Fédération Cynologique Internationale

The Kennel Club

United Kennel Club

Estrela Mountain Dog

(Cão da Serra da Estrela)

Estrela Mountain Dog

Estrela Mountain Dog


ORIGIN

:
FCI
Portugal.

PUBLISHED

:
FCI
04.11.2008.
KC
July 2003

UTILISATION

:
FCI
A livestock guarding dog, watch dog and companion dog; also used for draught work.

CLASSIFICATION

:
FCI
Group 2Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid
Section 2.2Molossoid breeds, Mountain type
Without working trial

KC
Pastoral
UKC
Guardian Dog

TRANSLATION

:
FCI
Portuguese Kennel Club. Revised by Jennifer Mulholland, Raymond Triquet and Renée Sporre-Willes

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY

:
FCI
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 Peninsula. 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.
UKC
The Estrela Mountain Dog takes its name from the Serra da Estrela, a mountain range in mid Portugal. Because of its remote location, it is impossible to determine the origin of the breed, but it is believed to be one of the oldest breeds of the Iberian Peninsula. In the summer, shepherds moved the sheep up to the high mountain pastures where the Estrela Mountain Dog guarded the flocks. In the winter, when sheep were moved to the foot of the mountains, these same dogs guarded the shepherd’s households and occasionally served as draft animals. During the 1930s, Portugal underwent a revival of interest in their native breeds, and produced the first breed standard for the Estrela in 1933. The earliest dog as recorded by the American breed club was brought into the United States in 1998, although it is known that some were imported several years earlier. The Estrela Mountain Dog was recognized by United Kennel Club in 1996.

GENERAL APPEARANCE

:
FCI
Large, mastiff-type molossoid dog. There are two varieties of coat long and short. Rustic, substantial, with brisk gait and an impressive attitude.
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.
KC
A sturdy, well built dog of mastiff type, conveying an impression of strength and vigour. Never cumbersome. Has distinctive small ears, folding backwards, and hook to tail.
UKC
The Estrela Mountain Dog is a large, powerful, athletic dog, strongly muscled with substantial bone. The body is short backed, and the head is in proportion to the size of the dog. The Estrela comes in two coat varieties and coat colors include shades of fawn, wolf gray and yellow, with or without brindling, white markings, shadings of black throughout the coat or a dark facial mask. Estrelas have uncropped, small, triangular rose ears. The thick tail hangs down when at rest and should have a natural “hook” resembling a scimitar. The Estrela Mountain Dog should be evaluated as a working livestock guardian capable of protecting stock in mountainous terrain, and exaggerations or faults should be penalized in proportion to how much they interfere with the dog’s ability to work.

IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS

:
FCI
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 slightly longer.
KC
A hardy guard dog, active and has considerable stamina.

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT

:
FCI
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 master.
KC
Loyal, affectionate to owners, aloof to others. Intelligent and alert. Self-willed yet trainable.
UKC
The Estrela Mountain Dog is a faithful watchdog of the herds he protects, and a formidable opponent for any predator. This breed is intelligent but independent; loyal and affectionate to owners but indifferent to others; calm but fearless, and quick to react to danger. The Estrela Mountain Dog is a wonderful guardian of property and home, and can also be trained as a draft dog.

HEAD

:
FCI
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.
KC
Head long and powerful with broad, slightly rounded skull. Moderate stop set halfway between nose and slightly defined occiput. Muzzle moderately tapered. Topline of muzzle almost straight, with slightly aquiline nose. A narrow head and pointed muzzle undesirable. Large black nose with well-opened nostrils. Jaws well developed. Lips black, tightly closed and not pendulous. Roof of mouth black.
UKC
The Estrela head is strong, big, long and slightly convex. It is in proportion to the size of the dog. Viewed from the side, the skull and muzzle are of equal length, and joined by a stop that is not very marked. The skin on the skull and cheeks is smooth.

CRANIAL REGION

:

Skull

:
FCI
Well developed, rounded, with slightly divergent longitudinal superior cranium-facial axes, convex profile, slightly developed superciliary arches with slightly apparent frontal furrow, occipital protuberance not prominent.
UKC
The skull is well-developed and slightly arched in profile. The supraorbital ridges are only slightly developed and the occiput may be evident.

Stop

:
FCI
Only slightly marked and at approximately equal distance to the tip of the nose and the occipital protuberance.

FACIAL REGION

:

Nose

:
FCI
Straight and in line with nosebridge; well opened nostrils; large and black.
UKC
Nostrils straight, wide and well open. Always darker than the coat, preferably black.

Muzzle

:
FCI
Long, tapering to the tip, without being pointed; tends to be straight but very slightly convex at the tip.
KC
Teeth very strong. Jaw strong with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
UKC
Long, tapering towards the tip, but not pointed. Almost straight, but very slightly convex at the tip (aquiline nose). Lips are large and tight, not thick or pendant, and without flews. Mucous membranes of mouth and palate and rims of the lips are preferably intensely black pigmented.

