Pyrenean Mountain Dog

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Size

Large

Life span

12 Years

Weight

82 Kg

Group

Pastoral Dogs

Pyrenean Mountain Dog Overview

The Pyrenean Mountain Dog is also known as the Great Pyrenees and is a large majestic breed belonging to the Pastoral group. It was traditionally used for guarding livestock in pasture. It features a large domed head with no stop, strong muzzle that tapers to a black nose with almond-shaped, dark-amber brown eyes that shows an intelligent and thoughtful expression and small triangular ears lying flat against the side of the head, carried slightly raised whe the dog is alert. A strong jaw features either scissor bite or pincer bite with black lip markings. The thick, muscular but short neck is covered in profuse coat that forms a mane (especially in dogs) and aptly carries the head with distinction. It has straight, fringed front legs that are heavily boned and well muscled while the equally muscled thighs are covered by long, dense, woolly hair and cushioned by short and compact feet. The body of the Pyrenean Mountain dog features a broad chest, rounded ribcage, and broad, muscular back. The slightly curled tail is thickly feathered and tapers to a tip. It is normally carried low with the tip turned slightly to one side when the dog is at rest; carried high above the back in a circle when the dog is alert. It has a double coat made of coarse, long and thick outer coat with straight or slightly wavy hair over a very fine and profuse undercoat. Coat colour comes mainly in white with patches of badger, wolf-grey or pale yellow.

Pyrenean Mountain Dog Characteristics

Size InformationIntelligence
  • 4
Size InformationExercise Needs
  • 5
Size InformationDogs Health
  • 2
Size InformationChild Friendly
  • 4
Size InformationApartment
  • 1
Size InformationShedding
  • 5
Size InformationGrooming Needs
  • 4
Size InformationBarking
  • 5
Size InformationAlone
  • 3
Size InformationTrainability
  • 1
Size InformationEnergy Levels
  • 5
Size InformationDog friendly
  • 4

History & Origin

The Pyrenean Mountain Dog is one of the most ancient breed of dogs and has a long working history in its native France where it was used as a flock guardian and protector of chateaux. Remains of a dog similar to the Pyrenean Mountain Dog were found in Europe dating back to 1800 B.C. but experts claim that the breed might have originated far earlier back in Asia or Siberia either brought to Europe by the Aryans or the Phoenicians via Spain who settled in the Pyrenean Mountains. The breed remained in the high mountain regions of the Pyrenees until the Middle ages, when it was discovered by the French to be an excellent guard dog. Its long history have somewhat influenced (in one way or the other) some of the modern European livestock guardian dogs that we know today, including the Italian Maremma sheepdog, Hungarian Kuvasz, Anatolian Shepherd, Newfoundland and the Polski Owczarek Podhalanski among others. The Pyrenean Mountain Dog was so popular in the late 1600s that King Louis XIV bestowed upon the breed the “Royal Dog of France” in 1675. Historical evidences suggest that this breed was also used as a rescue dog, cart-puller and a sled dog working in a pack. It was even used as a war dog because the ancient Pyrenean Mountain Dogs were more aggressive than their descendants today. The breed became less popular during the 1900s both in France and England although there were many purebreds left high up in the Basque countryside. It was brought to the United States in the 1930s and remains today, a moderately popular breed.

Temperament

This giant breed is fierce protector and guardian of livestock, property and its human companion but in general, has a gentle and affectionate character. Its guarding instincts made it somewhat wary of strangers, alert and always on the lookout. Working in a pack in ancient times also made this large working dog generally good with other dogs regardless of size, although some lines tend to display same sex aggression. Being a flock guardian, it is independent and quite stubborn by nature and has a propensity to bark a lot. This gentle and playful breed is a slow-maturing dog, typically taking about two years to reach adulthood.

Training

This breed requires a commanding owner that can provide firm and confident training, which should start at a very young age. Socialization at an early age is also recommended.

Grooming

The profuse coat needs to be brushed on a daily basis while extra attention is required during heavy shedding season, usually once a year.

Health

With a lifespan between 10 to 12 years and a moderately popular status, this large working dog has not changed significantly in centuries which mean that it is notably a healthy breed. Unlike other large dogs, hip dysplasia has a low incidence for the Pyrenean Mountain dog. Eye problems and gastric torsion are two  possibilities but can be very rare.

Like most mountain dogs that live in cold weathers, the Pyrenean Mountain dog requires a diet which is high in fat content. Similarly, lamb, poultry, wheat or potato will do best for this breed.

Exercise

Even though the Pyrenean Mountain dog is a large breed, exercise need not be vigorous but must be regular. Normally, taking the breed for a moderate walk on a daily basis is sufficient enough to keep it mentally and physically healthy. This breed was born in the cold climates of the Pyrenean Mountains hence, it can not tolerate extreme heat conditions and must be kept in shade all the time when it is outside in such weather.

Children and other pets

The Pyrenean Mountain Dog is typically good with children and will protect other household pets especially cats.

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