The Estrela Mountain Dog, also called the Cao da Serra de Estrela in its native Portugal, is a large dog that is traditionally used as a flock guard.Affectionate to owners yet aloof towards strangers, the Estrela Mountain Dog’s tendency to bark at the slightest occurrence makes it a natural watchdog. The constant barking can be eradicated with careful, patient obedience training. The Estrela Mountain Dog is quite intelligent, although it has a tendency towards stubbornness.
The Estrela Mountain Dog is still primarily used as a herd dog and guard dog. However, with proper training and socialization, they can become excellent companions. A well-trained Estrela Mountain Dog is affectionate towards everyone they know, and indifferent to those they don’t. However, the Estrela Mountain Dog has a memory like an elephant’s, and will not forget any bit of abuse.
The Estrela Mountain Dog, when treated well, will do anything in their power to please their master. This extends to obedience training, making Estrela Mountain Dogs quite successful in the show ring. However, the dog must work of its own free will. To force an Estrela Mountain Dog can be a very unpleasant experience for all involved, as the animals can be amazingly stubborn. The Estrela Mountain Dog is generally a one-person animal and should not be passed to someone else after maturity.
The Estrela Mountain Dog is a fairly large animal, reaching almost 30 inches in height. Their coats appear in two varieties: the long coat has a thick and coarse outercoat that lies close to the body. It is flat or slightly wavy. They have a short, thick undercoat. The short coated variety have a short, thick and coarse outercoat which is straight and like goat hair. They too have a shorter, thick undercoat. Common coat colors include shades of fawn, with or without guard hairs, brindle, and wolf gray. Many dogs have a black muzzle or mask. Some white markings on the feet, chest, underside or tail are possible, but not desirable.
The Estrela Mountain Dog originated in the Estrela Mountains of Portugal. The natives of the mountains use them to guard their flocks. Their particular physique makes them very adaptable to this tough terrain. Their size is just perfect for them to get around, whereas a larger dog would have a more difficult time.
As far as grooming is concerned there is little to do for the Estrela Mountain Dog. They do not require constant brushing. However, a couple times of year, it is a good idea to give them a good brushing, which helps when they shed. As with many dogs, they do like a lot of exercise.