If you are looking for a canine addition to your family that will be loyal, protective and obedient, consider an Estrela Mountain Dog.
This breed dates back to ancient times as a working dog that guarded sheep on the Serra da Estrela Mountains in Portugal. Estrelas enjoy cold climates, but can tolerate warmer temperatures. They can be kept in apartments, but homes with yards are preferable, as they need to get daily exercise. If you do live in an apartment, you should take the dog out for a good half hour walk every day. Aside from the Estrelas physical needs, daily outings also keep him more psychologically balanced.
Unlike some breeds, Estrelas do not require a lot of grooming. Of course he should be bathed now and then and brushing his coat weekly should be sufficient. Actually, there are two types of Estrela dogs - one with very short hair and one with longer hair. Whichever you choose, the dog will molt once a year at which time he will lose a lot of fur and will need more thorough brushing.
This breed of dog is a natural protector of persons and property, and will likely begin to show signs of this innate characteristic as young as three months old. If you have other pets, you will find that an Estrela can be very territorial and aggressive. Males don't take well to other male dogs and conversely females tend to be aggressive against other females. It will be necessary for you to introduce your Estrela to dogs of the same sex at a very young age so they become accustomed to each other. Even so, tempers may flare, particularly when they are older unless they are trained to do otherwise.
On a more positive note, Estrelas generally become fiercely protective of family members and love to be around well-behaved children. They usually choose one person to whom they become especially loyal and obedient. This is the person who spends the most time playing and training the dog. However, in a short time an Estrela will learn to love and protect all family members.
Estrelas are also known to bark, nip, dig in the yard, and jump up on people, so these are some of the habits you will want to tackle during training. And speaking of training, this breed is known to be stubborn when the mood strikes. His attitude has been called "selective deafness," so you need to be patient as he learns to listen to you. They are energetic dogs with high intelligence, so they can be trained to accommodate the needs of your family.
Overall, an Estrela Mountain Dog can be a loving addition to any family. This breed enjoys people and in fact, needs interaction with them on a daily basis. With proper care, attention, and training, an Estrela can be a dedicated and faithful companion.