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September 20, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 6 Faves: 0

Estrela Mountain Dog

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Purebred Star Blog Series

The Estrela Mountain Dog can be wary of strangers, but loving with their family. They have a stubborn personality, but are a loyal companion.

The Estrela Mountain Dog originated in Portugal. They are an ancient breed that has a long history of working in the mountains guarding livestock and drafting (the act of pulling carts and supplies on the farm). The Estrela Mountain Dog was almost extinct in the 1970's, but dog fanciers worked hard to bring this breed back.

Farm Dog // Country Living

The Estrela Mountain Dog is a true working breed. They were bred to protect sheep against wolves, and at one time their ears were cropped (this was believed to prevent them from being torn), which is an uncommon practice for this breed now. Because of the nature of their work, this breed is large and strong.

The Estrela Mountain Dog is not for apartment/condo living. They will do best in a rural country setting with a large area to run.

Wary of Strangers // Socialization a Must

The Estrela Mountain Dog can be very protective of their family and home. Therefore they need early and regular socialization to help prevent unwanted guardian issues. They do well with young children and other animals when raised with them.

Because of their strong protective traits, it's important to make sure the Estrela Mountain Dog has plenty of opportunities to be around all types of people, animals, and children.

Estrela Mountain Dogs make an excellent watchdog and guardian dog and will bark when visitors come.

Regular Exercise Needed

The Estrela Mountain Dog needs regular exercise. Because of their hard working drive, this breed is a perfect companion to help on a farm. The Estrela will be a great companion for a hike or walk. They are also fantastic candidates for carrying a doggy backpack. Giving this breed a job (like carrying a backpack) is important to help meet their mental needs.

The Estrela Mountain Dog is very intelligent and has no problem learning the commands, rules, and boundaries of the pack. However, they also display a distinct stubborn side, which can make training more challenging. It is important to have a strong leadership mentality with this breed, as they will not do well in a "passive" type environment.

Long and Short Coat

The Estrela Mountain Dog has two types of coats: a luxurious, slightly wavy, long coat, or the shorter one. Both are thick and a little coarse.

This breed sheds heavily and should not be considered for a family that has allergies. Bathing should be done infrequently, as both coats will need to be brushed and blown out professionally to help with drying. Daily brushings will help maintain their beautiful coat.

Nail trimmings should be done every 8 - 12 weeks.

Health Concerns

There are no known health concerns relating to the Estrela Mountain Dog, and their average lifespan is 10-12 years.

Adopt First

Consider looking for an Estrela Mountain Dog through rescue organizations first. Every year, there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!

At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.

On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!

Does the Estrela Mountain Dog sound intriguing?

Photo Credit: &


Original Dog Bible, 2nd Edition by Kristin Mehus-Roe

Dog Breed Info

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  • FOLKS check out this awesome breed called Estrela Mt Dog they are loyal dogs and love their human family and they are protectors of sheep from wolves. and they have a strong protective traits, they do need someone that understands them and is will to be the strong trainer they need and to give them good sociliszations with dogs and humans etc..
    beautiful dogs.

  • Thanks for sharing Carole! They are a majestic breed in my opinion!

  • Perhaps it would be better if you double-checked when choosing pictures for an article.
    The two first pictures are of Leonbergers, not Estrela Mountain Dog.

  • Thank you Daisuke for your comment and concern. When I searched Estrela Mountain Dog, these were the pics that came up. I would say the breeds are very similar looking.

  • t is amazing how popular the Estrela Mountain Dog is in Portugal and how rare they are here in the United States. We have a few Estrela Mountain Dogs (and Portuguese Podengos Pequenos) at Star Mountain Kennel - Rarely has someone heard of the breed before. They are a wonderful breed and a great family dog.

  • Thanks for sharing Margaret! They are such a beautiful breed!

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