The true origin and ancestry of Estrela Mountain dog is lost in time, but its believed that they are descendants of the oldest breeds of the Iberian Peninsula. The Estrela Mountain dog settled and was developed into the breed we know today in the Estrela Mountains, from which it got its name. This is truly very old and ancient breed, definitely one of the oldest breeds from Iberian peninsula.
Throughout the history, the main job of the Estrela Mountain dog is protecting sheep and cattle against predators such as wolves and against thieves. And even today, many of them still serve this purpose. They have great personality for this job, because they are very strong, yet pretty enduratn and active, very intelligent, courageous, naturally protective and independent.
The Estrela Mountain Dog is not only great livestock protector, they also make great companions. They love its people and family and they thrive for human companionship. They want to be part of the family. The Estrela Mountain Dog is also quite patient and tolerant towards kids, but you should never leave any dog breed with very young child unsupervised. Other dogs in the family should not be problematic as well, especially if they are socialized together from the puppyhood. The Estrela is very obedient, loyal, faithful and gentle dog breed.
Estrela Mountain dog is a giant breed, but they are not cumbersome, meaning they are quite agile for their big size. This is pretty athletic breed. The average height should be between 60-75 cm, which is 24-30 inches and weight is usually between 35-60 kg, which is 77-132 pounds. The females are naturally slightly smaller than males.
This is very smart and intelligent dog breed, but they are not pushovers to train. It is because of their independent and stubborn personality. They were bred to be independent so they can watch and protect the livestock by themselves, but it also means they like to make their own decision as pets. They need patient and consistent trainer who will lead them. Because of this and because of their enormous strength, this is not a dog for novices or unexperienced dog owners.
6) Two coats
The Estrela Mountain dog comes in two different coat types – short and long - and both of the coats resembling the texture of goat hair. The short coat is thick and slightly coarse and it can have some feathering. The long coat is also very dense and it can be flat or slightly wavy. Long coated males can have a visible mane around the neck. The main colors include yellow, gray and fawn. White markings or brindling is possible.
7) Portuguese Marines
As you already know, the Estrela Mountain dog has high protective and guarding instinct and they were used to protect for centuries. And Portuguese Marines knew this and that is why they trained and used some of Estrelas as patrol dogs. They were also used by Portuguese Police.
The Estrela Mountain dog goes by several name. The most popular other names are Cão da Serra da Estrela or Portuguese Shepherd.
The grooming needs of Estrela Mountain dog are not extremely high. Good brush once a week is enough to keep the coat in good condition and to keep it tangle free. Regular brushing will also help to minimize the shedding. Just like with all dogs, you should regularly check the dogs ears, eyes, nails and teeth and clean them or clip them if needed.
The average lifespan of Estrela Mountain Dog is between 10-13 years, which is quite good, especially in comparsion to other giant dog breeds. Just like all the giant dogs, even the Estrela can sometimes suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia. Other minor health issues include entropion or dilated cardiomyopathy.