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Frequently Asked Questions


Where does the Estrela Mountain Dog Originate From?

The Estrela Mountain Dog originates from the Serra Da Estrela Mountains in Central Portugal


Can you still see the dogs in the mountains?

Yes, there are still many dogs in the mountains. Both working and pets.


When did the breed first come to the UK?

The first litter was born in quarantine on 14th May 1974


When was the breed first recognized by the UK Kennel Club

14th May 1975 on the first litters 1st birthday.


The Estrela Mountain Dog is a Rare Breed in the UK, but what is a rare breed?

A rare breed dog is a numerically small breed, which is recognised by the UK Kennel Club and can be shown, but does not have the opportunity to be awarded Champion Certificates.


What is their Job?

The Estrela Mountain Dog is a flock guardian, which means in the warmer months will go into the High Plateau with the shepherd and live there. Their job is to protect the shepherd and the flocks from any predator which could include wolves and bears.


Aren't they Big?!

They are a substantial dog, but not as cumbersome as many other mountain breeds. They are very agile and tend to be longer lived. They should have good bone but not too large.


Are they Aggressive?

Not normally, although upbringing, life experiences and breed lines play a part in this. They will trust most people that the family trust, however if they don't like someone, beware.


Do you recommend Puppy Training?

Yes, this helps the puppy and you to bond and it is great socialization.


Are they Good with Children?

They are usually fabulous with children as long as they do not have any negative experiences.


Are they Good with Other Dogs?

As long as they are well socialized with other dogs from an early age they should be good. Once again, lock of socializing or bad experiences can affect this, along with breed lines. Some may be rather on their toes as teenagers but often grow out of this with age.


Are they Good with Other Animals?

They usually pose no threat to other animals unless they are a threat to the dogs or family home. Again upbringing plays a large part in this.


What is their Lifespa?

The average lifespan would be 10 to 13 years old which is quite good compared to some giant breeds. Due to the fact that the Estrela is not a cumbersome dog they will stay quite active into old age.


Do they have any known Health Issues?

As with all large breeds, Hip Dysplasia can be an issue, elbow issues are less common. The Estrela Mountain Dog Club (UK) strongly recommends health testing for Hip Dysplasia and Osteo Chondritis (elblows) especially in breeding stock. The breed can also suffer from some skin problems of which hot spots are most common. You can find more information over on our health page.


Are they Intelligent?

Very, often so intelligent that they try to convince you that they are stupid. With that intelligence also comes a mind of their own which is usually easy to control as they love to please. It does make for a fun relationship.


Are they Stubborn?

Yes, they can be but much of this comes from their working instincts and having to be sure everything is OKAY. They may refuse to leave a strange smell until they are happy that it does not indicate a threat. If you understand the purpose of the dog, it is easier to understand them.


Do they Need a lot of Exercise?

They will do as little or as much as you want them to. If you like to walk miles, they will be the perfect companion. If you're a little less active, they will adapt to your lifestyle. They do love a garden as they will often lie out in all weathers. Exercise should be very restricted until they are around 12 months old. 5 minutes per month old they are as a guide.


Is this breed good at Obedience?

There are many Estrela Mountain Dogs who have passed Good Citizen Awards and many owners doing obedience with their dogs. Due to the independent nature of the breed it may take patience but as we now have our first working trians (CSX) qualified dog in the world in the UK much is possible with time. Agility once a dog is old enough it also great fun for owner and dog.


Are they Noisy?

They can be, usually when they will be in guard mode. They have fantastic hearing and sight and are often on look out. If you start to teach control from an early age, it can be controllable. But they can be noisy depending on breed lines and where you live.


Do they Eat a lot?

Generally they are quite modest eaters for their size. Occasionally they can be quite fussy eaters and some will self starve for short periods of time. 


Do they need a lot of Grooming?

Usually a good brush once a week will keep them in good condition, although it is dependent upon coat texture. As they have a double coat, you know about it when they begin to moult. The loose coat is usually easy to remove with a slicker brush and a comb/rake for a long coat, and a rubber zoom groom and a slicker brush for short coats.


Are they destructive?

Some puppies  can be and smaller items are favourites but this passes with maturity. If you are having problems you can crate train them until they have grown out of this. Build up leaving them from the day they arrive and you can leave the TV or Radio on. 


Would they Guard me or my family if you were in trouble?

Yes, that is what their instincts tell them to do. They would take as much action as necessary to alleviate the situation.


 Are they okay to leave in kennels if necessary?

There is no reason why this to be a problem.


Are they Good in the Car?

Training in short spells, building up with positive experiences, there is no reason why your dog shouldn't like travelling.


Do you rcommend Dog Insurance?

Yes, it means that you have the security and knowledge that at any time your dog and ilnesses or injuries that you have the funds for all veterinary care. There are many different types available, so it's worth doing your research before getting your dog.

If you have any further questions, please do get in touch

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