Originally posted by ben91069
My opinion is; it is decent enough looking dog, but me thinks you are trying to take a dog breeding business into a somewhat global arena. What I
mean is that maybe you are trying to develop a market on a large scale )across borders) when dog breeding is not a globalized type of thing for the
Are you on to some specialized breed that Americans would want or anyone would want that is not or could not be bred in these states?
Well, once I will probably have to move to Michigan somewhere this year, and the house im going to seems to have enough backyard to have a small
breeding area... not i would have to buy these pusp in Portugal and than fly them to the USA, off course that would required a somewhat large
investment, but once these dogs are excelent as family pets, they are awsome with children as well as brave to defend catle.
I would probably target farmers or catle owners as primary clients, because they do great with the outdoors and they are used to both hot and cold
Could you tell us more about this breed that would make Americans desire it before they seek a local breeder?
here is some info on their character:
A Brief History
The Estrela Mountain Dog or Cao Da Serra Da Estrela as the breed is known in its native Portugal, is a guarding breed who originates from the Estrela
mountain region in the North of the country. The breed is old and is thought to have evolved from the Mastiff dogs the Romans took with them into the
Iberian Peninsula, this theory can not be proved or disproved it is safe to say the breed is very old.
The development of the breed was in the hands of the local farmers who highly prized the dogs' guarding ability. As the sheep and goats were often
the sole source of livelihood for the farmer, only dogs who excelled in guarding were kept and bred from, this meant that the breed could be quite
formidable and not to be taken lightly.
As transportation in the mountain region was difficult, the breed was kept fairly pure by the use of only dogs that occurred locally. The breed has
developed over hundreds of years and is still a good guard as well as a family pet. The Estrela had to be capable of dealing with a full grown wolf
and so it developed into a strong powerful dog who is supple and agile, and should show no signs of being cumbersome and slow, the breed has a fair
turn of speed.
They are also very capable of clambering over very rough terrain. In the times before the wolf was wiped out, the dogs often wore heavy metal spiked
collars to protect them against attack. At one time the breed caught the eye of the aristocracy and were a decorative addition to the villas and
mansions where they were bred and sold as pets, in this way they moved out of the mountains and into the country as a whole. Today, there are not many
Portuguese who have not heard of the Estrela.
The Breed Standard
General Appearance: A sturdy well built dog of Mastiff type, conveying an impression of strength and vigour.
Characteristics: A hardy guard dog, active and of considerable stamina.
Temperament: Loyal, affectionate to owners, indifferent to others, intelligent and alert. Inclined to be stubborn.
Mouth: Teeth very strong. Jaw strong and perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square
to the jaws.
Coat - Two Types:
Long Coat: The outer coat is thick and moderately harsh, resembling goats hair, laying close over the body, flat or slightly waved, never curly.
Undercoat dense and normally lighter in colour than the outer coat. Short and smooth hair on head, diminishes in length from the base of the ears to
the tip, is thick and abundant round the neck and chest forming a ruff, particularly in the male. Thighs, lower hocks and backs of the forearms
abundantly feathered, as is the tail. Front of legs short smooth hair. A woolly or fluffy coat is undesirable.
Short Coat: Short thick moderately harsh and straight, calling to mind goats hair, with shorter dense undercoat. Any feathering should be in
Fawn: Which varies from burnt yellow through reddish gold to a deep red, with or without guardhairs. The fawn should never be so pale as to be a dirty
Brindle: Any of the previous permitted colours with a addition of streaks or smudges of black or brown varying in intensity.
Wolf Grey: Black and fawn hairs intermingled giving an all over pepper and salt appearance.
All black, all white, skewbald and piebald are unacceptable. Black muzzle or mask is highly desireable. White markings on chest, underside, feet or
tail are tolerated but undesirable.
Size: Dogs 25.5-28 inches (65-72 cms) Bitches 24.5-27 inches (62-68 cms). A tolerance of 1 inch or 4 cms above these limits is allowed.
Although the Estrela is of Mastiff type, it must be remembered that it is not a Mastiff, and should not be too heavily boned or built. The Estrela is
an active dog who is very agile and so should never be cumbersome. When the breed was in its developmental stages in Portugal, it must be remembered
that it was owned by peasants who were often not able to feed their own families adequately, let alone a dog. Even today in Portugal many of the dogs
survive on a very frugal diet, the pet food business not being what it is in the UK. The dogs are fed a lot of bread and rice, sometimes not seeing
any meat for weeks on end.
The mouth and jaws are extremely powerful, you only have to see how quickly an Estrela can demolish a bone to realise how effective these dogs would
have been against wolves.
The tuft of hair under the throat (especially in the male) is also for defence, coupled with the spiked collar the dogs often wore when on the
mountains guarding flocks, this gives the dogs added protection.
The eye should be amber in colour which in a black mask is very striking, but care must be taken that horrible yellow or even worse, greenish eyes do
not creep in, as this will detract from the correct soft Estrela expression and give a fierce look to the dog.
As a breed they are wonderful with children, I believe that an Estrela bitch would protect a baby with its life, which makes them the perfect guard or
companion dog. Estrelas love human contact but they are not a demanding breed and will adapt to your household quite happily and fit in with you.
Being an agile breed it does require good high fencing to keep them in, but I have found that if they have never gotten out then they do not try. An
Estrela pup grows rapidly and so they do cost a lot to rear, if it is done properly. As an adult they do not eat a huge amount, and in fact getting
weight on them is often a problem. The breed seem to do well on quite a low protein diet, and they do not tolerate very rich food well.
Training should start as soon as you get your new pup home, start as you mean to carry on and you will have a great relationship for many happy years.
The average lifespan is about 10 years which is good for one of the larger breeds, there have been dogs older than this.
EDIT: Although I questioned your motives for marketing to the states, and furthermore read about these dogs, I think it is possible to breed
these dogs and develop Americans who would want them. As you know, a lot of Americans like good watch dogs, but we have had a lot of conflict with
people owning pit bulls - notorious for their bad temperament. It may be a cultural thing that some people like these dogs because, frankly they take
no crap. Americans in general have heard a lot about pit bull attacks on otherwise innocent people, and not in the least due to the lack of
A lot of dogs have better guard capabilities than the pit, but I suppose the pit bull is the most decisive when it comes to opening up a can of whoop
as on someone.
True, i have a Argentine Dogo mix with Pit and i know that if he was in the hands of someone else we would be a "destructive machine", he is very
stubborn and steps up to your face trying to impose his will... dogs like this in the hands of ownser that get scared can take over the house.
A lot of Americans would probably like to own a dog such as this, which is less temperamental, but still resolute in its objective. I think if
you spent a lot of time with these dogs, and developed a profile of their characteristics, then you may be able to show they are a better choice for
certain owners in what they want in a dog.
Although the Potuguese Mountain dog can be stubborn as a mule ...lol.. he is much more easier to train and have around the house as a family dog, I
have never heard of any of these dogs attacking children or their owners... and they are good with family guests as well...
My mother's God-daughter's father has had one for years, and while they keep starngers away they are awsome with vistors.
In what comes to shedding and their coat, there isnt much difference between them and a german shepperd or a Retriever.
If you want to have them outside a weekly brusihing would be enough, if you want to have them inside twice a week would keep them clean.
[edit on 5-8-2005 by ben91069]