DIGITAL ISSUES

Menu toggle icon.
Menu toggle icon.

Pyrenean Shepherd Dog Breed

About the Pyrenean Shepherd

The Pyrenean Shepherd, also referred to as the Pyr Shep, is a vivacious and intelligent landrace breed, renowned for its unwavering dedication to its work and its agility across challenging terrain. Originating from the Pyrenees mountains of Southern France, these dogs have a rich history as a herder and drover, working closely with the shepherd to tend to livestock. With their petite stature and expressive faces, Pyr Sheps exude a lively and affectionate demeanor, making them delightful companions in the right environment. Despite their small size, they are known for their immense energy and require ample exercise to stay content. Their keen intelligence and eagerness to please make them highly trainable, although they do best with experienced handlers who can provide firm yet gentle guidance.

AKC Group

AKC Group

Herding

Dog Breed Height

Height

15.5 – 21 Inches

Dog Breed Weight

Weight

15 – 30 Pounds

Dog Breed Lifespan

Lifespan

17 – 19 Years

Highlights

Country of Origin France
Bred For Versatile Herding, Companionship
Known For Flowing Gait, Quicksilver Intelligence, Vibrant Expression
Popularity Low
Temperament Active, Enthusiastic, Sensitive
Activities Herding, Running, Hiking, Conformation Shows, Dog Sports

History of the Pyrenean Shepherd

The Pyrenean Shepherd has a rich and storied past, originating from the Pyrenees Mountains that lie between France and Spain. This breed has been a trusted companion and invaluable working dog to the shepherds in this region for centuries. The Pyr Shep’s primary role was to help herd and protect the livestock, showcasing the breed’s intelligence, agility, and innate herding instincts.

Pyr Sheps are closely associated with the Great Pyrenees, a much larger breed that hails from the same region. The two breeds have often worked in tandem; the big dogs would protect the flock while the smaller dogs would manage and herd the stock. Despite the Pyr Shep’s long history in Europe, the breed only gained official recognition from major kennel clubs relatively recently. The American Kennel Club (AKC) welcomed the Pyrenean Shepherd into its Herding Group in 2009.

In the United Kingdom, The Royal Kennel Club also recognizes the Pyrenean Shepherd, categorizing the breed in its Pastoral Group. The Oyr Shep has slowly gained popularity outside of France, with enthusiasts and breeders working diligently to maintain the Breeds Standards and promote its unique characteristics. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) also recognizes the Pyrenean Shepherd, further solidifying its status worldwide as a distinct and important breed.

Despite the breed’s recognition by various kennel clubs and registries, the Pyrenean Shepherd remains relatively rare wherever it is found. However, for those who have had the pleasure of owning and working with the breed, the Pyr Shep’s intelligence, work ethic, and quirky charms have made it a beloved and cherished companion.

General Appearance

Height & Weight

There are two varieties of Pyrenean Shepherd. The Rough-Faced and the Smooth-Faced differ somewhat in terms of acceptable height and weight ranges. Adult Rough-Faced males typically measure from 15.5 to 18.5 inches at the withers, with females usually measuring 15 to 18 inches tall. Smooth-Faced adult males generally range from 15.5 to 21 inches tall, while mature females typically measure between 15.5 and 20 inches tall.

In terms of weight, the breed’s lean-muscled and agile build varies somewhat depending on the individual dog’s gender and variety. In any case, an absolute minimum weight is required in a Pyr Shep, with just enough flesh to cover the dog’s bones.

Proportion & Substance

The Pyrenean Shepherd presents a harmonious balance in terms of its proportion, with a lean, light, and sinewy framework. Proportion in this breed is dependent on the variety, with Rough-Faced dogs clearly longer than the more square Smooth-Faced dogs. Both varieties possess a build that is light and athletic, underlining the breed’s herding and working heritage. The Pyr Shep exhibits strength and agility, with enough substance to perform many strenuous activities, yet without any trace of unwieldy bulk. The breed’s overall appearance reflects its efficiency and endurance as a truly functional dog, one that is capable of navigating the challenging terrain of the Pyrenees Mountains.

