Portuguese Sheepdog Breed Information and Buying advice

Portuguese Sheepdog

Are You Looking to Buy or Adopt a Portuguese Sheepdog?

Quick Portuguese Sheepdog Facts

Average Size of Adult
Medium (3/5)
Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy
Grooming Requirement
Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Average Life Span
14-16 years (6/8)
Exercise Requirements
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Child friendly
Yes (1/2)
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Breed Group
Pastoral (3/8)
No (2/2)

Portuguese Sheepdog  (Cão da Serra de Aires, Monkey Dog)


The Portuguese Sheepdog is a highly prized herding dog in Portugal. This is a rare breed that is relatively unknown in the UK at the moment but their popularity is slowly increasing. Portuguese sheepdogs are loyal, affectionate and alert so they make excellent watchdogs and companion dogs too. This breed is intelligent, high energy and has the nickname “Monkey Dog” thanks to their lively attitude, furry face and quizzical expressions. The Portuguese Sheepdog requires consistent training and lots of space, they are medium in size with a long coat that can be straight or wavy. 

Physical Appearance 

One of the first things you’ll notice about a Portuguese Sheepdog is their beautiful long coat. Fortunately, this coat (although long in length) is relatively low maintenance. The Portuguese Sheepdog is a medium-sized dog that is longer than they are tall. The breed stands with level backs and broad chests. The Portuguese Sheepdog has a large, well-proportioned head, a short muzzle and a strong jaw. They have round, dark eyes that hold a calm, intelligent expression. These Sheepdogs also have long ears that hang down to their cheeks. Their tails are set high and are carried down when relaxed and higher when excited. 

The Portuguese Sheepdog has a long, medium thickness single coat that is rough to touch and sheds moderately. Portuguese Sheepdogs can have wavy or straight hair and they have hair on their face including eyebrows and beards. Typical coat colours include grey, yellow, fawn, chestnut and black.  

How big do Portuguese Sheepdogs get?

  • Height - Males: 45 - 55cm. Females: 42 - 52cm. 

  • Weight - Males: 17 - 27kg. Females: 17 - 27kg.

Character Traits

The Portuguese Sheepdog is an intelligent, high energy dog that enjoys being around their family. They are well suited to families who live in the countryside and do best with people who like to be active and go for long walks each day. 

As the Portuguese Sheepdog is a working dog, they do have strong guarding and herding instincts and require experienced training and handling. With proper training and socialisation the Portuguese Sheepdog is a wonderful addition to the family. This breed loves to socialise, play and spend time with their people. Portuguese Sheepdogs are also natural watchdogs and excel in canine sports such as obedience, herding and agility. 

Are Portuguese Sheepdogs intelligent? Yes.

Are Portuguese Sheepdogs affectionate? Yes.

Do Portuguese Sheepdogs have high or low energy levels? Very high energy levels (5/5).

Are Portuguese Sheepdogs loyal? Yes.

Are Portuguese Sheepdogs playful? Yes.

Are Portuguese Sheepdogs aggressive? No.

Are Portuguese Sheepdogs easy to train? Yes, they learn quickly but require firm, consistent training.

Are Portuguese Sheepdogs good guard dogs? Yes, they are natural watchdogs. 

Ability to Socialise 

Portuguese Sheepdogs are alert but easy-going dogs. They are naturally wary of strangers which makes them excellent watchdogs. Portuguese Sheepdogs tend to be good with other dogs and they are known for being excellent with young children too. This makes the Portuguese Sheepdog a suitable choice for young families. However, as Portuguese Sheepdogs are herding dogs they do have strong herding instincts that may kick in when they are around cats and smaller animals. 

Do Portuguese Sheepdogs get along with other pets? Yes, but care should be taken around smaller animals.

Do Portuguese Sheepdogs get along with other dogs? Yes.

Are Portuguese Sheepdogs good with kids? Yes, they are patient and tolerant around children.

Are Portuguese Sheepdogs good with strangers? They are naturally wary of strangers. 

Lifestyle Suitability

The Portuguese Sheepdog has a lot of energy and loves to be active. When they get enough exercise, the Portuguese Sheepdog will be calm when inside the house but they generally prefer to be out and about keeping busy. This makes the Portuguese Sheepdog well suited to an active family that spends plenty of time outside. 

The breed is best suited to countryside living where they will have plenty of space to use their energy. Portuguese Sheepdogs do not tend to suffer from separation anxiety but they don’t like to be left alone for too long. Some Portuguese Sheepdogs bark a lot while others will only bark about things they don’t like, if they are left alone for too long they often start barking. Due to the specific care requirements of Portuguese Sheepdogs they are not the best breed for first-time owners. 

Are Portuguese Sheepdogs good for first-time owners? No, they have specific socialisation, handling and training requirements making them best for experienced owners.

Are Portuguese Sheepdogs hypoallergenic? No.

Are Portuguese Sheepdogs prone to drooling? No.

Are Portuguese Sheepdogs a good breed for apartment living? No. 

Do  Portuguese Sheepdogs shed a lot? Yes, they shed throughout the year. 

Do  Portuguese Sheepdogs bark a lot? They may, some bark a lot while others only bark when they don’t like something.

