The Pyrenean Shepherd: Your complete guide!

The Pyrenean Shepherd, a symbol of determination, unwavering dedication, and remarkable herding skills, has made its mark among dog lovers and shepherds. With a history linked to the Pyrenees region, distinctive physical attributes, and a unique set of temperament traits, this breed is revered as an agile and dependable working dog.

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    Everything you need to know about the Pyrenean Shepherd!

    Category (Explanation)Breed Information
    Year of Breed Conception17th century
    Country of OriginFrance (Pyrenees region)
    Weight (lbs & kg) (Male)15-30 lbs (7-14 kg)
    Weight (lbs & kg) (Female)15-25 lbs (7-11 kg)
    Coat TypeLong or rough
    Color VariationsVarious colors, often fawn or brindle
    Shedding Level (Low, Moderate, High)Low to moderate
    Height (cm & in)15-20 inches (38-51 cm)
    Breed SizeSmall to medium
    Trainability (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Mental Needs (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Intelligence Level (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Energy Level (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Agility (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Loyalty (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Playfulness (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Exercise NeedsRegular exercise and mental stimulation
    Guarding Proficiency (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Sociability with Children (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Barking Level (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Digging Tendency (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Destructive Behavior (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Drooling Level (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Obedience Level (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Apartment Friendly (Yes/No)Can adapt to apartment living with sufficient exercise
    Inherent Prey DriveHigh
    Physical Risk to Others (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Travel Fatality Risk (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Allergen PotentialLow
    Health Concerns (List of Common Health Concerns)Hip Dysplasia, Eye Issues, Epilepsy
    Average Life Expectancy (Life Expectancy in Years)15-17 years
    Make sure to take care of your Pyrenean Shepherd and

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    History of the Pyrenean Shepherd

    The Pyrenean Shepherd, or Berger des Pyrénées, has a history rooted in the Pyrenees Mountains of France. These dogs have served as herders and working companions for shepherds in the region for centuries.

    Their agile and compact build, along with their intelligence, made them well-suited for herding tasks in the rugged terrain of the Pyrenees. They were also known for their unwavering loyalty and ability to work closely with humans.

    Pyrenean Shepherds continue to be appreciated for their herding abilities and their bond with their human families, making them both versatile working dogs and affectionate pets.

    What makes the Pyrenean Shepherd so special?

    Pyrenean Shepherd standing sitting in a field

    The Pyrenean Shepherd is special for its remarkable endurance and adaptability. These agile herders excel in challenging mountain terrains. Their loyalty and work ethic set them apart, making them truly extraordinary working and companion dogs.

    Pyrenean Shepherds have a rich history as herding dogs in the Pyrenees Mountains. Their agility and ability to manage livestock in challenging mountain terrain made them invaluable to shepherds. They also served as guards and protectors of flocks. Today, they maintain their herding and working instincts, participating in dog sports, and are beloved as loyal family pets, carrying on their tradition as capable working dogs.

    Pyrenean Shepherds have spirited and tenacious personalities. They are known for their endurance, adaptability, and a strong work ethic. These agile herders excel in managing livestock in challenging mountain terrains.

    Their loyalty and determination set them apart as dependable workers, and they also form strong bonds with their families. Pyrenean Shepherds are characterized by their agility, work ethic, and a devoted nature, epitomizing the perfect blend of resilience and companionship.

    Pyrenean Shepherds are affectionate, alert, and agile. They have strong herding instincts and are usually good with children and other pets. They can be reserved with strangers.

    Early socialization helps them become well-adjusted. They thrive on mental and physical stimulation.

    Pyrenean Shepherds are small to medium-sized dogs with a sturdy and agile build. They have a pleasing head with expressive almond-shaped eyes and small, triangular ears.

    They have a double coat in shades of fawn, brindle, or gray with white markings. Their tail is often carried high and may be naturally bobbed or long.

    Males typically stand between 15 to 21 inches (38-53 cm) at the shoulder and weigh between 30 to 50 pounds (14-23 kg), while females are slightly smaller and lighter.

