ESTRELA MOUNTAIN DOG
Breeder (affix) – Date of first litter
* Mrs Marcia Dovey (Sturtmoor) – 10 January 1976
* Dr & Mrs Lee (Alertse) – 18 March 1978
* Mrs Grey (Astonoff) – 25 July 1978
* Mr & Mrs Pye and Mr & Mrs Kirtland (Norogean) – 12 August 1980
* Mr & Mrs Kirtland (Oakleywinds) – 22 June 1983
* Mr & Mrs Cox (Clerafora) – 8 May 1984
* Mr & Mrs Hoskins (Kyrebern) – 23 July 1984
* Mrs PA Dean (Asterel) – 22 February 1986
* Mrs S Mussell (No kennel name) – 1 November 1986
* Mr C Maxfield (Hacer) – 24 April 1989
* Mrs V Moncaster (Scotaster) – 29 August 1991
* Mr & Mrs Godderidge (Essanelle) – 25 May 1993
* Mr & Mrs Yeoman (Wentcourt) – 2 October 1997
* Mr & Mrs Damas-Mora (Capanegra) – 26 December 1998
* Mrs Snowdon & Mrs Robinson (Barkarina) – 27 August 2003
* Ms N Marshall (Drimbea) – 8 April 2005
* Breeder’s name unknown at present (Sewstern) – 8 May 2005
* Mrs D Curtis (Stormwitch) – 15 April 2007
* Mrs L Rutter (Lnmasha) – 27 December 2008
* D Bryan (Bestellar) - 15 November 2007
* Mrs V Watkin-Jones (Jerdax) – 15 April 2010
* Mrs J Lewis (Unknown) – 6 September 2010
* Mrs G C Reid (Milagre) – 5 April 2012
* Mr J Frater & Miss J Pine (Adephagia) – 24 January 2014
* Mr & Mrs Morrish (Lestraeda) – 1 March 2014
* Ms J Hodge (Tempestade) – 10 May 2014
* Misses L Bermingham & S Kendrick (Bamcwt) - 30 April 2016
* Mr L Ramos (Tugaestrela) - 19 October 2016
* Miss S McWade (Bellalua) - 19 December 2016
* Misses T & R J Roberts (Garregddu) - 23 August 2018
* Mr A Johnson & Miss S McKinlay (Estjak) - 8 September 2018
The true Estrela is a large, strongly built dog working dog. Intensely loyal to his owner, the Estrela is an excellent guard dog not only of livestock but of his owner and his territory.
The mountain range known as the Serra da Estrela, in central Portugal, was the region where the breed was developed as a flock guard; capable of working on the summits of almost 2,000m above sea level or on the parched summer lowlands. The breed is known as the Cão Da Serra Da Estrela by the Portuguese Kennel Club and also by the FCI. In the United Kingdom it is known as the Estrela Mountain Dog.
The breed is reputed to be the oldest breed in the Iberian Peninsula and there is certainly a poem about a dog which sounds very similar which was written in the 16th century.
It is one of the many Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD) breeds of Europe whose original role was to protect shepherd's sheep and goats from predators such as wolves and bears. It has been known to work in the Serra Da Estrela Mountains of Portugal for many centuries and has only really gained recognition outside a small area since the early 1970s.
The breed's numbers were dwindling in Portugal, after the Iberian wolves and bears were culled. A large dog became less of a necessity and more of a financial burden.
In April 1974, a resident of Oporto, Mr R Pye, sent a pregnant bitch to England in the hope that some interest would be shown by British dog enthusiasts. The bitch, Port. Ch. Rogean Augusta duly arrived in April 1974 and gave birth to 7 puppies on May 14th 1974. Some of the pups were sold including two to the Sturtmoor Kennels of Marcia Dovey.
Over the years the breed has seen a great strengthening of numbers. Due to the internet, breeders all over the world are now able to work together for the good of the breed. Many issues are being looked at with the aim of making the breed as healthy as possible, whilst retaining their true character.
We are lucky to have some experienced breeders in Portugal still involved with the breed, as well as many newer, and just as enthusiastic owners. The UK has sustained a small group of breeders over the years, which has allowed numbers to remain relatively stable.