Commonly known as Estrela Mountain Dog, the breed is said to be possibly one of the oldest in the Iberian Peninsula. This is a breed of a livestock working dog that takes its name from Sera de Estrela, the highest mountain range in Portugal. It weighs from 66 to 110 pounds and has a height of 24 to 28 inches. Compact and rustic, it has a long and powerful head with a broad skull, well-rounded and deep chest, and a moderately tapered muzzle. Its jaws are strong and well-developed with heavily pigmented lips that are thick but not drooping and the roof of the mouth is also black.
The Cao de Sera has oval-shaped eyes that give it a calm and intelligent expression. There are two coat types allowed for the breed: a Short Coat which is thick and slightly coarse with a shorter and denser undercoat; and a Long Coat where the outer coat is thick, lies close to the body and is flat or slightly waved with a very dense undercoat that is lighter in colour. It has abundant feathering on the forearms, thighs and tail.
The breed was developed to protect sheep and fight off wolves, hence their strong working instincts. As a house pet they can be loyal and affectionate to their family but always aloof to strangers. They are intelligent and alert and defensive of their owners’ property and territory. The Cao de Estrela is not a dog suitable for small space living as it is bred to be patrolling outside.