Portuguese Sheepdog – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
From history to grooming requirements - learn what Portuguese Sheepdog needs to keep him happy. Read on and discover if this breed is for you.
Dog Breed Group:
Herding Dogs
16 to 22 inches
37 to 59 pounds
Life Span:
12 to 13 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 Portuguese Sheepdog is a lively and intelligent breed, bred to handle his herd.

They are often wary of strangers and often extra cautious when the night falls down. Today, the Portuguese Sheepdog is a full-time companion or sporting and guard dog.

In their free time, they could be the best option in searching out stray animals. The Portuguese Sheepdog is serious when it comes to working.

They take their working time super-serious. Portuguese Sheepdogs thrive when there is something to do. Therefore, make sure that you invest a fair amount of time into training this breed to keep their brain running smoothly.

The Portuguese Sheepdog has an overall rustic appearance, long hair with a goat-like texture, without an undercoat. The coat can be either straight or slightly wavy.

As a very lively breed, the Portuguese Sheepdog can compete in many dog sports, including dog agility trials, obedience, tracking, and herding events.

If you can satisfy this bred need for activity, you might think about welcoming the Portuguese Sheepdog into your life.

Quick Facts

Real name: Portuguese Sheepdog
Other names: cão da Serra de Aires
Common Nicknames: cão macaco (‘monkey dog’)
Origin: Portugal
Breed type: Herding Dogs
Weight: 37 to 59 pounds
Height: 16 to 22 inches
Lifespan: 12 to 13 years
Litter Size: 3 – 6 puppies
Color: Commonly yellow, black, gray, and fawn
Coat: Long and straight or wavy coat

Portuguese Sheepdog History

The Portuguese Sheepdog is an old breed.

First documents on this breed date back to hundred years ago. Originally from Portugal, these sheepdogs were actually developed in the southern parts of Portugal.

Dog fanciers and historians believe that this active dog is in fact directly descended from Briards. However, data on this breed is rare and it is not possible to find records that date before 1900.

One is for sure – this is an old-fashioned type of European sheepdogs, that many links with the Pyrenean and Catalan Sheepdogs.

The very first breed’s standards were written by Antonio Cabral and Felipe Morgado Romeiros. Their standards on the breed were accepted by the Portuguese Kennel Club.

In 1996, the breed was officially recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale, under the name Portuguese Sheepdog.

In 2006, the Portuguese Sheepdog was recognized by the United Kennel Club. This is a rare breed. That being said, if you decide to get this dog arm yourself with tolerance because the waiting list on this breed is long.

Portuguese Sheepdog Physical Appearance

Portuguese Sheepdog is a medium-sized dog, with a long body and coat.

With 16 to 22 inches, you can expect to have a taller dog of easy movement.

As for the weight, you can expect your Portuguese Sheepdog to have between 37 to 59 pounds.

As expected, females are slightly smaller than males are, and have more elegant posture.

Portuguese Sheepdogs are dogs with long bodies and long coats. Their coat may be straight or wavy without an undercoat.

Their coat comes with a certain thickness, is medium to touch, and is often described as a goat-like texture.

The undercoat is designed to protect dogs from harsh weather. When a dog has no undercoat it means that he is less resistant to harsh weather.

Areas with extreme temperatures aren’t beneficial for this breed. As for the color, they come in different colors, including yellow, grey, fawn, and wolf grey. They usually have white marks on the face.

The tail is long and a natural bobtail ain’t approved in the dog show. The tail should never be docked.

The ears are set high and fit close to the head.

Portuguese Sheepdog Personality

Portuguese Sheepdogs are intelligent and lively dogs.

If you’re searching for great watchdogs, this breed should be at the top of your list. Not only that they are great as working dogs, but they are amazing companions as well.

Working and cuddling is what they are alive for. They are prone to barking, after all, they are herding dogs.

A prey drive should be high in this breed. Portuguese Sheepdogs are highly developed dogs who learn quickly and easily if you know how to train them.

They will try to outsmart you, which is why they are recommended for experienced dog owners. They need an experienced owner, or they will try to dominate you.

