Estrela Mountain Dog Temperament: Everything You Need To Know About This Rare Portuguese Farm Dog

The Estrela Mountain Dog Temperament is described as loyal, courageous and alert.



The beautiful and rare Estrela Mountain Dog originated in the mountains of Portugal and was used to guard livestock.

These massive, shaggy dogs can weigh over 130 lbs. Prospective owners need to be prepared to handle a very large, very strong, very smart canine. This breed is certainly not the right fit for every household.

In this article, we will explore the most common Estrela Mountain Dog traits. Continue reading to find out if the Estrela Mountain Dog might be the right breed for you.

Estrela Mountain Dog Temperament and Behavior

It is important to remember that all dogs are individuals. Therefore, not all Estrela Mountain Dogs will conform to the same standard. However, here are some of the most common temperament traits of this unique breed:

Bred to be a Guardian

The Estrela Mountain Dog breed was developed to guard livestock, homestead, and family. Therefore, Estrela Mountain Dogs are naturally protective of their homes and their owners.

Their deep bark and intimidating size will make intruders think twice about entering the property.

Thanks to these characteristics, the Estrela Mountain Dog will definitely make an effective watchdog.

However, it is important to make sure that the protective qualities of the Estrela Mountain Dog do not escalate into aggression towards strangers.

Barking at intruders is acceptable, but trying to bite should not be tolerated. To avoid aggression issues, socialize your dog at a young age with friends and family members. Have your friends offer treats to your dog so that he learns to accept them as part of his inner circle.

If possible, sign up for an obedience class or a puppy socialization class at your earliest opportunity.

If you are struggling with Estrela Mountain Dog temperament issues such as aggression, consult with your vet and a professional positive reinforcement trainer.

Loyal to One Person

The Estrela Mountain Dog will be docile with his whole family, but he usually forms a deep bond with just one member of the family unit.

This breed is extremely loyal. The Estrela Mountain Dog will do anything for his chosen person.

Estrelas thrive when they are near people. These dogs want to feel like they are part of the family.

They do not do well when they are relegated to the backyard. Estrelas need to live indoors with their people.

If you want a furry shadow at your feet, the Estrela Mountain Dog could be the dog for you.

However, if you do not have the time to dedicate to this sensitive breed, you could wind up with a dog with separation anxiety.

Good with Kids

The Estrela Mountain Dog is known for being tolerant with children in the family.

Due to his large size, he may be intimidating for very young children. However, he makes a great companion for older children.

The Estrela Mountain Dog loves to play and go on adventures.

As with all breeds, it is important to socialize your Estrela Mountain Dog with children and always supervise their interactions.

It is equally important to monitor your children to make sure that they are gentle and respectful with the dog.

Even though these are very large dogs, children should never be allowed to sit on them or ride them. That type of activity is not safe for the dog or the child.

Moderate Energy Level

Estrelas are working dogs, so daily exercise is crucial. However, Estrelas are not considered hyper dogs. In fact, they are often called “gentle giants.”

As long as they have an outlet for their energy, they tend to have a calm demeanor around the house.

As with all dogs, Estrela Mountain Dog exercise is very important. A tired dog is a good dog! Make sure you can dedicate time every day for walks and playtime.

If your Estrela is showing signs of boredom such as chewing or barking, this probably means that he is not receiving enough daily exercise.

If you are not able to provide enough exercise by yourself, consider hiring a dog walker to take your pooch on some extra romps.

Estrela Mountain Dog History

The Estrela Mountain Dog is an ancient breed of the Iberian Peninsula. It is so old, that there are very few written records about its origin.

The Estrela Mountain Dog was developed by Portuguese shepherds centuries ago to withstand the harsh conditions of the mountains. This is why the Estrela Mountain Dog is so large and has such thick fur.

The breed was relatively unknown outside of Portugal until the 1900s.

Today, the Estrela Mountain Dog is still extremely rare in America and it is not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club.

However, the Estrela Mountain Dog is prevalent in its native Portugal where it is still used as a working dog to this day.

Estrela Mountain Dog Size and Appearance

The Estrela Mountain Dog is a large, mastiff-type dog that has a very distinct appearance. Some people believe that Estrelas resemble large, shaggy bears!

The typical Estrela Mountain Dog weight is between 77 and 132 lbs. Males tend to be larger than females.

The average Estrela Mountain Dog height is between 24 and 29 inches.

The Estrela Mountain Dog colors can be yellow, fawn, gray, or brindle. Regardless of color, all Estrela Mountain Dogs should have a dark mask around their face.

Their coats can be either long or short.

Another unique characteristic is a distinctive hook at the end of their tails.

Estrela Mountain Dog Grooming

The short-coated Estrela Mountain Dogs require very little grooming. Occasional bathing and brushing are generally sufficient.

The long-coated Estrelas require more upkeep. Their fur needs to be brushed regularly to avoid matting. They also need periodic haircuts from a professional groomer.

Both varieties shed, and neither variety is considered hypoallergenic. Therefore, this breed may not be the best choice if you are allergic to dog dander or if you have a strong aversion to dog fur.

Estrela Mountain Dog Training

Training is very important for your Estrela Mountain Dog. It will help you form a strong bond with your pet and it will also help your dog grow up to be a model canine citizen.

