Estrela Mountain Dog
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. [...]
Estrela Mountain Dogs are high-energy animals with a constant need to walk, run, and play. If your Estrela doesn't get enough, he will likely try to jump the fence and run off on his own.
Just due to the fact that your dog may not feel he is getting the attention he deserves, he may bolt on you when least expected. Other reasons may include the dog being abused or frequently yelled at. Even if there is a lot of yelling or other loud noises in your home not directed at your dog, he might want to get away because his hearing is much more sensitive than yours. Also no dog enjoys being mauled or harassed too much by children or adults. [...]
Estrela Mountain Dogs are perfect guard dogs, due to their long history of protecting livestock for many centuries on the Iberian Peninsula. Their days were spent helping shepherds keep an eye on their flocks on the Serra da Estrela Mountains in Portugal.
As early as three months old, your Estrela will show signs that he can be a good guard dog. While this breed does not bark often as an adult, it will exhibit a loud bark when it suspects trouble or feels threatened. This may be enough to make a potential intruder back up and leave. [...]
Estrela Mountain Dogs can be put to work in many areas but unfortunately to date, they have not been.
Their natural instinct to protect people and property makes them perfect for not only personal protection, but also as patrol dogs. They are intelligent dogs that can be trained for specific purposes. They could be used to protect businesses, industrial complexes, shopping malls, banks, financial buildings, warehouses, government buildings, parking lots, and even military instillations. Perhaps when Estrelas and their capabilities become more known they will be used much more than they are today. [...]
If there was ever a canine that you could totally rely on, it is an Estrela Mountain Dog.
Though they tend to be a bit rebellious and single-minded as pups, Estrelas are intelligent dogs that can be trained with little trouble and quickly become faithful companions to a single master. There is a saying that Estrelas will either run you or you run them, so get a handle on this soon after you bring your puppy home. [...]
Dog show organizers primarily look for canines that can show the best physical and psychological characteristics of their breed, which should not be difficult for Estrela Mountain Dogs. Over many centuries, they have retained their distinctive coloring, weight, height, and appealing personality.
A well-bred Estrela is a strong, sturdy, and athletic animal. Its coat may be anything from reddish gold and wolf gray, to a burnt yellow color and is most often similar to goat hair. Its bones are not overly large and despite growing to be about 110 lbs, this dog usually remains quite agile. [...]
Although Estrela Mountain Dogs can be aggressive and fierce when it comes to strangers encroaching on your property or attempting to break into your home, they are also sensitive animals that quickly become attached to family members, especially children.
As herding dogs for shepherds in the Serra da Estrela Mountains in Portugal, these dogs spend their summers outside. However, during the winter they stayed inside with the family as a guard dog. During this time, they became accustomed to family life and being around kids. In fact, these dogs have an affinity with children that may surprise you. [...]
Traveling with an Estrela Mountain Dog can either be a pleasure or a real nightmare. It is up to you "the owner" to decide the best mode of travel for your beloved pet.
By far, travel by car is the safest and most enjoyable for both you and your Estrela. Novelist John Steinbeck once said that he would rather travel on the road with a dog than anything else. In a vehicle, you not only have an opportunity to bond with your pet, but you also have control over his safety. [...]
If you are planning to move to a new home or apartment, your Estrela Mountain Dog will likely take some time to adjust and might even suffer from anxiety.
It is in their nature to be territorial animals that become accustomed to specific sights, smells, and sounds both in his home and in the surrounding neighborhood, so don't be surprised if your Estrela is traumatized to some extent by all the changes. Dogs that don't get outside much are likely to be more severely affected by a move. [...]
In Portugal, where Estrela Mountain Dogs are still used for herding and protecting livestock and as both marine and police dogs, they are known as Cao da Serra da Estrela. In the past they were also used to pull milk carts. Because of their intelligence and consistent work ethic, they are among the working dog group and are considered natural guard dogs.
Estrelas can live well in all climates and terrains because they have thick coats and are accustomed to working in the mountains as well as cold, snowy weather. [...]