Pyrenean Sheepdog

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Size

Medium

Life span

17 Years

Weight

25 Kg

Group

Pastoral Dogs

Pyrenean Sheepdog Overview

The Pyrenean Sheepdog (also known as Pyrenean Shepherd) is a medium sized working dog originally bred to herd flocks in its native France. It has an alert, lean and racy outline with an energetic appearance. It features a triangular head with a short-haired muzzle that tapers evenly to a pigmented nose with no stop. It has long hairs on the face and cheeks. The almond-shaped eyes can be dark brown or blue or flecked with blue with black eye rims. It has short, highly set ears with the bottom part erect while the top portion hangs forward or to the side; a complete scissor bite and a rather long and muscular neck. The front legs are lean and straight with the shoulder showing the prominent withers, while the hindquarters features well muscled thighs. The oval feet are lean and flat cushioned by dark pads with hairs in between. The docked tail is low set and well covered with hair. The coat of the Pyrenean Sheepdog can be long to semi-long, fairly harsh in texture and can either be flat or slightly wavy. Coat colours include various shades of fawn, light to dark grey, blue merle, slate blue or brindle, black, or black and white.

Pyrenean Sheepdog Characteristics

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

The Pyrenean Sheepdog is one of the oldest French breeds and has tendered the pastures of the Pyrenees mountains in southern France for many centuries. Fossil records show that sheep and goat herding were so well develop in this region as early as 6,000 B.C. where skeletal remains of small dogs similar to the bone structure of the modern Pyrenean sheepdog were found in sub-fossil deposits. These dogs are well-adapted to the high altitude weather and provided constant companionship to herders. The first written references to this breed dates back from the 1700s describing the transhumance herding that this breed is well-adapted to. The Pyrenean sheepdog guides the flock from the foothills seeking greener pastures higher and higher up the mountains as summer wears on. During the autumn, the flock are again guided down to the lowlands to over-winter. In all these travels, the Pyrenean sheepdog worked side by side with the Pyrenean Mountain dog (Great Pyrenees) which guarded the flock. In the early Modern period, the breed was depicted in many paintings, engravings and lithographs. After World War I, the breed gained popularity in France for its courageous deed as a war messenger, search and rescue dog, watch dog and mascot. Although still relatively unknown outside of France, the Pyrenean sheepdog is slowly gaining more attention as a gifted sporting dog.

Temperament

The Pyrenean sheepdog packs a lot of energy for its size, being bred as a working dog. It is well adaptable to changing conditions and always willing to do chores. It is very loyal and affectionate to its master with a keen desire to please. It is very clever, ever watchful and wary of strangers, characters that makes it highly trainable and an excellent candidate for a watchdog.

Training

Because it has a high sense of intelligence and a keen herding instinct, socialization at an early age is required for the Pyrenean Sheepdog to be able to raise a breed that is free from timidity or aggressiveness.

Grooming

Surprisingly, the coat that seems to require a lot of maintenance does not need plenty of attention. The coat has the proper texture that is fairly easy to maintain and stays very clean and tangle-free on its own. Brushing the coat with a firm bristle brush a few times a week is sufficient grooming to keep the coat in excellent form, especially the long-haired variety where the coat may cord if not properly maintained.

Health

The Pyrenean Sheepdog is a very healthy breed with a life span of 10 to 13 years, although a well-maintained pet may get to live beyond 13 years. However, like all breed of dogs, there are certain genetic disorders that have been known to affect the breed including canine hip dysplasia which can cause debilitating orthopaedic disease of the hip, canine epilepsy, characterized by recurrent seizures and progressive retinal atrophy or PRA which involves the gradual deterioration of the retina that culminates into blindness. Be sure to get your puppy from a responsible and reputable breeder and that its parents have clear health records including hip x-rays and eye tests.

Exercise

This breed needs plenty of physical activity and exercise. Running off lead in a secured and safe area is recommended. It is well-suited for an apartment life provided that it is given the right amount of exercise.

Children and other pets

It is generally good with children, although it may tend to herd small children. Working in a natural environment with other dog breeds has made the Pyrenean sheepdog an excellent companion with other dogs and will do equally well with other household animals.

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