    Pyrenean Shepherds have an agile and alert presence, reflecting their herding and working abilities.

    Pyrenean Shepherds typically have fawn, brindle, or various shades of gray coats with white markings. They may not have distinct coat colors.

    Pyrenean Shepherds typically have fawn, brindle, or shades of gray coats with white markings, but they may not exhibit distinct coat patterns.

    Pyrenean Shepherds have a moderate shedding level. They shed year-round with seasonal variations. Regular grooming and brushing can help minimize shedding and keep their coat healthy.

    Pyrenean Shepherds have a medium-length coat that requires regular grooming to keep it healthy and minimize shedding. Grooming habits for this breed include:

    1. Brushing: Regular brushing, about once or twice a week, helps prevent matting and removes loose fur. Use a slicker brush or a pin brush for grooming.

    2. Bathing: Bathe Pyrenean Shepherds when necessary, using a dog-specific shampoo. Ensure thorough rinsing.

    3. Ears: Check and clean their ears regularly to prevent wax buildup or infections using a veterinarian-recommended ear cleaning solution.

    4. Nails: Trim their nails to a comfortable length to maintain proper gait and prevent discomfort.

    5. Teeth: Brush their teeth regularly to ensure dental health and prevent bad breath. Dental chews or toys can be beneficial.

    6. Tail and Paw Care: Maintain cleanliness in the tail and paw areas, inspecting for any signs of irritation or injury.

    Pyrenean Shepherds have a high activity level and thrive on physical and mental challenges. Key points about their activity level include:

    1. Exercise Needs: Pyrenean Shepherds require daily exercise to stay healthy and content. Activities should be engaging and include playtime and outdoor adventures.

    2. Energy Level: They are known for their high energy levels, which need to be properly channeled through regular exercise.

    3. Herding Heritage: Historically, Pyrenean Shepherds were bred for herding and protecting livestock. They excel in herding trials, agility, and obedience.

    4. Mental Stimulation: In addition to physical activity, mental challenges through training and puzzle toys are important to keep them mentally sharp.

    5. Outdoor Enthusiasts: They enjoy outdoor activities and make great companions for hikers and active individuals.

    Briards are highly intelligent dogs with a remarkable capacity for learning. Here are some key points about their intelligence:

    1. Trainability: Briards are highly trainable and excel in obedience training. They are quick learners and can grasp complex commands and tasks.
    2. Problem-Solving: They have excellent problem-solving abilities, which are advantageous in their traditional roles as herders and guardians.
    3. Adaptability: Briards are adaptable to different living environments and situations, making them versatile companions.
    4. Work and Utility: Historically bred as herding and working dogs, their intelligence is an asset in responding to cues and commands efficiently.
    5. Social Intelligence: Briards form strong bonds with their families and are attentive to human emotions. They are loyal and protective.

    Briards’ high intelligence and work ethic make them excellent companions and working dogs. Training, socialization, and mental stimulation are crucial for their well-being.

    Pyrenean Shepherds are intelligent and need mental stimulation. Engage them in obedience training, herding activities, and interactive games to keep their minds sharp.

    Social Interaction: They are social dogs and require regular interaction with their human family. Loneliness can lead to anxiety or destructive behavior, so provide companionship and attention.

    Exercise: Mental exercise is equally important. Offer them tasks that challenge their problem-solving skills.

    Training and Obedience: Pyrenean Shepherds benefit from obedience training, herding activities, and mental challenges, which not only stimulate their minds but also strengthen their bond with their owners.

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    What to look out for, before you get a Pyrenean Shepherd!

    Pyrenean Shepherd standing on a lawn

    Before bringing a Pyrenean Shepherd into your home, consider the following:

    1. Activity Level: Pyrenean Shepherds are active dogs that need regular exercise and mental stimulation.

    2. Training Needs: They are intelligent and require training to keep their minds engaged and prevent boredom.

    3. Space: Pyrenean Shepherds can adapt to smaller living spaces but need outdoor activities.

    4. Coat Care: Regular grooming is important to maintain their coat and prevent matting.

    5. Herding Instinct: Be prepared for their natural herding behaviors and tendencies.

    Pyrenean Shepherds, though smaller in size, may pose a physical risk to others if not properly socialized, trained, or managed. The risk assessment factors include:

    1. Protective Instinct: Pyrenean Shepherds may have a protective instinct, especially towards their family. Proper training is essential to manage this instinct.

