'The Estrela Mountain Dog. A flock-guardian.
By J.R. Mora
New book on the breed, published in August 2005. It contains 144 pages and over 50 colour pictures of portuguese dogs. It is divided into 4 Chapters.
The first chapter deals with the physical, temperamental and behavioural differences between flock-guardians and herding dogs. Protectiveness and aggressiveness, as breed traits, are analised in the light of the Attachment Theory. Early views on conformation and coat colouration for a flock-guardian complete the chapter.
The 2nd chapter gives a review of the dogs from the East, which accompanied the peoples who invaded the Iberian Peninsula, and which might have influenced this ancient type of Breed. An analysis of the breed standard from 1934 to 2004, trait by trait, focuses on anatomy and function.
The third chapter is dedicated to the genetic factors behind coat colour and patterns in the wild canid and the Estrela Mountain Dog. A genetic classification of coat patterns is accompanied by pictures (11) exemplifying the types considered typical by the breed standard. The chapter also addresses the genetic basis of other traits, e.g. eye colour, mask pattern, length of coat, dewclaws, etc.
A 4th chapter ('Afterthought') reviews very briefly some of the difficulties in breeding to type and pitfalls associated with dog shows from its dawn.
Finally, after a list of selected references, a translation of the latest breed standard (2004) is incorporated.
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It depends. The book offers lots of information that applies to all (LGD) breeds, mostly in the history and genetics chapters. That can be good or bad depending on what you're looking for. For ppl new to LGD breeds it's good, but for experienced ppl who're only looking for unique information for Estrela...well then you should skip those chapters.
However, the breedstandard is discussed in a very good way, and there're also other chapters that focus solemnly on the estrela . All in all it's well written and easy to understand.
Personally I would have wanted more about the daily life on the Estrela Mountains, how the old shepherds picked out dogs for breeding, how their lives were, what they thought of predators etc. I guess there's not much information about that to dig out for the authors.
Nevertheless, I think the book is worth reading, absolutely.
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