Coat Texture, Colors & Markings

Texture: The coat of the Pyrenean Shepherd varies significantly between the Rough-Faced and Smooth-Faced varieties. The Rough-Faced sports a coat that is harsh, long or demi-long (somewhat long), and flat or slightly wavy. The hair is naturally short on the end of the muzzle and chin, lengthening towards the skull. Demi-long coats have culottes on the rump, whereas long-haired dogs may have cords on the elbows, thighs, and croup. In either case, the texture is halfway between the hair of a goat and a sheep’s wool.

The Smooth-Faced variety, on the other hand, has a shorter, softer coat. The muzzle is covered with short, fine hairs that become somewhat longer on the sides of the head and finish with a modest ruff. The coat’s length is two inches on the body, although the hair on the ruff and culottes may be three inches long. The legs are smooth in the front, with some furnishings on the elbows and thighs. Altogether, the coat of the Pyrenean Shepherd is a defining feature that equips this breed well for its herding responsibilities in a variety of micro-climates.

The quality of the Pyrenean Shepherd’s coat is more important than its quantity. The coat should never be excessively long or have an abundance of furnishings, and on the Rough-Faced variety, the coat should never obscure the eyes or present a mustache and beard. Most importantly, the coat should never be scissored (especially on the face), except to neaten the hair on the feet.

Pyrenean Shepherd Colors

Standard Color
Fawn ee
Brindle ee
Black ee
Gray ee
Slate Gray ee
Blue Merle ee
Fawn Merle ee
Brindle Merle ee
Black & White ee
White ee

A Note About Color: The Pyrenean Shepherd is as colorful as it is peculiar. Coat colors include: various shades of fawn, from tan to copper, with or without a mixture of black hairs; gray, ranging from charcoal to silver to pearl gray; merle of diverse tones; brindle; black; and black with markings that are not to exceed 30 percent of the body surface. A small patch of white on the head, chest, and feet is acceptable, but too many patches and those that appear too large are not. Dogs that are more than 50 percent white, and black dogs with tan points, are not acceptable in the breed.

Head

  • Skull: The skull of the Pyrenean Shepherd is broad and flat, tapering gently towards the eyes, with a slight furrow between the eyes and no marked stop. The occipital protuberance is only slightly developed, enhancing the head’s gently rounded appearance.
  • Expression: The expression is keen, intelligent, and even cunning, reflecting the breed’s energetic and mischievous temperament.
  • Eyes: The expressive eyes of the Pyr Shep are almond-shaped and of medium size. Their color typically harmonizes with the coat color, ranging from dark brown to blue or partially blue eyes in dogs with merle markings. The gaze is always observant, revealing the dog’s essential commitment to its work.
  • Ears: The ears are of medium size, fairly wide at the base, and set on high. They are either semi-prick or rose, contributing to the dog’s attentive and lively expression. The ears are covered with fine hair, with only some feathering.
  • Muzzle: The Pyr Shep’s muzzle is straight and slightly shorter than the length of the skull, tapering slightly towards the nose. The lips are black-pigmented and tight-fitting, suggesting a bit of a smile.
  • Nose: The nose is always black, regardless of the coat color, and well developed, contributing greatly to the breed’s appeal as a vibrant and visually appealing companion.
  • Bite: The Pyrenean Shepherd has a complete set of evenly spaced, white teeth meeting in an even or scissors bite. The jaws are strong, with the teeth and gums that are in good condition. The bite reflects the dog’s overall vigor and robust nature. Complete dentition is preferred, and undershot or overshot bites are unacceptable.

Tail

The tail of the Pyrenean Shepherd is a notable feature which may be naturally long or docked. A natural bobtail is common. All tails are considered equally in this Herding breed, and all are set rather low as an extension of the croup.  The long tail typically reaches the hocks and tapers to a fine point. When the dog is in motion or excited, the tail may be carried higher than the level of the topline but should never curl over the back. In its natural state, the tail maintains its authentic appearance; however, docked and bob-tailed dogs are utilized with equal measure for the difficult tasks required of them as versatile dogs of the mountains.

Owning a Pyrenean Shepherd – What to Consider?

Owning a Pyrenean Shepherd is a unique experience that brings joy, energy, and intelligence to any household. These dogs are known for their agile and lively nature, requiring owners who can match their level of activity and engagement. They are highly intelligent and respond well to training, but they also have a strong-willed streak that requires consistent and firm handling.

