Apartment Living

Good for 1st Time Owners

Tolerance Levels

Affection for Family

Kid Friendliness

Stranger Friendliness

Ease of Grooming

General Health


Prey Drive

Exercise Needs

Energy Level


Not very much written information is available for the Estrelas. Some cynologists believe that  Romans brought molosssers when they invade Portugal and Estrelas are the descendants of those molosser dogs. The Estrela is a rare and ancient breed and always remained a favorite for local farmers to protect their sheeps and goats from wolfs and cattle-stealers. However - as the farmers started importing other kinds of dogs, the popularity of Estrelas reduced in the nineteenth century, and it took the efforts of mass breeding programs to regain its fame and number in the twentieth century.

Interesting Facts

  • Chat rooms, forums, and sites for Estrela lovers  are called The Estrela  Ring

Temperament & Personality

The Estrelas are blessed with a high protective instinct and will do anything to save those whom they love. In general, it is not an aggressive species. They make terrific guard dogs and watchdogs and have a calm and patient disposition. While they bond well with its master and his family, they are not so fond of strangers. They are highly protective about kids and bark when it feels someone is entering its territory or the family is threatened.


Thoroughly brush your Estrela’s coat weekly so that its hairs remain detangled. However, the strands which surround its ears requires particular attention and be careful about the issues of matting. Estrela’s body coat does not require much maintenance, however, comb the hairs near its ears every two to three days. Regularly clip its intact dew claws, as they do not wear on the ground, and also cut other nails frequently, for every two to three weeks.


Take your Estrela daily for a long walk, though physically demanding activities are usually not a requirement for them. They love running in large outdoor and are unable to adjust in closed spaces. Do think twice before buying an Estrela, if you live in an apartment or dense urban area.


Estrela coats come in two distinct varieties, namely, long and short. The coarse-looking type does not feel as much harsh as it looks and is the most popular one. It is not curly but wavy, and the much denser inside-skin is soft and thick. The shorter one also has the undercoat, and the only difference is that the outer coat is much smaller and less wavy. They need weekly brushing, a routine dental checkup, and bathing once or twice in a year with a  waterless shampoo. Use a steel comb and a natural bristle brush for combing and detangling its hairs, and look out for hot skin-spots, which could happen due to wet or damp weather conditions and knotted manes. Brush daily during heavy shredding,  as they are seasonal shredders.

Health Problems

Three major health issues are most reported in this breed; namely,   dilated cardiomyopathy, hip dysplasia, and elbow dysplasia – and the last two are usually inherited. Stiffness, pain, and gait abnormality due to under-developed joints can be seen in growing pups ( as young as four months old ) in case of elbow dysplasia. While treatment options include pain medication, weight management, supplements, and even surgery in critical instances – most of the affected dogs never remain fully active throughout their lifetime. One should never purchase a puppy without certificates which state that it is not suffering from elbow and hip dysplasia.

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a rarely curable disease, and this breed is most prone to this condition. Prolonged and frequent coughs, swelling in the abdomen, severe breathlessness, and occurrence of fatigue after a short and light exercise – these are the symptoms that are visible in young as well as middle-aged adults. Also - the cardiac muscles start becoming weak,  thus restricting the natural flow of blood, and even congesting the lungs and the abdomen with body fluids. Most Estrelas die from dilated cardiomyopathy.


The Estrelas are pretty intelligent and easy to train. At times, they could show signs of independence and strong will, as they are bred to protect the livestock. Always apply positive reinforcement training methods and maintain consistency and rigidity in training. Start its socialization training as early as possible and stick to your rigid leadership role throughout its lifetime.


You should feed an Estrela with such diets that are formulated for large breeds. A regular dog food formula might increase its weight as large breeds have slightly lesser calorie requirements than their smaller cousins. However, it can prove beneficial for an active Estrela.

Estrela Mountain Dog Facts

Estrela Mountain Dog

Breed Type:


Other Names:

Portuguese Shepherd, Cao Da Serra Da Estrela

Height & Weight:

Male: 25–30 inches (63.5-76 kg) Female: 24–28 inches (61-71 cm) & ( male ) 99 – 132 pounds, ( female )


Yellow, wolf gray, light brown

Competitive Registration / Qualification Information:



Moderate Shedding



Average Litter Size:

8 puppies


10 -14 years


Short or long with hair texture similar to goats





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