The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.
The Estrela Mountain Dog is named for the Estrela Mountains in Portugal and is believed to be the oldest breed in the region. The breed has several distinctive physical characteristics including rosed ears, a black mask and a hook at the end of its tail. He is an inseparable companion of the shepherd and a faithful flock guardian, bravely protecting it against predators and thieves. A wonderful farm and house guard, he is distrustful towards strangers but typically docile to his master
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You are going to want to feed your Estrela Mountain Dog a formula that will cater to his unique digestive needs throughout the various phases of his life. Many dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large and extra-large breeds. Estrela Mountain Dogs are an extra-large breed and may have a lifespan ranging from 8 to 10 years.
What you feed your dog is an individual choice, but working with your veterinarian and/or breeder will be the best way to determine frequency of meals as a puppy and the best adult diet to increase his longevity. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
The Estrela has a thick outer coat that resembles the texture of goat hair and comes in longhair and shorthair varieties. Beyond regular weekly grooming, the occasional bath will keep them clean and looking their best. Grooming can be a wonderful bonding experience for you and your pet. Their strong, fast-growing nails should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or grinder to avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking. Their ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris which can result in an infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.
The Estrela is a relatively calm breed, but with children he knows and especially as a puppy, he can be quite playful. If not a working dog, options for exercise could include play time in the backyard, preferably fenced, or taken for daily walks. In inclement weather, indoor activities like chasing a ball rolled along the floor or teaching him new tricks can be good ways to expend energy. This breed, as indicated by his past, needs space and freedom to roam and is not suitable for apartment living. If not given adequate stimulation, he will become destructive in the home. Training for dog sports like agility, obedience and rally can also be a great way to give your dog exercise and mental stimulation.
Like all breeds there may be some health issues. Some dogs may be faced with these issues in their lives, but the majority of Estrela Mountain Dogs are healthy dogs.
Working with a responsible breeder, those wishing to own an Estrela Mountain Dog can gain the education they need to know about specific health concerns within the breed. Good breeders utilize genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies