The Estrela mountain range is in the central part of Portugal and the Estrela is the Portuguese relation of the flock-guarding dogs that can be found anywhere from Asia halfway across the world to the shores of the Atlantic.
The breed standard isn’t joking when it describes this dog as sturdy and well built: he is made on a generous scale, and that goes for his nature as well. His devotees say that he is almost too good with children, as he tends to tow his owners towards them at high speed!
He is relatively trainable in the basics of good canine behaviour, but doesn’t consider that retrieving is any part of a dog’s normal way of life. He is easy to groom and a good trencherman, being unfaddy in his appetite.
Lest he should appear to be altogether too good to be true, it is worth noting that he has a loud voice, which he delights in using at frequent intervals, not always at the most convenient moments. He is also a prodigious leaper, so runs have to be well made to confine him, if that is the way an owner reckons to keep him.
This is a breed that has built a small but dedicated following in the UK and has much to commend it if a large dog is appropriate.
Vulnerable Native Breed
How much exercise?
Up to 1 hour per day
Length of coat
How much grooming?
More than once a week
Town or Country
Type of home
Minimum Garden Size
Over 10 Years
* If you are asthmatic or have an allergy, you should consult your medical advisor before considering obtaining a dog. More information can also be found on
the Kennel Club website
The Pastoral Breed Group
The Pastoral Group consists of herding dogs that are associated with working cattle, sheep, reindeer and other cloven footed animals.
Usually this type of dog has a weatherproof double coat to protect it from the elements when working in severe conditions. Breeds such as the Collie family, Old English Sheepdogs and Samoyeds who have been herding reindeer for centuries are but a few included in this group.