Pyrenean Sheepdog

History

Sometimes called the Pyr SHep for short, this breed comes from the Pyrenean mountain region of Southern France and Northern Spain. They were first bred back in medieval times and were used for herding sheep. They would often work side by side with the Great Pyrenees, alerting them of any dangers which the Great Pyrenees would then take care of. They gained a lot of popularity after the first world war when they were used as courier dogs, watchdogs and Search & Rescue dogs. They aren’t too well known outside of France.

Behaviour

The Pyr Shep is a lively, obedient and faithful breed. They like to be around their family and are an all-round social breed. They can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time, so they should be left alone for small periods of time when they are young to get them used to this. As with many other herding breeds, they can try and herd small children. They are a smart breed whose brain is always working, they need constant stimulation to prevent any boredom. They get along with other dogs and pets if raised together. They were bred to alert you to danger and because of this like to bark. The “quiet” command should be one of the first you teach them. They are wary of strangers until they get to know them.

Their intelligence marks them easy to train, though the downside to it is the fact that they need constant mental stimulation. Activities such as Flyball, agility and obedience will all help. Once trained they make a great companion. They can become bored easily which can lead to destructive behaviour.

The Pyrenean Sheepdog has plenty of stamina and never seems to tire. You will struggle to wear them out. A very long walk each day or a jog will both help. Play sessions will also help them. Recall should be taught from an early age as they sometimes can wander off in search of fun. They will enjoy almost any activity that lets them run around and let off some steam.

Grooming should be done a few times a week to remove dead hairs and keep the coat looking neat and tidy. They don’t moult too much. The rough coat can sometimes cord and this will require attention to prevent matting. Fur between the toes should be kept short.

Temperament

Pyrenean Shepherds have an energetic and alert temperament. These are active and intelligent dogs who need plenty of physical and mental exercise if you expect them to be calm and settled at home. They make good watchdogs and will be quick to alert you to any visitor but it is important that training starts early so they learn when barking is not acceptable.

Health Problems

Due to little interference from the outside world, this breed remains healthy, although canine hip dysplasia (CHD), elbow dysplasia, ear problems (including congenital deafness) and eye problems sometimes arise.

Breed Details

  • Status: Rare
  • Life Expectancy: 15 - 17 years
  • Weight: 15 - 35 lbs
  • Height: 15 - 19"
  • Rare: No
  • Coat: Medium - Double
  • Grooming Requirements: More than once per week
  • Town or Country: Either
  • Minimum Home Size: Small House
  • Minimum Garden Size: Small to Medium Garden
  • Breed Type: Herding
  • Size: Medium
  • Energy Level: High
  • Exercise Required: Up to 1 hour

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