Estrela Mountain Dog and other Livestock Guardian Dogs

Estrela Mountain Dog (Long)Estrela Mountain Dog (Long)

The Estrela Mountain Dog is a Livestock Guardian Dog developed in Portugal. Considered one of the oldest Portuguese breeds, he is named after the remote Estrela Mountains. These are the highest mountains in continental Portugal where, as a sheep and watch dog, he protects herds against wolves that still existent today. He is also used to guard farms and dwellings, and for carting light loads. In the early 1900's, he was resurrected from working stock and developed into a pure breed.

The Estrela Mountain Dog Today

Estrela Mountain Dog (Long)Estrela Mountain Dog (Long)

A large Mastiff type of dog, the Estrela Mountain Dog comes in all shades of yellow, fawn or grey, usually with a dark coloured mask.He is a moderately long dog whose depth of the chest is less than half the height at withers. Double coated, he comes both short and short long varieties, both with undercoat. The long coated variety has a straight or slightly wavy top coat, abundantly feathered on the throat, neck, buttocks and tail, which is bushy, thick and feathered.

Estrela Mountain Dog (Smooth)Estrela Mountain Dog (Smooth)

He has a strong head, with the skull and foreface of approximately equal length. The stop is moderate and the muzzle tapers without being pointed. The nose, palate and lips are black.

The topline should be straight with a slight rise upwards to the croup making it a little higher than the shoulders. The chest is broad and deep, but not cylindrical, well let down to or slightly below the elbow. The feet are between cat and hare feet with abundant hair between toes and the thick, hard pads with preferably black nails. There may be single or double dewclaws. He moves with sound, easy movement.

The male stands 65-73 cm (25.6-29 ins) high with the females being 62-69 cm(24.5-29 in), each with a tolerance of + 2 cm (1 in). The males weigh 45-60 Kg (99-132 pounds) with the females: 35-45 Kg (77-99 pounds).[1] 

Other Livestock Guardian Dogs

Tatra Shepherd Dog (from Poland)Tatra Shepherd Dog (from Poland)

The Tatra Mountains, a mountain chain in eastern Europe, create a natural border between Slovakia and Poland. The Tatra Shepherd worked on the Polish side of the mountains while Slovakia Shepherd (Slovakian Chuyach) (FCI 142)worked on the Slovenian side. Both are large white dogs, standing up to 70 cm (27.7 in) high. The Tatra Shepherd Dog is classified in Group 5 in Australia.

Here are 3 other breeds of Livestock Guardian Dogs that are all ancient breeds, dating back to early civilizations, that are not yet recognized in Australia.

  • South Russian Shepherd Dog (from Russia) (FCI 326)
  • Caucasian Sheepdog (from Russia) (FCI 328)
  • Sarplaninac (Yugoslavian Shepherd Dog) (FCI 41)

South Russian Shepherd DogSouth Russian Shepherd DogCaucasian SheepdogCaucasian SheepdogSarplaninacSarplaninacSarplaninacSarplaninac

References and Further Reading

[1] Material on Estrela Mountain Dog supplied by Clube Portugues de Canicultura, Porto