A medium-sized dog, the Pyrenean Sheepdog is one of the smaller sheepdog breeds. He is lean and athletic, with a long or semi-long coat that has a 'windswept' appearance. The coat comes in various colours, including fawn, grey, blue merle, slate blue or brindle, black, or black and white. Adult dogs are 40-48cm tall, and females 38-46cm. They weigh approximately 7-15kg.
- Category size: Medium
- Grooming requirements: More than once a week
- Shedding: Moderate
- Allergies: No
- Noise: Vocal
- Dog Group Kennel Club: Pastoral
- Alone: 1 to 3 hours
- Other pets: Medium
- Stability as a guard: Medium
One of France's oldest breeds, the Pyrenean Sheepdog breed – or Le Berger des Pyrenees - dates back to at least the 19th century. He was used for herding large flocks of sheep in the mountainous region of the Pyrenees and came to the attention of the outside world with the First World War when he was used as a messenger dog by the French army. He still works as a sheepdog in rural France, but his chief 'job' today is as a companion.
An inquisitive, alert, energetic dog, the Pyrenean Sheepdog has retained strong herding instincts, which will need to be channeled positively. He is naturally wary of strangers, but should be good-tempered with them. Not an ideal breed for a first-timer, he would thrive in more experienced hands where he can enjoy training to the full.
The Pyrenean Sheepdog is generally a healthy breed, but as with many breeds, can suffer from various hereditary eye disorders, and hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.
For his size, he has great energy and needs at least an hour's daily free running, but preferably more. He has proved successful in many of the dog sports – from obedience and agility to flyball and working trials – he is eager to learn and has a great deal of mental energy as well as physical.
Your Pyrenean Sheepdog's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember also to feed him at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of his particular food.
There are two coat types – long or semi-long. Both coats have a harsh texture and require grooming a couple of times a week to keep them tangle-free.