    2. Socialization: Early and thorough socialization is crucial to ensure Pyrenean Shepherds are comfortable around people and other animals. Poor socialization can lead to fear or aggression.

    3. Training: Obedience training is essential to teach Pyrenean Shepherds appropriate behavior and ensure they respond to commands. Well-trained dogs are less likely to engage in aggressive behavior.

    4. Owner Responsibility: Responsible ownership involves being aware of the dog’s behavior and taking necessary precautions in public settings.

    5. Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL): Pyrenean Shepherds are not commonly subject to BSL, but owners should be aware of local regulations.

    6. Individual Variability: Each dog is unique, and behavior can vary. Responsible ownership, proper training, and socialization are key to minimizing the potential physical risk to others.

    Pyrenean Shepherds are usually good with kids. They are affectionate and protective. Their herding background may make them watch over and gather children. With proper socialization and training, they can be gentle and loving family companions.

    Pyrenean Shepherds are generally capable swimmers. Their agility and sturdy build make them proficient in the water. Many may enjoy swimming, but it’s important to gauge your individual dog’s comfort level and abilities. Always supervise them when they are in or around water.

    1. Early Training: Commence training your Pyrenean Shepherd puppy early to take advantage of their quick learning abilities.
    2. Socialization: Expose your puppy to various people, animals, and environments to foster adaptability and reduce fear or aggression.
    3. Positive Reinforcement: Use treats, praise, and toys to reward and reinforce desirable behavior, building a strong bond with your puppy.
    4. Consistency: Maintain consistency in your training methods and cues to prevent confusion.
    5. Basic Commands: Teach essential commands like “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “leave it” for safety and obedience.
    6. House Training: Establish a routine for potty breaks and praise for outdoor elimination to housetrain your puppy.
    7. Crate Training: Use crate training to create a safe space for your puppy and develop positive associations with the crate.
    8. Social Skills: Encourage positive interactions with other dogs and people to foster good social skills.
    9. Exercise and Play: Ensure your Pyrenean Shepherd puppy gets sufficient exercise and playtime to prevent restlessness.
    10. Chewing: Provide appropriate chew toys to satisfy their need to chew and protect your belongings.
    11. Patience and Persistence: Training may take time; be patient and avoid punitive methods.
    12. Professional Training: Consider professional training classes if you face challenges or need additional guidance.

    Early and positive training will help your Pyrenean Shepherd puppy become a well-behaved and devoted companion.

    Pyrenean Shepherds are usually moderately noisy. They may bark while herding and alert their owners to potential dangers. However, their barking is generally not excessive compared to some other herding breeds.

    Pyrenean Shepherds thrive in homes that provide:

    • 1. Active Lifestyle: They do well in households with active individuals or families who can provide regular exercise and playtime.
    • 2. Space: A house with a yard where they can exercise and explore is ideal.
    • 3. Socialization: Early and consistent socialization is crucial to their well-adjusted behavior.
    • 4. Routine: Establishing a routine helps them feel secure and reduces anxiety. Predictable daily schedules are beneficial.
    • 5. Training: They respond well to positive reinforcement training methods and thrive in environments where training and mental stimulation are prioritized.


    • 1. Lack of Exercise: Without sufficient exercise and mental stimulation, Pyrenean Shepherds can become bored and may develop behavioral problems.
    • 2. Isolation: They are social dogs and may struggle in homes where they are frequently left alone for extended periods.
    • 3. Lack of Socialization: Poorly socialized Pyrenean Shepherds may exhibit fear or aggression towards strangers or other animals, which can lead to challenges in public settings.
    • 4. Owner Experience: Inexperienced owners who are not prepared for the breed’s specific needs and characteristics may face challenges in raising a well-behaved Pyrenean Shepherd.

