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Cão da Serra de Aires – Dog Breed Guide

Breed summary

Size: Medium
Weight: 26 - 40 pounds
Height: 16 - 22 inches
Longevity: 13
Bark Tendency: Low
Aggression: Medium
Compatibility to other pets: Low

Adopt a Cão da Serra de Aires, Dog Breed Guide


Cão da Serra de Aires is one of Portugal’s oldest dog breeds as well as one of the country’s indigenous dogs. This breed got its name from Portugal’s mountain ranges called the Serra de Aires that is located in the northern part of the Tagus River which covers the areas of Ribatejo and Oeste in Portugal.

Local Portuguese shepherds fondly call this breed as the Cão Macaco or Monkey dog in English. This is because of the dog’s fur covered face and a monkey like attitude of being very lively.

Official Name

Cão da Serra de Aires
Other Name:
Serra de Aires Mountain dog


Date –
Country – Portugal
Family / Group – Herding, Working

Recognized By

Continental Kennel Club
Fédération Cynologique Internationale
National Kennel Club
American Pet Registry, Inc.
American Canine Registry
Dog Registry of America, Inc.
American Kennel Club – Foundation Stock Service Program


The Cão da Serra de Aires originates in Portugal’s mountain ranges known as the Serra de Aires. It is believed to have been in existence for more than 100 years. This breed was originally bred and kept by Portuguese mountain shepherds to be an all-purpose working dog that can herd, drove and guard livestock in a variety of terrain. Cão Macaco can work on plains as well as rugged mountainous terrain. Dog historians believe that this breed is the descendant of the cross between Portugal’s native mountain dog breeds with the imported Briards that were brought by Count De Castro Guimaraes to the region. Physically, the Cão Macaco has similar traits that are also seen with the Catalan Sheepdog or the Berder des Pyrenees. This breed served as the working companion of poverty stricken shepherds that populated Portugal’s southern region. In the 1970’s, the breed was on the verge of extinction. They were saved by Portugal’s middle class who fell in love with this herding dog breed’s beautiful apperance and well behaved demeanor. From being the working dogs of the poor from being the preferred local breed of Portugal’s middle-class, the Cão da Serra de Aires’s monkey-like appearance and liveliness eventually saved them.


The Cão da Serra de Aires is a dog breed that is considered to be among the most devoted and brightest of all the sheepdog breeds that are native in Europe. These are very high-spirited dogs that have a strong drive and eagerness to work and will always display its happy disposition. The Cão da Serra de Aires do will display admirable loyalty to their human handlers. They are innately lively with intelligence that are above-average making them quick learners and easily trained. They can be stubborn, especially if these dogs feel that their owners are weaker and less dominant than they are. Overall, the Cão da Serra de Aires is an all-purpose sheepdog that are skilled in guarding and herding various livestock including sheep, cattle, pigs as well as horses and will be well mannered and loving to their human family.

Bred For

Cão da Serra de Aires dogs were bred to be all-purpose working dogs that can herd, drove and guard livestock in a variety of terrain.


Cão da Serra de Aires are dogs that will not be suited to have as apartment pets. They can be indoor family pets provide their energy needs are sufficiently met. These are dogs naturally bred to live and work outdoors. A properly trained and well socialized Cão da Serra de Aires will be good with other pet dogs and animals.


Cão da Serra de Aires are dogs that have an all-weather coat that require little attention. Grooming them only requires light brushing that should be done occasionally. These dogs can bathe regularly but shampoo should be avoided.


Cão da Serra de Aires are known for their intelligence and can be easily trained. Some lines of this breed can be dominant and will be stubborn especially if their owners are meek. They can be quite challenging to train if this is the case. The key is to have these dogs trained by a confident and firm dog handler.


The Cão da Serra de Aires shows now alarming medical conditions, issues or problems that commonly affect other dog breeds in their group and size category.


The Cão da Serra de Aires is dog breed that have impressive stamina and should be exercised sufficiently to avoid unwanted dog behavior. If kept as indoor family pets, these dogs should be taken on long walks or jogging every day and given ample time to run free in wide open spaces!