ok - if you are afraid of dogs then this is not the place to go hiking for you ... especially not out of the main tourist season as the region is d-e-s-e-r-t-e-d (apart from some sombre looking locals that stare at you in disbelieve when you ask them for directions) ...
Most trails lead you along some farmland ... the dogs are generally chained up - but the odd pack helping with the goat and sheep herds roam free.
Now they will come after you just barking --- and then leave you alone.
Bites are very rear - but... if you happen to get lost a bit off trail -- as we were ---- and you get between a dog and his herd, then it can get rather scary.
On our second day of trekking we were chased by 4 large dogs, 2 of them rather cute and they went off after barking at us for a while----- but the other 2 started to try and bite my partners boot, and paw at me......... first we tried to talk calmly to them (mind they are portugese, so probably 'Good doggy doggy' sound provocative to them???..--- the farmer was not in sight. GULP--- when I saw one dog starting to leap at my partners heels I started to clap my hands and shout at it very loud, so did Stepen and it made them retreat a bit..... and we took a stony path downhill to get away from the herd... and had a lucky escape ... as they did not folow us further.
On the other hand - there is a danger that a dog might get TOO cosy and attached to you.
There are the odd mongrels, rather short n' stumpy ---- that run around the villages and don't really belong to anyone.
If you have a big heart for animals - like me - you can end up with one of them permanently attached to your shadow, following you around - looking cute as if you are his new best friend.
I had many such encounters on my travels and Portugal is no exception.
They are well kept, and as far as I know there is no rabis known in the area we were at. But still be carefull when you pet one of the cutzies.
This is "Snoopy" by the way, the dog from the farm we stayed at--he was my 'velcro dog' for the duration of our stay.... and liked to share my breakfast rolls (have you ever heard of a dog who eats butterd rolls with tangerine jam???!!!) ... awwwwwwwww inn't he sooo cute!!!