Estrela Mountain Dog
(aka: Portuguese Shepherd, Cao da Serra da Estrela)
A sturdy, mastiff-type dog, conveying an impression of strength and vigor, the Estrela Mountain Dog is not a massively boned bog. Estrela Mountain Dogs should be agile rather than cumbersome. They are large dogs with fluffy coats. They have a black mask, and can be many colors from fawn to wolf gray. They have a strong head with wide nostrils, and a bushy tail.
Estrela Mountain Dogs have a heavy double coat, which sheds at designated times. They were originally used for herding and guarding in high mountainous regions, making food scarce. This has made them content with whatever they can receive in food. The same goes for love--Estrela Mountain Dogs need a lot of love, but are content with whatever they receive.
Estrela Mountain Dog Temperament
They are a sociable animal that enjoys the company of their human family. Estrela Mountain Dogs are extremely loyal to the ones they love, but are indifferent towards strangers. Their loud bark can deter any threat, and they are good for guard dogs. Portuguese Sheepdogs need a firm handler, as they are stubborn and often self-willed. They do not like to be dominated, however, and need to convinced to do their job. They are adaptable to living environments, and get along with children and other animals. Hardy, agile, and loving--the Estrela Mountain Dog is a good herder, guardian and friend.
Estrela Mountain Dog's require regular brushing with special attention needed during heavy seasonal shedding. Bathing should be done when necessary.
The Estrela Mountain Dog comes from the Estrela mountain region of the Iberian Peninsula in central Portugal, where they have been used for guarding and herding livestock for hundreds of years. He is thought to have evolved mainly from the Roman Mastiffs, with a touch of Saint Bernard, and is known to be one of the oldest dogs of Portugal.
It is thought that they came from Asia originally. Estrela Mountain Dogs began herding and guarding centuries ago, watching over flocks and living off meager means. They eventually came to be content with little food, as they would eat whatever scraps their shepherds had left over. Aristocrats eventually picked up on the breed and took a few home. They then served as guard dogs for their estates. From this point the flocks began to decrease in population, while aristocrats increased their collections of Estrela Mountain Dogs. Because royalty dogs were fed more often and worked less often, this led to the breed becoming bigger and stronger-boned than its predecessors.
In 1908 the Estrela had its first show recording. In the 1930s the breed finally gained a foothold in the dog world and began to spread out from its native land. It was not until 1974 that the breed gained recognition in the United Kingdom under the category of Rare Breeds. Prior to 1972, the breed was not recorded existing anywhere else but Portugal. In 1972 and 1973 a few of the dogs were imported into the United States, but the first recognized Estrela was not brought over until 1998. Today it is commonly seen in British dog shows, and exists in several countries.
Needs to be trained with a firm hand, but does not like to be dominated. He is known to be very stubborn, willful, and dominant who may be selectively deaf. Patience is the key to training.
Early socialization and obedience training is required. They will not respond to harsh or heavy-handed methods. Training must be done with fairness, firmness, consistency, and patience.
Estrela Mountain Dogs have relatively few health problems, of these are hip dysplasia and gastric problems.