The Estrella Mountain Dog is named for the Estrella Mountains in Portugal and is believed to be the oldest breed in the region. The breed has a number of distinctive physical features, including a rooted ear, a black mask, and a hook at the end of its tail. He is an inseparable companion of the shepherd and a loyal herd guardian, who bravely protects from predators and thieves. A wonderful farm and house guard, he is unfaithful to strangers but generally submissive to his master.
As a companion in the house, an Estrella will bond for life. He will love and protect his entire family, but a piece of his soul will belong to a special member of his chosen family. As one Estrella owner tells us: “”Nothing compares to the love of an Estrella.””
Estrella’s ancestors were herd dogs in Serra da Estrella, now Portugal. Since there is no written record, it is uncertain whether the ancestors who contributed to this breed were brought by the Romans when they colonized the Iberian Peninsula, or later by the invading Visigoths. Despite this, there is no disagreement that Estrella is one of the oldest breeds in Portugal.
Those early guardian dogs were not distinct breeds that we know today, rather, Estrella evolved over a period of hundreds of years. Shepherds would have chosen to breed dogs that had the necessary characteristics to survive and do their job in their mountain environments: large-sized, strong, enduring, agile, deep-breasted, tolerated modest food. Able to do, a properly set foot, a powerful mouth, a tufted hair around his neck, an easy, jog-like, a warm coat, and a cautious, inconsiderate, yet loyal disposition.
Life changed little for the people and dogs of the region even in the 20th century. The isolation of the region meant that the breed was relatively unknown outside of it until the early 1900s, and even then, they were mostly ignored in early dog shows. The Portuguese admired foreign breeds much more than themselves and shepherds often reared their dogs to prevent them from leaving their herds in the herd. These factors had a negative impact on Estrella, so from 1908 to 1919 special shows called concertos were organized to promote and preserve the Estrella Mountain Dog breed in the area. Special livestock conservators were working in these shows. The trial involved an owner bringing his dog to a large field with several flocks of sheep. The dog was seen by the judges for the subsequent reactions to the field and was ordered to move the herd as a shepherd, which essentially produced the straggler. The dog was expected to move from its position of guarding to bring back the stragglers, and then projected a leadership position at the head of the herd. During this period, some effort was made in the registry, of which there are no surviving records.
The first temporary, recorded breed standard was published in 1922. This standard naturally reflected the functional characteristics found in the best dogs of the time, although it referred to dew claws as reflecting the “”perfect”” dog. The bent tail and inverted ears, which later became part of the official standard, were not mentioned. The first official breed standard was written in 1933. This standard attempted to distinguish Estrella as a separate breed. This made hook tails and double dew claws a necessity. All colors were allowed.
Before World War II, the breeders of Estrella were still mainly shepherds and farmers of the region. Since they were mostly illiterate, they made no effort to follow the official race standard, even if they knew they existed. But in the early 1950s, interest in the breed returned, and the annual concertos were restored. Again, the intention was to encourage interest among Serra residents and encourage them to follow the official standard. During this period, the long-haired variety was most popular on the show, but show dogs represented, and still do, only a small portion of the Estrella population in Portugal. Many of the Working Dogs, and were short-haired.
To date, the Estrella Mountain Dog remains true to its patron heritage. It is still a Working Dog, guarding herds in its native Portugal and elsewhere. The Portuguese also used it as a police dog. At home, it is an ideal family pet because of its vigilance, loyalty, intelligence, and its instinct to nurture the young, who all needed it in its early days.
The Estrella Mountain Dog is one of the most unique looks of all parent breeds, and will almost certainly not be mistaken for any other dog by those with experience in the breed. It is certainly a large breed, but it should never be massive. The average male Estrella Mountain Dog stands between 24 and 30 inches tall at the withers and weighs between 80 and 115 pounds. The average female Estrella Mountain Dog stands 23 to 28 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 60 and 95 pounds. This breed is usually slightly longer from chest to rump than floor to shoulder, but is relatively compactly built. The Estrella Mountain Dog is quite powerfully built, with thick legs and a deep chest, but it is much more easily built than the Mastiff-type breed. Although most of the breed’s body is covered by its coat, the underside is a very muscular and extremely athletic animal. The tail of the Estrella Mountain Dog is one of the most important characteristics of the breed. It should be thicker at the base and lower towards the tip. The end of the tail should be curled into a hook that resembles a shepherd’s crook. When resting, the tail should be kept down, but when the dog is in motion it can rise to horizontal level along the back.
