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Pyrenean Sheepdog Breed Information and Buying advice

Pyrenean Sheepdog

Are You Looking to Buy or Adopt a Pyrenean Sheepdog?

Quick Pyrenean Sheepdog Facts

Average Size of Adult
Medium (3/5)
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Grooming Requirement
Medium (2/3)
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Sociability
Medium (2/3)
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Average Life Span
14-16 years (6/8)
Exercise Requirements
High (3/3)
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Trainability
High (3/3)
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Shedding
Medium (2/3)
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Child friendly
Yes (1/2)
Intelligence
High (3/3)
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Breed Group
Pastoral (3/8)
Hypoallergenic
No (2/2)

Pyrenean Sheepdog (Pyrenees Shepherd, Petit Berger, Le Berger des Pyrenees, Pyr Shep)

Overview

The Pyrenean Sheepdog is a medium-sized dog that is smaller than other sheepdog breeds. Pyrenean Sheepdogs are native to France and are highly prized as herd and guard dogs. These sheepdogs also make great companions as they are loyal, devoted and highly intelligent. As a pastoral breed Pyrenean Sheepdogs like to be active and busy. The breed is athletic with a windswept-looking long coat and a lean body. 

Physical Appearance 

The Pyrenean Sheepdog is one of the smallest sheepdog breeds and sports a “windswept” look. The breed is longer than they are tall but overall looks well proportioned with a small, triangular-shaped head. The Pyrenean Sheepdog’s ears are short and triangular with the tips folded forwards. The breed has dark-coloured eyes that are almond-shaped with black eye rims. The Pyrenean Sheepdogs hair grows away from their eyes and nose. 


This sheepdog has a strong build with well-muscled legs, they are lean and can run fast when working. The Pyrenean Sheepdog’s tail is set low and can be long or stumped. This breed is well-covered in hair, including their paws and in between their pads. 


This breed has a harsh topcoat and a soft, dense undercoat, the coat is often long or semi-long and can also be corded. The predominant colour of the Pyrenean Sheepdog is fawn (of varying shades) but they can also be black, brindle, grey and blue merle. The best way of describing the Pyrenean Sheepdogs hair is that it is similar to a mix of sheep wool and goat hair. 


How big do Pyrenean Sheepdogs get?

  • Height - Males: 40 - 50cm. Females: 38 - 48cm.

  • Weight - Males: 7 - 15kg. Females: 7 - 15kg. 

Character Traits

Pyrenean Sheepdogs are clever, well-rounded dogs that are eager to please their owners. This breed thrives on an active, outdoor life so needs something to channel their energy into. The Pyrenean Sheepdog loves to be by their owner’s side but does have an independent nature. Regular, consistent training is needed to get the most from a Pyrenean Sheepdog, they respond well to positive reinforcement. The Pyrenean Sheepdog is a bundle of energy, the breed needs a job to do as they can get bored quickly and need constant mental stimulation. They are brilliant at canine sports and this is a great way to build a strong partnership with a Pyrenean Sheepdog.  If you are living in the countryside and are looking for an active companion and dependable watchdog, the Pyrenean Sheepdog is ideal. 


Are Pyrenean Sheepdogs intelligent? Yes.

Are Pyrenean Sheepdogs affectionate? Yes. 

Do Pyrenean Sheepdogs have high or low energy levels? High energy levels (5/5). 

Are Pyrenean Sheepdogs loyal? Yes. 

Are Pyrenean Sheepdogs playful? Yes. 

Are Pyrenean Sheepdogs aggressive? No.

Are Pyrenean Sheepdogs easy to train? Yes, but they can pick up bad habits quickly too. 

Are Pyrenean Sheepdogs good guard dogs? Yes.  

Ability to Socialise 

The Pyrenean Sheepdog usually gets on well with other dogs and any pets they have been raised with. The Pyrenean Sheepdog has a reputation for being great with children, they are respectful and gentle around them making this breed a suitable choice for families with kids. This breed is suspicious around strangers, tending to bark and keep their distance  


Do Pyrenean Sheepdogs get along with other pets? Yes, they get on well with dogs and cats they have grown up with but they are likely to chase other cats and smaller pets.

Do Pyrenean Sheepdogs get along with other dogs? Yes.

Are Pyrenean Sheepdogs good with kids? Yes, they are gentle and patient with children. 

Are Pyrenean Sheepdogs good with strangers? They tend to be suspicious of strangers. 


