Entitled the Royal Dog of France by Louis XIV, the heritage of the Pyrenean Mountain Dog is believed to derive from Central Asia or Siberia, pre-dating the Bronze Age of 1800-1000 BC. Remaining in the Pyrenees mountains of France and Spain until the Middle Ages where it was traditionally employed in guarding livestock from predators, the breed was popularised by the French nobility, who favoured the Pyrenean prior to the Revolution and widely utilised it as a companion pet and guard dog of the lavish chateaux. With the outbreak of WWII, the Pyrenean Mountain Dog was applied as a dependable messenger dog and supply carrier for the French troops. It was officially recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1933.
A relative of the St.Bernard, the Pyrenean possesses a similar shape and build, with a stocky frame, wedged-shaped head with a slightly rounded crown, low-hanging ears, feathered tail and black nose and lips. The profuse double coat of the Pyrenean is common in colour deviations of white with patches of wolf-grey, pale yellow, red-brown or tan, and aided the dog's survival in bleak mountain temperatures. The modern breed can be observed as a family companion, defender of house and property, flock guardian, avalanche search and rescue and sled dog.
Unprovoked, the Pyrenean is a docile, mannered and sweet-natured dog, compatible with children and other house pets. When provoked, the breed exercises determined and imposing behaviours, strongly territorial and protective of its family when potential threat is perceived. In order to manage these traits, firm leadership and consistent training is required from puppyhood. The average Pyrenean Mountain Dog will weigh 38-45 kg with discrepancies across gender, with a life expectancy of 10-12 years when shown appropriate care.
Typically resilient, the Pyrenean is not known to suffer with any genetic diseases. Due to its large proportions, the breed is prone to bone disorders, bone cancer, luxating patellas and arthritis, as well as hip dysplasia and bloat. Bloat is a serious condition that can cause great discomfort and pose a real threat to your dog; as a preventative measure, exercising the Pyrenean on a full stomach is never encouraged. Due to its thick double coat, skin complaints can often arise in hot weather.