Rafeiro do Alentejo Information

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(Portuguese Watchdog, Alentejo Mastiff) The Rafeiro do Alentejo is a Mastiff like dog whose large square head leads to a long muzzle.  Its small, round eyes take up little room on their large head.  On top of their massive heads are equally large, heavy ears that hang down like the ears of a Saint Bernard.  The dog’s broad, muscular neck is covered in loose skin. The breed has long, muscular legs and gigantic feet.  Thick fur covers their entire body and feathers out on their long tail.  Their coat colors can vary from solid yellow to mixed white and black.

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The Rafeiro do Alentejo is a guard dog that loves its family.  Children can safely be around these large, yet gentle, dogs.  Guarding their family and flock is most important to this breed.  However, they are not aggressive just threatening, especially around strangers at night.  Dominant and stubborn, this breed is very difficult to train if their owner is not a leader.  This breed needs to be socialized and trained at a young age.

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25-28 inches
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100-132 pounds
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General Health

The Rafeiro do Alentejo has no frequent health problems but can occasionally have hip dysplasia.  Their life expectancy is about 12 years, which is fairly long for a large dog. 

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The Rafeiro do Alentejo, like all of the mastiff breeds, is believed to have come from a line of powerful dogs which followed Alexander the Great through Asia Minor and Europe thousands of years ago.  In Spain and Portugal, the early ancestors of the breed were put to work guarding cattle and their new job helped them develop the unique guarding characteristics seen today in the breed.  Although the breed had been widely known in the area for centuries, it was only officially recognized in the late 1940’s.  Just a few decades later, the breed began to deteriorate because of bad breeding practices and had nearly disappeared during the 1980’s.  However, carefully managed breeding programs are now in place to revitalize the Rafeiro do Alentejo.

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The only time grooming is needed for the Rafeiro do Alentejo is during their shedding season which happens twice a year.  Exercise is needed for puppies, but excess exercise should be avoided to make sure their muscles mature properly.  However, little exercise is needed for the Rafeiro do Alentejos when they are mature.  Socialization is vital at an early age to prevent them from being over-protective.  Training is also needed at a young age because when they are mature they will be hard to control without it. 

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Ideal Environment

The Rafeiro do Alentejo is a family and guard dog.  Family members and children will get affection and love from this sweet dog.  However, this breed is not friendly with strangers because they try to protect their family and flock.  Dominance is their main problem because it makes them very defiant and stubborn.  An owner of the Rafeiro do Alentejo should be a strong leader who is confident and able to handle a strong dog, especially while training.  This breed is not good for living in an apartment because they need a large yard and prefer being with a flock of animals.

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Dog Training!

If you're having problems training your dog or getting control, you should read our review of DogProblems.com. Adam will do whatever it takes to help you whip your dog into shape. I've used them to help with my Great Dane as well as help friends train their dogs. It's the first place I go to help answer users Questions. Many training issues are too extensive to answer in this forum, which is why I refer a lot of the load to his site. Update: I've been using and recommending DogProblems for three years now. I, as well as my users, value the techniques we've learned. I get weekly emails from users who have become better owners from the information they received.

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Rafeiro do Alentejo Q&A

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I have a 4 months rafeiro do alentejo. When he is excited he starts trying to ''make love'' with people's legs.. is it suppose to?

this some kind of dominant behavior, never let him do it

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