Pyrenean Shepherd Dog

The Pyrenean Shepherd Dog is a medium-sized dog, but one of the smallest of the sheepdogs of its time. These energetic dogs were very hardworking and intelligent. Although the origin is disputed between Spain and France, the French have used them in World War II on their side as messenger dogs. We will answer all the questions you have about this breed of dog in this article, either from its history and physical characteristics, such as basic food care, training, the recommended exercise for Pyrenean Shepherds and some curiosities of it. .

History of the Pyrenean Shepherd Dog

The history of this breed is quite peculiar, since with the passage of time, the Pyrenean Shepherd dog was varying in trades. At first it was used as a security and guard dog, however these uses were transferred to the Pyrenean Mountain Dog. But the natural characteristics of the dog, led to this being an ideal dog for herding; with incredible grouping work and good sheep herd driving, above any other herd worked by this dog.

However, he has other very good qualities that have led him to World War II alongside the French; like his speed, intelligence and above all his resistance. The Pyrenean Shepherd Dog was used in wars as an agile messenger between trenches to transmit the orders of the generals. This action is what allowed this dog to rise to fame and the breed was officially recognized in 1936.

A couple of years ago, there was a tradition of cutting off the ears and tails of this breed of dog, depending on the land in which it had to work, however today this practice has luckily been discontinued. There are even many countries, which by animal protection legislation is prohibited any type of aesthetic or functional mutilation in dogs.

It is important to highlight that among the crosses that were made to reach the Pyrenean Shepherd of today, no aesthetic or character factors were taken into account; since it was a dog exclusively for work and the breeders looked for utility rather than feelings or beauty. Therefore, the Pyrenean Shepherd dog was a dog that had to stand out for its durability, effort and to develop its work well, so that the shepherds at that time considered it valuable. So the health of these dogs is incredible for the ability to withstand hard work throughout their history.

Physical characteristics of the Pyrenean Shepherd

There are two copies of this breed of dog, the Pyrenean Shepherd with a flat face and the Pyrenean Shepherd with long hair; Although these two versions exist, they are considered a unique breed, since the only difference is the length of their coat. According to the FCI classification for this dog, they are in Group 1: Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs. Section: 1 Sheepdogs. So it is a medium-sized dog based on its height and weight.

Body of the Pyrenean Shepherd Dog

Its back is long and has a very defined withers, the back is slightly curved and it has a short rump that slopes slightly. The chest is not deep and its tail is set low. It can be long and end in a hook shape or it can be naturally short. In many countries, those in which it is allowed, some owners tend to amputate it, although it is a measure that we do not recommend due to some problems that it can generate in the animal. The Pyrenean Shepherd has straight legs, although on some occasions they have “cow hocks” on their hind legs, which implies that the hocks of these deviate inwards and the dewclaws can be seen. The neck is long and muscular.

Head of the Pyrenean Shepherd Dog

Its stop is not in sight and its muzzle is straight and short, the ears are set high and are also short. It has scissor-shaped teeth.

How tall is a Pyrenean Shepherd Dog?

The height of the Pyrenean Shepherds is between 36 cm and 48 cm for females and between 39 cm and 84 cm for males. Differences of up to 2cm from the most outstanding pedigree specimens are accepted. However, the ideal size of a female Pyrenean Shepherd Dog is between 38 cm and 46 cm, while males are between 40 cm and 80 cm.

What is the coat of the Pyrenean Shepherd like?

The hair of the Pyrenean Shepherd can be long or of intermediate length. It presents in some specimens straight hair and in others slight undulations. On its hind legs the hair is usually longer and therefore thicker. Almost all the specimens of this breed have eyebrows, beards, mustaches and have hair on the muzzle.

Colors of the Pyrenean Shepherd

The colors of the Pyrenean Shepherds vary from reddish brown, which may or may not have white hair, to black with the possibility of having grayish hairs and may or may not have white spots. Their eyelids are very dark and the nose is always black.

Pyrenean Shepherd Dog temperament

To better understand how the Pyrenean Shepherd's temperament is, we divide it into two sections, how is his character and how was his origin; and how he behaves today in society, with the family, how he is with the children and what it would be like to live with him.

How is the character of the Pyrenean Shepherd Dog?

It is a breed that has a firm and strong character. They are serious dogs that usually stand out for their good predisposition to everything and for their intelligence and ingenuity. These dogs are not usually shy at all as they appear and unlike what many believe they are dynamic and agile. They are always on the alert which makes them good watchdogs. Another attribute that stands out from them is their great sense of smell, above the average of other dogs.

