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Estrela Mountain Dog

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Group Pastoral Dogs (KC)

Origin / History Estrela Mountain Dogs were descendants of Serra de Estrela's herd-guarding dogs. There are theories speculating that these dogs were brought to the Iberian Peninsula by the Romans. Word has it that these dogs might have been brought by the Visigoths. Since there are no documents that will verify the origin of this breed, its exact origin still remains uncertain. It is definite, though, that these dogs are among the oldest in Portugal.

The early mountain dogs which were the ancestors of this breed were different from the Estrela mountain dogs of today. This is because shepherds have bred these dogs to have the necessary characteristics suited for their environment. Thus, they developed these dogs to have endurance, agility, and strength.

There are no records showing that these dogs have been outside of Portugal before 1972. There were some that left the country, but perhaps they were cross-bred with other dogs and thus did not maintain their breed. During 1972 and 1973, some of these dogs were imported to the United States. Today, these dogs can be found in many countries.

Appearance These dogs have sturdy builds, but they are agile and not cumbersome. Their skulls are slightly rounded and their heads are long and broad. Their eyes are medium-sized, oval-shaped, and are amber in color. Their ears are rounded at the tips, small in size, and triangular in shape. They have strong jaws, and their necks are muscular and short. They also sport muscular, strong, and straight forelegs. Their coats can be either long-haired or short-haired. Their hairs may be wavy, but not curly.

Colours Coats of these dogs can come in colors of yellow, wolf-gray, or reddish brown. They can be solid in color, or with markings of white.

Temperament Dogs of this breed are intelligent and eager to learn. They are affectionate to those they know well. They can sometimes show stubbornness because they are independent, but they are trainable. They can be wary of strangers, but they bond strongly with their family members. In fact, it may be difficult for these dogs to accept a new owner later on in life. They may get protective of their family and territory, a trait that makes them great watchdogs.

Height and Weight They should be between 64 - 74 cm in height and 32 - 50 in weight.

Common Health Problems These dogs have no known major health problems. However, like other dogs, they can get afflicted with hip dysplasia.

Living Conditions These dogs can adapt well to different types of living. They can do well in both the city and country. They can live inside apartments, but there must be adequate space for them to move around. It would also be best if they are provided with a large yard where they can do some activities.

Exercise Requirements These dogs must be provided with enough exercise. Owners must make sure that they take their dogs out for long walks whenever possible. It's also important that these dogs are allowed to run around freely in a secure, large area.

Training Requirements When training these dogs, it is important that the dogs do not feel pressured, as they may become stubborn if they are made to feel that way. Methods of positive reinforcement will work best with this breed. Training must be consistent, but it's important that these dogs do not get overly tired. They must also be socialized well with other people and household pets so that they will grow up to be well-mannered and well-adjusted.

Life Expectancy The life spans of these dogs range from around 9 to 12 years.

Grooming Coats of these dogs must be combed and brushed on a regular basis. More attention should be given to long-haired dogs since their coats can have tangles. Bathing these dogs must be done only when necessary.

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More Estrela Mountain Dog Information: Check out our Estrela Mountain Dog Clubs and links to more informative websites dedicated to the breed.

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