Rafeiro do Alentejo Information & Dog Breed Facts

Collection of all the general dog breed info about Rafeiro do Alentejo so you can get to know the breed more.

Group Guard Dogs
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Rafeiro do Alentejo dog profile picture
OriginPortugal flagPortugal
Other Names
What other names does the Rafeiro do Alentejo have?
Mutt of AlentejoPortuguese MastiffAlentejo Mastiff
Breed Type
What type of dog breed is it?
Purebred

Rafeiro do Alentejo Price and Availability

Price
How much does the Rafeiro do Alentejo puppy cost? What is the price range of this puppy? What is the average price of this dog in the United States? How much money is a Rafeiro do Alentejo?
$800-$1000
If you choose to purchase the Rafeiro do Alentejo, you should know that the mentioned amount of money is an average of the collected data from breeders’ sites and puppy finder places. If you have a Rafeiro do Alentejo for sale, please advertise it on a reliable website to make sure the Rafeiro do Alentejo gets to a happy place.
Availability
How easy is it to get a Rafeiro do Alentejo? How many Rafeiro do Alentejo are there in the world?
Average: The Rafeiro do Alentejo is a commonly available dog breed. There is less risk of overbreeding compared to the very popular dogs.

Of course, they may be more popular in some countries, and inbreeding may occur, so be careful.

Rafeiro do Alentejo Size

Size
Is a Rafeiro do Alentejo small, medium or large dog?

How big do Rafeiro do Alentejo get?

Giant
Weight
How much does the Rafeiro do Alentejo weigh? How much should the Rafeiro do Alentejo breed weight? What is the normal weight of a Rafeiro do Alentejo?
Male: 110-132 pounds (50-60 kg), Female: 100-121 pounds (45-55 kg)
Average Weight
What is the average weight of a Rafeiro do Alentejo?
Male: 121 pounds (55 kg), Female: 110.5 pounds (50 kg)
Height
How tall is the Rafeiro do Alentejo? Rafeiro do Alentejo height:
Male: 27-28 inches (66-75 cm), Female: 25-28 inches (64-70 cm)
Average Height
What is the average height of a Rafeiro do Alentejo?
Male: 27.5 inches (70.5 cm), Female: 26.5 inches (67 cm)

Rafeiro do Alentejo Grooming, Hair and Care

Coat / Hair Types
What type of coat does the Rafeiro do Alentejo have? What does this canine coat/fur look like?
DoubleDenseStraight
Colors
What color is the breed's coat? What color is a proper Rafeiro do Alentejo's coat?
FawnBrindleGrayYellowBlack
Grooming
How to groom the Rafeiro do Alentejo and how often?
Easy to groom: The Rafeiro do Alentejo doesn't require a lot of grooming. Seasonal flea treatment is needed, but cutting the dog's hair by a professional groomer isn't necessary.

Ears and eyes should be cleaned regularly to avoid infections. Rafeiro do Alentejo is a good choice if you don't have the time, skill, or money to take care of a high-maintenance dog.

Recommended for beginners.
Shedding Level
How much do Rafeiro do Alentejo dogs shed? How to control, reduce and prevent the shedding of the Mutt of Alentejo?
Rafeiro do Alentejos shed moderately. It's a natural process of the hair growth cycle. Regular brushing reduces the amount of hair that sheds. It mostly depends on their health status and breed type.
Bath Time / Bathing Frequency
How often does the Rafeiro do Alentejo need a bath? How often should bathe this dog? Can I bathe my Rafeiro do Alentejo every day?
3-4 weeks
More often than average. These dog coats tend to be longer, softer, and oilier than short-haired breeds. While a good bath every now and then is a great way to keep your buddy from becoming overly smelly, be mindful about overbathing.

Bathing will wash away your dog’s natural oils, while a simple brushing every few days should keep them clean.

