Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Your Pet, Our Passion.
Pyrenean Mountain Dog Mobile

Pyrenean Mountain Dog

Possibly the best known of the livestock guardian breeds, the Pyrenean Mountain Dog is an immensely strong, huge, heavy bodied dog with a thick coat. Despite their size they should be elegant and well balanced with a smooth movement driven by powerful hindquarters.

  • Dogs suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Generally healthy breed
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys more than two hours of walking a day
  • Giant dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks, alerts and may be physically protective/suspicious of visitors
  • Might not like other dogs
  • May need additional training to live with other pets
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a large garden
  • Best suited to countryside
  • Can be left occasionally with training

Key Facts

Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Weight: 36 – 54kg
Height: 66 – 81cm
Colours: They are typically white or white with patches of badger, wolf-grey, lemon, orange or tan on their heads, ears and root of the tail
Size: Large
UK Kennel Club Groups: Pastoral


Family-friendly: 4/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 1/5
Tolerates being alone: 3/5
Likes other pets: 4/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 4/5
Shedding: 5/5
Pyrenean Mountain Dog is standing near the mountain slopes


Whilst Pyreneans can make affectionate and loving companions to their families, they are inclined toward aggression to strange dogs, particularly those of a similar size. Strangers will be at best mistrusted and at worst, a Pyrenean may react aggressively to those they deem unwelcome and threatening, so careful socialisation and training is advised.

Often described as headstrong and stubborn, the reality is that this is a bred long bred for a willingness to use aggression if they think necessary and an independent nature, ready to make decisions for themselves without the input of their owners. This means they really are not suitable for first-time owners as they are hard to motivate in training and must be managed very carefully.

Pyrenean Mountain Dog is walking near the mountain

History and Origins

Country of Origin: France

From the French side of the Pyrenean Mountains, the exact history of the breed is unknown, but we do know they have been used as a livestock guardian breed to protect sheep and cattle grazing the mountains for millennia. Fossils suggestive of this breed type predating the Bronze Age (1800-1000BC) have been found.

These dogs were generally taken as very young puppies (sometimes as young and four or five weeks old) and placed with the sheep so that they will think of them as family and bond very closely to them - and then will protect them. They were often helped in this job by being given a fearsome looking spiked iron collar to help protect their throat from wolf attacks.

Exactly which breeds contributed to the Pyrenean Mountain Dog are unknown, but it is likely that the Kuvasz of Hungary, the Anatolian Sheepdog of Turkey, and the Maremma Sheepdog of Italy were involved, all being very similar types with a similarly long history. Prior to the French Revolution, the Pyrenean was also used to guard French Chateaus and these dogs were also used by smugglers in the late 19th century, as they could carry heavy backpacks of forbidden goods across the Pyrenees, taking paths impassable to humans and so avoiding customs or checkpoints. And even if officials did spot them, nobody was going to argue with a dog this big!

Health and Common Issues

The Pyrenean Mountain Dog is generally a hardy breed. However, in common with many large breeds they may suffer hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.

The breed club monitor the health of the breed carefully and should be contacted for the most up-to-date information and details of any DNA or additional testing they recommend. Breed Clubs can be found on the Kennel Club website.

Exercise Needs

Exercising puppies must be done very gradually to avoid putting excess strain on their growing bones and tender tissues and, even with the adult dog, care must taken to build up exercise gradually. Having said that, for their size they really do not need copious amounts of exercise, but, in time, should be given free running off the lead as well as regular controlled walks.

Space Requirements

The Pyrenean is big, tall and long and with a heavy coat that picks up water and dirt. You’ll need a large house with a large garden and extremely secure, ideally double, fencing. You cannot stop a Pyrenean from guarding; therefore, you must ensure they feel no need to do so by using solid fencing. 50kg of guarding Pyrenean hitting a fence can do some real damage and should they escape they can cause serious accidents.

Livestock guardian breeds do not fare well when loose surrounded by strangers. Suitable for remote rural living, with plenty of secure space to run and play. Pyreneans living in highly populated built-up areas are likely to feel very stressed and unhappy and will take serious management to keep safe.

