Noble, devoted, and jovial, the Pyrenean Mastiff is often confused with the Saint Bernard, or the Great Pyrenees. A livestock guardian type dog, its origins can be traced back to 1977, from the Club del Mastín del Pirineo de España in Spain. This mountain dog is not being promoted as a pet in countries such as the US, and Europe. A family dog, it is most commonly used as a farm dog, to guard sheep and goat. The giant Molosser breed is strong, with strong bones, deep chest, deep muzzle and a strong head. Rustic and powerful, their strong necks are covered with loose skin and double dewlaps. They have thick, coarse coats, in white, gold, and grey, with badger markings on the ears, neck and the head. White is always the main body color, with colored hindquarters sometimes.
The Pyrenean Mastiff is also extremely light on its feet, given its size. A very large dog, males stand about 30 inches high, and females are 28 inches tall. Average weight among males is 180 pounds, while females weigh 220 pounds. Their tails are carried low, and curl at the tips. Loyal and family oriented, they are extremely devoted to the task assigned to them, and can even be aggressive when, say, herding the sheep.
Pyrenean Mastiff Temperament:
Calm and patient, this working dog breed is independent and devoted to its task. Family oriented, they are extremely attached to their owners and are docile house pets. Suitable for homes with children, they are gentle and loving. Their protective nature will make them defend their family without second thoughts, and they thus make great watchdogs. Strong dogs, they can get domineering in the absence of a leader figure. Mostly docile, they are sensitive to threat. Socialization at an early age can help familiarize them with friends and kin. Protective, they are wary of strangers, and will be restless around them till they are assured of their family’s safety. Training is recommended in the puppy stages to ensure obedience when it is still manageable. A large obedient dog is a definite advantage, be it on the farm, or at home. Intelligent and independent, a passive owner may not be respected and considered an owner by the Pyrenean Mastiff. Hence, the need for a dominant owner. Tender and playful, they are great with children, with their low key, protective and patient disposition.
The Pyrenean Mastiff’s long coat needs to be brushed and combed regularly. Daily brushing will keep the coat clean, smooth and dust and tick free. Since they are working dogs, grooming is mandatory to keep them clean and healthy. Their coats can help them sustain harsh climate conditions for long periods of time. But humid weather can increase chances of skin allergies and infections. Baths with sensitive puppy shampoo can be administered every alternate week to keep their coats healthy and clean. Stripping once a year is a necessity considering their long coats, and constant shedding.
Regular vet checks are also important to monitor health and for routine shots. This will keep worm and tick-mite infection away and also help catch any early signs of disease, besides regular growth monitoring. Since the Pyrenean Mastiffs are very large dogs, they require a good quality meal, twice, maybe thrice a day. Meal quantities are large.
Exercise is also important to keep the Pyrenean Mastiff healthy. A daily walk for about 2 miles works best. Alternatively, an open yard where they can run around and stretch is also a good option. Training the Pyrenean Mastiff is easy, and must be started during the puppy stage.
Pyrenean Mastiff Health issues:
While a very healthy breed, the Pyrenean Mastiff is prone to entropion (inward folding lower eyelid), ectropion (outward folding lower eyelid), abnormalities of the jaw, bloating and torsion, inflammatory bowel and hip dysplasia. Regular vet checks and growth monitoring can help catch early signs of these diseases and help control them before their onset.
Ideal Living conditions for a Pyrenean Mastiff:
Gentle, loving and family oriented, the Pyrenean Mastiff make great house pets. As working dogs, they are independent and intelligent and need to be occupied. Exercise is important to keep them healthy and fit. Good food and loving care can make a happy, healthy dog.