Can Portuguese Sheepdogs be left alone at home? They can be left alone for a few hours at a time. 

Can Portuguese Sheepdogs handle the heat? Yes.

Can Portuguese Sheepdogs handle cold temperatures? Yes.

Are Portuguese Sheepdogs sensitive to loud noises? Yes.

General Health & Health Issues

The Portuguese Sheepdog is a generally healthy dog that has a life expectancy of 14 - 15 years. Fortunately, the Portuguese Sheepdog doesn’t have any breed-specific hereditary health problems but owners should keep an eye out for signs of hip and elbow dysplasia. The symptoms for both of these conditions include stiffness, limping, swelling and reduced interest in walks. Both hip and elbow dysplasia can cause instability, pain and arthritis but the symptoms can be managed and surgery is an option for severe cases. 

How long do Portuguese Sheepdogs live? - 14 - 15 years

Exercise & Play Time

Portuguese Sheepdogs have incredible stamina and enjoy plenty of exercise. As high energy dogs, Portuguese Sheepdogs love hiking, walking, playing and learning new commands in obedience and agility classes. They need at least 1 hour of exercise per day, as Portuguese Sheepdogs do not have a high prey drive they are usually good off lead. However, it is important to take care as these sheepdogs do have strong herding instincts so shouldn’t be walked off lead around areas with livestock. On top of this daily walk, they should have plenty of active time in a secure garden.  

How much exercise does a Portuguese Sheepdog dog need? At least 1 hour per day.

Do Portuguese Sheepdogs like water play? Yes, they love water and enjoy swimming in hot weather. 

Nutrition & Feeding

As Portuguese Sheepdogs are medium-sized, high energy dogs they have big appetites. A Portuguese Sheepdog puppy needs between 175 - 340g of high-quality dry food a day depending on their age and build. This is an estimate and every dog is unique so it is best to have a personal dietary plan made to suit your dog’s age, weight and activity level. 

Are Portuguese Sheepdogs prone to weight gain? Not generally but they are more prone to weight gain after spaying and neutering. 

How much should I feed a Portuguese Sheepdog puppy? Between 175 - 340g of high-quality dry food a day, split into 3 - 4 smaller portions.

How much should I feed an adult Portuguese Sheepdog dog? Between 195 - 350g of high-quality dry food a day, depending on weight and activity. 

Care & Maintenance

Grooming: The long, single coat of a Portuguese Sheepdog is relatively low maintenance and needs to be brushed a few times a week to prevent knotting. The coat can be wavy or straight and particular attention needs to be paid to the hair around the Sheepdog's face as food can get stuck in the longer hair. Portuguese Sheepdogs shed all year round with increased shedding during Spring and Autumn when more frequent grooming is needed. It’s important to also check their ears regularly and clean them when necessary. It is also important to keep their nails trimmed and check their dental health periodically too. 

Emotional Care: Portuguese Sheepdogs are loyal, alert and intelligent dogs. They don’t mind being left on their own for a few hours and they make excellent watchdogs. Portuguese Sheepdogs do enjoy being social and are good with children as well as other dogs. To keep a Portuguese Sheepdog happy they need to have enough exercise and mental stimulation, without this they can get bored and frustrated causing them to bark and display destructive behaviours to relieve stress. Portuguese Sheepdogs are relatively easy to train and are naturally obedient but they can be stubborn at times so need a firm, experienced trainer that understands the breed.

History of the Portuguese Sheepdog

The Portuguese Sheepdog is thought to descend from the Pyrenean Sheepdog and the Briard, although the actual origins of the breed are not well recorded. The first records of the Portuguese Sheepdog are in the 20th century. The Portuguese Sheepdog was developed in Serra de Aires, Portugal, and was developed to be hardy and able to handle the challenging environments that the native breeds at the time were not well suited to. The Portuguese Sheepdog has a large fan base in their native country and their popularity extends to neighbouring European countries too. 

This breed remains relatively unknown in the UK but their good nature and endearing appearance is helping the breed gain popularity. 

Interesting Facts About Portuguese Sheepdogs

  • Portuguese Sheepdogs are used for herding and guarding livestock in Portugal 

  • While rare in the UK, Portuguese Sheepdogs are popular in Europe

  • The breed has an unusual nickname of “Monkey Dog” thanks to their furry face and features

  • The Portuguese Sheepdogs hair feels similar to goat hair

Getting a Portuguese Sheepdog Puppy

Bringing a new dog into the family is an exciting time, take a look at our buying guide for information on finding and buying a puppy. Always be aware of scammers, never pay a deposit before seeing the dog and only buy from responsible breeders. At Puppies, all breeders are vetted to ensure they are responsible. If you think this is the right breed for you, take a look at our Portuguese Sheepdog Puppies page to see if there are any available in your area. 

How much does a Portuguese Sheepdog cost to buy? - £600 - £1400

How much does a Portuguese Sheepdog cost to feed? - £40 per month

How much does insurance for a Portuguese Sheepdog cost? -  £55 per month

There are not many Portuguese Sheepdog puppies in the UK so you may need to join a waiting list. The other option is adoption, we’d recommend talking to your local rescue centre about Portuguese Sheepdogs. The following associations may also be able to help: 

Rehome a Portuguese Sheepdog with the Dogs Trust