Smooth-faced Pyrenean Shepherd
|Berger des Pyrénées
|Country of origin
|Classification and breed standards
||Group 1 Section 1 #141
||Group 7 (Herding)
||Herding Dog Breeds
|Not recognized by any major kennel club
|This breed of dog is
The Pyrenean Shepherd is a medium-small
dog that was bred
originally in the 1700s for
often worked as an active herder together with the
Great Pyrenees, who acted as the flock's guardian.
Rough-faced variety having fun
The smallest of the French
dogs, the Pyrenean is no more than 22 inches (56 cm) at the withers, with
males between 15 1/2 to 22 inches (39-56 cm), and females between 15 1/2 to 20
inches (39-51 cm). The weight is between 18-32 lbs (8-14.5 kg), aiming for
muscular, never fat.
The head is of small proportions in comparison to the dog, with a rather flat
skull, and a somewhat short, pointed muzzle. The face is expressive and
intelligent, with dark eyes, except in the case of the harlequin or slate gray
colours. In France, the general choice for the dog's ears is
otherwise, the Pyrenean Shepherd should have drop ears. Naturally prick ears are
not of the breed, and may indicate an
The body is long and lean, and should reflect the natural energetic
athleticism of the dog. The legs are well proportioned, with lean, well-bent
hocks typical of a sure-footed mountain breed. The tail can be cropped short,
naturally short, or naturally long, so long as its carried below the backline at
rest and in motion.
Rough-faced face detail
The coat has two basic varieties, smooth-faced (or smooth-haired) and
rough-faced (or long-haired). The smooth-faced variety has short, fine hairs on
the muzzle, with a modest ruff around the face and neck, and some feathering
along the legs, tail, and belly. In contrast, the rough-faced has some long
hairs around the muzzle and face, though never enough to cover or obscure the
eyes or create a bearded effect, and semilong or long, coarse hair over the rest
of the body.
Shades of fawn are most typical for the breed, either with or without black
shadowing, with shades of grey, harlequins in various shades, and the much-rarer
black. All colours allow for some white at the head, chest and feet, but clean
colours are preferred.
The Pyrenean Shepherd was designed to be a
and as such is full of the same sort of energy that other herding dogs have, but
in a surprisingly small package. This adaptive dog wants to, and can, do all the
jobs on the field, and is a natural herder. A dog that needs a job, its
cleverness makes it ideal for other work and dog sports such as
competitive obedience and
Pyreneans are "one-man" dogs, attached and dedicated to their owners, with a
desire to follow them around the house to help with daily chores. They sense
every mood and often seem to be able to read their masters' minds, as they are
constantly watchful. Because of this, they are extremely trainable.
Their natural wariness, while valuable in a herding dog that may need to
alert their shepherd of strange animals or people, combined with their herding
bossiness, can lead to shyness or aggression in even the most friendly puppy if
not properly managed. Frequent socialization from a very young age can help
counter this trait.
In spite of the shaggy coat, even the rough-faced Pyrenean needs only a
weekly brush, as well as regular checks for
burrs or knots, to
keep its coat in show condition. The coat texture is resistant to tangling, and
is quite manageable compared to more showy long-haired dogs.
World War, the Pyrenean gained national recognition in France for their
valiant work as couriers,
search and rescue dogs,
and company mascots.
The smooth-faced Pyrenean Shepherd in its
merle colouration may have been one of the
foundation breeds for the
Australian Shepherd in the late 19th and early 20th century.
It is not yet a well-known breed outside of its native
France, but its
size, intelligence, and attractive coat make it appealing. After one of its
breed won the World
Championship for midsized dogs in 2003, it gained more attention as an
intelligent performance dog for
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