Estrela mountain (Dog standard)

Living from the remotest time in the Serra da Estrela (high mountains in the North of Portugal), despite of its obscure origin, the Estrela Mountain Dog may be considered as one of the oldest beeds of the Iberian Peninsula.

FCI-Standard N° 173 / 28. 08. 1995 / GB

(Cão da Serra da Estrela)
TRANSLATION : Portuguese Kennel Club, Dr.J.-M. Paschoud and Mrs .R.Binder.

ORIGIN : Portugal.


UTILIZATION : An inseparable friend of the shepherd and a faithful watch-dog of the herds which he protects fiercely fighting against wolves or thieves. A wonderful guardian of farms and dwellings, also a good escort to people, he can occasionally be trained as draught-dog.

CLASSIFICATION F.C.I. : Group 2 Pinscher and Schnauzer, Molossoid breeds, Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs and other breeds.
Section 2.2. Molossoid breeds, Mountain type.
Without working trial.

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY : Living from the remotest time in the Serra da Estrela (high mountains in the North of Portugal), despite of its obscure origin, the Estrela Mountain Dog may be considered as one of the oldest beeds of the Iberian Peninsula. He can be found from the foot of the mountains to the top, mainly in summer, when, alert the snow has disappeared, the green pastures are much sought after by the herds, which he accompanies from the lower regions where the grass is totally dried up by the excessive heat. As a sheep-and watch-dog, he protects the flocks against the wild animals still existant in these regions. These dogs may also be found scattered in other parts of the country, mainly in the Center, but all these dogs have their origin in the Estrela mountains; either they have been brought as puppies to this area or they have been bred by breeders originally from the Serra regions.

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT : Alert and dignified, his expression is calm, but keen and vivid. Imposing and remarkable for his sometimes threatening distrust against strangers; on the other hand, he excels in his dedication and his obedience to the shepherd, his master.

GENERAL APPEARANCE : A mastiff type molossoid dog with slightly convex lines, compact and rustic. Well proportioned, of a perfect morphology, the harmonious unity revealing a long tradition of ethnic purity.

HEAD : Strong, big, long and slightly convex. Well inserted and in good proportion with the body, as well as the skull is proportioned with the foreface, all parts in perfect balance. Skull and cheeks smooth-skinned.

Skull : Well developed, arched and convex in profile. Slurred occipital crest.
Stop : Not very marked, in about the same distance to the tip of the nose as to the top of the skull.

Nose : Nostrils straight, wide and well open. Always darker than the coat, preferably black.
Muzzle : Long, tapering towards the tip, but not pointed. Almost straight, but very slightly convex at the tip (aquiline nose).
Lips : Clean cut; large lips, but not thick, not hanging and well closed. Mucous membranes of mouth and palate and rims of the lips intensely black pigmented.
Jaws/Teeth : Jaws well developed. Teeth strong, white, well inserted, with good conclusion.
Eyes : Horizontal, oval eyes, on a level with the socket. Medium and equal in size, well open. Keen and calm expression. Preferably dark amber in colour. Well closing black rimmed lids. Eyebrows slightly marked.

Ears : Comparatively to the body small (11 cm length to 10 cm width), thin, triangular, rounded at the tip; hanging; moderately high set; carried slightly falling backwards against the side of the head, with a small portion of the inner edge showing. Cropped ears accepted although natural ears are more appreciated.

NECK : Straight, short and thick; well set into shoulders; with a modest tuft of hair under the throat.

Back : Almost level preferably short.
Loins : Wide, short, muscled and well connected with the rump which should be slightly sloping.
Chest : Well rounded, but not barrel-shaped; wide, deep and well let down.
Underline : Belly not paunchy, well proportioned to the substance and harmoniously connected with its surroundings; underline rising gradually but gently from the sternum towards the groin.

TAIL : Long, not docked, reaching to the hocks when the dog is at rest. Thick, scimitar shaped, set on at normal height, well furnished with hair and feathered in the long haired variety, ending with a hook. At rest below the horizontal line, hanging naturally between the thighs; when the dog is excited or moving, the tail raises above the horizontal curving upwards, forwards, sidewards or even downwards.


FORE- AND HINDQUARTERS : Vertical when the dog is in good stance. Forearms and second thighs approximately cylindrical in cross section. Bone well developed, solid and well muscled. Strong articulations, angles medium open allowing easy movement. Hock slightly let down, evenly angulated and well set like the vertical second thigh.

FEET : Well proportioned, well made, neither very rounded nor excessively long, more or less between catfoot and harefoot, never splay feet. Thick, well closed toes with abundant hair in between them and between the pads; pads thick and hard. Dark or preferably black nails, well grown. The hindlegs may have single or double dewclaws.

GAIT / MOVEMENT : Free and easy movement.


HAIR : Strong, slightly thick, not too harsh, somewhat like goat hair; smooth or slightly wavy and close over almost the whole body; very abundant in the shorthair as well as in the longhair variety. Normally the hair is of different length in certain areas of the body. On the limbs, below the elbows and the hocks it is rather short and dense as it is on the head; on the ears it gets gradually shorter from the set on towards the tip, becoming thinner and softer; it is longer on the tail which is bushy, thick and feathered in the long haired variety; it is also longer around the neck and throat where it may form a thick tuft of hair, and over the thighs where especially the longhaired dogs may present feathering on the back as well as at the backside of the forearms. The undercoat is short and dense, made of fine hair entangled at the base with the coarser hair and generally lighter coloured than the coat. This is found mainly in the longhaired variety.

COLOUR : The only admitted colours are : fawn, wolfgray and yellow, either self-coloured or with white markings.

Height at the withers for males 65 to 72 cm.
Height at the withers for bitches 62 to 68 cm.


Length of the skull 13,5 to 14,5 cm
Width of the skull 12,5 to 14 cm
Length of the muzzle 12 to 13 cm
Girth of chest 75 to 80 cm
Width of chest 18 to 20 cm
Depth of chest 28 to 29 cm
Length of the trunk 63 to 65 cm
Width of the trunk 12 to 15 cm
Length of the body 69 to 73 cm
Length of the tail 40 to 45 cm
Height at withers 62 to 72 cm
Length of foreleg 34 to 37 cm
Height at the rump 67 to 69 cm
Males 40 to 50 kg
Females 30 to 40 kg

FAULTS : 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.
Head : Too narrow, long or pointed.
Nose : Too light or Dudley nose.
Jaws : Under- or overshot mouth.
Eyes : Wall eye, eyes different in size.
Ears : Incorrect set on, too big, too fleshy or round.
Tail : Docked, rudimentary, congenitally absent (anouria).
Coat : Albinism, texture very different from standard type.

Size : Much above (giantism) or much below (nanism) standard, with a tolerance of about 4 cm.

Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.

N.B. : Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

Source: FCI >>>

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Photo: Estrela mountain (Dog standard)
Estrela mountain (Dog standard)

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Estrela mountain (Dog standard)

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