The Estrela is called Cão da serra da Estrela in Portugal, his country of origin.
Cão meaning dog in Portuguese, and sera da Estrela is the highest mountainous region of Portugal, in the centre of the Pays, where we find a lot of flocks of sheep and goats. These dogs belongs to the second group of dogs, section MollossoIds. The fur can be short or long with diffrents shades of fauve colours, charcoal or black, and also sometimes white spots.
The male is 65 cm to 73 cm high.
The female is 62 cm to 68 cm.
The weight is around 40 kg for the female and 50 kg for the male.
He comes from the primitive Asian moloss and looks a little bit like the Leonberg, but he is more robust and less heavy. There are no recorded documents regarding the original origin of this breed, however it was probably introduced at the same time that the shepherds settmed in serra da Estrela, a long time before the high of the Roman Empire. The standard of this dog was fixed in 1930, but his first appearance in England was in 1974 and 1986 in France, where he is still rare.
Like the mountain of Pyrenees, his job is flock guardian, even during the absence of the shepherd, this makes him a very good guard dog, quite and equilibrated, very nice with children. He is not aggressive, but takes his job of guardian very seriously. The males are naturally more dominant than the females, as with the other dogs.. He is an affectionate dog, independent, a little beat stubborn and intelligent, which with education is possible. At the condition to not pretend obtain, a very strict training like for the German shepherd, for example. He is a very courageous dog and robust, which is also sometimes used as sleddog like his cousin, the mountain of Pyrenees.
Dynamic, he is a good company dog, who needs outside space. He can’t really accept the life inside the house. Instinctively very soft and protective with domesticated animals, he takes spontaneously care of the new birthed lambs and fawns, sitting around them and looking after them. Its the same thing with the animals of poultry, which he protects very efficiently against foxes, falcons, crows and other predators.
All of these qualities make him a very good deterrent against the different predators of our countries, even more efficient than electric fencing, traps or poison. He frequently barks in case of alert, mark the territory, prevent all wild animals from adventure on his territory This dog made for living outside has also very good capabilities of adaptation for bigs differences of temperature and can support rigorous cold and very higher temperatures.