Estrelas are descended from one of the oldest breeds of the Iberian Peninsula, and lived in the high mountains of Portugal before Roman times. Over time, the Serra da Estrela Mountains in Portugal became their recognized place of origin. They were used to protect sheep and cattle, defending against wolves and thieves as the shepherds moved flocks across the mountains. They even continued to guard the flocks when the shepherd would leave on other business! That history tells you a little about their independence: they will not only watch and defend your home while waiting patiently for you and your family to return, but also act by themselves in cases of danger.
The Estrela Mountain Dog is a breed of companionship. Estrelas thrive on human interaction and attention. They are good family dogs, very tolerant with children. Estrela’s behavior depends very much on two things: the training and socialization he or she receives early on, and the Estrela’s relationship and reinforced training with his or her master and family members. Estrelas are very obedient to their families. Good leadership and understanding of the Estrela’s unique character will help this dog thrive.
Estrelas are legendary for their bravery, faithfulness and gentleness, whether guarding their flocks or property or accompanying their people. The Estrela has a special fondness of children and are called The Gentle Giants. Our good friends at Cabeço do Seixo, Estrela breeders in the town of Fundão, in the foothills of the Estrela mountains, describe them as “one of the most valuable items of the Portuguese heritage, one of the best working, guardian and company dogs.” We’re sure that once you get to know the Estrela, you’ll love the breed as much as we do. So gentle in nature to humans, yet a protective force if needed.