrela Mountains of Portugal. Courageous, protective, and loyal, these pups have some of the best qualities of most dog breeds around today.

The Estrela Mountain Dog goes by several names, including Portuguese Shepherd and Cao da Serra da Estrela. These large, beautiful dogs live primarily in their homeland of Portugal, but you might still find them in local shelters and breed specific rescues. Remember to adopt! Don’t shop!

These adorable pups are quite large and suited for larger homes, preferably with yards to roam. They might not be well suited for apartment living. They’re loyal and protective, which makes them great for households of all sizes. If you want a loving companion who will guard your home and family and alert you to any potential dangers, then this beautiful pooch might be right for you!

See below for all Estrela Mountain Dog facts and dog breed characteristics!

Estrela Mountain Dog Breed Pictures

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Breed Characteristics:

Adaptability

Adapts Well to Apartment Living
1
Good For Novice Owners
3
Sensitivity Level
2
Tolerates Being Alone
3
Tolerates Cold Weather
4
Tolerates Hot Weather
3

All Around Friendliness

Affectionate with Family
5
Incredibly Kid Friendly Dogs
5
Dog Friendly
3
Friendly Toward Strangers
2

Health Grooming

Amount Of Shedding
4
Drooling Potential
3
Easy To Groom
2
General Health
4
Potential For Weight Gain
3
Size
4

Trainability

Easy To Train
4
Intelligence
5
Potential For Mouthiness
2
Prey Drive
1
Tendency To Bark Or Howl
3
Wanderlust Potential
1

Exercise Needs

Energy Level
3
Intensity
3
Exercise Needs
3
Potential For Playfulness
3

Vital Stats:

Dog Breed Group:
Herding Dogs
Height:
24 to 30 inches
Weight:
75 to 130 pounds
Life Span:
11 to 15 years

More About This Breed

  • Highlights

    • The main colors of the Estrela Mountain Dog include fawn, yellow, and wolf gray with or without white markings, shading, or brindling. Sometimes these colors might mix, but many will be solid.
    • The Estrela Mountain Dog comes in two different coats. One is long and one is short. Their coats are not hypoallergenic. A good brushing at least once a week is needed for grooming.
    • Because the Estrela Mountain Dog is a large purebred, they can easily handle the play of overly excited children. As with all dogs, playtime must be supervised.
    • They are highly intelligent but need a strong and confident owner to train them and socialize them early to be able to get along with other dogs.
    • Estrela Mountain Dogs aren't naturally fond of other animals and may prefer to be the solo pet in the household. Still, many Estrela Mountain Dogs get along just fine with other dogs and cats, so it really comes down to training, socialization, and the luck of the draw.
    • Estrela Mountain Dogs are prone to weight gain, and they have medium energy levels. Make sure your dog gets at least one good half-hour to hour-long walk per day with a few good, active play sessions and shorter walks mixed in.
  • History

    The Estrela Mountain Dog is called the Cao da Serra da Estrela in Portuguese and were herd-guarding dogs in the Serra da Estrela, which is now Portugal. While their exact origins are unknown, they are one of the oldest dog breeds in the Estrela Mountains region.

    It took almost a hundred years of breeding the best guardian-herding dogs to produce what is today's Estrela Mountain Dog.

    In the early 1900s, the standard for the Estrela Mountain Dog breed was developed. Shepherds in Portugal depended on their ability to identify and scare off wolves and other large predators. These pups are brave and intelligent, which made them perfect guardian herding dogs.

    Before the start of World War II, the Estrela dog breeders were still primarily the shepherds and farmers of the region. By the 1950s, however, interest in the breed returned, and annual concursos--special shows--were reinstated with the intent of stimulating interest among the Serra residents and to encourage them to adhere to the official standard.

  • Size

    As the Estrela Mountain Dog is an ancient breed in Portugal, there are some standards when it comes to their size. As a purebred guardian-herding dog, you can expect the Estrela Mountain Dog to be on the large side.

    Most weigh in at 75 to 130 pounds and range in height from 24 to 30 inches at the shoulder. That said, many can be smaller or larger than normal.

  • Personality

    The Estrela Mountain Dog is a very protective and family-oriented pooch. These are large dogs who like to be around their pet parents or family and are natural guardians.

