Rafeiro do Alentejo

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Rafeiro do Alentejo
Rafeiro do Alentejo male
Other names
  • Rafeiro of Alentejo[1]
Height Dogs 66–74 cm (26–29 in)[1]
Bitches 64–70 cm (25–28 in)[1]
Weight Dogs 45–60 kg (99–132 lb)[1]
Bitches 35–50 kg (77–110 lb)[1]
Coat short to medium-length; straight, thick, dense
Colour yellow, fawn, brindle, wolf grey or black - always with white markings
Kennel club standards
Clube Português de Canicultura standard
Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard
Dog (domestic dog)

The Rafeiro do Alentejo is a Portuguese breed of livestock guardian dog. It is named for its area of origin, the Alentejo region of southern Portugal.[2]: 33  It is recognised by the Clube Português de Canicultura,[3] and was definitively accepted by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 1954.[1]


Dogs of this type were traditionally used to protect flocks during the biannual transhumance to summer pastures in the mountains, and then back to the plateau of the Alentejo for the winter.[4] Since the late nineteenth century they have been known as Rafeiro do Alentejo.[4] In 1954 the breed was definitively accepted by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale.[1]

A breed club, the Associação dos Criadores do Rafeiro do Alentejo, was established in 1994, a successor to a previous club, the Clube Português do Rafeiro do Alentejo.[5][6]

A dog of this breed named Bobi was verified by Guinness World Records to be the oldest living dog ever, with an age of 30 years and 226 days on 1 February 2023.[7][8]


The Rafeiro is a large dog, slightly longer than it is tall, with a broad chest. The head is massive; the eyes are small and dark, the ears small, triangular and hanging. The coat is dense and straight, of short or medium length. It may be black, fawn, wolf grey or yellow, either brindled or not, but always with white markings; or may be white marked with these colours.[4] It is not as thick as the coat of other pastoral dogs such as the Polish Tatra.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Rafeiro do Alentejo (96). Fédération Cynologique Internationale. Accessed March 2020.
  2. ^ Gino Pugnetti, Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler (1980). Simon & Schuster's Guide to Dogs. New York; London; Toronto; Sydney; Tokyo; Singapore: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0671255274.
  3. ^ Rafeiro do Alentejo (in Portuguese). Lisboa: Clube Português de Canicultura. Accessed May 2023.
  4. ^ a b c FCI-Standard N° 96: Rafeiro do Alentejo (Rafeiro of Alentejo). Thuin, Belgium: Thuin, Belgium: Fédération Cynologique Internationale. Accessed May 2023.
  5. ^ Clubes Filiados (in Portuguese). Lisboa: Clube Português de Canicultura. Accessed May 2023.
  6. ^ A ACRA (in Portuguese). Monforte, Portugal: Associação de Criadores do Rafeiro do Alentejo. Accessed May 2023.
  7. ^ Armstrong, Kathryn (3 February 2023). "Bobi breaks Guinness World Record for oldest dog ever". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 3 February 2023.
  8. ^ Sanj Atwal (2 February 2023). Oldest dog EVER record broken by 30-year-old Bobi from Portugal. London: Guinness World Records Limited. Accessed May 2023.
  9. ^ David Hancock (2014). Dogs of the Shepherds: A Review of the Pastoral Breeds. Ramsbury, Marlborough: The Crowood Press. ISBN 9781847978097.