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The Breed Standard 


A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as undesirable or highly undesirable it is strongly recommended that it should not be rewarded in the show ring.

General Appearance

A sturdy, well built dog of mastiff type, conveying an impression of strength and vigour. Never cumbersome. Has distinctive small ears, folding backwards, and hook to tail.


A hardy guard dog, active and has considerable stamina. 


Loyal, affectionate to owners, aloof to others. Intelligent and alert. Self-willed yet trainable.


Height: dogs: 65-72 cms (25 & 1/2 - 28 & 1/2 ins); bitches: 62-68 cms (24 & 1/2 - 27 ins). A tolerance of 4 cms (11 & 1/2 ins) above these limits is allowed. 


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.

The Head of an Estrela

The breed standard states: 

Head long and powerful with broad, slightly rounded skull. Moderate stop set halfway between nose and slightly defined occiput. Muzzle moderately tapered. Topline of muzzle almost straight, with slightly aquiline nose. A narrow head and pointed muzzle undesirable. Large black nose with well-opened nostrils. Jaws well developed. Lips black, tightly closed and not pendulous. Roof of mouth black.


Neither deep nor prominent, of medium size, oval in shape with calm and intelligent expression, preferably amber or darker. Black-rimmed eyelids closing well, with rather prominent eyebrows.


Small in relation to body, thin, triangular, rounded at tips. Moderately high set. Rose ear folding backwards, with inner edge apparent, carried close to skull. 


Teeth very strong. Jaw strong with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.


Short, muscular and well set on. A hard, thick tuft of hair under throat. Dewlap undesirable.

The Body and Coat of an Estrela

The breed standard states: 

Back preferably short, slightly higher at withers and almost level. Short coupled, broad, well muscled loin. Slightly sloping croup. Chest moderately deep and broad. Ribs well sprung. Underline very gently rising.


Two types: 

Long Coat: Outer coat thick and slightly coarse without being too harsh. Lying close over the body, flat or slightly waved, never curly. Undercoat very dense and normally lighter in colour than the outer coat. Short and smooth hair on head diminishing in length from base of ears to tip. Thick and abundant round the neck and chest forming a ruff, particularly in the male. Forearms, thighs, rear pasterns and tail abundantly feathered. Short, smooth hair on front of legs. A woolly or fluffy coat undesirable. 

Short coat: Short, thick and slightly coarse, without being too harsh, with a shorter, dense undercoat. Any feathering should be in proportion.

Estrela Colours

The breed standard states: 

Recognised colours are: 

Fawn: which varies from burnt yellow through reddish gold to a deep red. With or without guard hairs. The fawn should never be so pale as to be a dirty white. 

Brindle: any of the previous permitted colours with the addition of streaks or smudges of black or brown varying in intensity. 

Wolf Grey. a mixture of grey and black hairs intermingled, with or without guard hairs. 


Black muzzle or mask highly desirable. White markings on chest, underside, feet or tail are tolerated but undesirable.

Estrela Feet and Legs

The breed standard states: 


Forelegs straight, well muscled and with strong, round bone. Moderately sloping shoulders and upper arms. Short pasterns which appear nearly vertical when viewed from the sides.


Moderate angulation. Thighs well muscled. Hocks moderately well let down. Rear pasterns vertical. 


Oval with thick, hard pads and tightly closed toes. Abundant hair between pads. Dark, or preferably