Pyrenean Mastiff

History

The Pyrenean Mastiff is a large breed originating from Aragonese region of the Pyrenees in Spain. Descended from large livestock guarding dogs, they were officially recognised as a breed in the 1970's, up until then, they were thought to be the same as a Pyrenean Mountain Dog. They were brought back from near extinction in the 1950's, but are still considered quite rare.

Behaviour

The Pyrenean Mastiff is affectionate, docile and loving to it's family and very gentle with children, other dogs and pets in the home. They are naturally wary of strangers and need early socialisation from a young age. They will warn you when someone is at the door and will keep a close eye on people they do not know, ready to step in, if they think you are being threatened. They need to get to know people and should be taken to puppy classes and well socialised outside and inside the home to prevent any possible incidents with strangers. They were bred to guard and they do it very well.

Training should be firm and consistent. Walking to heel should be started early, but generally they aren't lead pullers and tend to amble along gently. They like food rewards and tend to stick close to those they love. Patience is required when training this breed, but they are loving and kind hearted who just want a cuddle and human companionship. They like to know that everything at home is in order. They will happily sleep for long periods, but dislike being left for too long. They can suffer separation anxiety, so should be left for short periods from a young age to get them used to be left alone. They can be very destructive if bored, so crate training (subject to space in your home) is recommended.

For such a large breed they don't require a lot of daily exercise. A couple of short walks around the block and they are happy, but given the chance to get out and about and meet new dogs to play with makes them happy. Their recall is usually ok. The short walks also tends to reinforce their 'guarding of the area' tendencies. Any dog under a year old should be exercised carefully as their growing bones cannot handle too much exercise and problems can occur.

Their long coat needs brushing often to prevent the home becoming covered in fur. They are quite clean dogs, but the amount of hair they produce is staggering. Their eyes and ears need regular cleaning to prevent infections and they tend to drool everywhere.

Entropion and Ectropion can occur in the breed, so a good eye care routine should be followed. Gastric Torsion is also seen, as well as Canine Hip Dysplasia. These are large dogs and they have a huge appetite, care should be given to the quality of food they receive and the amount, as obesity is common. They aren't sprinters and quite happily sleep all day, so moderate exercise, combined with a decent diet will prevent this.

Temperament

The Pyrenean Mastiff is a gentle and protective giant. They adore their families but can be suspicious of strangers. Pyrenean Mastiffs are great with anyone who is part of their family which includes other dogs, cats and children. They are particularly good with children and you will really see their gentle nature come out when they are around youngsters.

Health Problems

Health problems associated with the Pyrenean Mastiff include conjunctivitis, entropion (inward rolling of eyelid), ectropion (outward rolling of eyelid) and canine hip dysplasia (CHD).

Breed Details

  • Status: Rare
  • Life Expectancy: 11 - 13 years.
  • Weight: 180 - 220 pounds
  • Height: 29 - 32"
  • Rare: No

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