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The sturdy and strong Estrela Mountain Dog is wary of strangers, and as such, they make an excellent guard dog. With their owners, however, they are loyal and affectionate. This large breed has either a short or long coat that comes in multiple colors.
The Estrela Mountain Dog dates back to herd-guarding dogs in what is now Portugal. Though there are no written historical records of the breed, experts agree that the Estrela is one of the oldest breeds from the area.
The Estrela took its time to develop into the dog we know today. Over hundreds of years, herders celebrated the breed for its ability to survive in the mountain environment while still providing ample companionship and the ability to be an excellent guard dog, wary of strangers and intruders.
The Estrela dwindled in numbers until the beginning of the 20th century when special shows promoted these hard-working regional herding dogs.
The first records of the breed appeared in 1922, but it wasn’t until 1993 that the first official breed standard came about. The first breed standard included some of the traits particular to the Estrela Mountain Dog, like their double dewclaws and hooked tail.
These dogs are true mountain dogs, standing guard over their people as intelligent and loyal family companions.
The Estrela Mountain Dog is a large, strong dog with an impressive stature. They have either a long or short coat, strong heads with small, oval-shaped eyes, and long, thick tails with a slight hook at the end.
The Estrela Mountain Dog has two types of coats: one is long with a thick, coarse outer coat and a dense undercoat, while the other is a short, slightly coarse, thick coat. The breed comes in multiple colors, including fawn, brindle, or wolf grey, and a black muzzle or mask is desirable.
The large and imposing Estrela Mountain Dog has a muscular and sturdy build that’s typical of most mountain dogs, but they do have a few unique characteristics.
Their hooked tail and turned-back ears are part of their official standard, as well as their double dewclaws, or toes with an individual bone structure. A black muzzle or mask is also desirable.
This alert and intelligent mountain dog makes an excellent companion, and because they can be wary of strangers, they also make great watchdogs. They are loyal to their people, and although they can be independent and strong-willed at times, they can be trained and socialized with a little bit of patience.
Your Estrela Mountain Dog is a large breed that will do well with any age-appropriate, high-quality dog food suited to their particular weight and any additional health concerns.
As with any dog, it’s important to monitor the amount of food and treats that you give your Estrela Mountain Dog, especially since some dogs are prone to gaining weight as they age. Your veterinarian is always a good source to help provide you with appropriate nutrition and feeding guidelines.
The Estrela Mountain Dog has a thick outer coat that requires weekly grooming and an occasional bath to stay healthy and shiny. They have double dewclaws, which require a little more attention than regular claws since they aren’t likely to wear down naturally. Be sure to check them periodically for clipping to ensure they don’t get caught or ingrown.
All dogs require regular dental care, including at-home teeth brushing and professional dental cleanings, and the Estrela Mountain Dog is no exception. Maintaining good dental hygiene is important for their overall long-term health.
Although the Estrela Mountain Dog is relatively calm, they can be playful, and require moderate exercise. They love any activity that involves playtime with their people or going for daily walks. When left to their own devices or without the proper stimulation, this breed can become destructive.
Although the Estrela Mountain dog is loyal and loving, they tend to be strong-willed and independent, which means training can take some patience and time. Reward-based training works best.
Reviewed 26 July 2020 by Cindy Elston, DVM, MPH