They look immensely strong and yet are well balanced and elegant, with unhurried, steady and smooth movement, which is driven by powerful hindquarters. Pyrenean Mountain Dogs (or 'Pyrs') are plain white or white with patches of badger, wolf-grey, lemon, orange or tan on their heads, ears and root of their tails. The minimum height for an adult male is 70cm and 50kg in weight. Adult females are from 65cm and 40kg.
Originating from the Pyrenees, the mountains that separate France from Spain, the exact history of the Pyrenean Mountain Dog breed is unknown but they have been guarding the flocks in France for millennia. Fossils of this breed type have been found, which predate the Bronze Age (1800-1000BC). Before the French Revolution, the breed could be found guarding the large chateaux in southern France. Exactly what breeds contributed to their make-up are not known but the Kuvasz of Hungary, the Maremma Sheepdog of Italy and Anatolian Sheepdog of Turkey are all likely candidates. To this day, the breed works in France, guarding sheep and cattle from predators and stock thieves.
Pyrenean Mountain Dogs often make affectionate companions. They can, however, be aggressive towards other dogs of a similar size. Strangers will be mistrusted and you and your family will be protected against any unwelcome strangers. Pyrenean Mountain Dogs can be headstrong and stubborn and are not ideal for first-time owners, requiring a more experienced owner.
The Pyranean 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.
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.
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.
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!