Lips

:
FCI
Well developed but not thick, well overlapping, not pendulous; mucous membrane of mouth, palate and edges of lips with intense black pigmentation.

Jaws/Teeth

:
FCI
Clean cut mouth with well developed jaws; full dentition with strong, white, well implanted and close-fitting teeth, preferably with scissors bite, pincer bite acceptable.
UKC
The Estrela Mountain Dog has a complete set of evenly spaced, white teeth meeting in a scissors bite. An even bite is acceptable.

Eyes

:
FCI
Medium sized, tending to small, oval shaped, level set, equal in size and well open, with a keen and calm expression; preferably dark amber in colour. Close fitting lids with black rims. Eyebrows slightly apparent.
KC
Neither deep nor prominent, of medium size, oval in shape with calm and intelligent expression, preferably amber or darker. Black-rimmed eyelids closing well, with rather prominent eyebrows.
UKC
Eyes are oval, medium size and set level, preferably dark amber in color. Eye rims are tight and preferably black. Eyebrows slightly marked. Expression is keen and calm.

Ears

:
FCI
Set on at medium height; hanging, carried falling backwards and 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.
KC
Small in relation to body, thin, triangular, rounded at tips. Moderately high set. Rose ear folding backwards, with inner edge apparent, carried close to skull.
UKC
Ears are rose, moderately high set, and small for the size of the dog (about 4 3/8 inches in length and 4 7/8 inches width), thin, triangular, rounded at the tip; and carried falling backwards against the side of the head, with a small portion of the inner edge showing.

NECK

:
FCI
Short, straight and thick; well set and well connected into the shoulders; with a slight dewlap, not exaggerated.
KC
Short, muscular and well set on. A hard, thick tuft of hair under throat. Dewlap undesirable.
UKC
Straight, short and thick; well set into shoulders; with a modest tuft of hair under the throat.

BODY

:
KC
Back preferably short, slightly higher at withers and almost level. Short coupled, broad, well muscled loin. Slightly sloping croup. Chest moderately deep and broad. Ribs well sprung. Underline very gently rising.
UKC
A properly proportioned Estrela Mountain Dog is slightly longer than tall, with a compact body and a short back. The chest is wide, well-rounded and deep, but not barrel shaped. The back is short, strong and nearly level from the withers to the slightly sloping croup. The loin is short, wide, muscular, and deep. The underline rises gradually from the sternum to the groin.

Topline

:
FCI
Straight. Almost level.

Back

:
FCI
Preferably short, well muscled.

Loin

:
FCI
Short; broad; well muscled; well connected to the croup.

Croup

:
FCI
Slightly sloping; short, broad and muscled. Height at croup should be equal or slightly superior to the height at the withers.

Chest

:
FCI
Broad; deep; well sprung without being cylindrical; well let down to the elbow or slightly below it.

Underline and belly

:
FCI
The underline should rise gradually but smoothly from sternum to the groin; belly not too wide, in proportion to the animal’s substance and harmoniously connected to the body.

TAIL

:
FCI
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.
KC
Set on slightly low. Reaching to the hock. Forming a distinctive, rigid hook at the tip. Well furnished and feathered. Carried low. On the move may be carried slightly higher than the level of the back.
UKC
The tail is thick and muscular at the base, and tapers to the tip, ending in a hook. A tail of the correct length extends at least to the hock. When the dog is relaxed, the tail hangs down naturally. When the dog is moving or alert, the tail can raise above the horizontal curving upwards, forwards, sideways or even downwards. The tail is well furnished with hair and in the long-haired variety, the tail is well feathered.

LIMBS

:

FOREQUARTERS

:
FCI
Upright with strong bone and thick joints, moderately open angulation, with easy movement.
KC
Forelegs straight, well muscled and with strong, round bone. Moderately sloping shoulders and upper arms. Short pasterns which appear nearly vertical when viewed from the side.
UKC
The shoulder blades are long and wide, and form a moderately open angle with the upper arm, allowing for easy movement.

FORELEGS

:
UKC
The forelegs are straight and vertical, with round, sturdy bone and strong, broad, slightly sloping pasterns.

Forearm

:
FCI
Straight, parallel, long, with strong bone and almost cylindrical in shape.

FEET

:
KC
Oval with thick, hard pads and tightly closed toes. Abundant hair between pads. Dark, or preferably black nails.
UKC
Feet are in proportion to the size of the dog, oval in shape with thick, well-closed toes. Pads are thick and hard, with abundant hair between them. Nails are dark, preferably black. Rear legs may have single or double dewclaws, or dewclaws may be removed.

Forefeet

:
FCI
Proportioned, neither too round nor too long, between cat and hare feet (not splayed); thick, tight toes with abundant hair between toes and pads; dark nails, preferably black, well developed; pads thick and hard.

Hind feet

:
FCI
Identical to the forefeet.

