Estrela Mountain Dog, Characteristics and History
The Estrela Mountain Dog gets his name from the mountain range of the same name in the central part of Portugal where he originates .He is likely to be descended from Mastiff type dogs taken to the Iberian Peninsula by the Romans. The Estrela Mountain Dogs is a member of the mainland Europe group of herding guard dogs and was used to protect the herds of sheep and goats. British herding breeds developed differently as they were not required to guard flocks and herds from large predators like wolves and bears.
The importance of the Estrela Mountain Dog to the farmers meant that their guarding abilities were highly valued. They were required to protect the herds against wolves they needed to be powerful and courageous and were often equipped with vicious spiked collars to protect them against attacking wolves. The Estrela Mountains are fairly inaccessible and this helped keep the breed pure; they became known outside the mountains when they caught the eye of the aristocracy and were used to adorn mansions from where they made their way into the pet-owning world.
The Estrela Mountain Dog is a big dog, up to 30″ at the withers, and of great substance. The Breed Standard demands “A sturdy, well built dog of mastiff type, conveying an impression of strength and vigour”, and in common with other guarding breeds needs an owner who can dominate him. As a mountain dog he is an impressive jumper which needs to be considered when dog-proofing the garden; he also has a loud bark which he is not afraid to use.
Coat Care and Colours
The Estrela coat can be either smooth or long, and in the long-coated variety the male develops a heavy mane; colours are either fawn, in all shades, brindle or wolf grey. He is excellent with children, having traditionally spent the summers with the family, and is quite trainable, though he is a very substantial dog so adequate space is needed to keep him.
Rescue and Rehoming
In the unfortunate event you need to re-home your dog, or you are looking to give a home to an older dog, contact the Breed Clubs for their assistance. It is always wise to speak to people who are expert in the breed so you can get the best possible help.