Rafeiro of Alentejo
Portugal FCI 96 - Molossoid . Mountain

Rafeiro of Alentejo

The Rafeiro of Alentejo It is an excellent watchdog in the haciendas and houses of the Alentejo.



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.

Physical characteristics

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:

  • Group 2: Pinscher and Schnauzer- Molossoid breeds – Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs.
  • Section 2.2: Molossian, Mountain type. Without working trial.
  • Federations:
    • FCI – Pinscher and Schnauzer-Molossoid type dogs – Swiss Mountain Dogs and Cattledogs. Section 2.2 Molossoid, mountain type.
    • AKC – FSS
    • UKC – Guard dog

    FCI Standard of the Rafeiro of Alentejo breed


    Alternative names:

      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

    Saint Miguel Cattle Dog
    Portugal FCI 340 - Molossoid - Dogo

    Fila de San Miguel

    The dog's Saint Miguel Cattle Dog It is a breed of dog Portugal, specifically the Azores Islands.



    With the settlement of the Azores archipelago and the beginning of the exploration of the optimal conditions of the islands for livestock farming, the need for dogs on the islands to help drive and defend livestock soon became apparent, dating from the sixteenth century the first reference to its presence, particularly on the island of São Miguel. These animals are recognized as the precursors of Saint Miguel Cattle Dog.

    Although the existence of Saint Miguel Cattle Dog, as an individual race, has been recorded since the early 19th century, only in 1982 began to be registered by António José Amaral with the collaboration of Maria de Fátima Machado Mendes Cabral, veterinarian, in order to create a census of your herds. The first officially registered dog of the breed was the “Corisca”, a perfect representative of your breed.

    It is also on the initiative of these same two people that, in 1984, two years after the beginning of the registration of persons the first official standard is published. In 1995 was proposed to the FCI (International Cynological Federation) and the breed was finally recognized in 2008.


    The breed known today as Saint Miguel Cattle Dog descended from mastiffs and alano initially brought to the islands of the Azores by the first settlers on the continent. Later, and through contact with other people who came and settled in the Azores, the genetic heritage of the breed was enriched by crosses made with English mastiffs, bulldogs and Dogue de Bordeaux, until the culmination of the appearance of the new race, with fully defined morphological and temperamental characteristics.

    In addition to those mentioned, other races may form part of the Fila de San Miguel ancestry, as the Bloodhound, also known as Bloodhound, and the Dogo Canary, a Spanish breed from the Canary Islands, but the real link – yes there is – between these races and the Cão Fila de São Miguel not yet proven.

    Video “Saint Miguel Cattle Dog”Playing around 1Video in Lightbox by VideoLightBox.com v1.11

    Physical characteristics

    The Saint Miguel Cattle Dog It is characterized by being an animal of rustic size and features and characteristically longer than tall.. The breed is medium in size, muscular, but without the heavy appearance of others.

    The muzzle is well proportioned, apparently short, but it hides a wide mouth, with a full denture, capable of a powerful bite. The head has a solid appearance, wide and with the ears well placed on top, implanted in a strong neck that starts from a solid trunk, with a wide and deep chest. The legs are proportional to the body, being the front, as a rule, slightly separated.

    The coat is strong, smooth and dense, and always striped, and it can be tawny, gray or yellow, with white mesh on the chest. Legs can also be white. The tail is implanted high, it's thick, medium length and slightly curved. It is amputated at the height of the second or third vertebra, or is it naturally short.

    • Hair: short, smooth, dense, with hard textured hair.
    • Color: gray hair, carbonated sand (grey), yellow with all fades from light to fawn; always striated. May show white spot on forehead or from chin to chest, and white spots on the forefoot, in the later or in all four.
    • Size: males, of 50 - 60 cm.; females, of 48 - 58 cm..

    Character and skills

    Race of a lively and sharp intelligence, with great ease of learning, the strength of character of the Saint Miguel Cattle Dog, coupled with a distrust of the strange instincts of all guardians by vocation, can easily be mistaken for aggressiveness, but it hides a gentle nature towards those with whom it deals closely, while remaining a tenacious and courageous guardian of those who treat him. His loyalty to his human family is extreme.

    With even greater emphasis, given the dominant nature of the breed, the education and sociability of puppies must be done from birth, gradually exposing animals to new situations and stimuli, in order to improve the development of balanced individuals capable of living with humans and other animals.

    Not a suitable breed for beginners, given its dominant nature, further enhanced by its physical strength and its strongly independent and autonomous character.

    Even as a pet, a Saint Miguel Cattle Dog must have the opportunity to have a task to perform. Thorough training is always a simple and effective means of strengthening the relationship between the human family and the animal, while providing the physical and mental exercise necessary for the training and development of a well-balanced animal.

    However, given the intrinsic characteristics of the breed, training a copy of the Saint Miguel Cattle Dog It is a task that can be quite difficult for someone who has little experience with dogs.. Being a very intelligent and dominant breed, will not respond well to the use of force. Full socialization recommended.

    The sheepdog for tradition and excellence, their natural fitness for livestock can, with the right training, can be channeled into the care of horses and other small ruminants such as sheep and goats. When not channeled to grazing, the Saint Miguel Cattle Dog has already demonstrated its aptitude for big game hunting, like wild boar and deer.

    Its strong and protective temperament is also valued as a self-defense dog..

    Health “Saint Miguel Cattle Dog”

    Being a rustic breed, It has robust health and there are no records to date to suggest that there is any pathology to which the breed is specifically prone for genetic reasons.. The average life expectancy of this breed is calculated in 12 years.

    Grooming “Saint Miguel Cattle Dog”

    The same hardiness that gives vigor to the breed also makes it a poorly maintained breed in a strict sense. Short, hard hair can be brushed occasionally and baths will be sporadic.. Adequate and balanced feeding will give developing puppies what they need to become healthy adults, and the same regimen will suffice to ensure adult health..

    Saint Miguel Cattle Dog Images

    Type and recognitions:

    • CLASSIFICATION FCI:Group 2 –> Pinscher and schnauzer dogs - Molossoids - Swiss mountain and cattle dogs. / Section 2: Molossoid. 2.1 Dogue type.
    • FCI 340
  • Federations:
    • FCI – Group 2: Pinscher and Schnauzer Dogs - Molossoids - Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs. Section 2: Molossoid. 2.1 Dogue type.
  • Fila de San Miguel FCI standard

    Alternative names:

      1. Cão de fila de São Miguel, São Miguel cattle dog, São Miguel catch dog, Azores cattle dog, Azores cow dog (English).
      2. fila de Saint Miguel (French).
      3. Cão Fila de São Miguel (German).
      4. Fila de São Miguel, Cão das Vacas (Portuguese).
      5. (Spanish).




    1 – Fila de São Miguel dog during International dog show in Rzeszów, Poland by Pleple2000 / CC BY-SA
    2 – Fila de São Miguel dog during International dog show in Rzeszów, Poland. by Pleple2000 / CC BY-SA
    3 – At the Burnt Peak of Ribeira Grande, Son and Mother by TheLife / CC BY-SA
    4 – Helsinki, el Finnish Winner Show 2015. by Tomasyna / CC BY-SA

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