The Portuguese Sheepdog Dog Breed

Portuguese Sheepdog Posing Right

Portuguese Sheepdogs, also known as Cão da Serra de Aires, is a breed of dog from Portuguese. It’s Portuguese name refers to a mountain name Serra de Aires in Portugal. Some people call this breed the Cão Macaco (Monkey Dog in English) because of it’s furry face and lively personality. Portuguese Sheepdogs are a medium-sized dog with a long body.

As the name suggests this breed was used on farms and is very devoted to the shepherd and owner. This dog is vigilant and cautious to stranger especially at night time. Portuguese Sheepdogs became an excellent companion dogs for sporting and a guard dog. This breed is kid-friendly dog and great as a family dog.

The Portuguese Sheepdog History

Mystery shrouds this dogs history. One thing is certain, this breed was developed in Central and Southern areas of Portugal. Breeders found this dog in the mountainous region called Serra de Aires in early 20th century. No solid evidence exists but it has been said that Portuguese Sheepdog originated from the crossing of these two breeds called Pyrenean Shepherd and Catalan Sheepdog.

Where did the Portuguese Sheepdog Come From?

The Cão da Serra de Aires originated in Portugal. The Portuguese name refers to Serra de Aires which is the name of region where they where first found. Serra de Aires is the name of the native land for other herding dog breeds like Pyrenean Shepherd and Catalan Sheepdog. It has been said that Portuguese Sheepdog originated from crossing these two breeds but their’s also a theory that in 1900s, Conde de Castro Guimarães from Cascais imported a Briards into Portugal and crossed it with the Pyrenean Sheepdog.

This sheepherding breed became famous in native mountainous home and to the end of Alentejo region. In 1932, Portuguese Sheepdog was recognized and accepted in the Portuguese Kennel Club using by the standard written of Antonio Cabral and Felipe Morgado Romeiros. In 1970s, the breed almost vanished. However, all breeders and owner are working together to bring back the breed. By the 1980s the Portuguese Sheepdog was bred to more of a companion dog.

Breed Recognition

The Fédération Cynologique Internationale finally recognized the breed as a member of Herding Group under the English name Portuguese Sheepdog in 1996. The breed became famous in Europe as a companion dog and was exported to other countries. In the United States, the United Kennel Club recognized the breed in 2006 under the same name.

What Were They Bred For?

Portuguese Sheepdog was originally developed as herding dog and to watch different kinds of livestock such as; sheep, cattle, horses, goats and pigs.

AKC Org Breed Group: Foundation Stock Service (FSS)

Are They a Pure Breed?


Portuguese Sheepdogs at a Glance

Good For Families
Tolerates Other Pets
Prey Drive
Health Score
Energy Level
Space Needs
Good for New Owners

Physical Traits

The Portuguese Sheepdog is a medium sized dog that has long hair like a goat. In the native land of Portugal it’s called a Monkey Dog because it has similar look and appearance. This breed stands at 16.5-21.5 inches at the withers for males and females are slightly smaller. They can weight 37 to 60 pounds. The body is long and the typical color of the coat is yellow, chestnut, grey, fawn, wolf grey and black with tan marks. This breed is extremely agile and swift.

Breed Standard

Portuguese Sheepdog Size

These dogs are between 16.5 – 21.5 inches in height.

Height measurements are always from the ground to the highest point of a dog’s shoulder blades. The highest point on a dogs shoulder-blades are known as the withers.


These dogs can weigh anywhere from 37.5 – 59 pounds.


Because of their long coat it’s best brush these dogs weekly. Give these dogs a bath only when you need to keep them looking and smelling good. These dogs have strong and fast growing nails so make sure to trim them regularly. Also make sure to check their ears for wax, debris or irritation and brush their teeth regularly.

Do They Drool?

No. All dogs pant to cool themselves off but these dogs do not drool excessively.

Best Climate for the Portuguese Sheepdog

Portuguese Sheepdog can handle both warm and cold weather.


Portuguese Sheepdog are intelligent, devoted, lively. He loves to bond closely to his family and will be naturally suspicious of strangers. This breed is herding dog breed but they became an excellent companion, sporting and a guard dog. They are famous for keeping the livestock in the pasture and for searching stray animals. its vigilant and alert for predators. Extremely dedicated to his work and its shepherd.

How Easy are They to Train?

These dogs are extremely smart. This breed is easy to train but their are times that they can be stubborn especially when they are bored. Make the training interesting and fun for them.

Do They Tolerate Other Pets?

Portuguese Sheepdog can get along both cats and other dog, especially if they are raised together.

Are They Good for Families?

Portuguese Sheepdog loves to bond closely to his owner and family. This breed is a kid friendly dog and love being surrounded with children. They are one the best dog for elderly people. Portuguese Sheepdog can easily adapt the changes of the lifestyle and living places.

Do They Have a Strong Prey Drive?

Portuguese Sheepdog is herding dog and they have a high in prey drive. They can easily chase and catch small animals.

Are They Social With Other People?

They love to socialized with humans and other animals. It is important to train and give your dog a proper training during their puppyhood.

Is The Portuguese Sheepdog Good for New Owners?

They are easy to train and playful. They can get easily adjust to their new owner and the living environments.


The majority of these dogs are healthy. In general they have an average lifespan for dogs.

The Portuguese Sheepdog Lifespan

12 to 13 years

Health Issues

They are a healthy breed in general but certain health issues may occur like:

  • Eye Problems
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Luxating Patella


Portuguese Sheepdog

Portuguese Sheepdog is a working dog and they need a lot of activities. Playtime in the backyard, preferably fenced, or being taken for walks several times a day. Portuguese Sheepdog also love in activities, like hide-and-seek, chasing a ball rolled along the floor, or learning new tricks. Certain outdoor activities like swimming, hiking, and retrieving balls or flying discs can provide a good outlet for expending energy.

Portuguese Sheepdog Rescues

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