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Estrela Mountain Dog Breed Info: Pictures, Traits & Facts

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By Emma Braby

Estrela Mountain Dog

Height: 24 ½ – 29 inches
Weight: 77 – 132 pounds
Lifespan: 10 – 14 years
Colors: Brindle, fawn, wolf gray, yellow with a black facemask and/or white markings
Suitable for: Those seeking a large companion dog, families who spend a lot of time at home, families with children, multi-pet households, experienced dog owners
Temperament: Loving, affectionate, gentle, loyal, alert, courageous, protective

The Estrela Mountain Dog is a member of the gentle giant canine club. This gorgeous and cuddly boy adores his family, and he would do anything for them. He thinks of himself as a tiny lapdog, and he loves to snuggle on the couch, sitting on whoever he lands on.

Being a giant dog, he does have some big demands. So, before you welcome an Estrela Mountain Dog into your life, you need to know what you’re getting yourself into. But as long as you have room at the inn, time to keep him company, and plenty of kibble, he’s a sweet soul who is worth the extra work.

Here we are going to run you through everything that you need to know, such as his personality, why he is challenging, his exercise and training needs, and much more. This complete guide is a must-read for all wannabe Estrela Mountain Dog owners.

According to Estrela lovers1, ‘there is nothing compared to the love of an Estrela.’ So, let’s see if the Estrela Mountain Dog is the canine that you are searching for.

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Estrela Mountain Dog Puppies

Estrela Mountain Dog puppy
Image Credit: ThomasLENNE, Shutterstock

It goes without saying that you need to have space for him. Even Estrela Mountain Dog puppies are significantly sized pooches that need lots of room. Apartment living is out of the question, he needs access to a yard, and you’ll need to make way for giant beds, bowls, and toys. If you think you can just slip him into your home without planning ahead, you’re mistaken.

Estrela Mountain dogs aren’t cheap either. Although their initial puppy cost isn’t that much more compared to a common dog breed, it’s everything else that you need to consider. You’ll need to purchase everything in giant size, and with that comes a giant price tag. Be sure to do your financial research and make sure you have the resources to care for him.

Although he is a clean dog with good manners, if you don’t like dog hair or drool on your furniture, you won’t be the best match. Most big dogs drool, it’s part of the course. But really, what’s a bit of doggy drool between friends?

He is also seriously strong, so potential owners need to be able to handle him on the leash. There will also be times when he cannot move, for example, when he has an injury, and it’ll take a few people to carry him. He has a dominant character, and he will need to live with owners who have experience in handling intense canines. But, if you can handle him, he is the biggest sweety pie going.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Estrela Mountain

1. The Estrela Mountain Dog is good at scaring wolves away

Bred in the harsh Estrela mountains in Portugal, this guy was used to guard flocks and scare away wolves and other predators. He never needed to fight them, but if he ever did, there is a good chance that he would win, given his sheer size and strength. This is good news if you live somewhere with a wolf population, or to protect your home against intruders.

2. The Estrela Mountain Dog is a Police Dog in Portugal

Despite his big cuddly bear demeanor, this guy means business, and man nor wolf should mess with him. He appreciates the law-abiding citizens, so you best be on your most excellent behavior if you go on vacation to Portugal.

3. The Estrela Mountain Dog’s coat feels like a goats

Have you ever stroked a goat? The Estrela Mountain Dog’s coat feels just like that. If you haven’t, he has a soft and downy undercoat covered by a thick and coarse topcoat. He’s not as soft and fluffy as he looks. Regular brushing is required to stop his coat from turning brittle.

Estrela Mountain Dog
Featured Image Credit: mijoka, Pxhere

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Estrela Mountain Dog 🧠

The Estrela Mountain Dog is really affectionate and loving with his immediate family. He is a big sweetie who loves to snuggle up with his humans. Being a flock protector, he has an affinity for the younger members of the family. He is also similar to the German Shepherd in that he holds a special place in his heart for his primary caregiver.

He is a fun and happy pooch who loves to play a game of fetch in the yard. He might not be the fastest dog, but he is goofy, making him just as entertaining. He is surprisingly agile, and he is also an avid swimmer. There’s not much the Estrela will turn his nose up at, so you can rely on him for plenty of entertainment.

He is very suspicious of unfamiliar people and animals, especially if they enter his estate or approach his family. Once his master has greeted them, he will stand down and watch from afar. But he’ll make sure he is in striking distance if he feels that his family is in danger.

He is a very intelligent dog, and he can survive for weeks at a time caring for his flock without his Shepard master’s help. However, with this sharp intelligence comes independence, and he is known to be stubborn if not stimulated enough. If you want a trainable Estrela, you need to stimulate his mind and body and keep him entertained and interested.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

The Estrela Mountain Dog is a fantastic family pet for the right family. He needs to live with a family that has experience with large dominant dogs. Without this knowledge, he could challenge the hierarchy, and this is when behavioral problems occur.

