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Estrela Mountain Dog

A king, well-mannered children companion! (other names: Cão da Serra da Estrela, Portuguese Sheep Dog)

Estrela Mountain Dog
origin:Portugal
classification:Herding
height:62 to 72 cm
weight:40 to 50 kg
exercise: Demandingtraining: Easyclimate: Coldin/out: Outdoorfeeding: Mediumsize: Large
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History [ edit ]

The Estrela Mountain Dog is perhaps the most popular of all nine Portuguese recognized breeds and is also reputed to be one of the oldest in the Iberian Peninsula. Its ancestry goes back to ancient Asiatic mastiffs, that were probably brought to the Iberian Peninsula during the invasions. The Estrela Mountain Dog is also related to the Spanish Mastiff. This breed was named after the Estrela Mountain where it originates. It is the highest mountain in Portugal, reaching 2000m and it is located in the central part of the country. It is an isolated region and because there was little breeding with non-native dogs, it was possible to keep the breed pure. The Estrela Mountain Dog was extremely important to the farmers in herding the flocks and protecting them from predators, mainly wolves. Although this extremely beautiful breed has made its way into the showrings and is also very fancied as a family companion, it still plays a key role as a working dog in his native land. Being a well known region that produces excellent cheese from sheeps and goats and wool it is not surprising to see how highly valued is the Estrela Mountain Dog as a guadian to this day. Though a formidable guardian and protector, and despite its huge size, it is an extremely gentle animal that will often helps with cleaning up newborn lambs and other animals for that matter; some Estrelas have been seen “cleaning up” very small chicks: they lay down, put one of the huge paws of theirs over the chicks and lick them for quite a good length of time. Contrary to what could be expected, the chicks come out of the experience unhurt, only wet !!! Estrelas are used as police dogs, guardians, watchdogs and companions. As pets, they are absolutely marvelous.
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General appearance [ edit ]

The Estrela Mountain Dog is a large, sturdy and very powerful dog, mastiff-type, strongly muscled and with substantial bone. An agile breed that  conveys  an impression of vigour and strength. The body is short backed, slightly higher at withers and almost level with a slightly sloping croup and a broad, well muscled loin. The chest is moderately deep and broad, with well sprung ribs. The underline rises gently. The front legs are straight, thick and well boned and the rear legs have strong bone and well muscled thighs. The feet are compact, oval, thick with lots of hair between the toes. The head, standing on a short, thick neck, is powerful, long and broad and in proportion to the size of the dog. The skull is slighly rounded and broad between the ears. Moderate stop. Long muzzle, with an almost straight topline and tapering towards the tip, but not pointed. The skull and the muzzle are of equal length. Strong jaws with a complete scissor bite and large, black and tight lips, not thick or pendant, and without flews.The nose is large, black, with wide and well-opened nostrils. The oval, medium-sized eyes are amber or darker in colour and have a calm, benign expression.The triangular ears are thin, moderately high set, small in size, and rounded at the tip. They are carried falling backwards against the side of the head with a small portion of the inside of the ear showing. The tail is long, thick, and well feathered, set on slightly low and slightly curved at the end. When the dog is at rest, the tail hangs down, but is carried slightly above the back when the animal is on the move. Estrelas come in two coat varieties, long or short, both with undercoat. In the long coat variety the outer coat is thick and slightly coarse but not too harsh. It should lie close to the body; it may be slightly waved but never curly. The undercoat is dense, lighter in colour than the outer coat. The hair is thick and abundant round the neck and chest, forming a ruff particularly in the male. The back of the legs and the tail are heavily feathered. In the short coat variety the outer coat is short, thick, slightly coarse and straight. The undercoat is shorter and dense.The colours are fawn (reddish brown), brindle and wolf grey. A dark facial mask is highly desirable.
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Temperament [ edit ]

The Estrela Mountain Dog is a highly intelligent, alert and faithful dog. Although naturally dominant and independent, it is a sociable, well-mannered breed, that enjoys the company of their human family. Estrelas are very affectionate towards their families and aloof to others. They are very calm and have a very low degree of aggressiveness. But don’t let this fool yourselves:  they are extreme good guardians of their family and property and will react to danger quickly and fearless. They get along well with other household pets if they are raised with them from puppywood. However, due to their protective instinct, they have to be socialized from puppywood. Generally, even when socialized, Estrelas living in a country house where there are other domestic animals (chickens, ducks, etc.) will not accept strange dogs or cats, which they will attack immediately. It is not because they are vicious; they are simply protecting their “herd”. Estrelas also have a strong instinct to nurture young and, therefore, children are perfectly safe with them. However, because of their size toddlers need careful supervision. A movement of the tail is enough to knock a toddler down. Though self-willed Estrelas are relatively amenable to training, which should not be harsh, for they do not like being bullied. They are too big for an apartament and are happier in a yard; however, as they are incredible jumpers, owners should dog-proof their gardens accordingly. Estrelas bond so intensely with their families that it is difficult for them to accept a new owner in adulthood. Therefore, before purchasing a Estrela, prospective owners should bear in mind that it has to be a long-term relationship, a friend for life! Your dog will pay you back with his fierce loyalty loyalty and unquestionable love.
editing: Temperament [ close ]
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Health [ edit ]

Estrela Mountain Dogs are generally a healthy breed. Occasionally they may suffer from hip dysplasia.
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Dog trivia [ edit ]

Estrelas can be trained as draft dogs.
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02.01
marcos said:
My dear Petra is 4 years old and I must say the text on the breed is spot on!