Rafeiro do Alentejo Personality / Temperament

Temperament
What kind of personality does the Rafeiro do Alentejo have? What characteristics or traits does the breed have?
CalmProtectiveSoberIndependentSelfishConfidenceTerritorial
Intelligent Rank
How smart is the Rafeiro do Alentejo? Is the Rafeiro do Alentejo breed dumb or smart?
Average: It takes patience to teach this breed any tricks or commands, but the effort is worth it. They understand and remember new commands after an average of 25-40 repetitions.

The Rafeiro do Alentejo ranks average in the intelligence ranking of dogs.

Trainability
Are Rafeiro do Alentejo dogs easy to train? Do they go well on dog training?
Rafeiro do Alentejos are hard to train. They don't really get the association between commands and actions. If you want them to obey, you should be very consistent and patient while teaching.
Playfulness
How playful is this breed?
Rafeiro do Alentejos don't really like playing. You need to find another activity to make them happy.
Sensitivity Level
How sensitive are they? Rafeiro do Alentejo sensitivity:
Sensitive: Rafeiro do Alentejos don't like an irregular daily routine, noisy household, and frequent guest visits.

This breed's emotional level reflects their owner's feelings and they don't handle punishments well.

Affection Level
How affectionate are they? Is a Rafeiro do Alentejo a good family dog?
Average to High: Rafeiro do Alentejos are highly affectionate dogs. They like being involved in the family's life. This breed isn't considered an aloof dog.
Social Needs
How much social interaction does the Mutt of Alentejo need? Rafeiro do Alentejo social needs:
Rafeiro do Alentejos need a lot of social interaction. They desire to always be with someone or around people. This breed hates being left alone.
Barking
Do Rafeiro do Alentejo dogs bark a lot? Are they barkers/noisy? Why does my Mutt of Alentejo bark?
Low to Average: The Rafeiro do Alentejo rarely barks. This breed could be a good choice if you're looking for a quiet breed. They don't bark unless there is a good reason.

Top reasons for barking: protection, alarm, fear, boredom, attention-seeking, greeting, separation anxiety, compulsive barking.

Watchdog Ability
Is Rafeiro do Alentejo good as a watchdog? Are they alert at night?
Rafeiro do Alentejos are one of the best watchdogs. Their main job is to observe and they're very consistent in their effort. The best vocal cords and sense of hearing belong to them. Usually, they're very territorial and protective about their property, so the Rafeiro do Alentejo dogs will alert you if they sense something different.
Guarding Behavior / Territorial
Do Rafeiro do Alentejo dogs have aggressive behavior to protect their home/house/territory? Do they have guarding instincts?
Rafeiro do Alentejos are extremely protective guard dogs. This breed doesn't hesitate to protect its territory so the Rafeiro do Alentejo can be a good choice if you want an excellent guard dog. Keep calm and the Rafeiro do Alentejo will take care of unwanted people or animals.
Biting Potential
Do Rafeiro do Alentejo bite humans? How likely are you to get bitten from the Mutt of Alentejo? What are the odds of getting bitten by a Rafeiro do Alentejo? Why do dog bites happen?

Low 🔽

The Rafeiro do Alentejo has a low chance of biting somebody. Top reasons for dog bite: protection, pain, excitement, herding instinct, being provoked. (Data based on the available online bite statistics.)
Bite Force
Does the Rafeiro do Alentejo has a hard bite? What is the bite force of a Rafeiro do Alentejo? How much bite force does a Rafeiro do Alentejo have?

Above 400 PSI 🔼

Rafeiro do Alentejo bite force: The Strongest. Dogs that have a strong bite force are usually quite powerful and large.

They are very protective of themselves and their families, therefore a dog bite from them could be exceptionally dangerous with their PSI being above 400.

It is important that they’re trained to be around others safely.

