- Height: 15-21 inches
- Weight: 25-30 lb
- Lifespan: 10-15 years
- Group: AKC Herding
- Best Suited For: Families with children, active singles and seniors, houses with yards
- Temperament: Alert, energetic, obedient, easy to train
- Comparable Breeds: Shetland Sheepdog, Briard
Pyrenean Shepherd Basics
An old breed that was meant to herd sheep, the Pyrenean Shepherd is active and energetic. This breed needs loads of exercise and is perfect for families who like to play outdoors and experience nature. Reliable and watchful, the Pyrenean Shepherd loves kids and will keep them busy playing in the yard for hours. With proper socialization, he will readily accept and play with other dogs as well.
Always vigilant with his flock, the Pyr Shep as he is affectionately called by enthusiasts, considers his human family to be his flock nowadays. This breed is a great watchdog and will protect his family and his home. To learn more about Pyrenean Shepherds, read on.
An old breed that was meant to herd sheep, the Pyrenean Shepherd is active and energetic.
Because the Pyrenean Shepherd is an extremely old dog breed, its origin is unknown. It is known that this breed was meant to herd sheep and other livestock. Some believe that the Pyr Shep was the mighty dog of Cro-Magnon man as pictographs of a similar looking canine were found in a cave Lascaux. The truth is that nobody truly knows and it is doubtful that anyone ever will know the origin of this breed.
Some believe that the Pyrenean Shepherd is a descendant of the French Catalan Sheepdog because the Pyr Shep resembles a downsized version of that breed. Others believe that the breed is a descendant of the Briard. but no one knows for sure. We do know that this breed worked in conjunction with the Great Pyrenees to manipulate and guard the flock and that they worked well together.
During the 1800s, sheep that were brought to the U.S. from Europe were usually sent with a Pyr Shep to tend them. This is how some of the first dogs of this breed got to America. Pyrenean Shepherds were instrumental to the French troops during World War l because of their bravery, loyalty and dedication to their jobs. Many human lives were saved at the cost of many Pyr Shep’s lives.
The Pyrenean Shepherd is extremely active therefore; he requires a good bit of high-quality, dry kibble. It’s best to feed a dry food specifically formulated for high-energy, active dogs. Dry food is essential to the dog’s oral health as soft or canned food can cause tooth decay, plaque buildup, gum disease and bad breath.
The Pyr Shep is easy to train, as his main desire is to please his family.
For those who need a herding dog that doesn’t require any training to do his job, the Pyrenean Shepherd is the breed they want. His instincts are all he needs to get the job done. With that being said, the Pyr Shep is easy to train, as his main desire is to please his family. He can be trained to do silly tricks or do necessary tasks within the household.
The Pyrenean Shepherd loves to engage in dog sports. Things like obedience trials, agility courses and herding tests are favorites of this breed. They also do well as therapy dogs and in search and rescue. This highly trainable breed is usually a pleasure to be around.
Pyr Sheps weigh between 25 and 30 pounds and stand from 15 to 21 inches high at the withers.
Lively and vivacious, the Pyrenean Shepherd is an energetic and cheerful companion. He is very intelligent and has a quick wit, making this breed highly trainable and capable of performing the most difficult tasks. Although the Pyr Shep is small, you surely wouldn’t know it. His bravery, tenacity and protective instincts make this breed a devoted watchdog for the home and the perfect guardian for a family.
Because of his herding instincts, the Pyrenean Shepherd is wary of strangers by nature. It is essential that he be socialized from puppyhood. Without proper social skills, the Pyr Shep can be aggressive toward newcomers. Generally, this breed will be reserved around those people and animals they don’t know; this is normal. Shyness or aggression is not and can be avoided by regular socialization.
Playful and enthusiastic, the Pyrenean Shepherd needs lots of exercise. He’ll happily go jogging or hiking with his family or simply tear up the yard playing ball or Frisbee with the children. This breed is great for active families with energetic kids.
Common Health Problems
The Pyrenean Shepherd is generally, a hearty breed of dog. This breed is predisposed to patella luxation and hip dysplasia. The only other major health issue prevalent in the breed is epilepsy. Otherwise, the Pyr Shep has minimal health issues.
The Pyrenean Shepherd lives to be somewhere between 10 and 15 years old.
You have no idea what energy really is until you have experienced the “energizer bunny” lifestyle of the Pyrenean Shepherd. Honestly, the bunny’s battery would probably die before the Pyr Shep wanted a break! While herding his sheep, this breed can travel 30 miles over the course of the day taking care of his flock. He needs lots of vigorous and mentally stimulating exercise every day.
A fenced yard is essential for this breed. Pyrenean Shepherds do not handle living in apartments or condos very well. Families with high-energy kids would be perfect for this breed. There is no doubt that the children would be outside for hours playing ball or fetch with the dog.
Lively and vivacious, the Pyrenean Shepherd is an energetic and cheerful companion.
The American Kennel Club states: “The Pyrenean Shepherd or “Pyr Shep” has herded sheep in the Pyrenees Mountains of Southern France for centuries. The breed comes in two coat types – Rough-Faced and Smooth-Faced. Colors include shades of fawn from tan to copper, as well as charcoal to silver to pearl grey. Although tentative with strangers, the Pyrenean Shepherd has a very lively, cheerful disposition, and is a superb canine athlete who excels at agility and other dog sports.” The Pyrenean Shepherd was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2009.
There are two acceptable coat types within the Pyr Shep breed. They are Rough-Faced and Smooth-Faced. The Rough-Faced type can have long or demi-long hair that is rather harsh and thick. The Smooth-Faced variety has a soft and fine coat that is less than 3 inches long. Its muzzle has short and fine hair. There are a variety of acceptable colors for the Pyr Shep including fawn, black, black and white, brindle, merle and gray.
Grooming the Pyrenean Shepherd is a no-brainer and takes minimal time. A good and thorough brushing every other week is enough to keep the coat free from mats and tangles. Without proper brushing, the Rough-Faced variety will develop a corded coat, which is not desirable in the breed. Bathing should only be done when the dog begins to smell or is dirty.
Pyr Shep pups need to be started at puppy obedience classes as soon as they are vaccinated. This will help him learn basic commands and sets the owner up to be the person who is in charge of the household. Socialization is essential to avoid shyness and aggressiveness with strange people and pets.