The head of the Estrella Mountain Dog is large for the dog’s body size, but should still be proportionate. The head and muzzle differ only marginally and are very easily fused together. The muzzle itself should be at least as long as the rest of the skull and should be gently bent towards the tip. The muzzle is almost straight but should be slightly convex at the tip. Lips are large and well developed, but should be tight-fitting and never ridged. Ideally, the color of the lips should be solid black. This breed must always demonstrate shears or a bite. The Estrella Mountain Dog’s nose is large, straight and with wide nostrils. The nose should always be darker than the dog’s coat, with black being much preferred. The Estrella Mountain Dog’s ears are rosy, which means they curve backwards like those of the English or American Bulldog. The ears should be small for the size of the dog. The eyes of the Estrella Mountain Dog are oval shaped, medium sized and dark amber in colour. The overall expression of most breed members is curious and calm.
The Estrella Mountain Dog comes in two coat types, short and long. Both should have a rough texture and resemble the texture of goat hair. Both coat types are double, although the undercoat of the long coated variety is usually somewhat denser and of a different color than the outer coat. The long coated variety has a very thick, long, outer coat that can be either flat or slightly wavy, but never curly. The hair on the head, face and the front of the four legs should be shorter than the rest of the body, while the hair on the neck, buttocks, tail and back of all four legs should be longer. Ideally, the dog should look like it has a ruff on its neck, breech on the back of the legs and buttocks, and feathers on its tail. The short-coated variety is coated so evenly that the longer parts of the coat are between 1/3 and as long as those of the long-coated variety. Any feathers on the short-coated variety should be proportional to the length of the coat. At one point, all colors were acceptable for the Estrella Mountain Dog, but these have been limited in recent standard revisions. Currently, fawn, wolf grey, yellow and brindle are all considered acceptable colors. Any of these colors may or may not have limited white markings and black shading anywhere on the coat. Whatever the color, all members of the breed should have a dark facial mask, preferably a black one. Blue color is permissible but highly undesirable. Occasionally, an Estrella Mountain Dog will be born in an alternate color, such as solid black or no face mask. Such dogs are punished in the show ring, but otherwise they become excellent companions and protectors, just like members of other breeds.
The gestation period in lasts for 60-64 days The primary period of the reproductive cycle of the female is called Proestrus and goes on for around 9 days. During this time the females begin to draw in males. The subsequent part is the Estrus when the bitch is receptive to the male. It goes on for around 3 to 11 days. The third part is the Diestrus. Usually, it happens around day 14. In this period the bitch’s discharge changes for distinctive red and reaching its end. The vulva gets back to average, and she will no longer allow mating. The fourth part called the Anestrus. The time span between heat periods ordinarily keeps going around a half year. The litter size ranges between 6 to 8 puppies at a time
-The Estrella Mountain Dog requires average grooming effort. It is not necessary to have a dog’s hair cut by a professional groomer. Brushing a dog’s coat is helpful to reduce shedding. Ears and eyes should be cleaned regularly to avoid infection. Don’t skip seasonal flea treatments either. Dog nail trimming and dog bathing can sometimes be helpful. Check with a local pet store for dog grooming supplies and find the best dog shampoo to keep his coat healthy and give your dog a pleasant dog bath experience. If you don’t have the time, skills, or money to care for your Estrella Mountain Dog, look for a dog groomer or clipping service in your area and book an appointment. You might be lucky enough to have a dog boarding service, which includes grooming or walks in nearby dog bathing locations.
As with all breeds, initial socialization and puppy training classes are recommended. This breed has a reputation for being difficult to house. However, in every other case, it is very easy to train them. For example, They like to perform tricks and learn new ones quickly. They respond very well to training based on positive rewards rather than harsh or negative methods. This breed is required to live with his family and is likely to result in undesirable behaviour if he is regularly left alone for long periods of time.
Estrella is a relatively quiet breed, but with children she knows and especially as a puppy, she can be quite playful. If not a Working Dog, exercise options may include playing time in the backyard, preferably being fired, or taken for a daily walk. In disorganized weather, indoor activities such as chasing a rolled ball on the floor or teaching it new tricks can be good ways to spend energy. This breed, as indicated by their past, requires space and freedom to roam and is not suitable for living in apartments. If not enough stimulation is given, it will become disastrous in the house. Training for dog sports such as agility, obedience and rally can also be a great way to give your dog exercise and mental stimulation.
You want to feed your Estrella Mountain Dog a formula, which will meet their unique digestive needs at different stages of their lives. Many dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large, and extra-large breeds. Estrella Mountain Dog is a large breed and can live from 8 to 10 years old.
What you feed your dog is a personal choice, but working with your vet and / or breeder will be the best way to determine the frequency of feeding as a puppy and the best adult diet to increase longevity. . Clean, fresh water must be available at all times.
Like all breeds, there may be some health issues. Some dogs may face these issues in their lives, but the majority of Estrella mountain dogs are healthy dogs.
Those working with a responsible breeder, wishing to own an Estrella Mountain Dog can receive education, who need to know about specific health concerns within the breed. Good breeders use genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies