Rafeiro do Alentejo

Country of Origin: Portugal
Breed Group: FCI: Group 2 Section 2.2 Mastiffs, Mountain Type #96, AKC: FSS, UKC: Guardian Dog Group
Occupation: Flock and Property Guard
Size: Height: 73 cm (28.7 inches)                   Weight: 47.5 kg (104.5 lbs)
Longevity; About 12 years
Exercise: Daily walk or jog
Training: Obedience, extensive early socialization and consistent dominant leadership
Grooming: Easy
Colors: Yellow, Grey, Fawn, Brindle, Black

An ancient molosser type of dog that migrated from Central Asia to Europe is the today’s Rafeiro do Alentejo dog breed. It is not known when exactly this dog breed appeared on the Iberian Peninsula is not known but is often supposed that the breed is related to the Tibetan Mastiff. However, these are just speculations, as it wasn’t proven scientifically.

This dog breed was used for moving sheep from northern Portugal to Alentejo that is located more on the south of the country and back to the north again. But with the change in agriculture, this breed began to decline. However, fanciers left this dog breed alive, even though nowadays still rare, and this is one of the reasons why this breed is considered vulnerable even in Portugal.

Today, the Rafeiro do Alentejo is often used as a guard dog or companion dog. It is recohnized by FCI in a group selection of Mastiffs. Other Portuguese dog breeds that fall under this section are Cao de Castro Laboreiro and Cao da Serra da Estrela.

The Rafeiro do Alentejo is a very large dog, weighting around 105 lbs and with the size of 29 inches. It has a bear-like head, dark eyes and its eyes are set medium high and are folded downwards. Their hair is of medium length, however it can be short as well. The colors are fawn, yellow or black with white markings.

These dogs have a very calm expression, their behaviour may vary and for this reason they are not suitable for beginners. This is also because dogs of this size can be very dangerous, especially when not socialized enough at early age. These dogs are therefore recommended just for experienced dog handlers.

The Rafeiro do Alentejo are very territorial dogs and will always protect the households, and their families. Even though they are not aggressive when trained at early stages, they are very protective and therefore get along very well with children.



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