Mouthiness
How much mouthing/nipping/play biting does the Rafeiro do Alentejo do?
Rafeiro do Alentejos have a higher than average tendency to nip, chew, play-bite, or herd people. It's a common habit during puppyhood, not aggressive behavior. These "bites" don't hurt, but Rafeiro do Alentejos need to be taught for a good attitude.
Impulse to Wander or Roam
How likely is the Rafeiro do Alentejo to run away? Does this breed explore or wander a lot? Does Rafeiro do Alentejo roam?
The wanderlust potential of the Rafeiro do Alentejo is strong enough to escape from home. They have a strong desire for exploring the world. Safer to walk them on a leash unless you teach them how to get back to you on command.
Prey Drive
Do this canine have a strong prey drive? Does Rafeiro do Alentejo have high prey drive?
Rafeiro do Alentejos have a higher impulse to chase and catch something than other dog breeds. Cats or any other small animals might be in danger. It's a natural instinct, doesn't necessarily mean that Rafeiro do Alentejos are aggressive. Better to keep this breed on a leash.
Apartment Friendly
Is Rafeiro do Alentejo good as an apartment dog? Can they live in a flat?
Not an apartment-friendly dog the Rafeiro do Alentejo breed. If you don't have a garden, think carefully about your decision, keeping Rafeiro do Alentejo indoors can cause a lot of problems.
Adaptability
Are they adaptable and easy-going?
Average: Rafeiro do Alentejos adapt to lifestyle changes and different living environments quite okay usually.
Tolerates Being Left Alone
How long can a Rafeiro do Alentejo be left alone?
Rafeiro do Alentejos tend to have separation anxiety when their owners left them alone at home because they bond very closely with them.

Rafeiro do Alentejo Good With

Stranger Friendly
Are they aggressive or friendly towards/with strangers? Rafeiro do Alentejo temperament with other people:
Rafeiro do Alentejos are not stranger friendly dogs.
Pet Friendly
Are they pet-friendly dogs? How well do Rafeiro do Alentejo dogs get along with other pets? Are Rafeiro do Alentejo dogs good with pets? What is this canine temperament with other pets?
Rafeiro do Alentejos usually don’t get on well with other pets.
Child Friendly
Are Rafeiro do Alentejo dogs kid-friendly? Are they good with young children? Rafeiro do Alentejo temperament with children:
Rafeiro do Alentejos are kid-friendly dogs. This breed is a good choice if you have children.
Cat Friendly
How well do Rafeiro do Alentejo dogs get along with cats? Are they good with kittens? What is this fido's temperament with cats? Can they be good with cats? Can the Rafeiro do Alentejo breed live with a cat?
Rafeiro do Alentejos are not the most cat-friendly dogs.
Dog Friendly
Is Rafeiro do Alentejo good with other dogs? Are they dog-friendly dogs? How well do Rafeiro do Alentejo dogs get along with other dogs?
Rafeiro do Alentejos are not the most dog-friendly dogs. If you want more dogs in your family or you'd like to join dog meetups, the Rafeiro do Alentejo is not a good choice.
Good For First Time Owners
Is Rafeiro do Alentejo breed good for first-time owners? Do they make a good dog for novice owners? Is Rafeiro do Alentejo breed suitable for first-time owners?
No
Rafeiro do Alentejos are not good for novice owners, due to their stubborn personality.
Office Friendly
Are Rafeiro do Alentejos good office dogs? Do Rafeiro do Alentejos make good office friendly dogs? Can Rafeiro do Alentejos be office dogs?
No
Rafeiro do Alentejo is not the best dog breed for office environment.
Senior Citizens Friendly
Are they senior citizens friendly dogs? How well do Rafeiro do Alentejo dogs get along with the elderly people? What is the Mutt of Alentejo temperament with senior people? Are Rafeiro do Alentejo dogs good for elderly owners?
Rafeiro do Alentejos are usually recommended for elderly people.

Rafeiro do Alentejo Health

Health Issues
Is it a healthy or unhealthy breed? Do Rafeiro do Alentejo dogs have health problems or genetic diseases?
Rafeiro do Alentejos tend to have more frequent health issues than other breeds. Regular vet check-ups are needed.
Veterinarian Visits
How often does the Rafeiro do Alentejo breed need to go to the vet? How often should you take your dog to the vet? How often should the Rafeiro do Alentejo see the vet?
Frequent
The Rafeiro do Alentejo should have a complete physical check-up at least once (but preferably twice) per year. If your dog shows any symptoms, call your veterinarian.
Life Expectancy
How long do Rafeiro do Alentejo dogs live? How old can a Rafeiro do Alentejo be? What is the age limit of the Rafeiro do Alentejo? How many years can the oldest Rafeiro do Alentejo live?

