The Pyrenean Shepherd is lean but muscular, originated from Pyrenees mountains in southern France and northern Spain. Bred to herd livestock, such as sheep, they have breathtaking speed, grace, and intelligence. This breed come in two coat varieties: rough-faced and smooth-faced. Both of them are happy when given jobs to do and always want to please their family.
|Other Names||Berger des Pyrénées, Pastor de los Pirineos, Petit Berger, Pyrenees Sheepdog|
|Color||Black, Black & White, Blue Merle, Brindle, Brindle Merle, Fawn, Fawn Merle, Gray, Slate Gray|
|Height||Males: 15 to 20.5 inches, Females: 15 to 20.5 inches.|
|Weight||Males: 15-30 pounds, Females: 15-30 pounds.|
|Life Span||Late teens|
|Personality||Affectionate, Active, Enthusiastic|
|Exercise||Needs Lots of Activity|
|Groom Needs||Weekly Brushing|
|Kids Friendly||Yes with supervision|
|Dog Friendly||Yes with supervision|
|Litter Size||4 puppies|
Pyrenean Shepherd Video
The smallest of all herding dogs of French and Spanish origins, the Pyrenean Shepherd is a lean and attractive hard-working dog in a small package. Their eyes shine with so much intelligence, and like most other sheepdogs they pack the required amount of agility, athleticism, and fervor for work. They are naturally protective of children they grew up with and require early socialization to avoid the tendency of being shy. They are fond of keeping close to their owners making them a one-man dog. Pyrenean Shepherds have a long body, are slightly angulated and the tail may be docked. Based on texture and appearance, the coat comes mainly in two varieties– a smooth-faced and a rough-faced variety. They can exhibit a variety of colors, examples of such are fawn, brindle, copper, tan, gray, merle, black and, black and white.
The rough-faced variety of Pyrenean Shepherds appear smaller than the smooth-faced. Generally, a full-grown rough-faced stands 15-19 inches at the shoulder and weighs approximately 15-30 pounds, while a smooth-faced stands 15-21 inches and weighs around 18-30 pounds. Pyrenean Shepherds have an average life expectancy of 14-17 years.
Living with Pyrenean Shepherd
The Pyrenean Shepherd requires average grooming effort. They just need shedding moderately and regular brushing will reduce the amount of hair that sheds. It mostly depends on their health status and breed type.
The Pyr Shep sports two different looks: rough-faced and smooth-faced. The rough has a furrier face and can have a long or semi-long coat that either lies flat or is slightly wavy. The smooth-face has a semi-long coat which is harsh to the touch with little undercoat. It does not mat easily or shed much. The long coat may cord naturally, sort of a controlled matting process.
Weekly brushing can help keep his coat free from mats and tangles and looking its best. Dog bath can be helpful sometimes. Check the local pet store for dog grooming supplies and find the best dog shampoo to keep its coat healthy and to give your dog a pleasant experience of a dog bath.
Trim nails once or twice a month if your dog doesn’t wear them down naturally. Short, neatly trimmed nails keep the feet in good condition and prevent your legs from getting scratched when your Pyr Shep enthusiastically jumps up to greet you. Handle his paws frequently — dogs are touchy about their feet — and look inside his mouth and ears.
Brush your Pyr Shep’s teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.
Ears should smell good, without too much wax or gunk inside, and eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.
The Pyrenean Shepherd are among the most active, driven, and responsive of all breeds. They must have an outlet for their busy mind and body every day. Lots of activity and a job to do are vital to the breed’s mental, emotional, and physical health.
Since many Pyr Sheps today don’t get the chance to do what they were originally bred for—herding livestock—they are always eager to channel their abundant energy into other interesting challenges and activities.
They should have a vigorous run or long jog several times a week and some sort of mental challenges daily. Without this, they can be frustrated and destructive; with it, they can be some of the most impressively smart and well-behaved dogs around.
A fenced yard is essential for this breed. Pyrenean Shepherds do not handle living in apartments or condos very well. Families with high-energy kids would be perfect for this breed. There is no doubt that the children would be outside for hours playing ball or fetch with the dog.
