Estrela Mountain Dog

Canis lupus

Last updated: May 27, 2024
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
Oliver OB/

Very protective and stubborn!


Estrela Mountain Dog Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Estrela Mountain Dog Conservation Status

Estrela Mountain Dog Locations

Estrela Mountain Dog Locations

Estrela Mountain Dog Facts

Common Name
Estrela Mountain Dog
Very protective and stubborn!

Estrela Mountain Dog Physical Characteristics

Skin Type
16 years
47kg (105lbs)

Estrela Mountain Dog as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
Around $1,000
Dog group
Male weight
77-132 lbs
Female weight
77-99 lbs

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The Estrela Mountain Dog breed started as a herd-guarding dog in Portugal. Today, this breed is the companion dog of the Portuguese police force.

These large, agile dogs make excellent guard dogs because they are incredibly loyal to their masters and wary of strangers. Proper socialization in their early days is crucial; without it, you will have a huge dog who could become aggressive to those outside his family.

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These dogs are a calm, watchful breed that is wonderful with children. So, their loyalty makes them excellent family pets.

3 pros and cons of owning an Estrela Mountain Dog

They are highly intelligent
This high level of intelligence makes it easy for an Estrela Mountain Dog to learn new tricks and commands.
Their stubbornness makes them difficult to train
Like most other highly intelligent breeds, the Estrela Mountain Dog can be quite stubborn. Consistency should always be the key component in their training.
They make excellent watchdogs
They are loyal and protective of their pack, which makes them well-suited as watchdogs.
They have a high tendency to become overweight
Since they has only moderate energy levels, they can become overweight more easily than high energy breeds.
They get along well with children and other dogs
Estrela Mountain Dogs love children and do quite well in multi-dog households.
They are not cat-friendly
Estrela Mountain Dogs have a moderate prey drive, so they don’t get along well with cats or other small animals.

Evolution and Origins

Estrela Mountain Dog standing with its handler

The Estrela Mountain Dog is believed to have been introduced to Portugal by either the Romans or the Visigoths

Also referred to as cao da Serra da Estrela, this domestic canine is considered to be one of the oldest breeds in the mountainous region for which it is named. While no one can quite decide on whether it was introduced to the Estrela Mountains by the Romans or the Visigoths, they can agree on the fact that this hardy, intelligent dog was bred over the course of centuries for agility in navigating tricky mountain paths, an insulating coat for handling the mountainous chill, and endurance for chasing errant sheep on limited sustenance.

In the 1900s attempts were made to establish standards for the breed which had faced stiff competition from other foreign breeds. By the mid-20th century, its visibility began to increase thanks to its participation at shows. Today the breed can currently be found in the USA and the UK. It can also be found in its native Portugal where it continues to guard livestock, is the canine of choice for the National Police force, and is also a much-loved family pet.

Health and Entertainment for your Estrela Mountain Dog

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Size and Weight

Estrella Mountain Dogs are a giant breed that can weigh 77 to 132 pounds and stand between 24 and 30 inches high at the shoulder. The males of this breed are slightly larger than the females. They have a thick, wavy coat that comes in a variety of colors, including gray, yellow and fawn.

Common Health Issues

As with all purebreds, responsible breeders are the key to generations of healthy dogs. That said, these dogs are a generally healthy breed and don’t have any particular genetic diseases to worry about, though, like any large breed, they are susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia.


Estrela mountain dog lies down exhausted after a day at work

Estrela Mountain Dogs are highly intelligent but also tend to have a mind of their own

Estrela Mountain Dogs are courageous and loyal and therefore make excellent guard dogs. They have an adaptable, laidback personality, so they will be happy taking long walks and hikes or just curling up beside their owners. These dogs get along great with children and with other dogs and make wonderful family pets. They do have a bit of a prey drive, so if you want them to get along with cats or other small animals, you should introduce these animals to them when they are puppies.

These dogs are highly intelligent, which is both a blessing and a curse in terms of training. They can learn new tricks and commands with ease, but you must be consistent with the rules. Otherwise, they will decide they will only follow your lead when they want to. This breed also has a fair amount of wanderlust and likes to have large open areas to roam. This wanderlust makes them ill-suited for apartment living.

How To Take Care of an Estrela Mountain Dog

This is an easy breed to maintain. As long as you feed them high-quality food, give them a moderate amount of daily exercise and establish a simple grooming regimen, you’ll have a happy and healthy canine companion for many years to come.

Food and Diet

These dogs do quite well on high-quality food for extra large dogs. They don’t have any particular dietary concerns.

During puppyhood, go with a puppy food rich in nutrients like calcium, DHA, and protein, then transition to an equally nutritious adult dog food.

A-Z Animals says the best dog food for Estrela Mountain Dogs is Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food Chicken with Shreds.

The poultry ingredients in this chicken-based large breed dog food are natural sources of glucosamine for stabile, mobile joints. Additionally, there are adequate levels of calcium and phosphorus to fortify the bones and the cartilage in joints for extra support.

