Breed: Pyrenean Mountain Dog
Temperament: Placid, protective
Lifespan: 8-12 years
Recommended for: Active people, large suburban yards
Dumpage rate: medium
Maintenance: medium to high
The Pyrenean Mountain Dog is a large heavy boned breed standing from 26-28″ (66-70cm) and weighing 90-110lb (41-50kg) and upwards. The coat is mid-length, mostly white but with markings of lemon or grey. The nose and eye rims are black.
The Pyrenean is placid, self confident and protective of its family. Owners describe them as affectionate, mischievous, majestic and loveable. Occasionally Pyreneans can become problem barkers if bored.
Health and lifespan
Like most large breeds, hips can be a problem with most breeders xraying breeding stock or importing semen from cleared stock. They can suffer from forelimb lameness caused by OCD (an ulceration in the cartilage) and Entropion (where the lower eyelid rolls in an irritates the eye). Heart problems are rare and bone cancers are less common than in other giant breeds. Most live between 8-12 years.
Breeders should advise new puppy owners of appropriate diets and required calcium supplements for the first 12-18 months. Adults cost about $20 to $30 per week to feed. Although they are a large breed, Pyrenean Mountain dogs are not overly active and do not require huge amounts of food. They would consume roughly the same amount as a Golden Retriever might but quality is more important than quantity. Their diet should consist largely of fresh meat, with vegetables, rice, pasta and marrow bones given occasionally. A small amount of good quality dry food (one cup) can be given once per day.
Breeding and cost
Litters usually consist of six to nine puppies. Prices start at around $850 for pets, more for show quality.
The coat is double and weatherproof but can stain and matt if neglected. It needs to be kept clean and should be brushed at least twice a week, more frequently when dropping hair. Pyrenean Mountain Dogs should never be clipped to the skin as they need their thick coats to insulate against heat, sun and cold.
The Pyrenean Mountain Dog was bred to live outdoors with their flock so should not suffer if outside more or less permanently. However, many long-time owners describe their dogs as being content inside, dozing on the floor. The coat will shed copious amounts of hair twice yearly. Between times there will be some hair on furniture and carpets. They should be dissuaded from barking unnecessarily.
Space and exercise
Pyreneans need at least a suburban backyard and are not suited to flats or small backyards. Regimented walks for puppies up to 12 months of age should be avoided, instead a game in the backyard should provide adequate exercise. Adults are relatively lethargic , especially on hot days, and can take as much or as little exercise as the owner enjoys.
Due to the dogs’ size, it is important that all Pyreneans are trained to respond to basic commands. While they are responsive to humans, they are not entirely mature until they are four years of age and will need more patience to train than some other breeds.
The Pyrenean Mountain Dog is thought to have originated in the Pyrenees Mountains that separate France from Spain where it has been used for centuries as a guard and sheep herding dog. It became a fashionable breed at the French ‘Court’ in the 17th century. While the first Pyreneans arrived in Australia in 1843, they are not a common breed.
Most Pyreneans in Australia are companion animals.
Pyreneans fit most situations, requiring a reasonably large sized backyard and a daily game or walk. They suit a family or working couple and most can cope with being left during the day. Most Pyreneans enjoy the company of children.
To find up-to-date contacts for breeders, contact the following organisations.
Phone: 1300 728 022 (NSW only) or (02) 9834 3022
Fax: (02) 9834 3872
Phone: (03) 9788 2500
Fax: (03) 9788 2599
Phone: (02) 6241 4404 – Fax: (02) 6241 1129.
Phone: (08) 9455 1188
Fax: (08) 9455 1190
Phone: (08) 8349 4797
Canine Control Council of Queensland
Phone: (07) 3252 2661
Fax: (07) 3252 3864
Tasmanian Canine Association
Phone: (03) 6272 9443
Fax: (03) 6273 0844
Phone: (08) 8984 3570
Fax: (08) 8984 3409