The Pyr Shep thrives in environments where they can be part of the daily activities, forming strong bonds along the way with their human companions. They are known to be loyal and protective, making them excellent watchdogs. However, their protective instincts necessitate proper socialization from a young age to ensure they become well-behaved around strangers and other animals as adults.

Home Life

Interaction With Family

The level of affection a breed typically shows towards family members and familiar individuals will vary. While some breeds may only show genuine warmth towards their owner, remaining standoffish with strangers, other breeds will treat everyone they meet as if they are their closest friend.
Independent Affectionate

Good With Other Dogs

The innate friendliness of a dog towards other dogs can depend on its breed. Although supervision is always recommended during introductions, certain breeds tend to be inherently more or less sociable with other dogs, whether in a home setting or in public spaces.
Not Recommended Reliable With Other Dogs

Good With Young Children

The degree to which a breed will typically be patient with young children, and its overall suitability as a family member, will vary. It is important to always supervise interactions between dogs and the kids in the house, as well as with children who are not accustomed to being around dogs.
Not Recommended Dependable With Children

Upkeep

Amount Of Shedding

The amount of hair that a dog sheds will typically depend on its breed. Heavy-shedding breeds require more frequent brushing, have a higher chance of activating specific allergies, and often necessitate more frequent use of the vacuum cleaner and lint rollers.
Low High

Frequency Of Grooming

The regularity with which a breed needs bathing, brushing, trimming, or other forms of coat care is an all-important consideration. When evaluating the grooming effort required, consider your available time, patience, and budget. It is important to note that all breeds need routine ear, teeth, and nail care.
Monthly Daily

Amount Of Drooling

The tendency of a breed to drool significantly varies from breed to breed. For those who prefer cleanliness or are particular about keeping things tidy, breeds that are likely to leave trails of drool on your arm or large slobbery marks on your clothing and furniture might not be the best fit.
Low High

Coat Type

smooth
wiry
hairless
rough
corded
double
curly
wavy
sikly

Coat Length

short
medium
long

Behavior

Personality

Trainability Level

The ease with which a dog can be trained and its eagerness to learn new skills can depend on the breed. Some breeds are naturally inclined to please their owners and will readily accept training, while others tend to follow their own desires, often showing independence in how, when, and where they choose to do things.
Stubborn Eager

Barking Level

The frequency of vocalization, including barking and howling, will vary from breed to breed. Some may bark at each person who passes by and every bird in the sky, while others will typically bark only for a good reason. Additionally, a few breeds that do not typically bark will still be vocal, using different sounds to communicate.
Quiet Vocal

Energy Level

The level of physical exercise and mental engagement required will depend on the breed. High-energy breeds are always on the go. They are enthusiastic about their next activity and tend to be busy most of the time, running, jumping, and playing throughout the day. In contrast, low-energy breeds are akin to couch potatoes, content to just lounge around and take naps throughout the day.
Couch Potato Busybody

Need For Mental Stimulation

The extent of mental stimulation needed to keep a dog content and healthy will vary by breed. Dogs bred for specific purposes may need tasks involving decision-making, problem-solving, and concentration. Without sufficient mental exercise, these dogs can resort to creating their own activities to engage their minds, resulting in unwanted behaviors like chewing, digging, and escaping.
Minimal Engagement Intensive Interaction

Pyrenean Shepherd Health

Lifespan: The Pyrenean Shepherd is generally considered a healthy breed, with an average lifespan ranging from 17 to 19 years.

However, like all breeds and mixed breeds, it may be prone to certain health consideration. Potential owners of this breed should be aware of these conditions and seek out reputable breeders who conduct health clearances on their breeding stock to verify the health of their dogs.

