Estrela Mountain Dog
Ponta da Pinta
The Estrela is a working dog, raised from early times with the purpose of protecting flocks from wolves and cattle robbers. Transhumance would make it cover long distances, frequently on very irregular ground – a task for complete athletes, marathon runners that, whenever required, could turn into sprinters. Living under hard conditions, depending on the shepherd’s sparse means, it necessarily had to be a sturdy, healthy animal, with a strong survival and protection instinct and an immune system that could overcome infections; its character and physical capacities also had to be up to the function they performed. Such were the working dogs, the ones the shepherds bred from. Throughout the centuries, the breed survived and become vigorous thanks to breeding practices that copied natural selection.
The Estrela's courage and sturdiness stems from longtime natural breeding practises that reinforce his skills. When kennel breeders took interest in the breed and began working on it, priorities changed: type homogenization and aesthetics took first place. Those goals were achieved through systematic tight in-breeding practices, which on the other hand endangered all the traits that were the one reason for the Estrela to exist: temperament, physical skills, sturdiness, vitality.