Nutrition and Feeding

Giant-breed dogs, as well as having giant appetites, benefit from a different balance of minerals and vitamins, supporting different joint and cartilage needs. The Pyrenean is prone to bloating and stomach problems; try feeding smaller, more frequent meals to help minimise the risk.

Grooming Pyrenean Mountain Dog

It is necessary to brush or comb this breed thoroughly once or even twice a day to remove loose hairs. This becomes even more important during the moulting times. Failure to do this will result in the coat matting and the dog's coat looking dull and unhealthy. They do require regular bathing and this is no easy task! Early habituation to the groomer’s salon is crucial unless you are prepared to groom this dog yourself for their entire life. Trying to get an adult Pyr to accept grooming by a stranger is unlikely to go well and many groomers will not entertain a dog of this size who is anything less than relaxed!

Training Pyrenean Mountain Dog

The Pyrenean is not inclined to enjoy training for training sake, so whilst they can and should be trained it will always be a work in progress and owners must take great care to keep up that effort. It is vital that puppies are well socialised and habituated to the life they will lead with their owners and life skills such as handling, walking on a harness and lead and recall should be worked on early and be ongoing as they will grow into a 10 stone giant, and so if training isn’t started from a very early age, you will often find yourself arguing with a dog who may well weigh more than you do!

It must be understood that this dog is a lifestyle dog, requiring you to live a lifestyle that suits the dog, rather than attempting to change their nature to suit your life!

Best Family Dog Breeds

Whilst the Pyrenean can be affectionate and friendly with their own family, they are not advised for homes with children, as children tend to mean other visiting children. Better suited to child-free homes or those with adult children only.

While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children, all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with and respect each other, and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them.

did you know?

Did You Know?

  • The Pyrenean Mountain Dog is strangely popular within the Japanese manga and anime culture, with characters featuring in several manga series’ including Fullmetal Alchemist and Naruto amongst others.
  • In 2014 a Pyrenean Mountain dog, ‘Duke’ became Mayor of Comorant, a small town in Minnesota where he held the (ceremonial) role for four consecutive terms!
  • This breed is naturally nocturnal as they were bred to guard flocks of sheep and herds of cattle at night.
  • Queen Victoria of England owned a Pyrenean Mountain Dog in the mid-19th century.
  • In 1870, blood from Pyrenean Mountain Dogs was used at a hospice in Switzerland to help revive the St. Bernard after so many had suffered injuries from avalanches and distemper.

Found your perfect breed? Take these next steps:

Labrador lying next to the sofa
Finding a pet
Is this the right breed for you?
All dogs have their own unique personality! Try our Dog Breed Selector Quiz and find out which dog breeds better match your preferences and lifestyle.
Dog with red collar sitting next to the owner
Finding a pet
Top 21 questions to ask a breeder
If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Find out what to look for in a puppy breeder with this guide.
Puppy walking next to owner on a lead
Finding a pet
Thinking about getting a puppy?
Join Growing Pup for help from our Purina experts on how to find the right puppy and prepare for your new arrival, as well as a discount off one of our puppy ranges.
Dog with red collar
Finding a pet
Welcoming your dog home
While you're waiting for the big day you may need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort our before you welcome your new arrival.
Dog with red collar lying
It's incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organisation. It often means offering them a second chance at life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family and their forever home, but what can you expect from the process?
Dog with red collar looking out the window
Puppy advice
Everything you need to know
Getting a new puppy is incredibly exciting for all the family, but it can be quite scary for your new pup. Find out how to deal with everything from behaviour to health questions with our expert puppy advice.
Owner checking dogs collar
Finding a pet
Benefits of having a dog
It's known far and wide that dogs are man's best friend, but did you know that there's actually numerous benefits of having a dog? From helping you to get fit to meeting new people, your puppy can actually help to improve your health and social life. Keep reading to discover the benefits of dogs!