The Pyrenean Mastiff, is one of the giant Molosser breeds.They were originally bred to accompany herds of sheep from winter to summer grazing, protecting the sheep and farmer from wolves, bears and thieves on the way. They wore heavy spiked metal collars called "carlunkas' to protect their necks. They were highly sought after and greatly valued.The nearest relative is the Pyrenean Mountain dog. These two breeds were much the same until the Pyrenees's were split into almost in two different parts. The northern region became France and the southern area became Spain. Both regions developed their dog differently.The Pyrenean mastiff nearly became extinct during the 1930s. Due to the decrease of wolves and other predators, and modern mans new reliance on rail to transport sheep, then the onset of the civil war, and World War II, food became scarce, therefore the numbers of Pyrenean Mastiffs were reduced dramatically.Fortunately a few years later for the breed.....there was a group of dedicated Spanish enthusiasts who had these dogs, or had heard of them. They combined in their efforts to travel the country, they found about 100 dogs, and selected 30 from which to establish a breeding program. The Spanish club was intent on saving the Pyrenean mastiffs from extinction, and promoting the breed to the world .Pyrenean mastiffs are rectangular big strong dogs. The minimum height for females are 72cm or 28" and for males 77 cm or 30". The bigger dog is preferred and there are no upper limits regarding the height. Double dewclaws are usual but not obligatory. The PM has a tight, coarse and moderate long coat between 6-9 cm. This is longer on the shoulders, throat, under the stomach and on the breeches of the legs. The base colour is always white with a characteristic mask covering both ears. Colours are grey, golden, brown, silver-grey, black, brindled/marbled, and sand coloured.The temperament is steady and basic. The PM is a highly intelligent animal. His behaviour is very normal.Even if the Pyrenean mastiff appears realxed it is well aware of all going on around it. This kind of behaviour makes the dog very stable even in extreme situations. The Pyrenean mastiff is not an aggressive dog, it will seldom look for trouble. But with strength and agility it is well prepared to take it.The Pyrenean mastiff adores the children of the household, and the owner and family.They are who the dog will have most confidence in. But unlike other mastiff breeds they can usually cope with being travelled or shown and handled by other people not just family. Training is best with short and simple commands, used from day one. As with any breed of dog a hard and punished education can produce either an aggressive or nervous and uncomfortable dog.The Pyrenean mastiff tolerates hash climates over long periods due to the long and strong coat. Prolonged humidity it can not cope with, and can develop serious skin conditions. A brush once weekly and a bath when needed is pretty much all that is required. Stipping the dead hair out with a metal comb when the dog is shedding is advised. It is important to get the dog into a weekly grooming routine as soon as you bring him home, the double dew clws have to be trimmed back short to ensure they do not catch and damage the dogs back legs. Weekly nail trimming in small amounts is the best way to ensure this.Space assists the development of this breed. I have found personally that the larger the area the dog has to itself the better the development structurally. But as with my mastiffs I have found that it is easier to daily yard my dogs into groups of two, matching a younger dog with an older less active dog and therefore minimising the risk of injury.A walk daily is required to help keep him fit and healthy, the brain active, and the dog sociable. I walk 3 kilometres consecutive days with my adult dogs. But only when the bones have finished developing. My younger dogs are put out daily into large yards in groups of two.ÿAs with all dogs a good diet is important, please refer to breeders for the best possible diet recommend. Personally I have found this breed does not cope with a diet that is high in fat and high in protein combined. I have tried and found this diet brings on skin conditions and pano. I use a low Fat Low Protein diet and supplement with as much natural diet as possible. Also there are now low fat low protein complete feeds made by Purina that can be purchased with out vet prescription that can be used to prevent skin conditions and growing pains in younger dogs.Secure strong and escape proof fencing is required with this breed and any large mastiff breed. The Pyrenean is a flock guardian breed...they will figure out the boundaries of the property reside and will protect that property and its inhabitants animal and human. They do not continuously try to escape as some other breeds of dogs and in fact generally do not push through barriers or gaps but even so it is essential they are contained safely within the boundaries of your property.They are a wonderful companion and guardian of your home and family. They truly have the loving nature described of them and will adapt happily to a family life.
This information was written by Breton mastiffs. - www.bretonmastiffs.com and help fromÿ Finn espen Nergaurd and Anne Briglia