Medium-sized hairy Pyrenean shepherd, most often in fawn or fawn color with sifting. Alert, smart, fast and energetic. It requires careful socialization. It works great in dog sports, but not everyone will stand with him every day!
The Pyrenean shepherd is an old breed of shepherd dogs still used today in France to work with sheep.
While the Belgian Shepherd Malinois sometimes compares to a Ferrari, the Pyrenean Shepherd can be called a mini Ferrari. These dogs are endowed with a great temperament, willingness to work and intelligence – so they learn easily and quickly.
However, this has a bad side – the Pyrenean also quickly remembers bad things and does not forgive errors or harsh treatment. In addition, the training is hindered by the fact that this is a late-maturing breed.
The energy of this dog can also cause a lot of trouble. Especially in his youth, he does not sit still, bites everything that comes in his teeth, does not want to be alone and reacts with barking to every rustling. Fortunately, it calms down a little with age, although of course, it doesn’t lose its vigilance. As befits a sheepdog, do not fail to inform barking about every disturbing change in the environment.
Due to his strong pastoral instinct and high excitability, it is difficult to recommend him as a companion to young children – but this does not mean that their joint existence in one home is impossible. The Pyrenean, however, will not tolerate jerks by the ears or fur, so contact with children should be done only under close adult supervision.
Training and education
Pyrenean Sheepdogs are perfect for dog sports, especially in agility, but this does not mean that their laying is simple.
The Pyrenean requires extremely careful socialization, otherwise, it can become fearful or aggressive with fear. He is distrustful of strangers, he does not like other dogs, but he is not conflicting. He may show a desire to herd other animals, although he accepts domestic animals without problems.
Who is this race for?
The Pyrenean Shepherd is best suited for people who want to play dog sports or spend other time actively with the dog. It is best if the owner already has some training experience, especially positive.
Certainly, this breed is not suitable for someone who is not ready to spend a lot of time on socialization and training of the mentee.
Pyrenean shepherd. Advantages and disadvantages
- excitable and reactive
- requires very careful socialization
- susceptible to training
- suitable for dog sports
- excellent watchman
- economical to maintain
The Pyrenean shepherd are long-lived and remain fit until late. The 9-year-old female of this breed won 4th place at the agility world championships!
The Pyrenean shepherd is not particularly demanding in terms of nutrition. They can be fed with ready-made food as well as food prepared at home.
Contrary to appearances, the care of the Pyrenean shags is not very troublesome. Just brush them once every 10 days. The mud that sticks to the coat will crumble when dry.
This is probably one of the oldest French breeds. For centuries, small shepherds have been used to herd sheep in the Pyrenees. However, not much is known about them – no one wrote about the fate of these inconspicuous but hard-working dogs.
There are many theories about their origin. Perhaps they are descendants of Asian Tibetan terriers – small pooches, which – contrary to the misleading name – are not at all terriers and from which various shaggy shepherd dogs are to come.
Probably the dogs that got here from Asia, mixed with European Sheepdogs of the Spitz type, and on the basis of these crosses various local breeds were created, adapted to local conditions.
The different sources of Pyrenean origin may be indicated by their occurrence in two basic types of coat – with long-haired and short-haired muzzle (the latter are slightly larger and a little calmer), and the existence of marbled coat, typical for European breeds. Currently FCI recognizes both varieties as separate breeds.
Breeders became interested in the Pyrenees only at the end of the 19th century. In 1893 Jean Pierre Megnin told about them during a conference dedicated to shepherds. During World War I, the French army drew attention to these dogs. From 1916, they began to be used as liaison dogs and looking for wounded soldiers – they worked well in these roles. Unfortunately, many of them died at that time.
After the war, both shepherds and lovers of the breed began to rebuild it. In 1921, the first model of a long-haired sheepdog was created, a short-haired muzzle was described and the breed was presented at an exhibition in Toulouse.
In 1923, the pattern was amended and the Pyrenean Dog Lovers Club was created, which to this day deals with four breeds from the Pyrenees in France. Finally, in 1926, the breed gained recognition of the French Kennel Club.
It wasn’t until after World War II that it slowly began to be interested outside of France. Although it is rare to this day, it has recently gained more and more popularity among dog sports enthusiasts thanks to the success of its representatives in agility.
In their homeland, many Pyrenean shepherds still work with sheep. They are often dogs without pedigrees, but typical. The breed has retained its traditional appearance and temperament to this day, which is due to the club that maintains its care.
Longhair Pyrenean Sheepdog – Group I FCI, section 1, reference number 141
- Country of origin: France
- Character: mobile dog, lively, intelligent, strongly associated with the owner, willing to serve him, but at the same time endowed with his own initiative; alert, distrustful of strangers, excellent watchman; sometimes barking
- Size: dogs 40-48 cm, bitches 38-46 cm, tolerance +/- 2 cm for both sexes
- Weight: 8-15 kg
- Coat: long or half-long, dense, almost straight or slightly wavy, thicker on the croup; intermediate structure between goat and sheep’s hair; in some dogs, a mixture of a woolly undercoat and harder casing hair forms full-bodied cords or lobes on the rump, chest and forelegs; the hair on the muzzle is clearly shorter, less dense and forms as if the wind was blowing in it; eyes exposed
- Ointment: fawn in various shades, fawn hair can be sifted with black; gray in various shades; harlequin (black patches on a gray background); less often black or brindle; there may be small white marks on the chest, fingers and head
- Lifespan: approx. 15 years
- Vulnerability to training: high
- Activity: very high; especially at a young age needs movement and mental activity, bored can become unbearable
- Resistance / susceptibility to diseases: a healthy and resistant breed, epilepsy occurs among genetic diseases
Apparently, it was the Pyrenean Shepherd who accompanied Bernadetta Soubirous, a 14-year-old shepherdess, who the Virgin Mary appeared in Lourdes in 1858.