Dog Training

Rafeiro Do Alentejo


Intelligent, Self-confident, Independent
Size: Large
Height: 64-74 cm
Weight: 35-60 kg
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Coat: Medium Hair
Colors: Black, Wolf gray, Fawn, Yellow, Brindle
FCI Group: Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid and Swiss Mountain and Cattledogs

The Rafeiro do Alentejo is an old dog breed from Portugal. The FCI has recognized the Rafeiro do Alentejo as an independent dog breed. The classification was made with standard no. 96 in group 2, section 2. You can find him under 2.2 "Mountain Dogs". This Portuguese shepherd dog has a pronounced guard and protection instinct.

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

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 ponderous and heavy gait completes the overall impression.

He has a short to medium length coat with much undercoat. The coat color varies from black, wolf-gray, fawn to yellow. Sometimes these colorings are interspersed with white spots. Some representatives of this breed are white with colored spots or pied.

The Rafeiro do Alentejo is a working dog. An attitude in the city, without garden and without task is not recommended. The education needs consistency and experience. His loyalty to his family does not yet make him a family dog.

This breed of dog is intelligent, self-confident and independent. In addition, he has an innate sharpness. This is difficult to control despite good education. He absolutely needs a task typical for the breed and a lot of space.

Coat care:




Energy level:




Children suitable:

With supervision

The right food

The diet of the Rafeiro do Alentejo should be adjusted to its size and weight. This dog breed does not have special requirements for food. However, you should take precautions against possible joint problems.

A balanced diet supports the maintenance of physical health. The puppy is provided with high-energy food. In the young dog you should prevent too rapid growth. With a low protein diet you can regulate the growth spurts.

With the adult dog, these restrictions no longer apply. You should feed the Rafeiro do Alentejo mainly fresh meat. Barfing" is particularly suitable here. You can achieve a balanced diet by adding vegetables and rice.

Instead of meat, fish can be fed as a change. In any case, you should compose the diet according to age and exercise. Divide the daily ration into two meals. The weight should be kept typical for the breed. Prevent unhealthy weight gain (joint problems).

Rafeiro Do Alentejo Care

The short or medium length coat is easy to groom. 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 use a special brush for the undercoat to give the dog relief. The control and cleaning of the ears is standard and is not costly.

Likewise, regular care includes checking the claws and paws. Especially during herding tasks, the Rafeiro do Alentejo can injure itself in these areas.

Otherwise, this dog breed is robust. Breed-typical diseases are not known. Possible joint problems due to weight and size you can counteract in advance.

Suitable accessories

The Rafeiro do Alentejo also needs basic equipment. A collar and/or dog 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 versions. This breed of dog is robust and has a thick coat. Therefore, he will prefer to sleep outdoors than in a house. A suitable dog house with dog bed will provide some comfort.

Each specimen of Rafeiro do Alentejo has its preferences. Even if they are mainly guard dogs, some might be interested in intelligence and search games.

For the trip to the vet, a dog staircase or dog ramp could be useful. Also, a suitable muzzle would be suitable as a safety precaution.

Rafeiro Do Alentejo History

Origin & History

More details about the ancestry of the Rafeiro do Alentejo are not known. This rare breed of dog could be descended from the molossoid breeds from the Middle East.

One possibility would be the involvement of the Cao da Serra da Estrela (Estrela Mountain Dog). This shepherd dog also comes from Portugal.

In any case, the Rafeiro do Alentejo has been used as a shepherd dog for a long time. He comes from the Alentejo region. This area stretches south of the river Tagus to the Algarve.

The shepherds used him for protection against rustlers and wild animals. Especially at night, the herds were safe because of this dog. Besides, he had good qualities for herding and driving the cattle herds. Big 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 the industrialization and the reduction of large estates. In 1940, the breed standard of the Rafeiro do Alentejo 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.