    When traveling with Pyrenean Shepherds, consider these factors:

    1. Exercise Needs: Pyrenean Shepherds have moderate exercise requirements. Plan breaks for exercise and playtime during travel.
    2. Size: They are a small to medium-sized breed. Ensure their safety with appropriate travel crates or seat belt harnesses.
    3. Anxiety: Some Pyrenean Shepherds may experience travel anxiety. Gradual exposure to travel and familiar items can help reduce stress.
    4. Air Travel: Choose airlines with pet-friendly policies and suitable crate requirements for air travel.
    5. Identification: Keep proper identification on your Pyrenean Shepherd during travel.

    Pyrenean Shepherds are generally healthy, but they may be prone to certain health concerns, including:

    • Hip Dysplasia: A genetic condition that affects the hip joints and can lead to arthritis and lameness.
    • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): A group of inherited diseases that can lead to blindness.
    • Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA): An inherited eye condition that can affect vision.
    • Epilepsy: A neurological condition that can cause seizures.

    Proper nutrition is essential for Pyrenean Shepherds. Follow these nutritional habits:

    1. High-Quality Dog Food: Choose dog food with high-quality animal protein as the first ingredient.
    2. Age-Appropriate Food: Feed the appropriate life stage formula.
    3. Protein: Opt for a diet with moderate to high protein content.
    4. Balanced Diet: Ensure a balance of protein, fats, carbs, vitamins, and minerals.
    5. Portion Control: Prevent overfeeding with proper portion sizes.
    6. Fresh Water: Always provide clean, fresh water.
    7. Avoid Table Scraps: Refrain from feeding human food.
    8. Treats: Use treats in moderation for training and rewards.
    9. Consult Your Veterinarian: Seek guidance from your vet for the best diet.
    10. Special Dietary Needs: Address dietary restrictions or allergies with your vet.
    11. Weight Management: Maintain a healthy weight through exercise and portion control.
    12. Regular Check-Ups: Schedule regular veterinary check-ups for monitoring.

    Proper nutrition is essential for the health and well-being of Pyrenean Shepherds.

    Breed-specific laws (BSL) may affect Pyrenean Shepherds in particular areas, and owners should be aware of these regulations. BSL is typically enacted at the local level, and the restrictions can vary from one jurisdiction to another. Here are some common types of BSL restrictions that Pyrenean Shepherds may encounter:

    1. Mandatory Spaying/Neutering: Some areas may require owners of Pyrenean Shepherds to spay or neuter their dogs under BSL.
    2. Special Licensing: BSL may necessitate special licenses for Pyrenean Shepherd owners, often involving additional fees and regulations.
    3. Liability Insurance: Owners of Pyrenean Shepherds may be mandated to carry liability insurance as part of BSL.
    4. Muzzling in Public: In specific regions, BSL may dictate that Pyrenean Shepherds be muzzled when in public spaces.
    5. Ownership Bans: In extreme cases, BSL may ban the ownership of Pyrenean Shepherds altogether in certain areas.

    The rationale behind BSL is often based on concerns about public safety and perceived risks associated with specific breeds. While Pyrenean Shepherds are not inherently aggressive, they can be affected by BSL due to their physical resemblance to breeds sometimes included in these laws.

    It’s important to note that BSL is a contentious topic, and many advocates argue that it unfairly targets breeds rather than addressing individual dog behavior. They emphasize that responsible ownership, training, and education should be emphasized instead of breed-specific restrictions.

    To determine if there are breed-specific laws or restrictions regarding Pyrenean Shepherds in your area, you should check with your local animal control or government authorities. Be aware of and comply with any local regulations to ensure that you are in compliance with the law while owning a Pyrenean Shepherd.

    Woof Mastery is reader supported and our articles may contain affiliate links. 

    Instead of running third party ads that we have no control of we only use links from high-quality companies we are directly partnered with. Making use of these links come at no cost to you our reader, and in many cases have the extra benefit of discounted rates or sign up bonuses.

    If you’re interested you can read more about our affiliate policy here.

