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The Portuguese Mountain Dog, a dog with a strong personality

The Portuguese Mountain Dog or Serra da Estrela Dog is a very old breed from the Iberian Peninsula. It was first and foremost a working animal before becoming the family companion it is today. It is a gentle dog, enthusiastic and good guardian, but needs an experienced master because of its strong personality and imposing build.

Characteristics of the Portuguese Mountain Dog

The Portuguese Mountain Dog, also known as the Serra da Estrela dog, is an imposing animal with harmonious proportions and a rustic, yet elegant style. Females measure between 62 and 65 cm and weigh between 30 and 40 kg, while males measure between 65 and 73 cm and weigh between 40 and 50 kg. This mastiff type is recognizable by its massive, strong and long head with a convex skull and a slightly marked stop, all carried by a strong and short neck with a discreet tie. The dog has a long and developed jaw and wears a dark mask. The eyes are oval shaped, with amber shades and are quite small. They express a look combining intelligence and calm. On their side, the ears are of triangular form, all in smoothness and also of small dimensions. The dog has a short coat, which is very rare, or a long coat. The texture is said to be goat hair and the hair must be dense. The coat is wolf-gray, self-colored (gray, fawn or yellow) or brindle.

History of the Portuguese Mountain Dog

The origins of the Serra da Estrela dog are relatively unclear. However, it is known that it comes from the eponymous mountainous regions on the Iberian Peninsula. It is believed to be a cross between local sheepdogs and Asian molosses. The Portuguese Mountain Dog has always been used to protect farms and herds from vandals and wolves. Its strength has also allowed it to be used as a draught dog. In Portugal, this breed enjoys a high level of popularity and ranks first in terms of registrations in the breeding register. In France, it is less known.

Living conditions and behavior of the Portuguese Mountain Dog

The Portuguese Mountain Dog is a breed that is both docile and very attached to its owners. This doggie is playful with children. Nevertheless, as it has an imposing size, the sessions of games will systematically be carried out under the supervision of an adult. The Portuguese Mountain Dog is best known as a guard dog because of its natural distrust of strangers. It will not hesitate to protect its own at the risk of its life. As for its education, it must be started early and be taken care of by an experienced master, because the Portuguese Mountain Dog tends to be dominant and stubborn although it is a good listener.

Nutrition and main health problems of the Portuguese Mountain Dog

Like all large dogs, the Portuguese Mountain Dog is unfortunately not spared from hip dysplasia. A rigorous follow-up with the veterinarian is necessary to avoid the appearance of the disease.