Frequently Asked Questions

Wow, the dog is big
No, the Estrela isn’t a huge dog. It gives the illusion of size, but a lot of that is due to the coat.
You could do with a saddle to ride that dog!
Don’t be silly, I’d break it’s back.
I bet he eats a lot
No, the Estrela for it’s size isn’t a big eater. They do cost a lot to rear as puppies, if done in the correct manner. As adults, they are, on the whole, not a greedy dog (there are exceptions of course). The breed does much better on a low protein diet, so expensive high protein foods aren’t for them.
I bet that coat is a problem
No, if the dog has the correct coat texture (resembling goat hair), then the coat is very easy to deal with. A rake comb to get to the skin and a slicker brush are essential grooming tools. A good brush weekly and a thorough grooming every couple of weeks should be enough to keep a pet Estrela in good condition. This does however depend on where the dog lives and is exercised. Obviously dogs that are shown need more intensive grooming and bathing on a very regular basis.
You must have a huge house to keep one of those
No, the Estrela doesn’t take up loads of room. It is surprising what a small space an Estrela will get in to.
Do I need a big garden to have one?
Not necessarily. As long as you are willing to take the dog for decent, regular exercise then acres of space at home isn’t essential.
Do I need good fencing to keep one in?
Yes. The breed is very capable of jumping to dizzying heights. If they have good fencing from day one and your pup has never gotten out of your garden, then they don’t try for long. Six foot is considered good height fencing for the breed, although there are many examples of the breed that can be confined within much lower fences than that.
I bet he has a good turn of speed
You better believe it! An Estrela at full speed is an awesome sight.
Can you let them off the lead?
Of course you can. You can let any breed of dog off the lead. What you should be asking is “is the breed good off lead and easy to get back?”. On the whole, the breed are not renowned for their obedience off lead. They have an independent character and will roam if given the chance.
Can you train them?
The breed is very trainable, but they will never give you slavish devotion like a Border Collie, for example. You will get back what you are prepared to put into training your Estrela. The breed has a strong stubborn streak and as such a very good sense of humour is a must when training the breed. There are examples of the breed working to high standards of obedience and agility. A few have been used as rescue dogs and working trials.
Do they mix with other dogs/animals?
An Estrela is no different to any other breed of dog. They accept as the norm the things they have grown up with and are comfortable with. It is essential that, from a young age, your pup is introduced to as many different sights and sounds as possible so that it will grow into a well rounded adult. This will help with it accepting things it will encounter in it’s everyday life. Care must be taken that all of its encounters with adult dogs are good ones, so it doesn’t see other dogs as enemies.
Are they noisy?
Yes, they do have a tendency to like the sound of their own voices. It has to be understood that they are a guarding breed, so they do tend to let you know there is something around, even if you aren’t too interested in knowing! If left alone for long periods, they can get very bored and become a serious noise pollution problem.
Is the breed good with children?
Yes, they instinctively love children and the breed seem to be drawn to kids. In their native Portugal, they are well known as the guardians of the child. They will protect who they consider to be their own children. An Estrela bitch would attack to protect “its” child. This said, no matter how good any dog is with children, no matter the breed, no dog should ever be left alone with a child.
I bet he needs loads of exercise
As an adult, I doubt if you’d be able to wear one out. The breed is designed to work all day at a steady pace. As pups, you must be very careful how you exercise them. You need to be aware of young joints and rapid growth, two elements which, if not treated properly, can lead to problems in later life. Advice from the breeder is probably your best course of action.
Do they slobber?
No, unlike a lot of bigger breeds, the Estrela isn’t a slobbery dog. They have quite tight lips, so you will not usually get a full scale bath of drool from one.