Pyrenean Shepherd: History, Temperament, Care, Training & more

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Pyrenean Shepherd Dog Breed Information
Also known as Pyr Shep

Pyrenean Shepherd
Level of Energy  
Exercise Needs   
Level of Affection  
Climate Tolerance  
Good With Children  
Tolerance of Animals  
Suitable as Watch Dog    

Pyrenean Shepherd Dog – Just The Facts

  • AKC Popularity:  169
  • AKC Breed Group: Herding
  • Size of Male:  15-32 lbs., Rough-faced 15.5-18.5 in.; Smooth-faced 15.5-21 in.
  • Size of Female:  15-32 lbs., Rough-faced 15-18 in.; Smooth-faced 15.5-20.5 in.
  • Color:  Shades of fawn; gray; merle; brindle; black; black with white markings
  • Average Lifespan:  May live into late teens
  • Breed Origin:  May live into late teens
  • Purpose:  Herding sheep and other livestock

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General Description

The Pyrenean Shepherd has been known in France’s Pyrenees Mountains for centuries, perhaps millennia, where he has herded sheep and other livestock. This hardy, intensely devoted breed is wary with strangers but they are otherwise cheerful and lively dogs.

This dog breed includes two types, the rough-faced and the smooth-faced, and there is a slight size difference between the two types. The Pyr Shep can be a fine dog for an active family.

Origin and History

The Pyrenean Shepherd has herded sheep and other livestock in the Pyrenees Mountains of France for hundreds, if not thousands of years. This is a very old breed. They are the smallest of the French herding breeds. The breed has been documented since at least medieval times as herding sheep in the area.

They typically worked in tandem with Great Pyrenees dogs who would guard the flocks from predators while the Pyrenean Shepherds herded the flocks. The Pyr Shep distinguished themselves during World War I, working as courier dogs, search and rescue dogs, watch dogs and military mascots. Thousands of the dogs may have died during service in the war.

Pyrenean Shepherd Temperament

This is an energetic dog, like many other sheepdogs. They are very intelligent and adaptable. They are very clever dogs and they can excel at many dog sports such as flyball, obedience and agility.

Pyr Sheps are very devoted to their owners and like to be near them no matter what they’re doing. They are always very sensitive to their owner’s moods and very affectionate with their family. As herding dogs they make very good watchdogs, giving an alert to anything unusual that occurs. They do require good socialization so they won’t be shy or react inappropriately.

Care, Grooming, Diet & Exercise

Living Environment – The Pyrenean Shepherd is a sturdy, hardy breed and their coat can protect them against most elements. However, the Pyr Shep is extremely attached to their people and they do not do well if they are separated from them by kenneling or being left outside for long periods of time.

Grooming – The coat of the Pyr Shep requires remarkably little grooming. Most sources, including the breed parent club, say the coat should be brushed every few weeks. No scissoring or trimming is allowed for show purposes. The rough-faced variety will begin to cord in places if it is not brushed.

Diet & Exercise – This dog breed has normal dietary needs but they are supposed to be kept very lean. The Pyr Shep has tremendous energy and stamina. They require a great deal of daily exercise. If they do not get enough exercise they can become very destructive in the home.

Health – The Pyr Shep is considered to be a very healthy breed. However, they are still subject to occasional dog health problems such as canine hip dysplasia, epilepsy, luxating patellas (slip kneecaps), PDA, and progressive retinal atrophy. You should always talk to a breeder about health issues before getting any puppy.

Pyrenean Shepherd Trainability

In the dog training realm, the Pyrenean Shepherd is a highly intelligent dog, like many sheepdogs. They thrive on work and they can excel at obedience, agility, flyball, frisbee and other dog sports. They love to please their owners.

They can be extremely sensitive to your moods so it’s important that you do not use any harsh training techniques with these dogs. Train your Pyr Shep using positive dog training methods (praise, rewards) and he should learn very quickly.