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Rafeiro do Alentejo: Dog Breed Information And Pictures

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The Rafeiro do Alentejo, also known as the watchdog, is an excellent and powerful guard dog. They are very faithful and watchful.

Often protecting livestock or property, their size and bark are enough to keep intruders at bay. They are very alert, especially after dark, which makes them a very valuable asset in terms of protection.

They are very affectionate and caring toward their family members and suspicious of strangers, which makes them worthy of the title The Watch Dog.

Let us get into detail and learn some interesting information, pictures, and stats about Rafeiro do Alentejo.

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Breed Characteristics

The Rafeiro do Alentejo is a dog most shepherds used to bank on to protect their livestock back in the day.

They are excellent watchdogs for farms and properties. They are very serious and are often seen as dangerously protective of anything entrusted to them for safeguarding.

They can go along with children and other pets, provided the pets and children are introduced to the dog at a young age. And their interaction should always be supervised, as these dogs are unreliable for good sport.

These dogs love attention and affection. Although, a requirement of continuous training throughout their lives is mandatory as they are not known to be very obedient.

They need constant activity or tasks to keep them involved, as their nature requires them to be indulged in activities like watching or looking after different kinds of stuff.

More About The Rafeiro do Alentejo

Rafeiro do Alentejo is often calm and composed. Even under pressure, they seem to present a balanced temperament, and despite these attributes, they energetically protect their targets.

They have deep barks that can go a distance; those fiery barks can make intruders think for their lives before trying anything.

New or naive owners are not recommended to get this dog as a pet. If Rafeiro do Alentejo has not been given proper and regular training, they seem to get aggressive and dangerous.


Rafeiro do Alentejo

A Portuguese breed of livestock guardian dog, Rafeiro do Alentejo’s history is somewhat unclear in the initial part. Because of their size and absolute courage, these dogs were used by the shepherds’ community to guard their farms and stocks.

Alentejo region has significance in this breed’s history, and most of this breed’s history revolves around this specific region of Portugal. In ancient times, people used to move to the mountains with their flock during the summer, and the reverse happened in the winter.

During migration, flocks were guarded by these giant animals. Their coat blended with sheep, which made them settle in the herd and form a good relationship, and surprised any intruders if they approached.

The Rafeiro do Alentejo was nearly extinct in the 1980s, but efforts were made by organizations and groups to save them paid off as they regained their popularity and now are the most desired dog in the guardian dog category.



Rafeiro do Alentejos can get up to 25 to 29 inches on their rear legs and weigh between 77 to 132 pounds.

Whereas, like other breeds, female Rafeiro do Alentejos are smaller in size and weigh less than Rafeiro do Alentejos.

It also depends on the genetics of a particular dog, being said that some dogs may differ in height and weight than average.


Rafeiro do Alentejos are calm and focused on their tasks. Giving them tasks and indulging them in activities is very important, or else they get stubborn or aggressive.

Rafeiro do Alentejos requires dominant leadership and intensive training. Training them with a motivational approach and love will show better results.

This dog is peaceful and does well with other pets and children, but it should be under supervision.

It is important for these dogs to know and socialize with their family members and pets at a young age. If they feel their family is being threatened or in danger, their interaction with strangers can be intense.



Rafeiro do Alentejos are attractive-looking dogs, very muscular and large. They are considered to be guardians or watch dogs rather than good traditional family dogs.

They do good in all climates, be it a hot one or a cold one. They tolerate adequate temperatures. Searching for something or guarding something is their favorite thing to do. They are not recommended for apartments.

They mostly have brown eyes, and their small triangular ears hang close to their cheeks. Tail set high with a curled tip with well-developed shoulders, and they can intimidate any newcomers to the house.

They are naturally independent; hence heavy training is required all their life, beginning from a young age. Because once they become big, they are too strong to handle or too independent to learn any behavior.


Generally, a lot goes into caring for this giant breed. You should have at least one hour for their exercise. They need activity, which should be in any form, be it hide and seek or fetch the ball type of activity.

An hour of walking a day will also help. They are unsuitable for living in apartments, as they need a yard or open space to feel and act naturally.

Always remember their history of working and guarding dogs and try to give them a good environment. Ensure you have high fences in your yard, as they can jump out of them if they’re shorter.

Rafeiro do Alentejos reach mental adulthood very late when they are around four years of age. So be ready to treat them like it.



Rafeiro do Alentejos are healthy. They are unlikely to get any major diseases, but one should always be attentive.

Like all large breeds, they too are known to have bone problems.

Some of those health problems through which Rafeiro do Alentejos suffer include:

  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Hip dysplasia

Preventing them from falling or jumping on slick floors when they are young, and their bones are growing may reduce the chance of this disease.

Some dogs show lameness or pain, and that’s when you should run tests and get it checked immediately.


Every individual dog has their own food requirements. Rafeiro do Alentejos are a big breed and can require a high-value diet.

It is recommended to give small meals two to three times a day. Do not leave food open and available all day, as big breeds are known to gain weight and reach obesity.

Like all breeds, Rafeiro do Alentejo’s dietary requirements will change as they grow up, perform different activities, and perform according to their metabolism.

Keeping them fit and getting regular tests to prevent diseases or health issues is important. 

Coat Color And Grooming

Coat Color And Grooming

Rafeiro do Alentejo’s grooming needs are very few. Rafeiro do Alentejo has a double coat but is very low-maintenance.

It comes with a pied, brindle, fawn, gray, and black color coat combination.

Their coat length is medium and slightly dense, with a straight coat texture.

Apart from weekly grooming, like brushing, combing, and a once-in-a-while bath, not much grooming is required.

They require regular brushing in the shedding season, which is twice a year, and bathing is also required in that season. A pin brush or de-shedder would do.

Trimming nails when required and trimming the hair between its pads are also asked for to maintain his mobility.


Q. How big does Rafeiro Alentejo get?

The Rafeiro do Alentejo are a huge breed. They can get up to 25 to 29 inches on their rear legs and weigh between 77 to 132 pounds.

Q. Rafeiro do Alentejo is an active breed or a lazy breed?

The Rafeiro do Alentejo are an active breed. Interestingly, they are more active and alert after dark than during the day.

Q. Can Rafeiro do Alentejo live in apartments?

It is not advised for Rafeiro do Alentejo to live in apartments, as they require a yard and free space to move and exercise naturally.


Rafeiro do Alentejos is one of the most desired guardian dogs with a long list of historical credibility.

This article shares all the necessary information before deciding on the right companion for you and your family. They are the must-have pets if you have a farm or property to guard.

Although they are not considered family dogs, they can become good companions with good care and training.

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