The Pyrenean Shepherd is known in its native country of France as Le Berger des Pyrenees where in fact it is an old indigenous breed, which has always remained in its place of origin. It is small in comparison with other sheepdog breeds, but this does not demean its ability to work tirelessly, sometimes from dawn to dusk herding large flocks of sheep. Its loyalty and willingness to obey its master drives it on to cover many miles in a working day. The breed can be traced back to the turn of the century but only gained recognition outside its area of origin during the 1914-18 war when it was used by the French Army as a messenger dog because of its speed and intelligence, during which it was nearly wiped out.
A highly intelligent hard working sheepdog, full of tremendous energy and stamina, easily recognized by its unique inquisitive and mischievous expression. When viewed in profile, it should give you the impression of being lean and racy, never carrying excess weight.
This breed is still used as a working sheepdog in France but equally it is used in a variety of other roles due to its keen sense of smell. Other modern day pursuits include agility, flyball, and obedience.
The predominant color of the breed is fawn of varying shades; other colors are light to dark grey, black, blue merle, slate blue, or brindle.
Potential owners of the Pyrenean Shepherds would be well advised to research the breed before purchasing a puppy, and potential exhibitors should obtain a copy of the breed standard to help them identify points to look for when making their selection from the litter. These dogs require a lot of exercise, at least an hour free running every day. They live to well over 10 years as a rule.
The most important thing to bear in mind if this dog is being considered is that it is a working dog and, therefore, not a suitable candidate for confinement to small houses, or apartments that do not have adequate exercise areas. Socialization is a must from a very early age. They do have a tendency to become dominant, and therefore need to be Ã¢â‚¬Ëœmastered.’ It is advised that this is not a breed for first time dog owners. They do not make good kennel dogs as they need to be with their people.
Pyrenean Shepherds are one of the few breeds here in the United States that have been relatively untouched by human intervention. They have
developed over thousands of years in France as a tough little herding dog, and hopefully as the little dogs gain recognition here in the
States, we can do them the justice they deserve to protect their health, sturdiness, working ability, and intelligence.
These little dogs are now in the Miscellaneous Group in AKC as of January 1, 2007. Watch for full recognition before the end of 2008. We’ll be enjoying taking our kids, Blue, Coco, and Pepper to as many shows as we can to spread the word about these smart delightful little darlings.