Breed Category: Working
Country of Origin: France
Average Size: 40-50 cm (at the withers)
Average Weight: 8-15 kg
Average Life Span: 12-14 years
Grooming Requirements: Low
Exercise Requirements: High
The Pyrenean Shepherd stems from southern France’s Pyrenees Mountains and has been bred for hundreds of years for their strong work ethic and ability to herd livestock. This breed began by crossbreeding Scottish Collies with Scottish sheepdogs.
Though not extremely popular outside its native France, the Pyrenean Shepherd is beloved for its herding abilities, its loyalty to its family and its protective nature. The breed gained recognition in France during World War I, as many were used during battle for search and rescue and courier work.
The Pyrenean Shepherd is small in size in comparison to most other herding dogs, with an average height of 40-50 cm and an average weight of 8-15 kg. Though the two breeds have a history of working together, the Pyrenean Shepherd should not confused with the Great Pyrenees, a much larger, straight-haired dog.
This breed comes in two varieties: the smooth-faced and the rough-faced Pyrenean Shepherd. This dog requires weekly brushing to discourage tangles in its coarse fur, but is bred to have a natural and hardy appearance, so it is low-maintenance when it comes to grooming. This breed’s long coat can be a variety of colours and patterns. Colours include black, gray, tan, fawn or white. The fur may also be brindle or merle in pattern. The eyes are generally dark, though they may be blue in merle dogs.
It has a small head in comparison to the rest of its body, though lots of fur makes both the head and body look larger in size. This breed is lean, light-boned and muscular, physical traits that serve it well as a working dog. It has a short muzzle, ears that are generally folded and a naturally long tail.
The Pyrenean Shepherd is a very intelligent breed that gets tremendous satisfaction from herding sheep and other livestock, but it also gets joy from spending time with its owner. It prefers to help with tasks and chores around the home or farm and needs a great deal of exercise and stimulation each day.
The Pyrenean Shepherd is very well-suited for one owner, but also thrives in a family setting if it is raised around children and other animals from a young age. If the dog is kept primarily as a companion rather than a working dog, it is important to fulfill its physical and mental needs in other ways such as jogging, frequent walks or agility training.
This breed lively and energetic, but also has a very protective nature. While it is generally friendly and unaggressive, it is innately distrustful of strangers and may require time before warming up to new people. Friendliness and approachability can be achieved through early socialisation and obedience training, though it will likely always retain its alert nature.
In order to discourage behavioural problems, this breed needs firm training that is not too harsh. This breed is prone to considerable barking, so it is well-suited for a farm or an open area that will allow the dog to bark without disturbing others.
This is a healthy breed without many health problems. It is driven by its strong work ethic to work until its health no longer permits. The Pyrenean Shepherd may be at risk for joint pain, vision or hearing problems and hip dysplasia later in life.
A healthy Pyrenean Shepherd lives an average of 12-14 years.
Pyrenean Shepherd Organisations in Australia
No club information listed
Pyrenean Shepherd Organisations in the UK
Pyrenean Sheepdog Club of Great Britain
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