Potential Health Risks

Pyrenean Shepherds are a robust breed, but as with any dog they can be susceptible to certain health risks. It is important, therefore, to be informed about these to ensure the well-being of any companion or working shepherd:

  • Hip Dysplasia: This is a condition in which the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Dogs with hip dysplasia may show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs.
  • Eye Conditions: Pyr Sheps can be prone to certain eye conditions such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Regular check-ups with a veterinarian ophthalmologist can help to catch issues early.
  • Patellar Luxation: Also known as “slipped stifles,” this is a common problem in smaller dogs. It’s caused when the three parts of the knee joint are not properly aligned, leading to limping or an abnormal gait.
  • Epilepsy: This neurological disorder can cause seizures. Managing epilepsy in dogs often involves regular veterinary check-ups and the long-term administration of medication.
  • Allergies: Pyrenean Shepherds can suffer from a variety of allergies, ranging from contact allergies to food allergies. Identifying and managing allergies can require a collaborative effort between the dog’s owner and its veterinarian.

It’s crucial for caretakers of this interesting and lively breed to maintain good healthcare practices, including providing a balanced diet, regular exercise, and routine vet visits. This standard of care will help to mitigate any health risks and will encourage a long and happy life for the dog.

Pyrenean Shepherd Personality

The Pyrenean Shepherd is known for its lively and energetic personality, thriving in active environments where it can engage both mentally and physically. These dogs tend to form strong bonds with their human companions, making them excellent family pets. However, they can be wary of strangers, so early and consistent socialization is essential.

Despite the breed’s smaller size, Pyr Sheps can have a bold and confident demeanor, often showing a high level of intelligence and eagerness to learn. This makes them relatively straightforward to train, although their independent streak may require a patient and consistent handler. Most respond well to positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise.

When it comes to interacting with other pets, particularly with other dogs, the Pyrenean Shepherd generally gets along well, provided it has been properly socialized. The breed’s herding instincts often kick in, leading the dog to try and herd other pets or even children. This is something that needs to be managed with care.

The Pyr Shep’s sensitivity level is on the higher side, making these dogs responsive to their environment and to their handler’s emotions. This sensitivity requires a gentle approach to training and handling, as they do not tolerate being left alone for long periods. Instead, they thrive in environments where they are included in family activities.

When it comes to children, the Pyrenean Shepherd can be a good companion, provided it has been socialized and trained to behave appropriately around them. The breed’s energetic nature can make these dogs great playmates for older children, but their herding instincts can lead them to nip at the heels of running kids, something that needs to be monitored carefully.

Pyrenean Shepherd Feeding & Nutrition

Feeding a Pyrenean Shepherd the right amount of nutritious food is vital to maintain its energy levels and overall health. Puppies, due to their rapid growth and high energy levels, need a diet specifically formulated for them, one that is rich in proteins and essential nutrients. As they mature into adults, their dietary needs change and it will become necessary to adjust their food intake accordingly.

Adult Pyrenean Shepherds generally require around 1 to 2 cups of high-quality dry kibble per day, split into two meals. However, these amounts can vary significantly based on the dog’s size, age, metabolism, and activity level. Active Pyr Sheps will need more food, while less active dogs will need less.

To determine the most suitable portion size for a Pyrenean Shepherd, it’s best to begin by following the feeding guide provided by the dog food manufacturer. From there, monitoring a dog’s weight and adjusting the food portions as necessary is a good idea. A Pyr Shep that appears to be gaining weight may need smaller food portions and more exercise, whereas an underweight dog, or one that lacks energy, may need an increase of food.

In addition to their regular meals, Pyrenean Shepherds can be given treats, but these should be offered in moderation and not make up a significant portion of the dog’s diet. It’s crucial to avoid feeding table scraps, particularly foods that can be toxic to dogs. It’s also important to be sure the Pyr Shep has access to fresh, clean water at all times.

It’s always a good idea to remember that each dog is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Paying close attention to the Pyrenean Shepherd’s body condition, and adjusting its food intake as needed, will help to keep the dog healthy and happy, year in and year out.

Pyrenean Shepherd Training

Training a Pyrenean Shepherd requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. These are intelligent dogs that learn quickly, but they also have a strong will and can be independent, making training an interesting challenge. Early socialization and obedience training are crucial to make sure they will develop into well-behaved adults.

Pyr Sheps respond well to positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praise, and play. Harsh training methods can lead to stubbornness and resistance, so it is important to maintain a positive and patient approach. They excel in various dog sports and doggy activities, which can be a great way to channel their energy and intelligence into positive outlets.