If you could do with a hand entertaining and looking after the children in the house, the Estrela Mountain Dog will be the first to sign up for the job. He loves children and is very protective of them. Although you should never leave him unsupervised with children due to his sheer size, you can rest assured that your children are in good paws with this guy around.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

The Estrela Mountain Dog needs to be socialized well as a pup. This crucial training will influence whether he gets on well with other pets or not. If he is socialized well, he will be a friendly addition to multi-pet households. If he isn’t socialized, it’s unlikely that he will want any other furry friends about. So this is really down to you and his training.

Estrela Mountain Dog
Image Credit: ThomasLENNE, Shutterstock

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Things to Know When Owning an Estrela Mountain Dog:

Here we are going to take a look at what the Estrela Mountain dog needs from his owners. From his appetite to his training and exercise needs, there’s a lot to learn.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The Estrela Mountain Dog eats a lot, and he’ll consume about 5 cups of kibble a day. If he is a particularly energetic or playful Estrela, he will eat a bit more than this. He should eat a high-quality kibble that provides him with a well-balanced diet.

The Estrela will need to eat a kibble that is designed specifically for the nutritional needs of large or giant breeds. This is particularly true in his puppy stages because they will control his rapid bone growth. If his bones grow too fast, he will be at risk of developing orthopedic diseases.

Different kibbles have different calorie counts, so always follow package instructions to ensure that you don’t overfeed him. Estrela’s are used to eating whatever comes their way in the mountains of Portugal, so they will eat and eat just in case they don’t eat for several days after. You can be sure that the Estrela will not turn food down, and he’ll quickly become obese if you let him.

Exercise 🐕

The Estrela Mountain Dog has medium energy levels and will need between 30 and 60 minutes of exercise every day. It doesn’t need to be vigorous, and a steady walk around the neighborhood will please this boy. Mix that up with playtime in the yard and brain games, and he will be a very happy bunny indeed.

You should keep this guy on a leash at all times, simply because of his size. He may get overexcited in a park and knock a child over accidentally, or scare the locals. Although he’s large, he is curious and likes to explore. Invest in a long lead so that you can let him wander off into the water unless you want to saddle up and join him!

When it comes to exercise, be sure not to exercise him immediately before or after feeding. Large dogs, the Estrela included, are known to suffer from bloat. This is a life-threatening condition where the stomach twists and distends. Be sure to read up on this condition and learn about when and when not to feed your pooch.

Training 🦮

Training is one of the most critical aspects of Estrela Mountain Dog’s needs. He is a challenging and dominant dog at the best of times. And without thorough and disciplined training, he can become unruly and obnoxious. Enrolling him into a puppy training class is ideal because it will ensure that he understands who is boss, and at the same time, it will socialize him with other dogs and humans.

Because he is a typical protective mountain dog breed, socialization is vital. Without this, he will view everything as a threat and act accordingly. Socialization will transform him into a confident pooch who can distinguish between friend and foe. It will make your life a lot more enjoyable too, and you’ll be able to manage him in public and unfamiliar situations.

Leash training as a puppy is also a great idea because, without it, he will be taking you for a walk rather than you taking him. Always use positive reinforcement training to make training as successful as possible.

Grooming ✂️

Grooming the Estrela Mountain Dog is an everyday event, especially if he has a long coat compared to the rarer short coat. But either way, you’ll need to set aside at least 20 minutes every day to brush his coat through to make sure that it doesn’t become matted. His long hair will also collect a lot of dirt, and brushing it out will prevent him from becoming to odorous.

The Estrela will need bathing once every 8 to 12 weeks or so. Because of his super thick fluffy coat, you should invest in a concentrated doggy shampoo that can penetrate his outer jacket and reach his underlayer.

Large dogs suffer from ear problems. His ears will need to be cleaned several times a week to ensure that they do not develop bacterial infections. Because the Estrela can suffer from several eye conditions, be sure to monitor his eyes, and clean them regularly too.

Health Conditions ❤️

The Estrela Mountain Dog is a relatively healthy pooch who enjoys a lengthy lifespan for such a big breed. As a purebred dog, certain conditions are known to be more prevalent in his breed compared to other health concerns. For this reason, spend some time researching each one and make sure that you know what the associated symptoms are.

Minor Conditions
  • Entropian
  • Ectropion
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
Serious Conditions
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Hip dysplasia

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Male vs Female

Male Estrela Mountain Dogs can be much larger than their female counterparts. If you have the space for a small Estrela, but are concerned about a larger one, you might want to consider getting a female.

Some Estrela owners state that the males are more protective than the females, but some claim the opposite. So there isn’t a substantiated personality difference between the sexes to mention here. Their personality mainly comes down to the effort you put into his training as a pup.

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Final Thoughts

The Estrela Mountain Dog is a beautiful giant dog breed to have in the family home. Not only is he kind and caring, but he is also goofy and fun to be around. He will also look after you and the family no matter what, and he also makes an excellent watchdog.

Just be sure that you have plenty of room in the home and time to spend with him, and that you are experienced in caring for dominant dog breeds. If you have answered yes to everything here in this guide, we think you’ll be onto a winner with the Estrela Mountain Dog!

Featured Image: Oliver OB, Shutterstock

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