However, Pyr Shep puppies should not be given too much exercise because their joints and bones are still growing. They should not be allowed to jump up or off furniture nor should they be allowed to run up and down the stairs, which will put too much pressure on their still growing joints and limbs and cause a dog a few problems later on in their lives.
The Pyrenean Shepherd is extremely active therefore; he requires a good bit of high-quality, dry kibble. Dry food is essential to the dog’s oral health as soft or canned food can cause tooth decay, plaque buildup, gum disease and bad breath.
Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age, size, activity level and metabolism. Also the amount of your dog diet depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog.
Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity.
Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.
With an average life span of 10 to 14 years, the Pyrenean Shepherd is a healthy breed. But they sometime also may suffer from some health conditions, such as epilepsy, hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, patent ductus arteriosus, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
Not all Pyrenean Shepherds will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed.
As with all breeds, a Pyrenean Shepherd’s ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste designed for dogs.
There are several health tests considerations specific to the breed, such as hip evaluation, patella evaluation, and ophthalmologist evaluation.
Responsible breeders test all breeding stock for conditions that can affect the breed. Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control help to ensure the dog a long, and healthy life.
Total Annual Cost: $2889
Cost is estimated for the first year and may vary depending on many factors, such as dog food, health care, leash, collar, licensing, possible fencing, crates, training and obedience classes, dog-walking, grooming, treats, toys, flea, tick, and heart-worm meds, microchips, etc.
For those who need a herding dog that doesn’t require any training to do his job, the Pyrenean Shepherd is the breed they want. His instincts are all he needs to get the job done.
The Pyrenean Shepherd loves to engage in dog sport, such as obedience trials, agility courses and herding tests. They also do well as therapy dogs and in search and rescue. This highly trainable breed is usually a pleasure to be around.
To live with a Pyrenean Shepherd is to take on a highly energetic, intelligent, mischievous companion whose passion for you will be matched only by his desire to work. So be prepared to stimulate his mind and fulfill his need for activity with a challenging dog sport or some kind of flock that he can take charge of.
You should give your Pyr Shep plenty of socialization, beginning in early puppyhood, to ensure that his lively personality develops to its fullest potential.
With an intuitive sense about their owner’s desires, they will respond enthusiastically to clicker training and other positive, reward-based methods.
A large portion of their history has yet to find documentation. Pyrenean Shepherds (Pyr Sheep) are descendants of an ancient breed of herding dogs of the Pyrenees Mountains in regions encompassing both Southern France and Northern Spain. The Pyrenean Shepherd is usually compared with the Great Pyrenees when discussing herd dogs of the Pyrenees. Although much is unknown about their history, Pyrenean Shepherds have been linked with an origin in the Pyrenees Mountains as far back as 6,000 years ago. We have some archaeological findings and mythologies to guide us that way. Whatever their origin was, these dogs are till date intelligent herders, able to herd a large flock of sheep to graze!
Though the Pyrenean Shepherd still remains an unpopular breed (if not unknown) to most parts of the world, it was first imported into America in the 1800s to herd livestock due to its reputation which had preceded it. The Pyrenean Shepherd is believed to have been involved in the development of the Australian Shepherd. During the First World War, the Pyrenean Shepherd rendered a huge service to the French military, serving as rescue dogs, guard dogs, search dogs, and even couriers. However, after the war, the number of Pyrenean Shepherds had declined so much that it required an elaborate breeding plan to salvage their bloodline. By 1923, the first breeding standard was written in France. The 1970s and 1980s saw greater importations of the breed dogs into the United States, however, it wasn’t until 2009 that it gained an AKC (American Kennel Club) recognition.
Breed Club: PYRENEAN SHEPHERD CLUB OF AMERICA
Breed Club Link: http://www.pyrshepclub.org/
Breed Club Rescue: PSCA Rescue
Breed Club Rescue Link: http://www.pyrshepclub.org/find-a-pyr-shep/rescue/