Barking can be a common trait in the breed, often used as a way to alert their handlers to something they find interesting or concerning. Training them to respond to commands such as “quiet” or “enough” can help to manage their barking tendencies.

Their intelligence and agility make Pyr Sheps well-suited for activities such as Obedience, Agility, and Herding Trials. They enjoy having a job to do and thrive in environments where they can engage their minds and bodies. Encouraging them to participate in such activities can also strengthen the bond between the dog and its handler, making training more enjoyable for both parties.

Despite the breed’s intelligence, Pyrenean Shepherds can have a streak of independence, so it is important for their training to be engaging and challenging in order to prevent boredom. Providing mental stimulation through training exercises, puzzles, and interactive toys can help to keep their minds sharp and prevent undesirable behaviors from becoming a problem.

Pyrenean Shepherd Exercise

The Pyrenean Shepherd is a high-energy breed, requiring regular and vigorous exercise to maintain its physical and mental health. This breed thrives when engaged in activities, showcasing a remarkable level of intensity and playfulness. Providing adequate exercise is crucial to prevent boredom and associated behavioral issues.

Exercise Expectations

Energy Level High
Exercise Requirements 1 Hour/Day (Minimum), Daily Walks, Daily Exercise

Given the breed’s herding heritage, the Pyrenean Shepherd possesses a natural stamina and endurance, making these dogs well-suited for long walks, vigorous hikes, and high-energy play sessions. Incorporating activities that challenge the dog mentally, such as agility training or interactive games, can be particularly beneficial. Pyr Sheps are known for their agility and quick reflexes, qualities that can be honed through various dog sports.

Despite their relatively small size, Pyrenean Shepherds have a significant amount of energy and require more than just a daily walk around the block. Engaging them in games of fetch, frisbee, and other high-intensity activities can help to expend their energy in a positive manner. Playtime not only serves as an excellent physical outlet, it also provides an opportunity for the dogs to bond with their human companions.

It is important for caretakers to understand that Pyr Sheps need exercise not just for the physical benefit but also to stimulate their intelligent minds as well. Incorporating training sessions into an exercise routine can help to keep their minds active and engaged. Puzzle toys and games that require them to think and solve problems can also be a great way to provide mental stimulation.

Owners of Pyrenean Shepherds should also consider the breed’s agility and herding instincts when planning exercise activities. These dogs excel in dog sports such as Agility, Obedience, and Herding Trials, activities that not only provide physical exercise but also engage the dogs’ active minds while satisfying their instinctual needs.

Pyrenean Shepherd Grooming

The Pyrenean Shepherd requires a consistent grooming routine to maintain the coat’s health and tidy appearance. Despite the breed’s generally low shedding level, regular brushing is essential to prevent matting, especially for the rough-faced variety with its longer hair. The smooth-faced variety, having shorter hair, may require less frequent grooming but should not be neglected.

Grooming Expectations

Coat Type Rough-Faced, Long or Demi-Long; Smooth-Faced, Somewhat Long but Short on Muzzle
Grooming Requirements Weekly Brushing, Occasional Bathing, Routine Ear Cleaning, Periodic Nail Trimming, Regular Tooth Brushing

Owners of Pyrenean Shepherds should aim to brush their dogs at least once a week, although more frequent brushing may be necessary during seasonal changes when there’s more shedding. This routine not only helps to remove loose hair and prevent tangles but also provides an opportunity to check for any skin issues or parasites. Bathing should be done as needed, taking care not to strip the coat of its natural oils.

In addition to coat care, routine maintenance of the Pyr Shep’s nails, ears, and teeth is vital for the dog’s overall well-being. Nails should be trimmed regularly to prevent discomfort and mobility issues, and the ears should be cleaned to prevent infections. Establishing a dental care routine, including regular tooth brushing and providing dental chews, will contribute to maintaining good oral health.

While the Pyrenean Shepherd’s grooming needs are not overly demanding, they do require a caretaker who is willing to invest time into regular maintenance. Grooming sessions also serve as a bonding experience between the dog and its groomer. Some people may choose to seek the assistance of a professional groomer who is familiar with the breed, particularly for the Rough-Faced variety, to make sure the coat is cared for properly.

