Breeds of dogs: Rafeiro do Alentejo

Breeds of dogs: Rafeiro do Alentejo

Origin, classification and history

Origin: Portugal.
F.C.I classification: Group 2 - pinscher, schnauzer, molossoid type dogs and Swiss cattle dogs.

The Rafeiro do Alentejo (Matin de l'Alentejo - Alentejo mastiff) is an indigenous breed from Portugal. The name of this breed is due to the historic region of Alentejo, which is located on the Spanish border. This region of Portugal is characterized by a climate with great seasonal excursions, with very strong summer heat and great frosts in winter. Being autochthonous, there is not much to say about its history; the breed evolved autonomously, it is said, without the intrusion of foreign blood into this breed. Rafeiro do Alentejo is practically unknown today outside of its home country.

General aspect

Large, strong, rustic and sober dog. The elements of length prevail little over those of width; it is sub-linear. It has a very well proportioned body construction. Its structure is of excellent relationships. It is a dog that gives the impression of stability and extreme robustness.


This is an excellent watchdog for companies and homes; used extensively for this use in the Alentejo area and is also used to guard cattle kept in the wild. At night he is an extremely alert dog and very sensitive to noise. A breed with very fine hearing, but the other senses are also highly developed. During the day the dog is calm, always remaining threatening towards strangers. With his master he reveals himself to be sweet, faithful and incredibly docile.

Rafeiro do Alentejo (photo

Rafeiro do Alentejo (photo

Rafeiro do Alentejo (photo


- males between 66 and 74 cm
- females between 64 and 70 cm.

Trunk: sub-longilinear. Robust and relatively collected. Excellent back line and rump.
Head and muzzle: good anatomical relationships. Ratio of skull to muzzle 1: 1. Stop quite marked. The skin on the head does not wrinkle. The skull is sufficiently wide and flat.
Truffle: always large and black in color.
Teeth: complete dentition in development and number.
Neck: strong gluing and moderate length.
Ears: are inserted at half height; folded, they fall on the cheeks. They are not very mobile; when the dog is attentive they remain folded, they stand up only at their base and the folds in the longitudinal direction become more pronounced.
Eyes: with a calm expression, they are dark in color, horizontal, elliptical in shape, small.
Limbs: in perfect perpendicularity. The forelegs are straight and with a good inclination of the humerus. The hindquarters have good musculature and sufficient hock angle.
Shoulder: with excellent inclination and well muscled.
Pace: very loose, with a fairly long pace.
Tail: inserted at medium height, it is large, long and curved. At rest, it falls over the length of the hocks; when the dog is in attention it can be rolled up.
Skin: very elastic, sometimes abundant, but without excess.
Hair: short or half-long; thick, smooth, dense, it is regularly distributed up to the interdigital spaces.
Allowed colors: lupine, fawn, yellow. These colors can be combined on white, or appear on white, speckled, striped or dark stripes.
Most common defects: monorchidism, cryptorchidism, prognathism, enognatism, clear eyes, excessively elongated head, narrow skull, too short muzzle, lack of premolars, deviated jaw, incorrect movement, incorrect gait, non-standard measures, badly worn ears, depigmentation of the nose, insufficient angles.

curated by Vinattieri Federico -

Video: Rafeiro do Alentejo (October 2021).