Pyrenean Shepherd Dog Breed Information

Pyrenean Shepherd – The Herding Dog

The Pyrenean Shepherd is the smallest French dog breed and also a herding dog.  They are a very rare breed that originated from sheepdogs in the Pyrenees Mountains.  This highly energetic great muscular dog loves to work and most importantly is very affectionate to its family, making them a good companion.

Are you thinking of getting a Pyrenean shepherd for you and your family? Not sure if this breed is the right fit? Well, you came to the right place to find out!  The Pyrenean is highly energetic, loves to work and excels in dog sports like agility and obedience training, as well as herding. They are extremely affectionate and great around children. Oh, and they make a great companion.  Let’s dig in deeper shall we?

At A Glance

  • Breed: Pyrenean Shepherd
  • Breed Group: Herding
  • Temperament: Affectionate, Active, Enthusiastic
  • D.H.T. Outdoor Ranking: -5/10 For Temperate Climates
  • Worldwide Popularity: Low
  • Breed Origin: France

General Information And Breed History

The Pyrenean Shepherd is very work-oriented, especially towards herding.   This breed is considered one of the best breeds for agility, obedience, and herding.  They are highly active, obedient and attentive. The Pyrenean Shepherd is a multi-tasker herder with the ability to gather and drive making them the ultimate herding dog.

This breed is suspicious of strangers but extremely loyal and affectionate with their family.  They have been known to be shy. They can get along with other dogs and animals. However, have been known to have a jealous streak.  But really what dog doesn’t? You give attention to your cat, and the dog is right up in there wanting some love as well, acting like you don’t give them enough already.  You all know what I’m talking about!

The PS has an exuberant bark, and make great watchdogs, as well as good companions. 

A little history 

The Pyrenees Mountains in Southern France had an abundant amount of sheep and goat herding dogs dated back to 6000 b.c.  It is said that these small dogs would control the flocks and the larger dog breeds, Great Pyrenees, would guard the flock.  There is only a need for two Pyr Sheps to control a flock of 1000 sheep and can cover 25 miles per day.  

Pyr Sheps were used as couriers as well as search and rescue dogs during World War I.  They were said to be the fastest, most able, most intelligent and cunning of dog breeds by war officers that were in charge of the dogs. 

In the year 1905, an association was created for the purpose of preserving the Pry Shep and the Great Pyrenees, although they had reached America by the 1800s with their shepherds and flocks.  By the 1930s the breeding of this dog started up again. They were recognized by the American Kennel Club is 2009.

General Appearance

The Pyr Shep is the smallest of the French dog breeds.  This breed comes in a “rough-face” or “smooth face coat.  The rough-faced has messy hair above their muzzle, and a rough coat, while the smooth-faced has a fine coat and mildly longer, more pointed muzzle.

Both varieties of this muscular, tough and lean breed come in quite a few colors and patterns with fawn being the most common for these great little companions.

Body

Small and muscular this dog is ready for action and an excellent athlete.   This dog is lean and has enough flesh to cover the bones. Their ribs should be felt.  The rough-faced version of this breed is actually longer than it is tall; the smooth-face has more of a square body.

Coat

The coat of rough-face can be almost flat semi-long or the hair is long.  The Semi- long coats have culottes on the butt. The Long-haired dogs have a harsh wool-like coat.  The smooth-faced has short hair on the muzzle and on the legs. Hair is about 2 -3 inches long on the entire body but there is some feathering on the legs. 

Legs & Feet

Feet are oval-shaped.  The smooth-faced dog has feet that are shorter more cupped than the rough-faced. The pads are thick and dark and so are the nails.  They have lean and muscular legs that help them in herding and dog sports. h

Tail & Hindquarters

According to Wikipedia the tail can be with a crook on the end but should be carried below the topline. It can also be docked although people are turning away from the docked tail. 

The hind legs are strong and the stifle well bent.  Their upper thigh is short, while the lower thigh is long. Hocks are well let down and clean.  The smooth-faced dog has a more furnished rear than the rough-faced dog.

General Statistics

  • Life Expectancy: 14-16 years
  • Male Height – Rough-Faced (at the withers): 15.5-18.5 inches (39 cm – 46 cm)
  • Male Height – Smooth-Faced(at the withers): 15.5-21 inches (39 cm – 53 cm)
  • Female Height – Rough-Faced (at the withers): 15-18 inches (38 cm – 45 cm)
  • Female Height – Smooth-Faced(at the withers): 15.5-20.5 inches (39 cm – 52 cm)
  • Male Weight: 15-30 lbs (6.8 kg – 13 kg)
  • Female Weight: 15-30 lbs (6.8 kg – 13 kg)

Recommended Dog House Dimensions

The recommended dog house dimensions can be found on the dog house dimensions charts for 440 recognized breeds which includes this dog breed that looks like a wolf.  But to save you time, here are our dog house minimum size recommendations:

  • Door Height: 20.9 inches (92 cm)
  • Door Width: 13.3 inches (33 cm)
  • Inside Ceiling Height: 25.7 inches (65 cm)
  • Interior House Length: 41.8 inches (106 cm)
  • Interior House Width: 26.6 inches (67 cm)

Expected Costs

Breed Average Puppy Cost: $600 USD

Starter Costs: $2000

This is our estimate for initial purchase, shots and a few things like food, a bed, leash, that sort of thing.  Basically, this will get you set up but the costs will be greater once the dog is old enough to get spayed or neutered.