What is the average life expectancy / lifespan of a Rafeiro do Alentejo?

10-12 years
The average lifespan of Rafeiro do Alentejo: 11 years
Hypoallergenic
Is the Rafeiro do Alentejo breed hypoallergenic?
No
Rafeiro do Alentejos don't do well with allergy sufferers by causing allergic reaction. Some of the dog breeds are even considered to higher the possibility of an allergic response. Coat type isn't necessarily relevant, because most people are allergic to dander (flakes on the dog's skin) or saliva, not actually to dog hair.
Energy Level
How much energy does the Rafeiro do Alentejo have? What is the activity level of the Rafeiro do Alentejo?
Rafeiro do Alentejos have a lower energy level than other dogs. If you live a chilled life, this breed can be a good choice for you.
Activity Requirement / Exercise Need
How much exercise does a Rafeiro do Alentejo need? How much exercise do Rafeiro do Alentejo dogs require per day?
Rafeiro do Alentejos exercise need is minimal. If you live a slow life, this breed can be a good choice for you.
Sleeping Need
How much sleep does the Rafeiro do Alentejo breed need?
Rafeiro do Alentejos like sleeping so they do sleep a lot. They're not the most active dog breed. If you live an active life, this breed can be a bad choice for you.
Average daily food consumption
How much food does a Rafeiro do Alentejo need? What dog products should I buy? How much food does a Rafeiro do Alentejo breed eat per day? What is good dog food for Rafeiro do Alentejo? How much food should I feed my Rafeiro do Alentejo?
5 to 6 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals.
Weight Gain Potential / Prone to Obesity
How easy to gain weight for this dog? Rafeiro do Alentejo risk for obesity:
Average to High: If you don't pay attention to the Rafeiro do Alentejo's weight, he can easily gain weight. More than one daily walk should be on schedule. To make your dog happy and fit, feed him with quality dry dog food and live an active life together. Try to find the happy medium between exercise and feeding.

If you notice any weight gain, consult your veterinarian and make a diet plan. Reduce unhealthy food and snacks, and measure the Rafeiro do Alentejo's weight regularly.

Weather and Climate
Which weather condition is preferred by this dog? Can they tolerate hot or cold weather and climate?
Tolerates warm and cold weather
Dogs that tolerate hot and cold weather are typically those that have a double coat of fur. Dogs with a double coat of fur have a layer of fur that insulates their skin and helps protect them from the cold and the heat.
Stinkiness
How stinky is this dog? Why does it smell bad and how to get rid of the smell?

Medium

The Rafeiro do Alentejo has an average chance of bad smell. Top reasons for dog stinkiness: infection of bad tooth/ear/skin folds, gas attacks.
Drooling Tendency
Does the Rafeiro do Alentejo drool?
The Rafeiro do Alentejo is an average drooler. Drooling is the unintentional saliva flowing outside of the mouth. It can be completely normal or a sign of a health problem.

If you notice any change in your dog's drooling habit, you should contact a vet as soon as possible.

Rafeiro do Alentejo As a Working Dog

Service Dog
Are they good as service dogs? Can Rafeiro do Alentejo be a guide dog? Are they used as seeing-eye dogs?

Not really

This breed generally not used as a service dog. A service dog is a term used in the USA to refer to any type of assistance dog specifically trained to help people who have disabilities, such as visual impairment, hearing impairments, mental disorders, seizures, mobility impairment, and diabetes. Service dogs are protected under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).

Rafeiro do Alentejo is not the best breed for service purposes.

Therapy Dog
Are they good as therapy dogs? Can Rafeiro do Alentejo be a therapy dog? Are they good anxiety dogs? Can a Rafeiro do Alentejo be an emotional support animal?