Living with a Pyrenean Shepherd

Living with a Pyrenean Shepherd requires an understanding of the breed’s unique characteristics and needs. These intelligent and energetic dogs thrive in environments where they have plenty of space to move and opportunities to engage their minds.

In terms of apartment living, the Pyrenean Shepherd can adapt if its exercise and mental stimulation needs are met. However, the breed is better suited to a home with a yard where it can burn off its abundant energy. Regardless of the living situation, this Pyr Shep requires regular and vigorous exercise to stay happy and healthy.

When it comes to weather conditions, Pyrenean Shepherds are quite adaptable. Their coat provides them with protection against colder climates, but they can also manage warmer weather if they have access to plenty of shade and water. It is important to be mindful of extreme weather conditions and adjust their exercise routine accordingly to make sure the dogs are safe and comfortable.

As a breed that has been used for herding, the Pyrenean Shepherd has a strong work ethic and enjoys having a job to do. These dogs excel in various canine activities and dog sports, which can be a great way to provide the mental and physical stimulation required. Engaging in these activities together can also strengthen the human-canine bond.

Pyrenean Shepherd Puppies

Pyrenean Shepherd puppies are a joyful and exciting responsibility. Each little bundle of energy is an intelligent and curious creature that is eager to explore the world. It is essential to be prepared for the puppies’ high energy levels and their need for socialization and training from the start.

Puppies of this breed require consistent training and socialization to help them grow up to become well-behaved and balanced adults. Early exposure to different people, places, and situations will help in developing their confidence and adaptability. Providing a variety of toys and engaging in interactive play will also contribute to their mental and physical development.

Caring for a Pyrenean Shepherd Puppy

Caring for a Pyrenean Shepherd puppy requires time, patience, and a commitment to the little one’s well-being. Establishing a routine for feeding, potty breaks, and exercise is crucial in helping the pup adjust to its new home. Making sure the puppy has a safe and comfortable space to rest is also important.

In terms of nutrition, feeding a balanced and age-appropriate diet is vital for the puppy’s growth and development. Consulting with a veterinarian to determine the right type and amount of food is a wise step, and remembering to provide fresh water at all times is essential.

Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to monitor the puppy’s health and to keep it up to date on vaccinations and preventive care. As with all breeds, early training and socialization are key, and the Pyr Shep pup is no exception. Engaging in positive reinforcement training methods will yield the best results, establishing a strong foundation for a well-mannered adult dog.

Providing ample exercise and mental stimulation is paramount for this energetic and intelligent breed. It is important to make sure the puppy has enough playtime, with various activities that can keep its busy mind engaged. As the pup grows, it can participate in more structured exercises and even participate in a few dog sports, which are excellent outlets for the Pyrenean Shepherd’s boundless energy.

Pyrenean Shepherd Activities & Dog Sports

The Pyrenean Shepherd is a breed that thrives when engaged in activities that are challenging. The breed’s intelligence, agility, and energy make these dogs excellent candidates for various Companion and Performance events. Below is a list of dog sports that are well-suited for the breed:

  • Agility: This is a timed obstacle course that tests a dog’s agility, balance, and speed. Pyrenean Shepherds excel in Agility due to their nimble nature and quick reflexes.
  • Herding Trials: Given the breed’s history as a herding dog, engaging a Pyr Shep in Herding Trials can be a great way to channel its natural instincts.
  • Obedience Trials: Participating in Obedience Trials can reinforce the human-canine bond by improving a dog’s responsiveness to commands.
  • Flyball: This relay race involves teams of dogs jumping over hurdles to reach a spring-loaded box that releases a tennis ball. The Pyr Shep’s speed and agility can make these dogs fantastic competitors in Flyball.
  • Rally Obedience: This is a sport where the dog and handler complete a course designed by a judge, following signs that instruct them to perform various skills at specific stations.
  • Tracking: Leveraging the breed’s keen sense of smell, Pyrenean Shepherds can be trained to track scents over various surfaces while competing for titles.
  • Search and Rescue: With proper training, Py Sheps can excel in Search and Rescue missions where they can offer assistance in locating missing persons.
  • Conformation: Participating in Conformation dog shows can be a way for breeders and owners to showcase their dogs and see how well they conform to the Breed Standard.
  • Therapy Work: The Pyr Shep’s gentle and affectionate nature can make it a good candidate for Therapy Work, providing comfort and companionship in hospitals, schools, and nursing homes.
  • Hiking and Outdoor Adventures: Being an energetic breed, the Pyrenean Shepherd typically enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, running, and exploring.

