Preserving rare colours
If we take a good look at many of the old time photographs of Estrela Mountain Dogs, taken throughout the 20th century, we’ll notice, among other things, there was a wide colour diversity: parti-coloured dogs were common, as well as brindle ones. Some 50 years ago, in the Estrela Mountains, brindle specimens outnumbered the fawn ones – because, for functionality reasons, shepherds prefered that colour if their flock included both sheep and goats or mostly black sheep - in which case the dog’s colour worked as camouflage and made it difficult for the wolf to tell the exact place where the Estrela was, thus feeling less confident to attack the flock. Nowadays, many shepherds who own smooth coat Estrelas as livestock guardians still prefer brindle dogs rather than fawn ones.
However, throughout the last few decades, the consumer’s taste for the fawn Estrelas strongly influenced most breeders’ selection – who, should they breed brindle puppies, would have a hard time trying tosell them, which would mean serious financial loss and could even put an end to their breeding activity. Therefore, today, the increasingly popular long coat variety is very short of brindle specimens – and certain colours, quite common among the smooth coat Estrelas, are extremely rare on the long coat ones. In other words, it’s an endangered patrimony.
If that patrimony is lost, many more things, rather than just the colour, might disappear as well: other traits, regarding sturdiness, health and temperament, for example, might be related to the same genes, or to genes in the same chromosomes, that produce those colours, and those traits too might be endangered.
One of the important issues of our breed preservation project is restoring that menaced patrimony. We want to contribute for the long coat variety to be used, once more, in a much larger scale, as a livestock guarding dog – and colour might play an important role on that..
Help us restore that important patrimony: by choosing to acquire a brindle Ponta da Pinta puppy, you’ll be contributing to guarantee the preservation, in present time and in the future, of these colours that have been an important trait in the breed throughout its historical past.