The Estrela Mountain Dog is a large guard dog from the Estrela mountains in Portugal. It’s one of the oldest dog breeds from that part of the world, and it’s available with a long or short coat. It can have shading or black markings throughout the coat, and it will have floppy ears with a bushy tail.
26 – 28 inches
88 – 110 pounds
12 – 16 years
Brindle, fawn, grey
Children, large yard
Docile calm, patient, affectionate
It’s a large athletic dog with a calm but fearless disposition. Keep reading while we take a deep dive to learn more about this ancient breed so you can see if it would make a good pet for your home.
Estrela Mountain Dog Characteristics
Estrela Mountain Dog Puppies
There are not many breeders of the Estrela Mountain Dog. You will need to pay quite a lot if you want breeding rights, which will allow you to breed more dogs for profit. If you don’t purchase breeding rights, most contracts will require you to have your pet spayed or neutered at your expense. You will also incur other fees as you purchase regular flea and tick medication, food, treats, toys, and more. Since the Estrela Mountain Dog is so large, most of these items will cost more than they would for a smaller dog.
These dogs love being out in the yard and they will fit in well with a family who has children. Want a cuddle? No problem because the Estrela Mountain Dog is very affectionate.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Estrela Mountain Dog
The Estrela Mountain Dog values its protection instincts above all else. It needs this instinct to protect sheep but will use it to protect its family as well. This breed requires early socialization to help it form strong bonds with family and pets, so it knows who to defend. However, when it’s not working, it tends to be extremely calm and patient. It prefers being around children above all else and will usually form the strongest bonds with them. It’s independent, so you can go to work without worrying that it will misbehave, but some owners describe it as barky.
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪
Yes, as long as you have a big enough yard for it to run around in, the Estrela Mountain Dog makes a great family pet. It’s loyal and protective. It makes a great watchdog and loves to run and play games with children. When not playing, it loves to curl up at its owner’s feet or sit out in the backyard under a tree. Some owners describe it as barky, but if you have experience training larger breeds, you can usually train it to bark only when necessary. Having a home with multiple children can help the dog get the activity it needs to stay healthy.
Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?
Yes, your Estrela Mountain Dog will get along fine with other pets, but early socialization is essential so your dog will recognize it as a friend and not an intruder. Once socialized, your Estrela Mountain Dog will make a great friend to your other pets and will defend them with its life. Socializing the dog early in life will also make it easier to introduce new pets later in life because it will be more familiar with the pet concept. If the dog becomes an adult without socialization, it is unlikely to accept pets later in life.
Things to Know When Owning an Estrela Mountain Dog:
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
The Estrela Mountain Dog is a large breed that will require plenty of high-quality protein in its diet to help it stay healthy. We recommend looking for brands with chicken, turkey fish, or other real meat listed as the first ingredient. Avoid foods that have corn listed as the first ingredient because it digests too quickly and will leave your dog feeling hungry a short time later. Ingredients like corn can cause your dog to gain weight, leading to several health problems, including heart disease and diabetes. Foods containing chemical preservatives or artificial colors can also cause an allergic reaction in some dogs, so it is best to avoid them.
This dog does not require excessive exercise, but it requires plenty of space to move around and requires a big yard. Children can help by playing games with it, and frequent walks should keep your dog at an ideal weight. Many experts recommend teaching your dog new tricks to add mental stimulation to its daily routine.
Your Estrela Mountain Dog is extremely intelligent, and several law enforcement agencies use it for its ability to learn complete complex tasks. Like most other things with this breed, it’s important to start early with your training routine to have the best chance of success. We recommend regular training sessions at the same time each day to get your dog into a routine. Keep the sessions fun but short with plenty of positive reinforcement and absolutely no negativity. Consistency is key. Missing days, even for a good reason, can set your training back weeks.
Related Read: 10 Working Dog Breeds (with Pictures)
Your Estrela Mountain Dog will have a thick coat that will require frequent brushing. You will need to brush the long-haired version several times a week, and even the short hair will need frequent brushing. During the shedding seasons of fall and spring, you can expect to brush every day to keep up with the pile of hair dropping off either variety. All dogs need their teeth brushed with a safe pet toothpaste to help slow the progression of dental decay, and if you hear the nails clicking on the floor, you will need to trim them.
Health and Conditions 🏥
Elbow dysplasia is similar to hip dysplasia, except it affects the front legs of your dog. Elbow dysplasia is also the result of a malformed joint that your large and heavy dog will wear down quickly, causing an inability to bear weight on the legs. As the dog ages, the condition will worsen, and there is little that you can do except weight management and medication. In rare cases, surgery can help.
Unfortunately, due to its large size, the Estrela Mountain Dog is prone to hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is a debilitating genetic condition that causes the hip joint to form incorrectly. As your pet ages, the bones wear down prematurely, affecting your dog’s ability to stand and walk. It progresses quickly in large dogs because their massive weight puts a lot of strain on the joint. Watchdogs, like the Estrela Mountain Dog, can cover large distances every day, putting continuous strain on it. Dogs with hip dysplasia may have difficulty getting up from a resting position and have trouble climbing stairs. Weight management and medication can help, but in some cases, your dog may need surgery.
Male vs Female
The male Estrela Mountain Dog is a little larger and heavier than the female, but they are relatively the same in temperament and personality with no mentionable differences.
3 Little-Known Facts About the Estrela Mountain Dog
1. The Marine and Portuguese police use the Estrela Mountain Dog.
2. An Estrela Mountain Dog is a working dog that can pull a small cart.
3. The Estrela Mountain Dog moves like a wolf with its head parallel to the body.
The Estrela Mountain Dog makes a great family pet, but it requires plenty of space, and it’s better suited to someone with experience raising and training a dog. This large breed can quickly get out of hand if poorly handled, and it can be dangerous even for the owner. However, in the proper hands, it is a loyal and affectionate breed that is extremely loyal and protective of its family members.
We hope you have enjoyed reading and learned some new facts about this ancient breed. If we have convinced you to make a purchase, please share this guide to the Estrela Mountain Dog on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image Credit: Oliver OB, Shutterstock