Participating in these activities and other not only helps with burning off a Pyrenean Shepherd’s excess energy, it also strengthens the bond between the dog and its human companion, creating fulfilling and enriching experiences for both.

Group Classification & Standards

The Pyrenean Shepherd is recognized by the world’s leading registries and kennel organizations, which categorize the breed into a specific Group based on its unique characteristics. This breed is recognized worldwide under the following Group designations:

International Organizations

Organization Group Designation
AKC (American Kennel Club) Herding
UKC (United Kennel Club) Herding Dog
CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) Herding
ANKC (Australian National Kennel Council) Working Dogs
RKC (The Royal Kennel Club) Pastoral
FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) Group 1: Sheepdogs and Cattledogs; Section 1: Sheepdog

The ideal Pyrenean Shepherd is described by a Breed Standard that is approved by each of the world’s leading registries and kennel organizations. The Breed Standards for this breed may be found in the following links:

Breed Standards

Organization Breed Standard
American Kennel Club AKC Pyrenean Shepherd Breed Standard
United Kennel Club UKC Pyrenean Shepherd Breed Standard
Canadian Kennel Club CKC Pyrenean Shepherd Breed Standard
Australian National Kennel Council ANKC Pyrenean Shepherd Breed Standard
The Royal Kennel Club RKC Pyrenean Shepherd Breed Standard
Fédération Cynologique Internationale FCI Pyrenean Shepherd Breed Standard

Pyrenean Shepherd Clubs

There are several breed-specific clubs established to support Pyrenean Shepherds and their human companions around the world. These organizations provide invaluable resources, breed information, and community support for both prospective puppy buyers and current Pyr Shep owners.

In the United States, the Pyrenean Shepherd Club of America serves as the primary organization dedicated to the breed, fostering a community of enthusiasts and providing information on responsible breeding practices, healthcare, and participation in dog sports and other canine events.

In the United Kingdom, the Pyrenean Sheepdog Club of Great Britain, established in 1992, provides a dedicated space for owners and breeders of this unique breed. The club plays a vital role in the preservation and promotion of the breed, offering resources, guidance, and a community for those who are passionate about these dogs.

These clubs play a crucial role in upholding the well-being, joy, and appropriate treatment of Pyrenean Shepherds, guaranteeing their lives are full and that they obtain the care they need. They also offer outlets for the Pyr Shep’s abundant energy and intelligence, promoting activities and events that cater to the breed’s specific needs. Through these organizations, Pyrenean Shepherds, and their human companions, receive invaluable support, securing the breed’s thriving presence for generations to come.

Pyrenean Shepherd Rescue Groups

Pyrenean Shepherd rescue groups play a crucial supportive role for the breed, providing a safety net for dogs that need a second chance at a loving home. These organizations work diligently to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome Pyr Sheps that have been abandoned, surrendered, or found in less than ideal conditions. Their volunteers assess the health and temperament of each dog, making sure they are ready for adoption and can adjust well to their new home environment.

In the United States, specialized rescue networks and the national breed club collaborate to assist Pyrenean Shepherds in need. Prospective adopters are encouraged to reach out to this group as well as to general animal rescues and local shelters.

In the United Kingdom, the Pyrenean Sheepdog Club of Great Britain can be a valuable resource for anyone who is interested in adopting a Pyr Shep. Its members can provide information on available dogs and direct adopters to reputable rescuers who are members of the club.