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Purina Pro Plan Adult Large Breed Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice Formula
  • Crunchy kibble combined with tender, shredded pieces for taste and texture dogs love
  • High protein formula, with real chicken as the first ingredient
  • Fortified with guaranteed live probiotics for digestive and immune health
  • Used to be known as SAVOR Shredded Blend Large Breed Formula
  • Glucosamine and EPA, an omega-3 fatty acid, for joint health and mobility

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These dogs have no particular health concerns that need consideration when choosing pet insurance.

Maintenance And Grooming

There is no special maintenance involved in caring for these dogs. This breed sheds moderately year-round, so you should brush them regularly to reduce their shedding. Beyond that, all you need to do to keep them happy and healthy is to keep a grooming regimen that includes brushing their teeth, keeping their ears cleaned, and clipping their nails.


Again, these dogs are quite intelligent and can master new tricks and commands with ease. This intelligence, however, often leads to stubbornness, so you’ll need to firm but gentle and consistent with the rules to earn your dog’s respect.


After puppyhood, this is a fairly calm breed that doesn’t need much exercise. For instance, one walk each day or a game of fetch in the backyard should keep this gentle giant happy.


A vertical shot of an adorable Estrela mountain puppy on a field during daylight

Estrela Mountain Dog puppies can be a bit of a handful to train

Like any other breed, the puppies have more energy than the adults, so you’ll need to spend more time exercising them when they are young to prevent the destructiveness that comes with pent-up energy. Early socialization is also important, particularly if you plan to raise them with cats or other small animals. They can be quite stubborn when it comes to training, so puppy obedience classes would give a new owner some welcomed help in this arena.


Fortunately, the calm, protective nature of these dogs makes them fantastic companions for children. As with any large breed, you’ll need to teach both dogs and children how to safely interact with one another and never leave them unsupervised to prevent any accidental injuries.

Dogs similar to the Estrela Mountain Dog

A few breeds that are similar in size or temperament to these dogs include the Newfoundland, Saint Bernard, and the Bernese Mountain Dog.

  • Newfoundland
    The Newfoundland is excellent with children and highly trainable, making them the perfect fit for new dog owners.
  • Saint Bernard
    The Saint Bernard is known for its gentleness and is careful around children. These dogs are eager to please which makes training a pleasure.
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
    The Bernese Mountain Dog loves children and tends to attach itself to one special human in its family. These dogs are affectionate with their pack but reserved around strangers.

Here are a few great names for an Estrela Mountain Dog:

  • Atlas
  • Aoraki
  • Denali
  • Everest
  • Odin
  • Sidley
  • Stirling
  • Taranaki
  • Tavan
  • Whistler

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What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

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How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
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Estrela Mountain Dog FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much do Estrela Mountain Dogs cost?

On average, Estrela Mountain Dogs cost around $1,000 when purchased from reputable breeders.

How big do Estrela Mountain Dogs get?

Estrella Mountain Dogs weigh 77 to 132 pounds and stand between 24 and 30 inches high at the shoulder. The males are larger than the females.

How long do Estrela Mountain Dogs live?

Estrela Mountain Dogs live for about 10 to 12 years.

Are Estrela Mountain Dogs good family pets?

Due to their calm, protective nature and love of children, the Estrela Mountain Dog makes an excellent family pet.

How much do Estrela Mountain Dogs shed?

Despite its thick, wavy coat, shedding is not a major concern for owners of the Estrela Mountain Dog. Simply brush your dog weekly and his coat will stay healthy and tangle-free.

Do Estrela Mountain Dogs have dewclaws?

Yes. Like many other large dog breeds, Estrela Mountain Dogs have both front and back dewclaws.

Are Estrela Mountain Dogs herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Estrela Mountain Dogs are Omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.

What Kingdom do Estrela Mountain Dogs belong to?

Estrela Mountain Dogs belong to the Kingdom Animalia.

What class do Estrela Mountain Dogs belong to?

Estrela Mountain Dogs belong to the class Mammalia.

What phylum to Estrela Mountain Dogs belong to?

Estrela Mountain Dogs belong to the phylum Chordata.

What family do Estrela Mountain Dogs belong to?

Estrela Mountain Dogs belong to the family Canidae.

What order do Estrela Mountain Dogs belong to?

Estrela Mountain Dogs belong to the order Carnivora.

What genus do Estrela Mountain Dogs belong to?

Estrela Mountain Dogs belong to the genus Canis.

What type of covering do Estrela Mountain Dogs have?

Estrela Mountain Dogs are covered in Hair.

What is an interesting fact about Estrela Mountain Dogs?

Estrela Mountain Dogs are very protective and stubborn!

What is the scientific name for the Estrela Mountain Dog?

The scientific name for the Estrela Mountain Dog is Canis lupus.

What is the difference between Estrela Mountain Dog and Leonberger?

The key differences between the Estrela Mountain Dog and the Leonberger are size, life expectancy, trainability, and personality.

The Estrela Mountain Dog is a stubborn but gentle guardian known for its thick outer coat, which is similar to goat hair. It’s smaller than the affectionate and loyal Leonberger, but it can also live up to four years longer.

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