    Because of their calm temperament, they can stay inside and cuddle all day with you. They are not very agile but are very brave and able to defend against predators larger than themselves.

    These dogs have a barking tendency if they feel if something amiss is going on outside the home and will have no problem alerting their pet parents of any sign of trouble. They are highly intelligent but need a strong and confident owner to train them and socialize them early to be able to get along with other dogs.

    Estrela Mountain Dogs are easy to train and are willing to please their owners. They are best as watchdogs and guardians and have a natural instinct to protect their family and small children.

    If you want a loyal and loving dog who is best suited for larger homes with yards, then the Estrela Mountain Dog is the right dog for you!

  • Health

    The Estrela Mountain Dog might be predisposed to the same conditions that most large herding dogs might also face. While most are generally healthy, some may be prone to a few health issues, which is why it is important to maintain good care and regular veterinary checkups.

    Some of the more common health problems the Estrela Mountain Dog suffer from include:

    • Dilated Cardiomyopathy
    • Elbow dysplasia
    • Hip dysplasia
  • Care

    As with all dogs, you should keep up with your Estrela Mountain Dog's regular veterinary checkups to detect any health concerns early. Your vet can help you develop a care routine that will keep your dog healthy.

    Estrela Mountain Dogs are prone to weight gain, and they have medium energy levels. Make sure your dog gets at least one good half-hour to hour-long walk per day with a few good, active play sessions and shorter walks mixed in.

    Check their ears for debris and pests daily and clean them as recommended by your vet. Trim your dog's nails before they get too long—usually once or twice per month. They should not be clicking against the floor. Your groomer can help with this.

    Your main concern when it comes to your Estrela Mountain Dog will be maintaining oral health. You should brush their teeth as recommended by your vet, as many dogs are prone to dental issues. Your veterinarian can instruct you on how to brush your dog's teeth properly.

  • Feeding

    An ideal Estrela Mountain Dog diet should be formulated for a large breed with medium energy. These pups have a tendency to gain weight if overfed, so you should stick to a regular feeding schedule and not leave food out during the day. Limit their number of treats, as well.

    As with all dogs, the Estrela Mountain Dog's dietary needs will change from puppyhood to adulthood and will continue to change into their senior years. You should ask your veterinarian for recommendations about your Estrela Mountain Dog's diet, as there is far too much variation among individual dogs—including weight, energy, and health—to make a specific recommendation.

  • Coat Color And Grooming

    The main colors of the Estrela Mountain Dog include fawn, yellow, and wolf gray with or without white markings, shading, or brindling. Sometimes these colors might mix, but many will be solid.

    The Estrela Mountain Dog comes in two different coats. One is long and one is short. The short coat is thick and coarse with only moderate feathering. The longer coat may be flat or slightly wavy but never curls. The undercoat is dense and lighter in color than the coarse outer coat. Their coats are not hypoallergenic. A good brushing at least once a week is needed for grooming.

    Because they tend to have longer coats, the Estrela Mountain Dog can handle colder weather, as they were bred to be herding dogs in the mountains of Portugal.

  • Children And Other Pets

    Because the Estrela Mountain Dog is a large purebred, they can easily handle the play of overly excited children. Although they're usually gentle and protective, they could knock a child over during play on accident. Even so, for children who learn early how to properly approach and play with dogs in general, the Estrela Mountain Dog can make a great, loyal companion.

    When it comes to other pets, the Estrela Mountain Dog can get along with other animals if they are introduced slowly and calmly, and early socialization will help this go smoothly. It's best if they used to other pets early. That said, Estrela Mountain Dogs aren't naturally fond of other animals and may prefer to be the solo pet in the household.

    Still, many Estrela Mountain Dogs get along just fine with other dogs and cats, so it really comes down to training, socialization, and the luck of the draw.

  • Rescue Groups

    Because the Estrela Mountain Dog is a somewhat rare breed outside of Portugal, it may be difficult to find a breed-specific rescue. However, you can always check with your local shelter, and you may want to try a rescue that caters to all types of dogs. You can take a look at the following:

    You can also try DogTime's adoption page that lets you search for adoptable dogs by breed and zip code!