The Rafeiro of Alentejo (Alentejo Mastiff), as its name suggests, comes from the Portuguese region of Alentejo, which extends south of the Tagus river to the Algarve. The pedigree dog, that within the FCI belongs to the Group 2 (Molossoid), Mountain Dogs subsection, has a long history as a herding dog. Although little is known about the exact origin of this rare breed, their parents are supposed to be found in the molossian dogs of the Middle East. The Estrela Mountain Dog (Star Mountain Dog), also from portugal, was probably also involved in its origin.
In the Alentejo lowlands, shepherds used the Rafeiro of Alentejo to herd and drive cattle. In addition, the intrepid four-legged friend protected the flock entrusted to him by reliably avoiding attacks by wild animals or rustlers. Especially at night the Rafeiro of Alentejo defended his flock to the blood. The wealthy large landowners appreciated the imposing dog not only as a vigilant protector, but also as a status symbol of strength and power.
As industrialization progressed and large estates declined, the rafeiro it got weirder. In the early 20th century, dogs of this type were almost extinct. However, a small circle of enthusiasts ensured that the breed was preserved. In 1940 a first breed standard was established. 14 years later, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) finally recognized the breed.
When the Rafeiro of Alentejo, cattle thieves and wild animals quickly flee: Who would want to mess with such a big and powerful dog?
With a height at the withers of up to 76 cm and a weight of approximately 50 kg, the Portuguese breed dog has a very striking appearance. His massive head and strong, muscular body give a defensive impression.. Look calmly at your opponent with small brown eyes, between which there is a slight groove, but nothing escapes your watchful eye.
Despite its bulky shape and somewhat heavy and slow gait, the body of the Rafeiro of Alentejo seems to be rather long than wide. The neck offers a good transition to the shoulder, the back is straight. The tail is well furnished and thickened at the base, rather low and forms a slight upward curve when excited. In rest position it reaches to the hock. Ears of the Rafeiro they are medium in size and fall to one side when folded.
The dense and smooth coat of the Portuguese Sheepdog is short to medium length and has abundant undercoat, giving you reliable protection in all weather conditions. The Rafeiro of Alentejo it is available in black, Grey Wolf, leonado or yellow with or without white spots. A white base color with yellow spots is also allowed., as well as the brindle specimens according to the breed standard.
Character and skills
At night, the Rafeiro of Alentejo he is in his best moment: nothing escapes your watchful eye, his good nose and his excellent ears. Anyone who dares to enter their territory is captured without notice and, if required, wholesale. Pastors who have a Rafeiro they no longer have to fear rustlers or poachers.
Like a purebred dog, whose only task is to accompany and protect his family, the Portuguese breed dog is completely unsuitable. Although he is faithful and loyal to his family, his innate sharpness is difficult to control even with a consistent education. After all, the smart and self-confident Rafeiro of Alentejo has always been used to working and acting independently. However, the will to subordinate and obedience are not among its strong points.
Who wants to keep a Rafeiro of Alentejo it must be able to offer you a large territory in which you can live your vigilant and protective instincts according to your mood. This does not mean, of course, that one should just let this dog go. A responsible owner socializes and educates his dog from the beginning. Clearly shows you who is holding the reins in their hand and where their limits are. At the same time, he also accepts that his four-legged friend needs his freedom. The Rafeiro will never become a “good lap dog”.
Buy a “Rafeiro of Alentejo”
Those interested in a Rafeiro of Alentejo Purebreds sometimes have to go a long way to find a suitable breeder. However, people who want to buy this dog on a whim, should refrain from buying it. The Rafeiro it is and continues to be an excellent herd dog and should be kept in that context. Who wants to make it into a family friendly companion dog, he does himself and the dog no favors.
Health and life expectancy of “Rafeiro of Alentejo”
The typical diseases of the breed are hardly known due to the low spread of the breed. The Rafeiro it is a very robust dog whose life expectancy is comparatively high, of 12 - 14 years. However, like all dogs of their size and format, You may also have joint problems such as hip joint dysplasia or elbow dysplasia.
The diet of the “Rafeiro of Alentejo”
In principle, this breed has no specific dietary needs. However, a balanced and healthy diet is, of course, also important for this dog – also or especially regarding possible joint problems. Therefore, following the high-energy puppy diet, a fairly low protein food should be given first to prevent the young dog from growing too fast. In the adult dog, the energy value of the food can increase again. Now, fresh meat, through which the necessary amount of animal protein is absorbed, should mainly fill the feeding bowl. Fresh vegetables and rice are suitable as a healthy garnish. Fish can be given as an alternative to meat.
Type and recognitions:
- CLASSIFICATION FCI: 96
- Group 2: Pinscher and Schnauzer- Molossoid breeds – Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs.
- Section 2.2: Molossian, Mountain type. Without working trial.
- – FCI – Pinscher and Schnauzer-Molossoid type dogs – Swiss Mountain Dogs and Cattledogs. Section 2.2 Molossoid, mountain type. ⓘ
- – AKC – FSS ⓘ
- – UKC – Guard dog ⓘ
FCI breed standard "Rafeiro of Alentejo"
1. Rafeiro do Alentejo, Alentejo-Mastiff, alentejo mastiff (English).
2. mâtin de l’Alentejo, mastiff de l’Alentejo (French).
3. Rafeiro do Alentejo, Rafeiro, Alentejo-Mastiff (German).
4. Mastim Português, Mastim do Alentejo (Portuguese).
5. Mastín del Alentejo (Spanish).
1 – Rafeiro of Alentejo by https://brit-petfood.com/hr/node/8006