    We appreciate your support and always insure that the products and services we recommend are high-quality, helpful and relevant to the subject at hand!

    Fun Facts About The Pyrenean Shepherd

    Myth 1: Pyrenean Shepherds are the Same as Border Collies

    Truth: Pyrenean Shepherds are a distinct breed with their own traits. They originated in the Pyrenees region of France.

    Myth 2: They are Not Good Family Dogs

    Truth: Pyrenean Shepherds can be excellent family dogs when properly socialized. They are known for their loyalty and protectiveness.

    Pyrenean Shepherds are not as widely recognized as some other breeds, but they have made significant contributions in herding and working roles:

    1. Pyrenean Shepherds in Herding Trials: Many Pyrenean Shepherds have excelled in herding trials, demonstrating their herding instincts and capabilities.
    2. Working Pyrenean Shepherds: These dogs have continued to work as herders in various regions, contributing to the maintenance of traditional herding practices.

    While specific famous individuals may not be as well-documented, the breed’s overall dedication to herding and working roles is widely acknowledged.

    • Herding: Pyrenean Shepherds have a strong herding background, playing a crucial role in herding livestock in the Pyrenees region.
    • Working Dogs: They are still used as working dogs in herding and other farm-related tasks.
    • Companionship: Pyrenean Shepherds are appreciated as loyal and affectionate family pets.
    • Cultural Heritage: They are a part of the cultural heritage of the Pyrenees region, symbolizing the history of shepherding.

    Pyrenean Shepherds are renowned for their herding abilities, especially in the Pyrenees region. While specific historical owners may not be well-known, these dogs have played a vital role in traditional herding practices.

    Pyrenean Shepherds, like all breeds, face certain challenges and dangers. Some of the greatest dangers and concerns for the breed include:

    1. Misunderstanding: Misconceptions about the breed’s herding instincts and exercise needs can lead to misunderstandings and potential challenges for owners who are not prepared for the breed’s requirements.
    2. Health Concerns: Pyrenean Shepherds are susceptible to specific health issues, including hip dysplasia, eye conditions, and patellar luxation. Responsible breeding and regular veterinary care are essential to address these concerns.
    3. Herding Instincts: Many Pyrenean Shepherds have strong herding instincts, which may lead to nipping or herding behaviors if not properly managed through training.
    4. Exercise Needs: These dogs require regular exercise and mental stimulation to prevent restlessness and destructive behavior due to their high energy levels.
    5. Climate Sensitivity: Their double coat makes them sensitive to heat. Owners in warm climates must take precautions to prevent heat-related issues.
    6. Breed-Specific Legislation: Pyrenean Shepherds may be affected by breed-specific legislation (BSL) in certain areas, leading to restrictions or bans on ownership.
    7. Irresponsible Breeding: Irresponsible breeding practices can result in health and temperament issues. Ethical breeding is crucial for the breed’s well-being.
    8. Training Needs: Proper training is important to manage herding instincts and to provide mental stimulation for the breed.
    9. Socialization: Early and consistent socialization is necessary to ensure Pyrenean Shepherds are well-adjusted around strangers and other dogs.
    10. Coat Care: Their double coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting and maintain skin health.

    By understanding these challenges and providing responsible ownership and care, many of these dangers can be mitigated to ensure the well-being of Pyrenean Shepherds.

    The Pyrenean Shepherd, known for herding in the Pyrenees region, is believed to have ancient origins. It developed over centuries from local herding and sheepdog breeds in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain. Selective breeding aimed to enhance its herding instincts and working abilities.

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    Why you're going to love the Pyrenean Shepherd

    The Pyrenean Shepherd, known for its herding skills and tenacity, is a breed that thrives in active roles. Their agile and intelligent nature makes them a valued working dog and companion.

    Owning a Pyrenean Shepherd means providing mental and physical stimulation, grooming, and regular veterinary care. Responsible ownership includes nurturing their herding instincts and addressing potential health concerns.

    With their fawn, brindle, and sable coats, Pyrenean Shepherds continue to leave a mark as dependable working partners and loving family members.

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