back in the southern slopes of the Pyrenean Mountains in the north-eastern part of Spain, from Aragon to Navarra. It was probably brought by ancient Phoenecian traders from Assyria and Sumeria to Spain where they were sold and bred as working dogs. It belongs to a very large breed of molosser dogs that was once used to guard herds of sheep from predatory animals, protect houses, farms and castles. For many centuries, the Pyrenean Mastiff guarded the flocks during the “trashumancia” or the formal migration of flocks up and down the mountainside with the change of the seasons. It played a vital role in the development of other breeds after it was brought to different parts of Europe, from Turkey to Portugal and from Caucaso to Sierra Morena. This breed was once known as the Mastiff de Navarre and the Mastin d’Aragon, and almost became instinct once in its history mainly due to the disappearance of predatory animals in the region that rendered the Pyrenean mastiff useless and because it has a big appetite. During the 1970s, a comprehensive breeding program was initiated to save the breed from further deteriorating and the Club del Mastin del Pirineo de Espania was founded in 1977. Today, thanks to these valiant efforts, the Pyrenean Mastiff is once again getting noticed not only in Europe but in the United Kingdom and Unites States.
The Pyrenean Mastiff is described as a breed with an excellent temperament and a superb charm. It is brave, independent, and intelligent which makes it an excellent guard dog. Although it barks very little and very generally docile, it will tend to announce the presence of strangers with a deep, loud bark and can be extremely aggressive when defending itself, its owner, properties, or the animals under its charge. In general, the Pyrenean Mastiff is quiet, good and stable in practically all aspects. It is a working dog that will contentedly put on a collar and walk uncomplainingly beside its owner.
Because the Pyrenean Mastiff is such a huge working breed, it needs to be properly trained in obedience and extensively socialized at an early age. It is an excellent breed for those who seek an impressive dog and has plenty of room.
Grooming requirements are moderate but can be time consuming due to the size of the dog. Regular brushing with a firm bristle brush to prevent the coat from matting is sufficient. Bathe only when necessary.
The Pyrenean Mastiff is a hardy and healthy breed with an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. It is a rare breed with no known hereditary problems except for what are common to large breeds which may include hip dysplasia and gastric torsion.
Although this breed does not require huge amounts of exercise, it is not suitable for an apartment living or even a small house. It will do best in a home with a large, fenced-in yard where it can freely run and play. Exercise should be moderate such as daily short walks, but puppies should not be subjected to any form of rigorous exercises to prevent bone injuries. It is also recommended to feed the Pyrenean Mastiff several small meals per day instead of one large meal and to avoid exercising the dog one hour before and after meal to prevent gastric torsion.
It is a noble, gentle and calm breed that goes very well with children and other dogs.