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.
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.
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.
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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