Pyrenean Shepherd

September 24, 2020 // 6 minute read

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The Pyrenean Shepherd, or Berger des Pyrénées, is a small to medium-sized dog that stands at a height of up to 21 inches. They come in two coat varieties: rough-faced and smooth-faced.

The rough-faced variety features a harsh coat and shaggy hair on the muzzle. On the other hand, the smooth-faced variety has short facial hairs, smoother coats, and a longer muzzle. Both, however, have rectangular bodies with coats that come in several colors.

Pyrenean Shepherds are highly energetic and intelligent dogs. They need someone who has the time and energy to cope with their daily activity needs. They also easily get attached to their owners, so make sure to commit to staying with them for years.

Pyrenean Shepherd

Pyrenean Shepherd Statistics

Dog Breed GroupHerding
Breed SizeSmall to Medium
Height5.5-18.5 inches (male rough-faced); 15-18 inches (female rough-faced); 15.5-21 inches (male smooth-faced); 15.5-20.5 inches (female smooth-faced)
Weight15-30 pounds
LifespanLate teens

Pyrenean Shepherd Ratings

Energy level
Exercise needs
Requires attention
Friendly with family
Friendly with kids
Friendly with strangers
Friendly with other dogs
Prey Drive

Berger des Pyrénées History

Pyrenean Shepherds is probably the smallest among the French herding breeds, but they are also one of the oldest. They are believed to have originated from the rugged Pyrenees Mountain Range of France.

These dogs descended from a herding line of Pyrenees and were mainly used to herd livestock on those mountains. However, how long they’ve been herding there is unknown as records got lost in history.

A breed standard was established as early as 1897. But it wasn’t until the 19th century when the first Pyrenean Shepherds traveled to America.

When the first World War broke off, the dogs were taken to the mountains to help. They were used to deliver messages, sought out wounded workers, and acted as guard dogs. Because of this, their numbers declined.

By 1987, the Pyrenean Shepherd Club of America was formed. But it wasn’t until 2009 that the American Kennel Club finally recognized the dog breed.

Now, they rank 181st as the most popular dog in the US. Until now, they still perform herding jobs in their homelands in tandem with the Great Pyrenees, who served as guard dogs.

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Pyrenean Shepherd Temperament

Pyrenean Shepherds are affectionate, active, and enthusiastic dogs. They are intelligent and highly-energetic dogs, which makes them perfect for owners who love the outdoors.

Both their minds and bodies should be stimulated daily. You also need to take them out of lots of outdoor activities like running, biking, or play sessions to keep him busy and entertained. They have great endurance, so expect that you’ll be more tired before this dog does.

These dogs are affectionate to their owners. They love forming bonds with their families, so make sure to include them in family activities. You can’t leave them alone for long periods as this may only cause anxiety.

Pyrenean Shepherds are also great with children. They make excellent playmates, but keep close supervision with toddlers. As with other pets, they can be bossy.

As common to many herding dogs, these are alert and curious dogs. They can be suspicious of strangers and will make sure to bark to let you know someone is at your door. Early socialization is essential for this breed, especially if you’d want him to become more well-rounded.

Training should also start early, and you must have lots of patience. You must be confident and firm, so they’ll obey you.

Pyrenean Shepherd Care Requirements

  • Nutrition: Pyrenean Shepherds should only require high-quality and well-balanced meals to stay healthy and happy. But also, watch the number of calories you feed them in a day as overfeeding them will just cause them more health problems. Regardless if you serve them commercially manufactured food or home-cooked meals, the only important thing is always to buy the best quality ones. This means high-quality ingredients and premium-quality dog food. You can add fruits and vegetables to your dog’s diet to provide fiber and essential vitamins. Dog treats are great too, but you should calculate the calories as you feed them to your dog. Also, take note of any ingredients your dog is allergic to and stay away from them. The best way to go about your dog’s meal is to consult your vet, especially if you’re unsure or inexperienced. Your vet will be able to create the best feeding guide designed based on your dog’s age, activity level, and metabolism.
  • Grooming: Pyrenean Shepherds have double coats that shed seasonally. Weekly brushing is needed to keep shedding to a minimum, remove dirt, and prevent mats and tangles from forming. Baths can be given occasionally, usually depending on how smelly or dirty your dog is. However, cleaning the ears must be done regularly to prevent ear infections. Nails should be trimmed frequently, too. Long nails will cause pain and discomfort, especially for these energetic dogs.
  • Exercise: Pyrenean Shepherds are highly-energetic dogs that always seemed to be ready for action. As herding dogs, they are used to doing work. Thus, they need to do lots of activities that would help stimulate their minds and bodies.
  • Health: Pyrenean Shepherds are generally healthy dogs with a very long lifespan. However, they are also prone to acquiring health diseases if not given the right care and nutrition. For these dogs, hip dysplasia, epilepsy, patellar luxation, heart diseases, and eye diseases are very common. We highly recommend having your dog take some screening tests to detect certain conditions at an early stage. Closely monitoring your dog’s behavior is also a must. And if you notice any changes, make sure to take them immediately for a visit to the vet.
  • Lifespan: Pyrenean Shepherds can live until their late teens.

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Fun Facts about Pyrenean Shepherds

  • Pyrenean Shepherds originated from the Pyrenees Mountains of France.
  • Fossil records revealed that they might be more than 6000 years old.
  • They have appeared in several French arts since the early Renaissance period.
  • Their main duty is to herd livestock while Great Pyrenees guard the flock.
  • They are excellent at their job – one Pyrenean Shepherd is capable of managing 1000 sheep.
  • They have served in World War I.
  • They come in two coat varieties: rough-faced and smooth-faced.
  • They were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2009.

Check Out Other Herding Dog Breeds:
Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd, Bearded Collies, Beaucerons, Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdog, Belgian Tervuren, Bergamasco Sheepdog, Berger Picards, Border Collie, Bouviers des Flandres, Briards, Canaan Dog, Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Collie, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs, Finnish Lapphund, German Shepard, Miniature American Shepherd, Norwegian Buhunds, Old English Sheepdog, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs, Puli, Pumi, Shetland Sheepdog, Spanish Water Dog, Swedish Vallhunds

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