Estrela Mountain Dog vs Leonberger: What’s the difference?

Estrela Mountain Dog, 5 years old, sitting against white background
© Eric Isselee/

Written by Megan Martin

Published: April 20, 2022

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When looking at uncommon, large dog breeds, you may stumble across the Estrela Mountain Dog and the Leonberger. At a glance, both of these breeds are fairly similar, with similar appearances and roles as working dogs. However, as a closer look at an Estrela Mountain Dog vs Leonberger comparison will show, these two domestic dog breeds are more different than you may originally think!

Ready to learn the difference between the Estrela Mountain Dog vs the Leonberger? Keep reading to see the top facts that set them apart!

Comparing the Estrela Mountain Dog vs Leonberger

Leonbergers are taller than Estrela Mountain Dogs.
Estrela Mountain DogLeonberger
Size24 to 30 inches at the shoulder26 to 31 inches at the shoulder 
Weight77 to 132 pounds90 to 180 pounds
Coat/Hair TypeThick outer coat similar to goat hair. Long or short hair. Long double coat
ColorsBrindle, fawn, grey, or yellow with white or black markingsRed, beige, or yellow with black mask
TemperamentIndependent, stubborn, alert, protective, gentleAffectionate, loyal, gentle, and friendly
Life Expectancy10 to 12 years8 to 9 years 
Energy LevelsModerateModerately High
Estrela Mountain Dog vs Leonberger Key Differences

Estrela Mountain Dog vs Leonberger: 6 Key Differences

Estrela mountain dog lies down exhausted after a day at work

The Estrela Mountain Dog is a large breed with a dense coat.

©Oliver OB/

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.

Here is a more in-depth look at the top key differences between the Estrela Mountain Dog Vs Leonberger. 

Estrela Mountain Dog vs Leonberger: Size

Both the Estrela Mountain Dog and the Leonberger are considered medium to large-sized dogs. However, while they may seem like they are similar sizes at just a glance, the Leonberger actually tends to be a bit larger than the Estrela. In fact, when you measure at the withers (that’s at the shoulders), the Leonberger is an inch taller.

However, the differences are much more noticeable when it comes to weight. Even when comparing the largest specimens of both breeds, the Leonberger is around 48 pounds heavier than the Estrela Mountain Dog. Compared to the smallest Estrela, you’re looking at a maximum size Leonberger that’s nearly three times its weight!

Estrela Mountain Dog vs Leonberger: Trainability

Leonberger standing in field

Leonbergers have a tendency to be a little stubborn.


Both the Estrela Mountain Dog and the Leonberger tends to be a little stubborn. However, the Leonberger passes the Estrela Mountain Dog in terms of trainability thanks to its friendly nature and desire to please humans. 

This isn’t to say the Estrela Mountain Dog is untrainable, however. You may just need to spend extra time establishing yourself as a leader and earning your dog’s trust before you can start making training breakthroughs.

Estrela Mountain Dog vs Leonberger: Lifespan and Health

Compared to the Leonberger, the Estrela Mountain Dog has a notably longer lifespan, easily living anywhere from 10 to 12 years. The Leonberger, however, has an average lifespan of only around 8 to 9 years.

One of the main reasons for this notably shorter lifespan is the abundance of health issues Leonberger may face. These can include orthopedic issues, like arthritis or hip dysplasia, as well as eye problems.

However, the Estrela Mountain Dog isn’t free from health concerns. While it may not have as many health issues as the Leonberger does, it is still vulnerable to certain heart conditions and hip dysplasia, the latter of which is common in all big dogs.  

Estrela Mountain Dog vs Leonberger: Personality

Estrela Mountain dog, Serra da Estrela, Portugal

Estrela Mountain Dogs are very protective of their family.

©Joao Marques/

Both the Leonberger and the Estrela Mountain Dog are known for being protective of their families. However, that’s about where the similarities between their personalities end.

The Estrela Mountain Dog is similar to other working breeds you may know, like the Great Pyrenees. It is a bit independent and prefers to be allowed to guard in peace, though it is gentle with its family and herd. The Estrela Mountain Dog is also stubborn, which can make training difficult. This isn’t due to a lack of intelligence, however, its stubbornness stems from its independence and leader/protector mindset. 

The Leonberger is a little less serious than the Estrela Mountain Dog. It is more prone to affection and more likely to be playful.

Estrela Mountain Dog vs Leonberger: Noise Level

One of the things that make the Leonberger such an adaptable breeder is its low noise levels. It isn’t prone to barking, especially over nothing. While the Estrela Mountain Dog is far from a yappy breed, they are more likely to bark when it comes to alerting you about what’s going on.

Estrela Mountain Dog vs Leonberger: Affection Level

Whether you choose to bring the Estrela Mountain Dog or the Leonberger into your life, you won’t need to worry too much about having a dog that wants nothing to do with you. Both breeds are affectionate to some degree, although the Leonberger is more so.

The Estrela Mountain Dog is work-driven, and it can be difficult to get it to unwind and relax with you until it has determined that it has done its job of protection. However, when it decides to spend time with you, it is incredibly loyal and gentle.

The Leonberger is the same in that regard, except that it can be coaxed into relaxing much easier than the Estrela Mountain Dog – so long as you’ve satisfied its high energy levels and need for exercise that day. 

Estrela Mountain Dog vs Leonberger: Conclusion

Leonberger walking down a path

Leonbergers are known for drooling.


Both the Estrela Mountain Dog and the Leonberger are gentle dogs that can make the perfect family companion when you make sure their needs are met. The Estrela Mountain Dog is a little bit harder to train due to its independence and stubbornness. However, thanks to its eagerness to please and adaptability, the Leonberger may be better for a majority of pet owners.

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About the Author

Megan is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is birds, felines, and sharks. She has been researching and writing about animals for four years, and she holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with minors in biology and professional and technical writing from Wingate University, which she earned in 2022. A resident of North Carolina, Megan is an avid birdwatcher that enjoys spending time with her cats and exploring local zoological parks with her husband.

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