View Pyrenean Sheepdog Dogs and Puppies for sale on the Pets4Homes website.
A small to medium sized dog, the Pyrenean Sheepdog or Shepherd was bred for herding in the Pyrenees Mountains of Southern France and Northern Spain. The sheepdog worked as a tireless herder of sheep alongside the Great Pyrenean and other mountain dogs, which acted as the flock’s guardians.
Originally developed as a herding animal, the Pyrenean Sheepdog gained recognition following its employment as a courier, search and rescue dog and watch dog during the Second World War and it quickly became popular as a companion animal.
The smooth coated Pyrenean Sheepdog in its blue merle or harlequin colourway is thought to be one of the foundation breeds of the Australian Shepherd, which was developed when herders took their dogs with them to the American Mid-West when they went to work as contract herders for the Western Range Association in 1940. The programme continued for 30 years.
The Pyrenean Sheepdog is not yet well known outside France but its lovely coat, size and intelligence make it an attractive companion animal. An example of the breed won the World Agility Championships in 2003 and since then the breed’s popularity has increased as a pet and as a good choice for competitions and dog sports.
Average height to withers: 15.5” – 18.5”
Average weight: 7-15kg
There are two varieties of Pyrenean Sheepdog – the smooth faced and the rough faced, both of which are differ slightly in size. The Sheepdog is muscular and lithe, but never fat and its head is small in comparison to the rest of its body.
The face is intelligent and very expressive, which adds to the Pyrenean Sheepdog’s appeal. The eyes are usually dark, except in the case of merle or slate grey animals. The ears are traditionally cropped, but where the practice is outlawed the ears are usually slightly pricked. If the ears are fully pricked this may be the result of an outcross and would not be accepted by the breed standard.
The dog is a natural athlete and its build reflects this. The dog has well-proportioned legs with well-angled and let down hocks, which are characteristic of a mountain dog that needs to be very sure footed.
In countries where it’s allowed, the tail is usually docked, however in countries where docking is prohibited the tail is bobbed or kept long with crook in the end. The coat is divided into two varieties – smooth faced and rough faced. The smooth variety has fine hairs on its muzzle and a slight ruff. This type has fine hairs along the underside and legs. The rough faced type, as the name would suggest, has longe hairs on the face. These should never obscure the face or give the impression of a beard. The hair is demi-long or long over the rest of the body and is quite coarse. The coat of the rough faced variety can occasionally form cords over the front and back legs.
Accepted colourways include merles (blue, brindle or fawn), harlequin and shades of fawn with or without a black mask. Brindles and many shades of grey are also popular and while solid colours are preferable, the standard will accept white patches on the chest, face and feet.
As a sheepdog, the Pyrenean is as energetic as you would expect. His energy is almost limitless and belies his small size. This is an incredibly capable animal that can tackle all jobs in the field with aplomb. Because of its intelligence this is one dog that definitely needs a job, and it will be able to take on any task you give it including flyball, agility and competitive obedience.
As ‘one man’ dogs, Sheepdogs form deep attachments to their owners and will follow them about the house – often wanting help with the housework or DIY! They are sensitive little dogs and often seem capable of reading moods and knowing how their master is feeling as they are so watchful. Because of this they are very trainable.
The herding instinct it still very strong in the Pyrenean Sheepdog and this can sometimes be seen in a combination of wariness – where he would alert the shepherd to strangers or the presence of other animals, and bossiness, and these two traits combined can sometimes make a wilful and aggressive puppy which will need to be shown who’s in charge quickly. Frequent socialisation in puppyhood can also help mitigate this characteristic.
Although a generally healthy breed, the Pyrenean Sheepdog does display a few health issues. Elbow and hip dysplasia occur when the joint is malformed, allowing the hip or elbow to dislocate easily. Luxating patella can also be seen within the breed and this is another painful condition caused by weakening of the ligaments around the kneecap, which means the cap can move freely and dislocate.
The breed can also present with Progressive Retinal Atrophy, another painful condition, which involves the degeneration of the retina which ultimately leads to blindness. The Sheepdog can also suffer with the heart condition patent ductus arteriosus, a potentially serious illness that could lead to heart failure if the animal is allowed to become overweight.
In terms of care, the Pyrenean Sheepdog’s number one requirement is activity. This is a dog that loves to work and needs a job to remain sane! If he is not involved in flyball, agility, obedience contests or field trials then lots and lots of exercise is an absolute necessity.
This dog can adapt to apartment living but will need outside space in which to let off steam and plenty of long, energetic walks to keep his energy levels in check.
The coat requires a regular brush through but doesn’t need to be clipped to comply with breed standards however the rough-faced type should be checked thoroughly after each walk for burrs or matts. The Sheepdog is definitely a family animal and because he will form a strong attachment to his master, he will not thrive if separated from his humans and made to live outdoors.