Pyrenean Shepherds have developed mythology all their own, to the point that no one knows their origins. They have resided in the Pyrenees Mountains of Southern France where they still herd sheep today. Distinguished French military personnel, they served as couriers, search and rescue dogs after battles, and accompanied human soldiers on their rounds in World War I. After the war, they received breed recognition in France and began to participate in shows and herding trials.
A herder through and through, the Pyr Shep is an energetic dog that needs a job. This energy level, combined with keen intelligence, makes this breed ideal for dog sports such as obedience, flyball and agility. They become very attached to their owners, with a keen sense of their mood, but this makes them wary and watchful around strangers. When raised with children they tend to be protective. They are enthusiastic participants in whatever you want to do.
Small and lean, these dogs have a flowing gait unlike any other. There are two varieties: the smooth-faced variety (pictured left) has short, fine hairs on the muzzle, with longer, soft, fine hair on the head and body; the rough-faced dog (pictured above) has longer hair that is thick and harsher. Colors range from fawn, tan and copper to black, grey, brindle, black, and black-and-white.
Their high level of attachment to their owners and work-horse attitude make them highly trainable, but they require a confident and consistent trainer and positive reinforcement techniques. Teach them manners, including when to bark and when to settle. They excel at competitive obedience, herding, flyball and agility. They also need sufficient exercise in order to be inclined to behave.
Grooming & Care
Pyr Sheps have easy-care coats. They are average shedders but loose hairs tend to collect in the coat rather than spread around the house. Brush weekly to remove the loose hairs and prevent mats – the rough-faced variety may need to be brushed twice a week. Bathe infrequently to avoid drying out their skin.
This is a breed of healthy, long-lived dogs, but like any breed, there are a few things to look for. Pyr Sheps can sometimes be prone to eye problems, hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia.
Famous Pyrenean Shepherd
Mab du Hic, bred by M. Perrot, was well known for his blue merle color.
|Challenges||red to alert the guard dogs to trouble, these watchers can be noisy if not trained.|
|Height||15 to 21 inches|
|Weight||15 to 35 pounds|
|Life||15 to 16 years|
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