Rafeiro do Alentejo

Description Rafeiro do Alentejo

Intelligent, Confident, Independent
The Rafeiro do Alentejo is an ancient breed of dog from Portugal. The FCI has recognized the Rafeiro do Alentejo as an independent dog breed. The classification was carried out with standard no. 96 in Group 2, Section 2. You can find him under 2.2 “Mountain Dogs”. This Portuguese shepherd dog has a strong guard and protective instinct.FCI Group: Pinscher – Schnauzer – Molosser – Swiss Mountain Dogs

  • Size: Large
  • Weight: 35-60kg
  • Life expectancy: 12-14 years
  • Coat Type: Medium Hair
  • Colours: Black, wolf grey, fawn, yellow, brindle

Character Rafeiro do Alentejo

The Rafeiro do Alentejo has a massive body. The height at the withers of males varies between 66 and 74 cm. The weight is between 45 and 60 kg. The bitches are a bit smaller. But with a height of 64 to 70 cm at the withers and a weight of 35 to 50 kg, they are also an imposing figure.

The large head with medium sized folded ears sits on a muscular body. The back is straight and ends with a low-set tail. His sluggish and sluggish gait completes the overall impression.
He has a short to medium length coat with lots of undercoat. Coat color varies from black, wolf-grey, fawn to yellow.

Some of these colors are interspersed with white spots. Some representatives of this breed are white with colored spots or piebald.
The Rafeiro do Alentejo is a working dog. An attitude in the city, without a garden and without a task is not recommended. Training requires consistency and experience.

His loyalty to his family does not make him a family dog.
This dog breed is intelligent, confident, and independent. He also has an innate sharpness. This is difficult to control despite good training. He absolutely needs a breed-typical task and a lot of space.

Diet Rafeiro do Alentejo

The Rafeiro do Alentejo’s diet should be tailored to its size and weight. This breed of dog does not have any special requirements for food. However, you should take precautions against possible joint problems.
A balanced diet supports physical health. The puppy is fed high-energy food.

In young dogs, you should prevent them from growing too quickly. You can regulate growth spurts with a low-protein diet.
These restrictions no longer apply to adult dogs. Above all, you should feed the Rafeiro do Alentejo fresh meat. “Barfen” is particularly suitable here.

You can achieve a balanced diet by adding vegetables and rice.
Instead of meat, fish can also be fed as a change. You should definitely tailor your diet based on age and exercise. Divide the daily ration into two meals. The weight should be kept typical of the breed.

Prevent unhealthy weight gain (joint problems).


The short or medium-length coat is easy to care for. Regular brushing of the smooth coat is sufficient. When changing the coat, you should support the dog because of its thick undercoat.
That means twice a year you can give the dog relief with a special brush for the undercoat. Checking and cleaning the ears is standard and not expensive.

Regular care also includes checking the claws and paws. The Rafeiro do Alentejo can injure himself in these areas, especially when shepherding.
Otherwise, this dog breed is hardy. Diseases typical of the breed are not known. You can counteract possible joint problems due to weight and size in advance.


Further details about the descent of the Rafeiro do Alentejo are not known. This rare dog breed may have descended from the Middle Eastern molossoid breeds.
One possibility would be the participation of the Cao da Serra da Estrela (Estrela mountain dog). This shepherd dog is also from Portugal.
In any case, the Rafeiro do Alentejo has long been used as a herding dog.

He comes from the Alentejo region. This area stretches south of the river Tejo to the Algarve.
The shepherds used it to protect against cattle rustlers and wild animals. This dog kept the herds safe, especially at night. He also had good qualities for tending and herding cattle.

Large landowners used this dog breed as a status symbol (strength, power).
At the beginning of the 20th century, this rare breed of dog was almost extinct. The reasons were industrialization and the reduction of large estates. In 1940 the Rafeiro do Alentejo breed standard was established for the first time.
14 years later this breed was finally recognized by the FCI.

Even today, the population of this breed is not large. Lovers of this dog breed ensure that the Rafeiro do Alentejo is preserved.

Rafeiro do Alentejo Accessories

The Rafeiro do Alentejo also requires basic equipment. A collar and/or harness and a sturdy leash. You should have the dog leash available in several lengths.
A food and water bowl of sufficient size and possibly in several designs. This breed of dog is hardy and has a thick coat.

Therefore, he will prefer to sleep outdoors than in a house. A suitable kennel with a dog bed offers a certain level of comfort.
Each example of the Rafeiro do Alentejo has its preferences. Although they are primarily livestock guardian dogs, some might be interested in intelligence and hidden object games.
A dog staircase or dog ramp could be useful for the trip to the vet.

In addition, a suitable muzzle would be suitable as a safety precaution.

7.8Expert Score
Breed characteristics

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