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Estrela Mountain Dog Dog Breed Profile

Estrela Mountain Dog

Other Names
Portugese Mountain Dog (not sheepdog) 
Dog Group Kennel Club
Breed Classification
The Estrela Mountain Dog is a member of the pastoral group. They were originally bred for protecting livestock; today they are still used as working dogs, guard dogs and companions and seen in the showring.  
Cost of Ownership
Average Food Cost
£4-7.50 per week
Feeding Requirements
They are not greedy dogs and on average would probably eat the same as a larger German Shepherd. It is preferable to avoid very high protein diets.  
Other Expenses
The average cost of a puppy is around £700. 
9 - 15 years
They should live between 10 -12 years. 
Average Litter Size
Litters vary from 2-3 all the way up to 12. A larger litter is more usual.  
General Physical Description

Height Min Max
Bitch 62cm (24") 68cm (27")
Dog 65cm (26") 72cm (28")
Weight Min Max
Bitch 30kg (66lbs) 50kg (110lbs)
Dog 30kg (66lbs) 50kg (110lbs)
Size Category
Weight Height Range
Dogs should measure between 65-72cms at the withers and weigh between 30-50kgs. Bitches should ideally measure between 62-68cms and weigh also between 30-50kgs 
This is a fairly hardy breed but as with all large breeds there is a slight risk of cancer. Hip Dysplasia is also possible so it is advisable to try and find a puppy with parents that are HD scored.  
Common Ailments

Bones (Developmental) - Hip dysplasia  
Susceptibility To Illness
The Estrela is reputed to be the oldest breed of the Iberian Peninsula and is of ancient origins. He is a constant companion to the shepherd and a vigilant protector of his flocks. The Serra da Estrela mountains lay across Portugal and it is here that this breed developed. The dogs may still be seen working here to this day. The Estrela arrived in Britain in 1974 and from here was introduced to other European countries. The setting up of a web chat line is allowing enthusiasts throughout the world to work together for the furtherment of this lovely breed.  
This is a highly intelligent breed but also quite an independent one. The best way to train an Estrela is to become a partnership, they love to please but hate to be bullied. As with all large breeds they have voluntary deafness but you are unlikely to lose an Estrela. < 
Show Characteristics
The Estrela Mountain Dog should have a long and powerful head with a broad, slightly rounded skull. The jaws should be strong and have a complete scissor bite. The lips should be black and tight; the roof of the mouth is pigmented black. The eyes should be medium sized, oval and amber or darker in colour. The ears should be high set, small in size, thin, triangular in shape and round at the tips and carried falling backwards against the head with a small part of the inside of the ear on view. The neck should be short and thick with a thick tuft of hair under the throat. The chest should be deep and well sprung. The front legs should straight, muscular with strong bone; the back legs should comprise of muscular thighs and be of strong bone. The feet should be compact, thick with lots of hair between the toes. The tail should be long and slightly curved at the end. When on the move the tail is carried slightly above the back. The coat can be long or short. It lies close to the body and may be flat or slightly wavy, it should not be curly. The undercoat should be dense and of a lighter colour than the outer coat. The hair should be short on the head and on the front of the legs. They should have a thick abundance of hair around the neck and chest forming a ruff, which is more obvious in the males than females. The back of the legs and the tail are heavily feathered. In the short coat the outer coat is short, thick, harsh and straight. The undercoat should be shorter and dense. The colours desired are fawn, brindle and wolf grey. Some white is allowed on the chest, feet and tail, but is undesirable.  
Country Of Origin
Famous Examples
Records Held
Overall Exercise
20 - 40 minutes per day.
This is a breed that loves open spaces. They do not require a great deal of exercise, however they are always ready if given the opportunity. Estrela Mountain Dogs are very agile so a well-fenced garden is a must. Exercise must be given in limited amounts during the growth period, as too much can cause bone and joint problems later in life.  
Distress if Left Alone
Personal Protection
Guard Dog Suitability
Risk of Sheep Worrying
Tendency to Bark
Level of Aggression
Compatibility With Other Animals
Suitable For Children


General Character And Temperament
The Estrela Mountain Dog is a strong, powerful and large dog. They are very vigilant, independent and stubborn dogs, however they are also very affectionate and will bond closely to the family and familiar people. They are wary of strangers and will find it extremely hard to accept a new owner.  
Coat Length
Grooming Requirement
Requires Professional Groomer
Grooming is fairly easy as long as it is done regularly. A good slicker brush and a rake are essential to keep coat healthy.  
They can be fawn, brindle or wolf grey in colour.  
Suffers From Allergies

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