Estrela Mountain Dog

 
  • Height: 24.5-28.5 inches
  • Weight: 75-130 lb
  • Lifespan: 12-16 years
  • Group: AKC Working Group
  • Best Suited For: Families with children, active singles, houses with yards, watchdog, farm/rural areas
  • Temperament: Loyal, protective, athletic, faithful
  • Comparable Breeds: Leonberger, Great Pyrenees

New Search

Also known as the Cao da Serra de Estrela, the Estrela Mountain Dog is a large breed native to the Estrela Mountains in Portugal. This breed has been used to guard homesteads and herds for centuries and, because of its size, it is a formidable opponent to even large predators. Though this breed may look intimidating, he is loyal and affectionate with family – it also does well as a guard dog. If you are looking for a breed of dog that will protect your family and your property, especially your children, the Estrela Mountain Dog may be a good option for you.

Also known as the Cao da Serra de Estrela, the Estrela Mountain Dog is a large breed native to the Estrela Mountains in Portugal.

The origins of the Estrela Mountain Dog come from the mountains of Serra da Estrela in what is now known as Portugal. While the exact origins of this breed are unknown, it is undisputed that the Estrela Mountain Dog is one of the most ancient breeds in Portugal that still exists. The Estrela Mountain Dog developed over a period of several hundred years, bred to survive in the mountain environment and to perform the task assigned to them – guarding herds and homesteads. This breed was developed for its large size, thick coat, loyal temperament, and watchful gaze. Though this breed has existed for many years, the first published breed standard was written in 1922 and the first official breed standard was written in 1933. Until 1972, there is no written record of this breed existing outside of Portugal and it was not imported into the United States until 1998.

Intelligent and watchful, the Estrela Mountain Dog is fiercely loyal to his family.It is unknown which breeds contributed to the development of the Estrela Mountain Dog because there are no written records for the breed. It is undisputed, however, that the Estrela Mountain Dog is one of the oldest dog breeds in Portugal. The Estrela Mountain Dog is thought to have developed from ancient breeds brought over by the Romans when they first colonized the Iberian Peninsula.

Because the Estrela Mountain Dog is a large-breed dog it should be fed a dog food diet formulated for large breeds. Large breed dogs actually have slightly lower energy needs than small breeds so a regular dog food formula might lead to weight gain. If your dog is particularly active, however, it may benefit from switching to an active breed formula.

Because this dog was bred to protect livestock, he can be a bit independent and strong-willed.

The Estrela Mountain Dog is an intelligent breed so it has the potential to respond well to training. Because this dog was bred to protect livestock, however, he can be a bit independent and strong-willed. For this reason, you need to maintain a firm and consistent hand in training and it is recommended that you use positive reinforcement-based training methods. Starting this dog with training and socialization as early as possible is incredibly important and strong leadership will be required throughout its lifetime.

The Estrela Mountain Dog stands between 25.5 and 28.5 inches high, for males, and weighs between 99 and 132 pounds. The female Estrela Mountain Dog stands 24.5 to 27 inches tall and weighs 77 to 99 lbs.

The Estrela Mountain Dog is intelligent and it is loyal and affectionate with family.The Estrela Mountain Dog is by no means an aggressive dog, but he has high protective instincts and he will not hesitate to come to the rescue for those he loves. These dogs are calm and fearless so they make excellent watchdogs as well as guard dogs. The Estrela Mountain Dog is intelligent and it is loyal and affectionate with family, though it tends to be fairly aloof around strangers. This dog is highly protective of children and it needs early socialization in order to get along with other dogs and smaller household pets. This dog does have a tendency to bark, especially in situations where it feels its territory or family may be threatened.

The Estrela Mountain Dog is a healthy and hardy breed with a surprisingly long lifespan for a breed its size. Though the Estrela Mountain Dog is largely healthy, it can be affected by some of the same health problems that affect other large-breed dogs including hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. Purchasing your dog from a reputable breeder will help to reduce the incidence of congenital conditions because most reputable breeders perform genetic tests on their breeding stock to reduce hereditary health problems.

For such a large breed, the Estrela Mountain Dog has a surprisingly long lifespan averaging 12 to 16 years.

The Estrela Mountain Dog is not a highly active dog but it does require a long daily walk to meet its needs for exercise. This breed will appreciate having a large outdoor space to run and play in addition to having a daily walk.

The Estrela Mountain Dog has high protective instincts and he will not hesitate to come to the rescue for those he loves.

The Estrela Mountain Dog belongs to the Working Group for the AKC. The AKC does not have its own standard for this breed so it follows the standard published by the FCI.

The Estrela Mountain Dog comes in two different coat types – long and short. The short coat is thick and coarse with only moderate feathering. The long coat may be flat or slightly wavy, but it never curls. The undercoat is dense and lighter in color than the coarse outer coat. This breed comes in several colors including fawn, yellow, and wolf gray with or without white markings, shading, or brindling.

The Estrela Mountain Dog has a fairly large average litter size of 7 to 8 puppies. Early socialization and training is incredibly important for Estrela Mountain Dog to ensure that it not only gets along with other dogs but that it doesn’t become overly wary around strangers.

Photo credit: Traceywashere/Wikimedia; Tom Woodward/Flickr


Comparable Breeds

Go to Leonberger

Leonberger

  • Height: 25-31 inches
  • Weight: 120-170 lb
  • Lifespan: 8-10 years
  • Group: AKC Working
  • Best Suited For: Families with children, active singles, houses with yards
  • Temperament: Friendly, playful, protective, intelligent
  • Comparable Breeds: Newfoundland, Great Pyrenees
Go to Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees

  • Height: 25-32 inches
  • Weight: 85-115 lb
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years
  • Group: AKC Working
  • Best Suited For: Families with children, singles, houses with yards, farms/rural areas
  • Temperament: Calm, well mannered, devoted, serious
  • Comparable Breeds: Newfoundland, Saint Bernard