As herding dogs, they do well with other dogs. Still, males will try to dominate other males. With other pets, they should create a safe ground as long as they are introduced safely.

With children, they are gentle and calm. Still, children should know how to behave around dogs and how to interact with them safely.

Children should pull the dog’s ears or tails and should disturb them, while they are eating. resting, drinking, sleeping, or playing with toys inside their crate.

No matter how well children and dogs may get along, make sure that their interaction is always supervised. This is how accidents are prevented.

Portuguese Sheepdog Training

Training your Portuguese Sheepdog should start as soon as you bring his home.

Did you know that dogs are capable of mastering basic commands as of eight weeks of age?

Dogs must learn basic commands such as ‘no’, ‘come‘ and ‘sit’ during their socialization window.

During this period your Fido should learn:

  • Basic dog commands
  • Housedog rules
  • How to interact with visitors
  • Which house areas are off-limits
  • Where is his place
  • To sleep in his bed or carte
  • Not to see carpets as a base for him to do his business
  • How to interact with every family member

As soon as your veterinarian gives you a green light, you can take him to a dog park. The vaccination period should always be a priority.

To get the most out of training sessions, make them:

  • Fun
  • Short
  • Consistent
  • Packed with treats
  • Engaging
  • Based on positive reinforcement methods

No dog should ever experience any harsh training methods.

If you feel like training your Portuguese Sheepdog is too much work, think about hiring a professional go trainer, or enrolling him in puppy classes. These options may be pricey, but they will pay off in the long run.

Portuguese Sheepdog Grooming

Portuguese Sheepdogs aren’t too demanding when it comes to grooming.

Every dog should be groomed no matter how much time (or not) you have for grooming sessions.

First of all, to have a well-groomed and neat dog you must brush him weekly. Brushing him twice per week should keep him debris and tangles free.

Use the right grooming tools to make grooming as easy as possible. With this breed occasionally clipping is mandatory.

Your veterinarian or a professional groomer may show you how to do it properly and safely.

Extra care during the clipping should be put around the ears, feet, and sanitary regions, which is why for the experienced handler to show you how to do it properly.

The rest is basic care:

  • Trim or grind nails monthly
  • Bathe when needed
  • Clean ears
  • Check eyes for eye discharge daily
  • Check gums weekly

Portuguese Sheepdog Health

Portuguese Sheepdogs are considered to be healthy dogs.

If you deal with responsible dog breeders only you should get a healthy puppy. Moreover, you should be given medical documentation on the puppy, inputs on proper care, information about possible health issues, and best practice on how to prevent certain issues in the future.

Breeders will also ask you a lot of questions to help you choose the best puppy for your nature.

Responsible dog breeders will never give their dogs to anyone who wasn’t a dog. They want to be sure that you are the best fit possible for their pup.

The most common health issues in this breed include ehrlichiosis and abdominal tumors.

To avoid these conditions, provide regular veterinary check-ups, as they are the best way to keep your dog healthy in general.

Portuguese Sheepdog Feeding

Once you get your Portuguese Sheepdog you are directly responsible for his weight.

Proper nutrition is extremely important when it comes to great health.

Know how much you should feed your Portuguese Sheepdog, how often, and when. As a general rule, dogs should never be fed after an intense workout.

Make his diet a bit diverse by mixing up the food, and including safe human foods from time to time (a bite or two should be enough).

For example, during the hot summer days, cucumber slices are a great way to bring diversity to his diet and help him cool down.

Any diet should be appropriate for his age, size, and activity level. If possible provide high-quality food.

Obesity in dogs is on the rise across the States and you don’t want your Portuguese Sheepdog to experience weight gain.

Provide enough exercise to keep him fit and his joints strong.

Is Portuguese Sheepdog For You?

Portuguese Sheepdogs are great watchdogs.

They love being busy and giving them a job to do is what will make them happy. Plus, having a job to do will make them active.

This breed isn’t for you if you are a first time dog owner. This breed isn’t for you if you don’t have experience with owning a herding dog.

On the other hand, if you have rich experience as a herding dog owner, this is a breed to consider having.

On top of that if you want a medium-sized dog who will bond intensively with his family members, then this breed may be for you.

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