Basics of Dog Breed: Portuguese mountain dog

Posted on November 29 2018

Basics of Dog Breed: Portuguese mountain dog

The Portuguese Mountain Dog is a large dog, of molossoid and mastiff type, robust, rustic, of strong and well proportioned construction. The breed of the Portuguese Mountain Dog has 2 varieties, the longhaired one and the shorthaired one.

Race history

The Portuguese Mountain Dog is one of the oldest dog breeds on the Iberian Peninsula. It owes its name to the Serra da Estrela, a vast mountainous region hosting the homonymous mountain range and which includes the highest point of continental Portugal (1993 meters).  

Traditionally raised by local shepherds for the protection of their flocks and farms, the  Portuguese Mountain Dog  has also been used as a draft dog because of its strength. It was then introduced in other countries, especially from the second half of the last century. The breed of the  Portuguese Mountain Dog  was definitively recognized by the FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale) on June 23, 1955. Its official FCI standard in force was published on November 4, 2008.

Physical characteristics

Its hair: can be long or short. Abundant, provided, dense, texture "goat hair". The hair cover is associated with a fine undercoat, short, abundant and lighter color.
Its color: either yellow, fawn or gray in all shades, either gray-wolf or brindle (fawn, yellow or charcoal gray). Dark mask on the cranio-facial region.
Its head :powerful, massive, long and well proportioned to the body. The skull is well developed, rounded, convex in profile. The stop is not pronounced. The truffle is straight and black, the nostrils well open and wide, the muzzle long and tapering towards the end (but without finishing in point), the lips well developed but not thick, the jaws strong and articulated in scissors or pincers.
Its ears: medium-high attachment, rather small, drooping, not very thick, carried backwards, triangular in shape and with rounded ends.
Its eyes are rather small, oval, dark amber in color, open, with a look both calm and awake.
Its body :a little longer than high (height at the withers). The top line is straight, the back short and well muscled, the kidney broad and well attached to the rump, which is slightly inclined and short. The chest is broad, tall and well arched, the bottom line rising slightly from the sternum to the groin.
Its tail: of medium high attachment, rather long, rather thick, carried in sickle and below the horizontal line. Curled up when the dog is awake or active.

Behavior with others

The Portuguese Mountain Dog is naturally suspicious of foreigners. With respect to his master, he shows both great attachment and remarkable docility. Qualities that, combined with its physical characteristics, make it an excellent protection dog for herds, but also the properties of shepherds. The Portuguese Mountain Dog is also a great companion for the whole family.


The Portuguese Mountain Dog is a rather obedient dog, but needs to be taken in hand firmly enough not to let him take over. His education excludes all forms of brutality , but must, on the contrary, be based on the principles of positive reinforcement.

Living conditions

Due to its size and shepherding heritage, the Portuguese Mountain Dog needs to evolve in an environment that offers plenty of space and freedom . A house with a large fenced garden is the ideal living environment for him, whether in town or in the countryside. It usually sleeps outside, in a shelter that protects it from the wind and the sun.


The Portuguese Mountain Dog is a hardy and robust dog, which does not fear much health as long as you take good care of it. It is quite resistant to cold and bad weather thanks to its double and supplied hair. As with most large dogs, the risk of hip dysplasia should not be ruled out. 

Maintenance and hygiene

The Portuguese Mountain Dog is quite simple to maintain. It requires only regular brushing , but its maintenance should be more frequent in times of moulting where he can lose a lot of hair .  

It is recommended to brush the dog every week . During the moult, which occurs twice a year, the use of the carde several times a week can rid it of dead hair.


With a  good diet , the Portuguese Mountain Dog can live up to 13 years old. His diet consists of  human food  such as meat, cereals, starchy foods and fresh vegetables. It can also be based only on   good quality kibble to ensure a robust health.

Physical activity

The Portuguese Mountain Dog needs one to two daily walks with some games. Too much activity should be avoided to avoid excessive stress on your joints, which may be weakened by weight.

Price and budget

The purchase price of a Portuguese Mountain Dog is between 800 € and 1200 €.
The annual maintenance cost of a Portuguese Mountain Dog is between 1500 € and 1600 €.

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