Short-haired Estrela Mountain Dog. Photo: Albino José Poças
In spite of the breed's popularity in Portugal and the growing interest in other countries, most people do not know it has two varities: the long-coated, better known, and the short-coated, favoured by the shepherds to work with livestock.
Originally concentrated on the southern hillsides and bottom of the Estrela Mountain Range, widespread throughout Portugal during the last two decades of the 20th century and exported to other countries where a few breeders started working with the breed, this variety is much better known due to the spectacularity and great beauty of the profuse coat. Although no special care is required for its maintenance, the long-hair needs, however, weekly regular brushing to prevent tangles and on a daily basis in shedding periods (spring and autumn).
Originating from the summits and northern hillsides of the Estrela Mountain Range, where they still perform their original task at guarding the flocks, the short-coat variety outnumbered by far the long-coat one in the early 20th century, The increasing popularity of the later and a number of social-economic factors, such as emigration and abandoning the pastoral activity, nearly caused its extinction. Over the last few decades, however, thanks to the effort of a few breeders and to a new interest in pastoralism, the short-haired Estrela Mountain Dog has gradually been rehabilitated. Nevertheless, the number of specimens registered yearly in the Portuguese Kennel Club is only 8% of the whole breed's registries. In spite of its density, maintenance of the short coat is easy and quick, since it doesn't get tangled and only requires brushing in shedding periods.
Estrelas of both vatieties. Photo: Ponta da Pinta
Long-coat Estrela Mountain Dog. Photo: Solar dos Serras
Estrelas of both varieties
Photo: Albino José Poças