Pyrenean Shepherd Facts

  • Herding Heritage: Originating from the Pyrenees Mountains, these dogs have a strong herding instinct, working historically alongside the larger Great Pyrenees to manage and protect flocks of sheep.
  • Two Varieties: Pyrenean Shepherds come in two coat types: Rough-Faced and Smooth-Faced. The Rough-Faced variety has a longer coat and more furnishings on the face, whereas22 the Smooth-Faced has a shorter coat and presents a more clean-cut appearance.
  • Agility Stars: Given their nimble and agile nature, Pyrenean Shepherds excel in dog sports, particularly in Agility. Their quick reflexes and eagerness to please make them formidable competitors at Agility Trials.
  • Vocal Communicators: Pyrenean Shepherds have a lot to say and aren’t shy about expressing themselves. They are known for being particularly vocal, using barks, whines, and even howls to communicate with their human companions.
  • Natural Watchdogs: With a keen sense of awareness and a protective instinct, Pyrenean Shepherds make excellent watchdogs. They are always alert to their surroundings and are quick to let their owners known about anything unusual that’s going on.
  • Weather-Resistant Coats: The Pyr Shep’s dense and weather-resistant coat makes these dogs well-suited to a variety of climates, although they do require regular grooming to keep their coats in top condition.
  • Long Lifespan: With a lifespan ranging from 17 to 19 years, Pyrenean Shepherds are known for their longevity, offering their owners many years of companionship and love.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do Pyrenean Shepherds shed?

Pyrenean Shepherds shed, and the amount of loose hair can vary depending on the coat type, with the Rough-Faced variety typically shedding more than the Smooth-Faced. Regular grooming is essential to help with managing the shedding and to keep the coat in good condition. During seasonal changes, they may experience heavier shedding and will require more frequent brushing to help remove the dead hair.

Do Pyrenean Shepherds bark a lot?

Pyrenean Shepherds are known to be vocal dogs and they use barking to communicate with their human companions, alerting them to potential threats and expressing excitement. Considerate training and proper socialization from a young age can help to manage excessive barking. However, potential owners should be prepared for a dog that is naturally inclined to make some noise.

Do Pyrenean Shepherds drool?

Pyrenean Shepherds are not known to be heavy droolers. However, like all dogs, they may drool on occasion, especially when they are excited or anticipating food. Keeping a clean water bowl accessible and wiping their mouths gently when needed can help to manage any minor drooling.

Is a Pyrenean Shepherd a good family dog?

Pyrenean Shepherds can make great family pets for active households that are able to meet their high-energy and exercise needs. They are loyal dogs and form strong bonds with their families, often being protective of the children. Proper socialization and training are crucial to make sure they develop good manners and are comfortable around all family members.

Is a Pyrenean Shepherd a good Service Dog?

With their high intelligence, trainability, and eagerness to please, some Pyrenean Shepherds have the potential to be trained as Service Dogs. These dogs excel in tasks that require agility, responsiveness, and problem-solving skills; however, their high energy levels and need for stimulation mean they require an owner who can provide them with ample exercise and mental engagement.

Is a Pyrenean Shepherd a good hunting dog?

While Pyrenean Shepherds have a strong herding instinct and are very agile, they are not traditionally used as hunting dogs. Their skill set is more aligned with herding tasks and competing in Agility and Obedience Trials. However, with the proper training, a few Pyr Sheps might be able to participate in activities that mimic hunting behaviors.

Can a Pyrenean Shepherd be left home alone all day?

Pyrenean Shepherds are a high-energy breed that thrives on interaction and mental stimulation. Leaving these dogs alone for extended periods can lead to boredom and potentially destructive behaviors. It is crucial for owners of the breed to provide adequate exercise, interactive toys, and enrichment activities to keep them engaged when they are home alone.

Are Pyrenean Shepherds high or low maintenance?

Pyrenean Shepherds are considered to be a medium to high maintenance breed. They require regular grooming to manage their shedding and to prevent matting, especially for the Rough-Faced variety. Additionally, the breed’s high energy and intelligence mandate plenty of daily exercise and mental stimulation in order for the dog to stay happy and healthy throughout its long life.

latest articles

latest articles

ADVERTISEMENTS

Find a Breeder or Rescue

The best way to ensure a long and happy relationship with a purebred dog is to purchase one from a responsible breeder. Not sure where to begin?

Contact the National Parent Club’s Breeder Referral Program, which is listed on the AKC Breeder Referral Contacts page.

Find a Pyrenean Shepherd Puppy
Find a Breeder or Rescue

BREEDER DIRECTORY