HINDQUARTERS

:
FCI
Upright, strong bone with thick joints, moderately open angles, with easy movement.
KC
Moderate angulation. Thighs well muscled. Hocks moderately well let down. Rear pasterns vertical.
UKC
The hindquarters are muscular and wide. The rear angulation is in balance with the front angulation. When the dog is standing, the broad rear pasterns are slightly let down, perpendicular to the ground and, viewed from the rear, parallel to one another.

Hock

:
FCI
Slightly let down; moderately open, neither turned in nor out.

Rear pastern

:
FCI
Vertical, almost cylindrical. Possible presence of single or double dewclaws.

GAIT / MOVEMENT

:
FCI
Sound and easy movement.
KC
Free and easy purposeful jog trot. Has a tendency to converge at a faster pace, without weakness. Should not be penalised for carrying the head level with the topline in motion.
UKC
Movement is free and easy. Dogs should not be penalized for carrying the head level with the topline in motion.

COAT

:

HAIR

:
FCI

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 in some 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 body, slightly shorter on the head and limbs, without feathering.
KC
Two types: Long Coat: Outer coat thick and slightly coarse without being too harsh. Lying close over the body, flat or slightly waved, never curly. Undercoat very dense and normally lighter in colour than the outer coat. Short and smooth hair on head diminishing in length from base of ears to tip. Thick and abundant round the neck and chest forming a ruff, particularly in the male. Forearms, thighs, rear pasterns and tail abundantly feathered. Short, smooth hair on front of legs. A woolly or fluffy coat undesirable. Short coat: Short, thick and slightly coarse, without being too harsh, with a shorter, dense undercoat. Any feathering should be in proportion.
UKC
The Estrela Mountain Dog comes in two coat types. Both types should have coat resembling the texture of goat hair. Long coat: The thick, slightly coarse outer coat lies close over the body and may be flat or slightly waved, but never curly. Undercoat is very dense and normally lighter in color than the outer coat. The hair on the front sides of the legs and the head is short and smooth. Hair on the ears diminishes in length from the base of the ears to the tips. The hair on the neck, the buttocks, the tail, and the back side of the legs is longer resulting in a ruff at the neck, breeches on the buttocks and backs of the legs, and feathering on the tail. Short coat: The outer coat is short, thick, and slightly coarse, with a shorter dense undercoat. Any feathering should be in proportion.

COLOUR

:
FCI

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 darker shades.
Brindle: fawn, yellow or grey base colour with blackish brindling.
In the cranium-facial area, a dark 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.
KC
Recognised colours are: Fawn: which varies from burnt yellow through reddish gold to a deep red. With or without guard hairs. The fawn should never be so pale as to be a dirty white. Brindle: any of the previous permitted colours with the addition of streaks or smudges of black or brown varying in intensity. Wolf Grey. a mixture of grey and black hairs intermingled, with or without guard hairs. Black muzzle or mask highly desirable. White markings on chest, underside, feet or tail are tolerated but undesirable.
UKC
Fawn, wolf gray and yellow, with or without brindling, white markings or shadings of black throughout the coat. All colors have a dark facial mask, preferably black. Blue coloration is very undesirable.

SIZE

:
KC
Height: dogs: 65-72 cms (25 & 1/2 - 28 & 1/2 ins); bitches: 62-68 cms (24 & 1/2 - 27 ins). A tolerance of 4 cms (11 & 1/2 ins) above these limits is allowed.
UKC
Desirable height for mature males is 25½-28½ inches; and for mature females is 24½-26½ inches. Mature males in good working condition weigh between 88 and 110 pounds. Mature females in good working condition weigh between 66 and 88 pounds.

Height at withers

:
FCI
Males 65-73 cm. Females 62-69 cm. Tolerance + 2 cm.

Weight

:
FCI
Males 45-60 Kg. Females 35-45 Kg.

FAULTS

:
FCI

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.
KC
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 and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.
UKC

Head: Head too long, narrow or pointed.
Skull: Skull too flat or narrow.
Muzzle: Snipey or pointed muzzle, over-developed flews.
Teeth: Undershot or overshot bite.
Nose: incomplete or absence of pigmentation.
Eyes: Wall eyes, eyes different in size.
Ears: Incorrect set on; ears too big, too fleshy or too round.
Tail: Docked, rudimentary, congenitally absent.
Coat: Coat texture too harsh or too soft.
Size: More than 1½ inches in height above or below approved range.

SERIOUS FAULTS

:
FCI

  • Behaviour Animals showing nervous unbalance with signs of shyness.
  • Nose Pale coloured nostrils, partly unpigmented nose.
  • Ears Cropped.
  • 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

DISQUALIFYING FAULTS

:
FCI

  • Behaviour Aggressive or overly shy.
  • Type Atypical.
  • Head Very narrow, very long and very pointed completely lacking molossoid type.
  • Jaws Undershot or overshot.
  • Eyes Wall eyes or difference in size.
  • Tail Anurous.
  • Coat Hair completely atypical.
  • Colour Any colour not mentioned in the standard. Albinism.
Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
UKC

Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness or extreme shyness. Albinism.
Color: Albinism.


Anatomical Features of the dog

N.B.:

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