How does a Pyrenean Sheepdog behave?

Like many other breeds of dogs, the Shepherd of the Pyrenees is a dog of a single master, despite them, it tends to get along with all members of the family. He has a good behavior, since he gets along well with children, he is playful and has energy to spare to have a good time with them. If the dog has had a good socialization, it will accept all kinds of pets to live with it. Be other dogs or other animals. He can become dominant with other dogs, especially if they are of the same breed and is very reserved with strangers.

General Care of the Pyrenean Shepherd

As for the basic cares to keep a Pyrenean Shepherd Dog in good condition, there are not many; However, there are some essential care for this dog that can help a better quality of life. In this section we will divide it into sections to make it more understandable; such as bathing, training, the exercise recommended for this breed, its diet, life expectancy based on the health of the dog and the most frequent diseases that it can contract.

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Grooming the Pyrenean Shepherd Dog

Due to the nature of his long and rustic hair, his coat does not need much attention. A weekly fifteen-minute brushing will suffice to make his coat look perfect. The excess of the ears must be removed by hand and you must pay attention to the beard and mustache area and clean it from time to time.

Training of the Pyrenean Shepherd

Being a dog with a lot of disposition and a high degree of intelligence, they do not require that you be too severe with them and they learn quickly. They need their master to be consistent and firm. Due to their intelligence, it is recommended that the training be modified since always doing the same training activities can become unproductive and even bore them.

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Exercise for a Pyrenean Shepherd Dog

These dogs need a lot of attention. It is not good to leave them alone and bored for much of the day or not take them out for a walk and prevent them from burning the energy they have on them. They must be running, playing and jumping a good part of the time to feel completely comfortable, so they will fit perfectly with families living in homes with a lot of land or in the field and / or sports families.

How much should a Pyrenean Shepherd eat?

As for the feeding of the Pyrenean Shepherd Dog, it is important to say that from the beginning it is a very gluttonous dog; above all because of their great need for exercise due to their pastoral work. So it is key that this breed of dog has a supervised food or diet. The daily rations that are given to these dogs can be both homemade food and balanced food for dogs, but always maintaining the appropriate proportion based on exercise, health, age and weight of the dog. So it is important to go to the vet to determine the portion to give to our Shepherd of the Pyrenees. Anyway, twice a day will be enough and necessary to give him a good diet so that he can grow and develop in a healthy way. 

On the other hand, if you want to train or teach your dog to do things with certain prizes or treats; We recommend not abusing them, giving it a few times, or splitting it into "smaller prizes" since it is a breed that has a tendency to obesity and certain health problems.

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Pyrenean Shepherd Dog Health

The Pyrenean Sheepdog is considered a very healthy breed of dog. This health is largely due to the characteristics and historical origin. Since all their ancestors lived in mountainous areas, with difficult traffic, with valleys that barely communicated. 

How long does a Pyrenean Shepherd Dog live?

The Pyrenean Shepherd dog breed has a good quality and life expectancy; so these dogs usually live between approximately 13 and 15 years. However, this depends on the exercise, quality of the food and good basic care that is given to the dog; such as grooming and training in how to behave in different situations.

Frequent diseases of the Pyrenean Shepherd

It is a very healthy dog due to its extensive need for exercise, although it may have certain hereditary problems like other breeds of its size such as German Pinscher, are hip dysplasia or eye problems. However, before any symptoms of physical or motor impairment, it is advisable to go to the vet as soon as possible to be able to give it the specific treatment.

perro pastor de los pirineos

Uses of the Pyrenean Shepherd Dog breed

The uses that are usually given to the dogs of this breed are rescue work. It stands out notably in dog sports such as agility trials and catching objects on the fly.

In many countries today they are still used as herding dogs, since unlike other dogs that perform the same action; the Pyrenean Herding Dog tends to use his body much more than his sight. By using movement and physical contact with the herd, the herd feels intimidated, so it moves. It is a dog that works very closely with the sheep and keeps them grouped in the same place, and then takes them to the place that the shepherd indicated to the dog. Without further indications than that, the Pyrenean Shepherd Dog is excellent at its job.

Curiosities of the breed Pastures of the Pyrenees

  • Believe it or not, it is one of the smallest breeds of herding dogs in France.
  • In World War II it was one of the dogs most used by the French.
  • It is a dog that endures hard work incredibly thanks to the crosses it has had for that sole purpose, to have a dog that can withstand working all day.

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