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Rafeiro do Alentejo

Rafeiro do Alentejo
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Origin / History The Rafeiro do Alentejo is said to be a descendant of the very ancient Molossers that came from Central Asia. These dogs arrived in the Iberian Peninsula, but their exact time of arrival isn't known. There are theories that the Rafeiro do Alentejo is somehow related to the Tibetan Mastiff, but there is no proof to support this claim. What is known, though, is that this breed and its ancestors were used for moving sheep from mountains located in northern Portugal to the plateau in Alentejo and back to the mountains. The Rafeiro do Alentejo declined in number when changes in livestock raising and agriculture came about. Fanciers of the breed were able to start breeding programs that increased the numbers of these dogs, but in Portugal, these dogs are still considered rare. Today, these dogs are most commonly used as guard dogs and companions.

This breed is officially recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale. Other major kennel clubs and organizations recognizing the Rafeiro do Alentejo include the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club.

Appearance Rafeiro do Alentejos are dogs resembling Mastiffs. They have a large, square head leading to a long muzzle. These dogs have small, round eyes that are dark in colour. Their triangular ears are small to medium-sized and have rounded tips. Male dogs of this breed look distinctly more masculine because they have a bigger body and a bulkier head than females. These dogs have a short and strong neck with a dewlap. The legs of this breed are long and muscular, and they have big feet. The coat of these dogs is thick, and they have some feathering on their long tail.

Colours The acceptable coat colours for this breed include yellow, fawn, and black. These dogs have white markings, and their coat may have patterns such as spots and streaks.

Temperament Being very alert, particularly during nighttime, these dogs make excellent guard dogs. They are steadfast, brave, and calm, but not aggressive. Rafeiro do Alentejos are affectionate with their family members, but they are wary of strangers. These dogs can get along well with children. Although independent and self-assured, these dogs need affection from their family, and they are sensitive to reprimands. Rafeiro do Alentejos also make good companion dogs.

Height and Weight Male dogs of this breed are 27 to 28 inches tall, and 110 to 132 pounds heavy. Females, on the other hand, stand at 25 to 28 inches, and weigh 100 to 121 pounds. It's alright for these dogs to go beyond the maximum limit set just as long as they are well-proportioned.

Common Health Problems These dogs may be susceptible to hip dysplasia.

Living Conditions It's not advisable for Rafeiro do Alentejos to be kept inside apartments. These dogs are relatively inactive indoors and should be provided with at least a large yard where they can run around and do some other physical activities.

Exercise Requirements When these dogs aren't working, they need to be taken out for a walk or jog. Puppies of this breed shouldn't be allowed to overexert or get too much exercise because doing so may damage their bones.

Training Requirements These dogs can be stubborn, independent, and dominant, which is why they aren't recommended for inexperienced dog owners. These dogs need to be obedience-trained and properly socialized at a young age. It's important for owners to use consistent and firm training methods. They should also know how to display strong leadership skills when training these dogs.

Life Expectancy The life span of these dogs is around 12 years.

Grooming Little grooming is needed for these dogs. Their coat just needs to be brushed thoroughly during shedding season. Other than that, these dogs practically don't need grooming for the rest of the year.

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