Start training your dog as early as possible. Always keep in mind that your adorable puppy is going to grow into a massive adult dog. Be consistent. For example, do not allow your small puppy to jump up on strangers if you do not want your 100 lb adult Estrela jumping on your guests.

Always use positive reinforcement methods when training this breed. Forceful methods are not recommended for this (or any) breed.

Estrelas are very intelligent and eager to please. They are easy to train with positive, consistent methods.

Once you have completed the basics, you can take your training even further by exploring activities such as search and rescue training, Canine Good Citizen certification, or therapy work.

Helpful Dog Training Resource:

For help with training your Estrela Mountain dog you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.

Staying Healthy: Estrela Mountain Dog Health Issues

As with all breeds, there are certain health concerns to watch out for with this breed. Be sure to discuss these with your veterinarian so you can identify early warning signs:

As with all pets, it is important to get your new dog checked out by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Your Estrela Mountain Dog should visit the vet at least once per year for an annual checkup and vaccinations.

Your Estrela should stay up to date on flea, tick and heartworm prevention at all times.

Spaying and neutering is highly encouraged for health reasons, behavioral reasons, and to prevent the further overpopulation of pets in this country.

With excellent care, the Estrela Mountain Dog lifespan is usually between 10 and 14 years.

Note: Our Health is #1 Priority. It should be no different or your Estrela Mountain Dog. But you need to help him. The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health is the answer. This handy guide will help you recognize the symptoms of the health problems above. Get the knowledge to stay ahead of these terrible issues that can rob your lovely Affe from vigor and life. Help your friend make it to 14 yrs+ without pain and suffering.

Estrela Mountain Dog Rescue and Adoption

If you would like to own an Estrela Mountain Dog, try to search for an adoptable dog through a rescue group before purchasing one from a breeder.

Happily, Estrelas are fairly uncommon in American animal shelters, but there are almost always a few Estrelas looking for new homes through rescue networks.

Most of the Estrela Mountain Dogs for adoption are adult dogs whose owners can no longer keep them. Adoptable puppies are rare.

However, adopting an older dog has plenty of perks. Adult dogs are calmer and they require less attention and supervision. Many times they are already housebroken and trained.

Adult dogs generally enter rescue programs due to unfortunate circumstances (such as moving, divorce, financial crisis). Not because they have done anything wrong.

How to Find and Estrela Mountain Dog for Adoption

You can use Google and Facebook to search for Estrelas for adoption.

You can also contact the representative of the national breed club and ask for referrals of dogs in need of rescue.

The Estrela Mountain Dog breed is not a breed that can be searched using Petfinder.com.

However, you can search for similar breeds such as the Leonberger.

Estrela Mountain Dog vs. Leonberger

The Leonberger is another thick-coated, mastiff-type working dog.

This breed originated in Germany and is similar in size, temperament and appearance to the Estrela Mountain Dog.

However, The Leonberger is generally even larger than the Estrela Mountain Dog!

Finding an Estrela Mountain Dog for Sale from a Responsible Breeder

If you decide to purchase an Estrela Mountain Dog puppy from a breeder, be prepared to put some time and patience into the search.

There are only a handful of Estrela Mountain Dog breeders in this country. Responsible breeders will not overbreed their dogs, so Estrela Mountain Dog puppies may not be immediately available. You may be placed on a waiting list.

How to Find a Reputable Breeder

Contact the national breed club for referrals. The American Kennel Club website has a contact person listed on their information page for the Estrela Mountain Dog.

Once you identify a possible breeder, make an appointment to visit the breeder in person.

Ask to meet the breeding dogs and see their medical records. Make sure the parents have sound temperaments and are in good health.

The breeder will want this opportunity to meet you as well. They will ask you questions to make sure you are prepared to handle this breed. Good breeders want to ensure that their puppies go to excellent homes.

Your breeder will probably ask you to sign a contract promising to get the pup spayed or neutered at the appropriate age. A good breeder will also ask you to return the puppy to them if things do not work out in the future for any reason.

Avoid Puppy Mills

Never purchase puppies sight-unseen over the internet. Likewise, never purchase puppies from a pet store. Puppies from these sources are usually from commercial breeding operations called puppy mills.

Puppy mills produce puppies solely for profit. They do not care about health, temperament or the humane living conditions of the breeding dogs. Avoid this industry at all costs.

Estrela Mountain Dog Price

Estrela Mountain Dog puppies in the United States are very expensive because they are so rare. Be prepared to spend well over $1000.

Some people opt to travel to Portugal to purchase an Estrela Mountain Dog puppy from a breeder in Portugal.

Since the breed is more common in this country, Estrela Mountain Dog puppies can be acquired for $500-$800.

However, you will have to take into account the expense and difficulty of traveling internationally with a puppy.

Conclusion: Why the Estrela Mountain Dog?

The Estrela Mountain Dog temperament makes this breed a loyal protector and guardian.

Although the large size and protective nature of this breed may be too much for some people to handle, the Estrela Mountain Dog has a devoted group of admirers.

The Estrela Mountain Dog is still a rare breed in America, but it is extremely popular in its native land of Portugal.

Before bringing home a new dog to your household, be sure to research everything you can about Estrela Mountain Dog behaviors to make sure you can provide the right environment for this special breed.

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