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Estrela Mountain Dog

Sturdy and well built, the Estrela Mountain Dog is a mastiff type, but athletic rather than cumbersome. This powerful, large breed comes in long and short haired varieties. The long-coated dogs have a thick, slightly coarse coat of flat or slightly waved outer-hairs and a dense lighter coloured undercoat. The short coat should be thick and slightly coarse without being too harsh, and still have the dense undercoat.

10-12 years
65-72cm for males and 62-68cm for females
Fawn, brindle, wolf grey or black
UK Kennel Club Groups
The need-to-know
  • Dogs suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Generally healthy breed
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys one to two hours of walking a day
  • Giant dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks, alerts and may be physically protective/suspicious of visitors
  • Could have issues with unknown dogs but gets along with known dogs
  • May need additional training to live with other pets
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a large garden
  • Best suited to countryside
  • Can be left alone with training
Generally healthy breed

The Estrela dog breed is generally a robust breed but can be prone to:
- Hip dysplasia 
- Elbow dysplasia
- Gastric dilatation volvulus 
- Dilated cardiomyopathy¹ which is a condition where the heart muscle becomes progressively weak and cannot beat properly.

Priority Kennel Club health schemes and testing: 
- Hip dysplasia screening scheme

¹L. Lobo et al, 'Histologic Characterization of Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Estrela Mountain Dogs', 2010, Veterinary Pathology 


Alert, intelligent and independent, the Estrela Mountain Dog is devoted and loving with their family, but likely to be reserved and potentially suspicious of strangers. Bred to think for themselves and deal with danger alone, the Estrela needs early dog socialisation and habituation to cope with life as a pet. They are keener to work with their owners than some livestock guardian breeds however, and will enjoy training and joining in activities with their family if raised appropriately. 

Did You Know? 

  • The Estrela Mountain Dog has double dew-claws, where most dogs have just one (and some have none at all), the Estrela has two sets on each hind paw. No one knows if this is just a genetic anomaly (it is seen in other large mountain dog types) or if there was some physical benefit, perhaps giving these dogs more grip when climbing rocky or snowy terrain. 
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