Not really

This breed is generally not used as a therapy dog. A therapy dog is a dog that might be trained to provide affection, comfort, and love to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, disaster areas, and people with anxiety disorders or autism.

Rafeiro do Alentejo is not the best breed for therapeutic purposes.

Detection Dog or Sniffer Dog
Are they good as detection dogs? Can Rafeiro do Alentejo be a sniffer dog?

Not really

They are not typically employed for this type of work, but there may be exceptional cases. A detection dog or sniffer dog is a dog that is trained to use its senses (mostly its smell) to detect substances such as explosives, illegal drugs, wildlife scat, currency, blood, and contraband electronics such as illicit mobile phones.

Rafeiro do Alentejo is not the best breed for detection purposes.

Search and Rescue Dog (SAR)
Are they good as SAR dogs? Can Rafeiro do Alentejo be a search and rescue dog?

Not really

This dog breed is not typically used as a search and rescue dog. The use of dogs in search and rescue (SAR) is a valuable component in wilderness tracking, natural disasters, mass casualty events, and locating missing people.

The Rafeiro do Alentejo is not the best breed for SAR purposes.

Boat and Sailor Dog
Are they good as boat dogs? Can Rafeiro do Alentejo be a boat dog?

Not really

Rafeiro do Alentejo breed usually doesn't like being on a boat.

Boat dogs were typically bred for their strength, stamina, and water resistance, as they were often required to perform tasks such as pulling in fishing nets, and jumping into the water to retrieve ropes or lines, or helping to move cargo.

Sailor dog is a type of dog that was bred to accompany sailors on their voyages. They were typically used for three purposes: as a working dog, a watchdog, and as a companion. A boat dog is a term used to describe a type of dog that was traditionally bred and used as a working dog on boats.

Cart Pulling or Drafting Dog
Are they good as cart pulling dogs? Can Rafeiro do Alentejo be a drafting dog?

Yes

A drafting dog or draft dog is a dog bred and used for cart pulling. Dogs bred for this work have strong builds and qualities that are needed, strength and determination.

Rafeiro do Alentejo breed is a good choice for drafting purposes.

Fighting Dog / Military Dog
Where Rafeiro do Alentejo dogs used as fighting / military dogs in history?

Not really

In history, this breed was not really used for combat dog.

Rafeiro do Alentejo Reproducibility

Gestation Length
How long is a Rafeiro do Alentejo pregnant?How long does it take to have puppies? How to tell if the Rafeiro do Alentejo breed is pregnant?

60-64 days

Reproductive cycle of the female Rafeiro do Alentejo: The first period called Proestrus lasts for about 9 days.

During this time the females start to attract males. You can notice by swelling vulva and bloody discharge.

The second part is the Estrus when the female is receptive for the male. It lasts for about 3 to 11 days.

The sign of the proestrus part is the soft and enlarged vulva. The discharge decreases and lightens in color.

The third part is the Diestrus. Normally, it occurs around day 14. In this period the female’s discharge changes for vivid red and coming to its end. The vulva returns to average, and she will no longer permit mating.

The fourth part called the Anestrus. The time frame between heat periods normally lasts about six months.

Litter Frequency

Once a year.

More frequent breeding is not healthy. It is very important not to buy a dog from a puppy mill, where the needs of the pups and their mothers are ignored. It's an inhumane high-volume dog breeding facility, where puppies born several times a year.
Litter Size
How many puppies can the Rafeiro do Alentejo have in a litter? How many puppies can the Rafeiro do Alentejo breed have for the first time? How many puppies does a Rafeiro do Alentejo have? How many puppies can a Rafeiro do Alentejo give birth to?
3-5 puppies

Rafeiro do Alentejo Recognition

AKC Group
Is Rafeiro do Alentejo recognized by the American Kennel Club?
Not recognized by the American Kennel Club.
FCI Group
Is Rafeiro do Alentejo recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI)?
Recognized by FCI in the Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid and Swiss Mountain and Cattledogs group, in the Molossian type section.

