Rafeiro do Alentejo
Table of contents
Rafeiro do Alentejo
Males 66-74 cm
Females 63-70 cm
White with marks, gray, black, yellow or pale with white dots, tiger
Pinschers and Schnauzers, Molossers, Mountain Dogs and Swiss Cattle Dogs
Protection dogs (guard dogs)
Features of the breed
History of Origin
Little is known about the beginning of the formation of the Rafeiro do Alentejo breed. Presumably, the breed was bred in the Middle Ages and imported by the Romans. There is a theory that the ancestors of the Rafeiro are molasses, which arrived from Central Asia. The ancestor is considered a Spanish variety of Estrella sheepdog, which supposedly was crossed with the Spanish Mastiff, and as a result, a new guard dog was born.
The breed owes its name to sunny Portugal, more precisely to one of Portugal’s historical regions – Alentejo. The name “Rafeiro” literally translates from Portuguese as “mongrel” and “do Alentejo” points directly to the place of origin of the dogs. There they were used for guarding and escorting flocks of sheep and herds of cattle.
The breed was recognized by the Portuguese Kennel Club in 1934 and by the International Canine Federation in 1954. After the revolution, representatives of the breed almost disappeared, but thanks to canine experts, it was possible to literally “develop” the breed’s formation anew. Rafeiro is quite popular in its homeland but almost unknown here. Today, it is mainly used for home and yard protection.
Appearance: height, weight, fur, color
At first glance, the Alentejo Mastiff may look plain, but appearances are deceptive. A dog with a large, strong, slightly stretched body. The head is proportional to the body. The muzzle is broad and straight, tapering toward the nose. The ears are floppy, triangular. Rafeiro physique a sturdy dog with well-developed muscles. The coat is uniform, dense, of medium length. The tail is long, curved at the tip.
One can often hear about the Rafeiro do Alentejo that he is a “workhorse”. Rafeiro will always find something to do, will willingly do it, and overcome any difficulties that will meet on the way. The inexperienced owner is brutal with Rafeiro because it is a natural guard dog with a robust and challenging character. Seriousness, courage, confidence – these are the qualities that combine the Rafeiro do Alentejo. This is why you need individual experience and perseverance if you want to become the owner of such a dog. It has a swift reaction time, but at the same time, it is slightly clumsy.
For all its poise and calmness, Rafeiro do Alentejo is quite vigorous and aggressive in certain situations. Little-known people and strange animals will also be wary. Therefore, it is better to begin as early as possible the socialization of the animal. Do not doubt that you will always be under the protection of the Rafeiro do Alentejo.
Because of its size and character, it is better to keep the Portuguese Watchdog in its home or on a farm. It is there she will fully realize all her qualities and feel comfortable.
The Portuguese Watchdog is unpretentious when it comes to housing and caring. You will have to pay attention to the coat so that it has a well-groomed appearance. Hair shedding is characteristic only when the seasons change. Bathing and combing several times a month is recommended. Keep an eye on his ears and eyes: clean them at least once every two weeks to prevent inflammation. Nails should preferably be trimmed 1-2 times a month.
There may be some difficulties with training. Because of its bossy nature, the Portuguese Watchdog would rather quietly perform its functions and guard the house than comply with its owner’s requests or learn various commands. Take the training seriously – it is better to start early to instill in your dog love and willingness to do what you will need him to do later in life. If you feel that you cannot show your dominance, it is better to contact an experienced dog trainer who will help you in Rafeiro do Alentejo education.
Serious and hereditary diseases in the Rafeiro do Alentejo practically do not happen. Health is robust from nature because it is a strong and hardy guard. However, there is a risk of such diseases:
- a characteristic condition for all large breeds is hip dysplasia;
- stomach twisting and bloating.
Rafeiro do Alentejo’s diet is not complicated. He will eat whatever you offer him. Any diet designed for large dogs will do. It is recommended to include more protein and calcium for normal bone formation.