Anticipated Annual Care Cost: $500 – $1000

How The Pyrenean Shepherd Reacts To

Babies/Children

Pyr Sheps that are raised with children can be a good companion and playmate for a child.  The dog is able to match their level of activity due to being a very active dog breed. If the Pyr is not raised with children and not used to them then any sudden movements may scare the dog.  

The Pyr Shep absolutely loves the children in its family.  However, do not expect the dog to interact with other children.  They simply just won’t have any interest in children outside their family.  

With herding dogs, there is the risk that the dog will try and herd the children.  This breed should be taught right away that this is not okay and will not be allowed. 

Other Dogs

Pyrenean Shepherds can get a with other dogs if they are raised with them and socialized early.   This does not mean they will not get along with other dogs they are not raised with, it just may take a little longer for the dog to warm up to another dog.  

The Pyr Sheps are known to get a little jealous from time to time, so make sure you give this affectionate companion lots of attention and love. 

Cats

Dogs and cats can be friends. I know this because my dog Kiki and cat Mel get along.  Well, they peacefully exist together. I think the cat tolerates the dog haha.

In regards to cats and Pry Sheps getting along- the dog is a herding dog and likes to try and herd you, children, and yes even cats.  So your cat may not appreciate this and probably just stay out of the way.

Other Animals

This dog breed will get along with other animals that you may have in your house.  Just remember that this is a herding dog, and will most likely try to gather or herd the animal

Care Requirements

Exercise

This dog needs a lot of physical activity due to the fact that they are herding dogs, and they do not really get to herd anymore.   These dogs excel in dog sports like agility and obedience. Dogs sports will really help in keeping the Pyr Shep in good mental and physical health.  The shep will do well with a family that is just as active and able to provide the physical activity that this dog requires. 

Grooming & Coat Info

In order to keep this coat clean and healthy, the coat needs to be brushed weekly.  Weekly brushing will prevent the coat from getting mats and tangles.  

The Pyrenean has a double coat that consists of a soft undercoat and a protective scruffy outer coat.  Their hair is a combination of straight short hair while the outer coat is harsh and sheds quite a lot. Undercoat mats easily if it is not brushed weekly.

Health & Nutrition

The Pyrenean is generally a healthy dog breed.  A breeder will lookout for the following

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Patellar
  • Subluxation
  • Eye Defects

Pyrenean Shepherds require high-quality dog food. You should check with your veterinarian for the best brand for your dog. Remember to follow the portion instructions. Overfeeding a dog can cause weight gain, this is why we need to follow the portion instructions. If you decide that you’d like to feed your dog human food, make sure you know which foods are safe. If you are unsure, contact your veterinarian.

Training

The Pyrenean Shepherd is an intelligent, highly energetic, great companion, and loves to please.    These dogs are easy to train and do very well with sports like clicker training and reward-based sports.  They are an excellent competitor for agility, rally, dock diving and obedience. Actually pretty much all dogs sports these dogs will excel at.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Pyrenean Shepherds Make Good Companions?

The Pyrenean Shepherd is a kind sweet soul. They love their families and do extremely well with babies and children. Since this dog breed is a herding dog, you make have to train the dog to not herd the children, or other small pets you may have in your home. This dog also makes an excellent guard dog because they are always alert and ready to jump into action. The Pyr Shep makes a very good companion for families with children, as well as a good companion for farmers.

Do Pyrenean Shepherds Shed?

This dog sheds its harsh outercoat. In order to keep the shedding to a minimum, it is recommended that you brush this dog weekly. This will also prevent mats from producing. Brushing your dog’s coat will keep it looking healthy, mat-free, and minimal shedding.

What Are The Best Dog Sports For A Pyrenean Shepherd?

Pyr Sheps are herding dogs, so they like to gather and herd, so, therefore, they are great at the herding dog sport. But they are not limited to only herding. This dog excels at other dog sports like obedience, agility and clicker sports. These dogs are pretty much the champion of dog sports. These sports are an excellent way to keep this dog mentally and physically healthy.

Bibliography

  1. Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds – D. Caroline Coile, Ph. D.
  2. American Kennel Club
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Pyrenean Sheperd Club of America
  5. Canadian Kennel Club

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