Shepherd Dog Breeds

In 2008, a Portuguese Dog Breed puppy was given as a present to Barack Obama (the president of USA, 2009 – 2017). Since that moment, an interest to Portuguese dogs started to grow in and outside of Portugal. That is why we decided to tell you about Portuguese dog breeds.

Dog breeds are a reflection of the history of the ancestors of modern Portuguese. Before Portuguese folk lived by hunting, fishing and grazing, and you will not see decorative or pocket dogs among the Portuguese breeds. Chances are, some breeds of dogs that you have already met on the street, but did not know that they were educative and, moreover, did not know how they sit down.

Barbado da Terceira

This breed is a result of the mixture of different breeds, that were brought by colonists and visitors in the beginning of the VI century. Appeared on the Terceira Island of the Azores Archipelago.
This dog was used for grazing, but today, like all other similar breeds, is used as a guard and companion because of its smartness and agility.

It has a fairly long and thick wavy or curly coat. The color of the eyes varies from honey to dark brown. The body is muscled and heavy. Its weight can reach 30 kgs. This breed was recognized in Portugal in the early 2000s, but was never recognized by the International Canine Federation.

Portuguese Sheepdog (Cão da Serra de Aires)

This breed is very similar in appearance to the previous one, however, its individuals are slightly smaller in size and weight. It is smart, agile shepherd of cows, sheep, geese, chickens, goats, horses and even pigs. This breed is loved in the Alentejo region (in its mountainous region of Serra de Aires), where the dog comes from.

This type of dog has long waved fur, but doesn’t have undercoat. It makes a dog less resistant to extreme weather. Sometimes called a monkey dog ​​for the expression of the face.

Estrela Mountain Dog (Cão da Serra da Estrela)

The breed of mastiff type is from the mountains of Serra da Estrela. From the beginning to these days is a guard and a shepherd of sheep and goats. Many times it was seen how Estrela Mountain Dog grazed a herd of sheep alone without a man. Also, used as house or field guard.

There are two types of dog: long-haired and short-haired. Dogs are large, that is why they need a lot of space to run and do not able to live in apartments. They are devoted and protective, alert you in all situations with potential danger.

At one point, when the need to drive herds from pasture to pasture disappeared, the population of this breed declined sharply. However, at the beginning of the twentieth century, the breed first appeared at the exhibition. Since then, the breeding of the Estrela Mountain Dog has gained momentum.

Saint Miguel Cattle Dog (Cão de Fila de São Miguel)

It’s a shepherd dog from the island of San Miguel, Azores. Has a mastiff type. The appearance of this breed was marked in the beginning of nineteenth century, and now is recognized as rare.

Sometimes these dogs were used as fighting breed. Owners cut their tails and ears, but in most countries it is prohibited. The temperament of Saint Miguel Cattle Dog is very aggressive and can be dangerous, having bad reaction on the unfamiliar children, for example. In their childhood they must be trained and educated very well to avoid uncontrolled behavior during the adulthood. One important feature is that this breed needs daily work to expend all its energy.

Despite that, this breed is the most hard-working, intelligent, strong and brave type.

Transmontano Cattle Dog (Cão de Gado Transmontano)

It is a giant dog from the Portuguese region of Trás-os-Montes and one of the mastiff breeds of the Iberian Peninsula, which helped shepherds protect sheep and goats from wolf attacks. Nowadays, this breed continues to guard herds of sheep and protect houses even during the nights. It was imported to the US state Oregon.

Its short fur with dense undercoat is adapted to a warm and dry climate of the region. Generally, has white fur with black spots and powerful, muscular body. Its weight reaches 75 kilograms and range – 85 centimeters, what makes this breed the largest among the rest of Portuguese breeds.

Castro Laboreiro Dog (Cão de Castro Laboreiro)

This breed is originally from the mountainous regions of Peneda, cut off from the rest of the world, from the village of Castro Laboreiro on the border with the Spanish province of Galicia. This Portuguese shepherd dog or Portuguese guard dog grazed herds in the mountains without human intervention. Due to its geographical isolation and natural selection, breed is considered one of the oldest European breeds.
Nowadays dogs of this breed guard houses and farms, serve in the army/military and make up the company for people. They are best suited for active families. Their temperament is loyal, protective and stubborn.


Obviously, these dogs are not meant to be kept in an apartment. They need a spacious house and a large yard. However, if you have these conditions, you will not find better dogs than these for home protection in Portugal.

Also, if you don’t know what the dogs of these breeds look like, you can see them in order from left to right in the title photo of this article. Have you already liked someone?

Finally, do you want to talk about other interesting things in Portuguese? So, come to take Portuguese classes near Lisbon or Portuguese online classes.

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