Pyrenean Sheepdog

History

The Pyrenean Sheepdog, also known as Pyr Shep, originates from the Pyrenees region of Southern France and Northern Spain. It was bred as a herding dog for sheep and dates back to medieval times. They would alert the Great Pyrenees, who acted as a guardian, to any danger. It became much more popular after the First World War as it was used as a courier, watch dog and search and rescue dog and was well suited to the role. Many even became company mascots. It is not that well known outside of it's native France.

Behaviour

The Pyrenean Sheepdog is a lively, obedient and faithful breed, who likes to be around their family. They can suffer separation anxiety and need to learn early on, that being left alone for short periods is ok. They are good with respectful children, but can sometimes try and herd them. Their herding instinct is very strong and it is advisable to start basic obedience from a young age. They are clever, some say too clever, and need mental stimulation at all times. They are usually ok with other dogs and pets, if raised together. ThePyrenean Sheepdog was bred to alert you to danger and they are notorious for barking. The 'quiet' command should be the first thing you teach them or their barking will get out of hand. They are generally wary of strangers until they get to know them, so early socialisation is vital.

Being so intelligent makes training easy, but this breed will need constant mental stimulation to keep it happy. Activities such as Flyball, agility and obedience trials will help, but they will need a job to do. Training needs patience and time, but once trained they are remarkable dogs who love to please you. They tend to attach themselves to one person in particular, usually the main carer, but everyone in the home should train to create a well rounded dog. Working breeds do need a function, but this is more so that other breeds. They become easily bored and therefore can become destructive.

Pyrenean Sheepdog's have a tireless love of exercise; you will struggle to wear them out. A very long daily walk or jog will help, plus play and training sessions will keep them happy. Recall should be taught from an early age as they can sometimes wander off in search of fun. Games such as frisbee work well and can reinforce the need to come back to you. By giving them plenty of exercise, you will tire them out. Tired dogs sleep and tend not to get up to mischief!

Grooming should be done a couple of times a week and you will get a lot of dead hair out. They tend not to moult too heavily, but by regular brushing, you can keep the coat looking good. The rough coat can sometimes cord and this will require careful attention to prevent matting. The fur between the toes should be kept short.

Due to little interference from the outside world, the Pyrenean Sheepdog is healthy and suffers few health concerns. They are a long lived breed, but checks should be made with regard to Canine Hip Dysplasia and hearing as some are born deaf.

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

Health problems that may affect Pyrenean Shepherds include canine hip dysplasia (CHD), elbow dysplasia, ear problems and eye problems.

Breed Details

  • Status: Rare
  • Life Expectancy: 15 - 17 years
  • Weight: 7 - 15 kg
  • 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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