Portuguese Sheepdog

The Portuguese Sheepdog is exceptionally intelligent and lively. This breed is extremely devoted to its work and conducts it with joy and pleasure.

Daily Care

Grooming Tips

Beyond regular weekly grooming, the occasional bath will keep your Portuguese Sheepdog clean and looking his best. Grooming can be a wonderful bonding experience for you and your dog.
The strong, fast-growing nails should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or grinder to avoid overgrowth, splitting, and cracking. The ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris, which can result in an infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.

Exercise Tips

Because the Portuguese Sheepdog is a herding breed he has fairly high needs for exercise. A long daily walk is the minimum exercise requirement for this dog, though they will appreciate some outdoor time and will also do well with training for various dog sports.

Feeding Tips

As a medium-sized dog breed, thePortuguese Sheepdog should be fed a high-quality dog food diet formulated for dogs of its size. Because this breed is a high-energy herding breed, however, an active or working breed formula may be more appropriate to meet his needs.
They should do well on high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval.
Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to gettingoverweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level.Treatscan be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity.
Learn about whichhuman foodsare safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

Health Tips

The Portuguese Sheepdog is still a fairly young breed so there is not a great deal of information available about its health status. For the most part, however, the Cão da Serra de Aires seems to be a healthy and hardy breed. Most of the problems seen in this breed are related to working injuries and parasites like ticks and mites which can be contracted out in the field.


Although thePortuguese Sheepdog might look like nothing more than a shaggy mutt, he is actually a highly intelligent and versatile dog breed. These dogs respond incredibly well to training and they have a great ability to work independently, when needed.
The Portuguese Sheepdog is particularly skilled at herding, though it can be trained for a variety of other dog sports including obedience, agility,flyball, tracking, and more. Because these dogs have so much energy and intelligence, they require a firm and consistent handing in training as well as firm leadership throughout the duration of their lives. This being the case, it may not be a good breed for inexperienced dog owners.


Thought to be a relatively recently developed breed, thePortuguese Sheepdog’s history is shrouded in mystery. The most widely accepted theory is that the first Conde de Castro Guimaraes, Manuel Inácio de Castro Guimarães, in no earlier than 1909, imported a number ofBriardsfrom France to herd his flocks of sheep. (At the time, Briards were a well-regarded herding dog and famous throughout Europe for successfully aiding France in WWI.)
Though the breed were excellent herders, they were ill-equipped to handle the local Portuguese climate and terrain. The Conde’s solution was to cross his Briards with local herding breeds, possibly the previously mentioned Catalan Sheepdog andPyrenean Shepherd. This theory is based on circumstantial evidence, though it very likely may be true due to the traits and appearance of the Portuguese Sheepdog. By the end of the 1920s, this new sheepherding breed became very well known in its native mountainous home as well as the adjacent region of Alentejo.
With Portugal’s limited involvement in WWI and its complete absence from WWII, the Portuguese Sheepdog was saved from the sharp population declines prevalent in other European breeds at the time.In 1932, the Portuguese Kennel Club granted the breed full recognition, using a standard written by Dr. Antonio Cabral and Dr. Felipe Morgado Romeiros.However, due to modern technologies, the urbanization of its homelands, and a lack of international recognition, by the 1970s, the breed had become very rare and was thought to be on the verge of extinction.
Beginning in the late ’70s, a group of breeders and owners banded together to bring back the breed. With the helpful push of a new group of fanciers during the ’80s, the Portuguese Sheepdog was bred to be more of a companion dog and was thus discovered by middle class Portuguese suburbanites.
The FCI finally formally recognized the breed in 1996 as a member of the Herding Group. The breed is still rare outside Portugal and, within the country’s borders, it is almost always seen as a companion, with only a very few dogs still herding in its native mountain region.