Rafeiro do Alentejo

Rafeiro do Alentejo dog

Jdcollins13/Wikimedia Commons

Rafeiro do Alentejo At a Glance

Country of Origin:


Breed Group:

AKC (FSS: Working); FCI (Molossoid); UKC (Guardian)


Giant. Weight: 77–110 lbs Height:  26–29 inches


Has a thick double-coat.


Black, Wolf Gray, Fawn, Yellow, All with White Markings, or White with Dappled, Streaked, or Brindled Markings

Life Span:

10 to 13 years

Breed Profile

Affection Level
Barking Tendencies
Cat Friendly
Cold Weather Tolerance
Exercise Needs
General Health
Grooming Needs
Hot Weather Tolerance
Kid Friendly
Shedding Level
Social Needs
Watchdog Ability

Did You Know?

This dog is also known as the Portuguese Mastiff.

Rafeiro do Alentejo Overview

Hailing from the Alentejo lowlands of Portugal, the Rafeiro do Alentejo, or Portuguese Mastiff is a descendant of other mastiffs from the Tibetan highlands thousands of years before. They were brought across Europe and developed to help move large herds of cattle. As they settled in the Alentejo region, the Mastiff then became a guardian breed for the farmers and estates.


Rafeiro do Alentejo Characteristics

The Portuguese Mastiff has a body type similar to other mastiffs, but a head shape that is more similar to the Great Pyrenees or St. Bernard. They have a short, woolly coat that is available in a variety of colors ranging from brindle to white with colored patches. They are also a large breed, standing close in weight and height to other mastiffs.


Rafeiro do Alentejo Temperament

Alert and responsive, the Portuguese Mastiff can sometimes be a little aloof. They require intense socialization from puppyhood to prevent them from becoming domineering and to make them friendly with other people and animals. While he may be aloof, the breed is good with children and will protect both them and the family.

Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen


Rafeiro do Alentejo Care

The breed lives on average 10 to 13 years, typical for large and giant breed dogs. There are no breed specific health concerns, however, their large size may make them more prone to bloat, or Gastric Dilation and Volvulus. Careful breeding and good veterinary care can help prolong the life of the Portuguese Mastiff.


Rafeiro do Alentejo Coat

The thick coat and undercoat should be brushed or combed on occasion to help remove dead and shedding hair, as well as stimulate new hair growth. Other than brushing, the coat requires little maintenance and is easy to care for.


Rafeiro do Alentejo Training

While the Portuguese Mastiff is very intelligent and a quick learner, he needs someone who is familiar with dogs and willing to lead. They are great workers but can be stubborn if they feel they are able to be in charge. Socialization is also needed to keep them sociable around strangers.


Rafeiro do Alentejo Activity

While not high energy, outdoor time is needed to keep the Portuguese Mastiff happy in body and mind. Long walks and outings will help quell his desires and prevent him from becoming bored and destructive. Giving the breed a job will also help relieve boredom.

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