Pet Advisor Blog

Rafeiro Alentejo – Dog Breed Guide

Breed summary

Size: Large
Weight: 100 to 132 pounds
Height: 25 to 28 inches
Longevity: 12
Bark Tendency: Medium
Aggression: Medium
Compatibility to other pets: High

Adopt a Rafeiro do Alentejo, Dog Breed Guide


The Rafeiro Alentejo dog breed has a very exotic Portuguese name. The truth is, Rafeiro is Portuguese for mongrel. Roughly translated, Rafeiro Alentejo means Mongrel of Alentejo.

Official Name

Rafeiro Alentejo


Date – No precise date of


Country – Portugal
Family / Group-Mastiff, Flock, Property Guard, Guardian

Recognized By:
Fédération Cynologique Internationale
Associação de Criadores do Rafeiro do Alentjo
American Pet Registry, Inc.
Dog Registry of America, Inc.
North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
American Kennel Club – Foundation Stock Service Program


The Rafeiro Alentejo is a mastiff and flock guardian dog breed that originates in Portugal’s south-central region of Alentejo. These dogs move sheep northern Portugal’s mountainous regions to the rich grasslands that make up the plateau of Alentejo and then take them up back to the mountains.

This particular dog breed is considered to be very ancient dogs that were brought in the Iberian Peninsula by prehistoric nomads from Central Asia. Others believe that it was the ancient Romans who brought these dogs to the area of Portugal which was under the Roman Empire.

Today, this breed is considered as a vulnerable breed. They are rarely uses as mountain herders but commonly kept as companions’ dogs and guards of people and property.


The Rafeiro Alentejo is regarded as a very sober dog. This means that they are dogs that will display a very serious state of being. They are calm dogs, slow to move but weighs every situation with a solemn outlook. They are large and powerful dogs that should be kept as pets by beginners. This is because the breed has a tendency to pose as danger to other people and other pets. They are dependent dogs that will mature slowly. The Rafeiro do Alentejo is the type of dog that will respond to force when it comes to obedience training. These are dogs that are not aggressive but overly protective and extremely territorial when it comes to their stock, homes and families.

Bred For

Rafeiro Alentejo was originally a sheep herder that brings their stock down from the mountains of Northern Portugal to the grasslands of Alentejo and then back to the mountains again. Today they are commonly used as guard dogs that protect livestock, properties and people.


The Rafeiro Alentejo is not recommended for apartment life. These are dogs that will require homes with large yards. Yards should be secured by well built fenced as this breed is known to be very protective and wary towards strangers.


Rafeiro Alentejo is a dog breed that requires little grooming. These dogs shed hair heavily every season.


Rafeiro Alentejo will be responsive in training if a traditional and forceful training method is used.


Rafeiro Alentejo are dog that are generally healthy. The common canine health issue that is hip dysplasia may sometimes occur, but not common to this breed.


Fully matured Rafeiro Alentejo dogs require moderate to very little exercise. If not kept as working dogs, they should be taken on long walks every day.