Height at the withers: Males 63 – 75 cm, Females 60 – 71 cm
Average weight: Males 45 – 60 kg, Females 35 – 45 kg
The Estrela is a powerful, yet athletic looking dog that boasts a very distinctive coat. There are two coat variations, both of which have the texture of goat hair. When a dog has a long coat, the hair can either be slightly wavy or straight, but never curly. Dogs have thick undercoats which is typically lighter in colour than a dog’s topcoat. They have long, broad and powerful looking heads which are slightly domed and dogs have a moderate stop found halfway between their nose and the back of their heads. Their muzzles taper a little, but its topline is virtually level with dogs boasting a slightly aquiline appearance to it. Noses are large and black in colour with nicely opened nostrils.
The Estrela has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Their eyes are oval shaped, amber or darker in colour and moderately large with dogs boasting an intelligent calm expression which is enhanced by their prominent eyebrows. Ears are quite small in relation to the rest of a dog’s body, they are triangular in shape and quite thin to the touch, but nicely rounded at the tips. Their ears are set quite high which dogs carry close to their heads.
Necks are short and well-muscled with dogs having a thick ruff of hair under their throats. Their front legs are well-muscled, strong and straight with lots of round bone. Chests are moderately broad and deep with dogs having relatively short backs which are higher at the wither. They have well-muscled loins and a slightly sloping croup. Their ribs are well sprung with dogs having a slight tuck up to their belly. Their back legs are strong, powerful with well-muscled thighs. Feet are oval shaped with dogs having thick, pads and tight closed toes with plenty of hair between their pads. Nails should be as dark as possible, but preferably black. Their tails are set quite low and they are well feathered forming a hook at the tip. Dogs carry their tail low when relaxed, but they raise it when excited or alert.
When it comes to their coat, there are two varieties with some dogs having long coats whereas others have short ones. Whether long or short, the Estrela boasts having a double coat that consists of a harsher topcoat and a much softer, denser undercoat. Long coated dogs have lots of thick, smooth hair around their neck and on their chest, which forms their distinctive ruff with this being more prominent in males than their female counterparts. Their front legs and thighs as well as their back pasterns and tails are well feathered. Accepted breed colours for Kennel Club registration are as follows:
- Fawn with a black mask
It is worth noting that the accepted breed colours for Kennel Club registration can differ from those set out in the breed standard which are as follows:
- Fawn – from burnt yellow to reddish gold to a deep red colour and some dogs can have guard hairs whereas other do not
- Wolf Grey with or without guard hairs
- Estrelas should have black muzzles and/or black masks and it is worth noting that dogs can have white on their chests, under their bellies, on their feet and tails although not desirable under the Kennel Club breed standard.
When an Estrela Mountain Dog moves, they do with a powerful, easy and free moving gait covering a lot of ground when they do. They can show a remarkable turn of speed when they need to and tend to carry their heads level with their toplines when they do.
The Kennel Club frowns on any exaggerations or departures from the breed standard and would judge the faults on how much they affect a dog’s overall health and wellbeing as well as their ability to perform.
Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums and it is worth noting that a dog can be a little lighter or heavier as well as slightly taller or shorter than set out in the Kennel Club breed standard which is only given as a guideline.