Pyrenean Shepherd

Type: Shepherd Dog

Height: Smooth-haired: 15.5 - 22 inches; Long-haired: 15 - 19 inches.

Weight: 18 - 33 lbs. (both)

Life Span: 9 - 15 years.

Litter Size: Average litter size is 4.

Country of Origin: France

Activity: High

Watch-dog: Very High

Guard-dog: High

Description: The Berger de Pyrenees, or Pyrenean Shepherd, is a medium sized breed that comes in two different varieties: the Long-haired and the Smooth-haired. Some even break the breed down into another category: the Wire-haired. These variations came about from the area in which the breed lived, with fur length and texture determined by the climate and living conditions. The Long-haired type has long, shaggy hair that will cord if not brushed out regularly. The Smooth-haired type has less fur, and it is shorter, about medium length. Both are herding dogs, bred for working with the Pyrenean Mountain dog and the Pyrenean Mastiff. Pyrenean Shepherds can be nervous, but good at working at a job. They thrive off of an activity and being around their people. They are active, full of energy, and can be mischievous at times. Training is essential for this breed, as they can turn into little terrors if not properly trained and socialized when they are young. The Smooth-haired type tends to be less nervous than the Long-haired, but both have exceeding energy and spunk.

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Other Names: Labrit, Berger des Pyreness, Pyr, Pyr Shep, Berger, Petit Berger

Colors: Fawn, grey, blue, merle, brindle, black, with or without white markings.

Coat: Smooth-haired type has smooth, medium-shaggy fur that does not cover the eyes. Long-haired type has wiry, shaggy, long fur that will cord if not brushed out regularly. Both coats are weatherproof.

Temperament: Pyrenean Shepherds are lively, energetic and nervous. They are built for speed, have great endurance, and love to work. They thrive off of a job or activity to do. They like being around their family, but are not as kind to strangers. They are wary of strangers, in fact. Pyr Sheps do not tolerate annoyances from children or other people. They are protective of their own, alert, and fearless. They can become mischievous if not trained or socialized properly. Independent but loyal, the Pyrenean Shepherd is a good guardian. They are also excellent watchdogs, and have been described in literature as, "a ball of vivacious and quick-witted that...he can...perform any task."

With Children: No, not suited for children. They have a low tolerance for purposeful or accidental annoyances.q

With Pets: Yes, they do well with other pets. They have been bred over the years for use in working with the Pyrenean Mountain Dog and Pyrenean Mastiff in guarding flocks of sheep.

Special Skills: Watchdog, guard dog and sheep herder.

Care and Training: The coat of the Long-haired needs to be brushed weekly in order to keep it from cording. Their coat should be brushed weekly to remove dead hairs and twigs, burrs, etc. Ears, teeth and nails should be checked and/or groomed regularly, and ears can be cropped. This breed is very energetic on its own, and therefore needs regular, consistent exercise. They may get their own exercise through their own activities, but activities or walks should be provided otherwise. Pyrs are highly trainable. They are eager to do as their owner pleases, and although independent, they get fulfillment out of doing an activity. The breed should be trained and socialized from an early age.

Learning Rate: High. Obedience - High. Problem Solving - High. Pyrenean Shepherds are very clever and quick-witted.

Special Needs: Grooming, exercise, a job or activity to do, socialization and training.

Living Environment: The best owner for the Pyrenean Shepherd is an active, dog-experienced person living in a rural environment. They are better suited for the country than for the city or suburban areas. They do best in an outdoor, country environment.

Health Issues: Epilepsy, PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), hip dysplasia, and patellar luxation.

History: The Pyrenean Shepherd originated alongside the Great Pyrenees and Pyrenean Mountain Dog. These dogs were believed to have descended from nomadic peoples' dogs living in the Pyrenees. They were all developed on the Pyrenees Mountains of southern France, between Lourdes and Gavarnie. This mountain range served as the border between France and Spain. Throughout the years in this harsh environment, the breed developed the ability to be very agile, endure extremes in weather, go long periods without food, and highly resist illness. They also became very brave and fearless dogs, and if the danger was too much for the Shepherd, along came his coworker, the Great Pyrenees to defend the flock. Both worked alongside each other in the same flocks, and did the same job. Whereas the Great Pyrenees was large and threatening in appearance for guarding, the Pyrenean Shepherd was more agile and quick. The breed's name is often referred to as a Labrit, which can mean any one of the different varieties of Pyr Shep. In 1926 the French kennel club recognized the breed, and B. Senac-Lagrange created the first standard for them. It has remained nearly intact even today. The breed was put into two separate classifications. During WWI the Pyr Shep was used as a military dog, and was introduced into the U.S. in the 19th century. They are thought to be a progenitor for the modern Australian Shepherd.

First Registered by the AKC: 2009

AKC Group: Herding Group

Class: Miscellaneous

Registries: FCI