Estrela Mountain Dog: Fantastic Breed

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Here is everything that you should know about ancient Estrela Mountain Dog, from Portugal. Discover now how demanding this breed is and how well they get along with other pets.
Dog Breed Group:
Herding Dogs
24 to 30 inches
75 to 130 pounds
Life Span:
11 to 15 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

The Estrela Mountain Dog is one of the best livestock guardian dogs nowadays.

The truth is that this breed might not be known as Pomeranian or Great Dane, but some facts about this breed might inspire you to think about this breed as your next dog.

Quick Facts

Real name: Estrela Mountain Dog
Other names: Portuguese Shepherd, Cão da Serra da Estrela, Estrela
Origin: Portugal
Breed type: Guardian Dog
Weight: Male 45–60 kg (99–132 lb), Female 35–45 kg (77–99 lb)
Height: Male 63–75 cm (25–30 in), Female 60–71 cm (24–28 in)
Lifespan: Over 10 Years
Color: Fawn, wolf gray, brindle and yellow with a dark facial mask
Coat: Both long and short hair

Estrela Mountain Dog History

The giant Estrela Mountain Dog is originally from Serra da Estrela, what’s today Portugal.

This dog is one of the oldest dog breeds in Portugal and one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. So far, no written record on this breed is recorded.

Overall, the Estrela Mountain Dog is a purebred dog who is courageous, loyal, and protective.

Initially, this breed was bred to guard stock. It’s known that the breed was developed in the early 1900s. Their job was to scare wolves and other large predators.

The most significant interest in the breed returned in the 1950s, after World War II. Nowadays, annual shows call upon canine lovers of Serra da Estrela to stick to official breed standards. To this day, the massive Estrela Mountain Dog History remains true to its real-life guardian heritage.

Even nowadays Estrela Mountain Dog is a working dog, guarding flocks in Portugal, its original place, and worldwide.

They are also used as police dogs. In an ideal family environment, Estrela Mountain Dog is the perfect dog due to its loyalty, alertness, and intelligence. Interestingly, this breed has strong instincts to nurture young.

Estrela Mountain Dog Physical Appearance

As a guarding dog, Estrela Mountain Dog is significant in height and weight. After all, this dog is ready to fight off wolves, similar To Caucasian Shepherd Dog.

The majority of dogs will weigh between 75 to 130 pounds and range in height from 24-30 inches at the shoulder, meaning that they can be smaller or even larger than usual.

This breed could have a long or short coat. The entire body is well proportioned, with a deep chest and longer skull.

Overall, Estrela’s large body is well-shaped, well proportioned, and long. Considering the size of this breed, it may be surprised how easily this dog moves around.

The breed comes in various colors, including fawn, yellow, wolf gray, and with or without face markings. In this breed, you can even meet dogs with a blue coat, although it’s infrequent.

Estrela Mountain Dog Personality

The Estrela Mountain Dog is highly protective of it comes to the safety of his family members.

Needless to say that as a guarding dog, this breed is, in general, very protective to not only his humans, but also to his territory. After all, they are natural guardians.

Since their temperament is calm, they can stay inside and cuddle all day long, or simply being outside and playing with children.

Since this is a large breed dog, make sure that you don’t leave the children unattended with him.

Accidents can happen when you place in a small place, something large and small, right? And children love to run and play around, without minding the size of their fluffy buddy.

Luckily, this breed is also known as a gentle giant, so they will probably be calm and won’t move as a lot around children.

Still, this calmness doesn’t mean that they won’t step in if needed and fight even larger predators. The Estrela Mountain Dog is known for barking.

This is an unusual trait since barking is significantly common in smaller dog breeds, but again – they are guardian dogs, and they will react even to the most gentle sound outside the house. Moreover, they will bark to any sign of trouble.

They are highly intelligent, but due to their size and independent spirit, they need a strong and confident owner. This is not a breed for first-time dog owners.

Luckily, they are eager to please their owners, so training should be easy as long as you use a positive approach.

Estrela Mountain Dog Health

The Estrela Mountain Dog may experience some of the most common conditions that affect large herding dogs might experience.

Large dogs are generally healthy, but some may be prone to a few health issues, which is why it’s important to maintain good dog care and regular veterinarian checkups.

That being said, the Estrela Mountain dog may experience following health issues:

If you provide proper nutrition, regular exercise, and regular veterinarian visits, your Estrela Mountain dog should be fine. Also, you can always get from a breeder certificate on how healthy a puppy is.

If you are adopting an adult Estrela Mountain Dog, the shelter worker will inform you about anything health-related that you should address.

Estrela Mountain Dog Nutrition

To have a healthy Estrela Mountain Dog, you need to care about the dog’s diet. Feeding style and proper nutrition matters.

One thing you should know about this fantastic dog, and that’s that – this is a large dog with medium energy. Therefore, this breed has a strong tendency to gain weight if overfed.

Lately, obesity in dogs is a serious problem globally, so you should do whatever you can do maintain dogs proper weight.

As you may guess, the dog’s feeding needs will change from puppyhood to adulthood and will change significantly once your dog reaches his senior years.

Always ask your veterinarian to recommend the best diet option. This also applies if you are thinking about any non-standard diets such as raw food diet or BARF diet.

Also, your veterinarian will tell you exactly how much you should feed your dog. Still, you should educate yourself on how much you should feed your dog. Also, don’t forget always to have fresh and clean water at all times.

Estrela Mountain Dog Training

One thing that you should know about this breed is that this isn’t a dog with a high need for energy. The majority of his time, the large Estrela Mountain Dog will spend on the couch.

If Estrela Mountain Dog is a family pet, and not a working dog, then you should provide proper exercise and include playing time in the backyard always fenced.

Daily walks should go without mentioning it, because it’s beneficial both physically and mentally.

When it comes to training, you should act as with any other dog. Start early training, provide necessary training toys, a positive environment, early socialization.

Also, this dog is not fond of other pets in the house, so they would prefer to be the only pet in the household.

Still, if raised together from puppyhood with other pets, your giant dog might get along nicely with other pets as well. Training will also help you keep the Estrela’s weight under control, especially since the breed comes with medium energy levels.

Estrela Mountain Dog Grooming

The Estrela Mountain Dog has a thick outer coat that needs sot to be brushed regularly. Moreover, this breed has a rather exciting coat that resembles the texture of goat hair and usually comes in longhair options than shorthair varieties.

Weekly brushing is mandatory, while grooming should be done as needed. Ears, coat, eye, and gums check should be checked weekly.

Bath your Estrela only when needed. Since this breed usually comes with long hair, make sure that you have a strict brushing schedule and a good vacuum cleaner.

Their coat is dense, and without regular brushing, you can expect matted and messy fur.

As you may know already, brushing your dog is not only beneficial and appealing to the eye but its a great way to examine the dog’s coat for any skin infection, fleas or unusual skin appearances.

Nails should always be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or grinder. If you are afraid of nail trimming, you can always take your dog to the veterinarian or a professional groomer.

Always check ears for a buildup of wax and debris, which can eventually result in infection.

The Bottom Line

The Estrela Mountain Dog is an excellent working dog, as well as a perfect family dog. This massive dog is a true gentle giant, who is known for his love for children and other family members.

There may not be fond of other animals in the same household unless they are raised together from day one.

Are you ready to welcome Estrela Moutain dog to your home? If so, make sure that you choose a good breeder, or check various local shelters in search of this breed.

So, if you are thinking about getting the dog for the first time think about small or medium size dog breeds before you welcome the fantastic Estrela Mountain dog into your home.

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