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Alentejo Mastiff

The Canine Chronicles Directory

Alentejo Mastiff

The Alentejo Mastiff (aka Rafeiro do Alentejo or the Portuguese Watchdog) has a large bear-like head and a broad, rounded skull. The eyes are dark and expressive. The ears hang down next to the head. The topline is level and the legs are thick and muscular. The tail is long and curves at the end. Their movement is swift and agile and they have a flowing gait. Coat colors include black, wolf, tawny or yellow and a striped or white-spotted pattern.

Temperament The Alentejo Mastiffs are not dogs for beginners. These dogs mature very slowly and sometimes do not respond to traditional concepts of dog training. This breed is calm, steadfast, independent, watchful and self-assured. They are very suspicious of strangers, especially at night. They are more of a defense dog than an attack dog. They are warm and affectionate towards their own family, but can be stubborn and dominant at times. It is important to maintain a determined, consistent and loving approach when training as they can be a bit sensitive. Training and socialization should begin at a very young age since a fully grown Alentejo may be difficult to correct. Some who have owned this breed say they are too much dog to handle.
Height, Weight Male Height: 26-29" ; Weight: 88-110 lbs.
Female Height: 25-27" ; Weight: 77-100 lbs.
Health Problems Minor concerns include hip dysplasia.
Living Conditions This breed is very suspicious of strangers and needs very secure and sturdy fencing. It is not recommended that they live in an apartment as they are generally inactive indoors. They do best with plenty of running room.
Exercise This breed needs regular exercise to stay in shape. If a yard is not available, then a long daily walk will do.
Life Expectancy About 10-13 years
Grooming The Alentejo's coat needs minimal grooming. They shed heavily twice a year.
Origin The Alentejo Mastiff is a descendant of the Tibetan Mastiff and is closely related to the Anatolian Shepherd Dog. They have been used for centuries to move sheep during the winter months. The breed was nearly extinct until a few dedicated people organized its revival. Most believe that this breed is an ancestor of the big and gentle Newfoundland dog and have been bred with the St. John's Dog. They were recognized by the UKC in 2006.
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