The brindle pattern
Estrela Mountain Dog
Ponta da Pinta
Anna Pavlova, Pina Bausch and Sequóia da Ponta da Pinta
One of the distinctive marks of our programme for the betterment of the Estrela Mountain Dog is recovering the brindle pattern on the long coat variety. It's not merely a question of aesthetics or subjective taste. That coat colour (better is to say colours, because the pattern exists over a wide range of shadings from fawn to grey), still common in the short-haired Estrelas, has always been selected by shepherds for its funcionality. Just as the light coloured dogs were favoured for working with white sheep and goats, so they'd be camouflaged among them thus dissuading wolf attacks, the wolfgrey and brindle were trusted with protecting dark coloured herds.
When breeders took over the breed, most of them set their breeding programmes according to the consumer's taste, which favoured the long-hair variety and the fawn coloured solid pattern. Due to little demand, the brindle pattern became uncommon in this variety. To worsen things, the brindle dogs that occasionally took part in conformation shows were frequently deppreciated, regardless of their quality, by judges who were unaware of the Estrela as a working dog and considered those colours untypical. That situation still occurs, not only in Portugal but also in other countries - and that is detrimental to the breed, because it results in narrowing genetic diversity and eventual loss of colours that were originally selected for functionality.
At Ponta da Pinta, we focus our breeding programme on the breed's purpose. The brindle pattern is important - and it is also unusual and very beautiful, in a wide range of colours and shadings. Help us preserve it, by acquiring a brindle Estrela puppy.