Rafeiro do Alentejo Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Grooming: Easy to groom: The Rafeiro do Alentejo doesn't require a lot of grooming.
  • Watchdog Ability: Rafeiro do Alentejos are one of the best watchdogs.
  • Child Friendly: Rafeiro do Alentejos are kid-friendly dogs.
  • Senior Citizens Friendly: Rafeiro do Alentejos are usually recommended for elderly people.
  • Cart Pulling or Drafting Dog: A drafting dog or draft dog is a dog bred and used for cart pulling.
Cons
  • Trainability: Rafeiro do Alentejos are hard to train.
  • Health Issues: Rafeiro do Alentejos tend to have more frequent health issues than other breeds.
  • Hypoallergenic: Rafeiro do Alentejos don't do well with allergy sufferers by causing allergic reaction.
  • Apartment Friendly: Not an apartment-friendly dog the Rafeiro do Alentejo breed.
  • Weight Gain Potential / Prone to Obesity: Average to High: If you don't pay attention to the Rafeiro do Alentejo's weight, he can easily gain weight.
  • Mouthiness: Rafeiro do Alentejos have a higher than average tendency to nip, chew, play-bite, or herd people.
  • Impulse to Wander or Roam: The wanderlust potential of the Rafeiro do Alentejo is strong enough to escape from home.
  • Tolerates Being Left Alone: Rafeiro do Alentejos tend to have separation anxiety when their owners left them alone at home because they bond very closely with them.
  • Cat Friendly: Rafeiro do Alentejos are not the most cat-friendly dogs.
  • Dog Friendly: Rafeiro do Alentejos are not the most dog-friendly dogs.
  • Office Friendly: Rafeiro do Alentejo is not the best dog breed for office environment.
  • Good For First Time Owners: Rafeiro do Alentejos are not good for novice owners, due to their stubborn personality.

Rafeiro do Alentejo History

The Rafeiro do Alentejo is believed to be originated from molosser type of dogs from the Middle East. Yet, according to another theory, The Rafeiro do Alentejo is often claimed to be descended from huge dogs on the vast Tibetan highlands, thousands of years ago. These powerful dogs are commonly thought to have migrated slowly westwards into Asia Minor. They are believed to have crossed the Balkans, following the Roman legions from the Black Sea to the shores of the Atlantic. Over so vast an area and through centuries of natural selection, the breed acquired characteristics of their own; this eventually differentiated them from region to region.

In the Iberian Peninsula, tribes whose subsistence was based on the exploitation of cattle undoubtedly gave these dogs of great strength and size the unique task of protecting them against cattle rustlers and rival tribes, thus performing a crucial role for these types of communities. With the beginning of the transhumance in Portugal and in the Iberian Peninsula, it was noticeable that the migrating shepherds, herds, and communities were exposed to many dangers during their long journeys. So, on their route to the mountains in the summer and back to the plains in the winter, flocks were always accompanied by powerful mastiffs, were driven between the northern region of Douro and the Alentejo hinterland. As the population settled down, the dogs eventually remained in the southern prairies, where they adapted and began to be used to guard, not only the herds but especially, in time, the big rural estates. These diverse climates and roles led the dogs to be spread along the route from region to region.

In 1953, the official standard was first established for the Rafeiro do Alentejo in its native land, Portugal. Moreover, it is important to state that the Rafeiro do Alentejo is the biggest Portuguese canine breed. Since the late 19th century the breed has been known as Rafeiro do Alentejo, whereas previously they were called the Alentejo Mastiff. The breed got accepted by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale mid-1900s the Portuguese breed club is the Associação dos Criadores do Rafeiro do Alentejo was established.

Between the 1960s and 1970s, the breed’s population decreased dramatically, both in quantity and also in quality, the more crucial point was reached in the 1980s, pushing the breed to the edge of extinction. Fortunately, at the turn of the century, the situation improved for the better, and now we can safely say that it has been overcome, thanks to the zeal of a small but resolute group of breeders, who are carrying out the rewarding task of ensuring the continuity of the Rafeiro do Alentejo with dedication, perseverance and strictly planned and observed breeding programs.

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