ESTRELA MOUNTAIN DOG
Portuguese Kennel Club. Revised by Jennifer
Mulholland, Raymond Triquet and Renée Sporre-Willes.
DATE OF PUBLICATION
OF THE ORIGINAL VALID STANDARD
A livestock guarding dog, watch dog and companion dog; also used for draught work.
Group 2 – Pinscher and Schnauzer, Molossoid breeds,
Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs.
Section 2.2 – Molossoid breeds, Mountain type.
Without working trial.
BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY
Since remote times, this dog has developed and settled in the Estrela
Mountains area, its true origin being lost in time. Nevertheless, it
can be considered one of the most ancient breeds in the Iberian
It can be found from the foot of the mountains to the summit
(approximately 2000 m), mainly in the summer, after the snow has
melted, when the green pastures are much sought after by the herds,
because the excessive heat has dried the grass on the lowlands. The
progressive recognition of its aptitudes has led to its diffusion
throughout the world since the second half of the 20th century.
Large, mastiff-type molossoid dog. There are two varieties of coat:
long and short. Rustic, substantial, with brisk gait and an impressive
The breed has a lively, calm and expressive look; it is well
proportioned; well made with harmonious appearance, which is
traditionally how the breed has been recognised since a long time.
Moderately long (sub-longilinear), tending to mediolinear. The depth of
the chest is less than half the height at withers. The muzzle and skull
should be approximately the same length; if not, the skull should be
Inseparable companion of the shepherd and faithful flock guardian,
bravely protecting it against predators and thieves. Wonderful farm and
house guard, distrustful towards strangers and typically docile to its
Strong, voluminous and long and slightly convex seen in profile. Well
inserted and in good proportion to the body, with the skull in
proportion to the foreface; all parts in perfect harmony. Smooth skin
on the skull and cheeks.
Skull: Well developed, rounded, with slightly divergent
superior cranium-facial axes, convex profile, slightly developed
superciliary arches with slightly apparent frontal furrow, occipital
protuberance not prominent.
Stop: Only slightly marked and at approximately equal distance
tip of the nose and the occipital protuberance.
Nose: Straight and in line with nosebridge; well opened
Muzzle: Long, tapering to the tip, without being pointed; tends
straight but very slightly convex at the tip.
Lips: Well developed but not thick, well overlapping, not
mucous membrane of mouth, palate and edges of lips with intense black
Jaws/Teeth: Clean cut mouth with well developed jaws; full
with strong, white, well implanted and close-fitting teeth, preferably
with scissors bite, pincer bite acceptable.
Eyes: Medium sized, tending to small, oval shaped, level set,
size and well open, with a keen and calm expression; preferably dark
amber in colour. Close fitting lids with black rims. Eyebrows slightly apparent.
Ears: Set on at medium height; hanging, carried falling
laterally against the side of the head, with inner edge visible (so
called rose-ear); thin, triangular, rounded at the tip; small in
comparison to the body.
Short, straight and thick; well set and well connected into the
shoulders; with a slight dewlap, not exaggerated.
Topline: Straight. Almost level.
Back: Preferably short, well muscled.
Loin: Short; broad; well muscled; well connected to the croup.
Croup: Slightly sloping; short, broad and muscled. Height at croup should be equal or slightly superior to the height at
Chest: Broad; deep; well sprung without being cylindrical; well
down to the elbow or slightly below it.
Underline and belly: The underline should rise gradually but
from sternum to the groin; belly not too wide, in proportion to the
animal’s substance and harmoniously connected to the body.
Set on at medium height; long; thick; carried below the horizontal,
scimitar-shaped, with a hook at the end.
At rest it hangs naturally between the thighs, reaching at least the
hock; when excited and in motion, the tail rises above the horizontal,
curving upward and forward, sideways and downward, without being
carried over the croup. It should be well furnished
with hair, and feathered in the long-haired variety.
FOREQUARTERS: Upright with strong bone and thick joints,
open angulation, with easy movement.
Forearms: Straight, parallel, long, with strong bone and almost
cylindrical in shape.
Forefeet: Proportioned, neither too round nor too long, between
hare feet (not splayed); thick, tight toes with abundant hair between
toes and pads; dark nails, preferably black, well developed; pads thick
Upright, strong bone with thick joints, moderately open angles, with
Hock: Slightly let down; moderately open, neither turned in nor
Metatarsus (rear pastern): Vertical, almost cylindrical.
presence of single or double dewclaws.
Hind feet: Identical to the forefeet.
Sound and easy movement.
HAIR: Strong, very abundant, slightly coarse, without excessive
harshness, the texture is similar to goat hair. The undercoat is composed of fine hair, short, abundant and entangled,
normally lighter in colour than the outer coat.
Long-haired variety: Straight or slightly wavy top coat, uneven
areas. It is shorter and more dense on the limbs, below the elbows and
hocks, as well as on the head; on the ears, it becomes gradually
shorter from the base to the tip, becoming thinner and softer.It is
longer on the tail, which is bushy, thick and feathered, around
the neck and throat and on the buttocks, which are abundantly
feathered, as well as the back side of the forearms.
Short-haired variety: Short hair, evenly distributed over the
slightly shorter on the head and limbs, without feathering.
The following colours are accepted and considered typical:
Solid: Yellow, fawn and grey in all ranges of colour intensity.
Wolf Grey: Fawn, yellow and grey tones, commonly in lighter and
Brindle: Fawn, yellow or grey base colour with blackish
the cranium-facial area, a black coloured mask is typical.
White markings are admitted only at the extremities of fore – and hind
feet and on a small extension on the lower region of neck and chest.
HEIGHT AND WEIGHT
Height at the withers:
Males: 65-73 cm.
Females: 62-69 cm.
Tolerance: + 2 cm.
Males: 45-60 Kg.
Females: 35-45 Kg.
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault
and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be
in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and
welfare of the dog.
Appearance: General bad appearance, thinness or obesity.
Height: Outside the limits set by the standard, but within 2 cm
tolerance at the upper limit.
Head: Narrow, long and pointed.
Eyes: Light coloured.
Ears: Incorrectly set, too long, thick or rounded tips. Hanging completely flat.
Tail: Carried over the back. Absence of hook.
Colour: Absence of dark mask.
Behaviour: Animals showing nervous unbalance with signs of
Nose: Pale coloured nostrils, partly unpigmented nose.
Tail: Docked or rudimentary.
Coat: Hair somewhat different from the described type.
Height: Males: Under 65 cm or over 75 cm.
Females: Under 62 cm or over 71 cm.
Behaviour: Aggressive or overly shy.
Head: Very narrow, very long and very pointed completely lacking
Jaws: Undershot or overshot.
Eyes: Wall eyes or difference in size.
Coat: Hair completely atypical.
Colour: Any colour not mentioned in the standard. Albinism.
Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be
N.B.: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully
descended into the scrotum.