Lifestyle Suitability

The Pyrenean Sheepdog doesn’t require a lot of indoor space but they need access to a large, secure garden. Pyrenean Sheepdogs also need access to lots of secure areas where they can run off lead, train and play. The breed is not suitable for an apartment and Pyrenean Sheepdogs find city and town life stressful so country living is best for them. Although the Pyrenean Sheepdog has an independent nature, they cannot be left alone so need to live in a household where someone is always at home with them. 


Are Pyrenean Sheepdogs good for first-time owners? No, this breed requires a lot of time, attention and patience.

Are Pyrenean Sheepdogs hypoallergenic? No.

Are Pyrenean Sheepdogs prone to drooling? No

Are Pyrenean Sheepdogs a good breed for apartment living? No.

Do  Pyrenean Sheepdogs shed a lot? They shed moderately, with increased shedding twice a year. 

Do  Pyrenean Sheepdogs bark a lot? Yes. 

Can Pyrenean Sheepdogs be left alone at home? No.

Can Pyrenean Sheepdogs handle the heat? Yes.

Can Pyrenean Sheepdogs handle cold temperatures? Yes.

Are Pyrenean Sheepdogs sensitive to loud noises? Yes.

General Health & Health Issues

Pyrenean Sheepdogs have a long life expectancy of 15 - 17 years. Although they are a generally healthy breed there are a few hereditary health issues that can affect them. This includes: 


Hip dysplasia - This condition affects the hip joints and causes swelling, pain and arthritis. It can be treated with weight control, careful exercise and pain relief with severe cases potentially requiring surgery. 

Progressive retinal atrophy - This is a degenerative disease that affects the eyes leading to eventual blindness. While there is no cure for this, many dogs can adapt to blindness well. 

Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) - This is a heart defect that occurs when the ductus arteriosus does not close at birth. This causes a change to the heart function and is often diagnosed through the detection of a heart murmur followed by heart scans or chest x-rays to identify the problem. PDA can be cured with surgery if it is detected in time. 

Congenital deafness - This is deafness that is caused by a genetic defect. It can be tested for but cannot be treated. However, dogs can adapt well to deafness and can learn hand signals during training etc. 

Epilepsy - There have been a few cases of epilepsy in Pyrenean Sheepdogs. Epilepsy causes seizures which can include loss of consciousness, muscle spasms and falling over. While epilepsy cannot be cured it can be managed with medication.


How long do Pyrenean Sheepdogs live? - 15 - 17 years

Exercise & Play Time

Pyrenean Sheepdogs love to be active, you will struggle to tire them out but a long daily walk plus training sessions will help. Pyrenean Sheepdogs should spend lots of time off-lead so it is important to teach them recall early and walk them in large, secure areas away from livestock. It’s best to walk a Pyrenean Sheepdog in the countryside, they can be stressed and overstimulated in towns and areas with lots of foot traffic. 


This breed also needs lots of active play and they benefit from participating in canine sports such as agility, herding and flyball. Pyrenean Sheepdogs do not react well to being under-exercised, they will be destructive, vocal and difficult if they aren’t getting enough mental and physical stimulation. 


How much exercise does a Pyrenean Sheepdog dog need? At least 2 hours per day.

Do Pyrenean Sheepdogs like water play? Yes.


Nutrition & Feeding

Pyrenean Sheepdogs are not known to be fussy eaters and need to be fed high-quality dry food. A Pyrenean Sheepdog puppy needs between 260 - 590g each day, split into 3-4 portions. This is just a rough estimate, the actual amount depends on the individual dog. It is best to have a personal dietary plan made to ensure your dog is getting the right amount for their size, weight, age and activity level. 


Are Pyrenean Sheepdogs prone to weight gain? No.

How much should I feed a Pyrenean Sheepdog puppy? Between 260 - 590g of high-quality food per day depending on age and build. 

How much should I feed an adult Pyrenean Sheepdog dog? Between 270 - 410g of high-quality food per day depending on weight and activity level.


Care & Maintenance

Grooming: Pyrenean Sheepdogs need to be groomed regularly to keep their coats in good condition. The rough-faced Pyrenean Sheepdogs have a long wavy/ straight coat that can be corded while smooth-faced Pyrenean Sheepdogs have a moderately long coat that is coarse with little undercoat. Generally, the shorter coats require less maintenance but brushing your Pyrenean Sheepdog a few times a week should be enough to prevent knots. This breed has a naturally shaggy appearance and they shed moderately. In addition to brushing their coats, their ears need to be checked and cleaned regularly. Their teeth and nails should also be checked periodically. 


Emotional Care: A Pyrenean Sheepdog does not handle being left alone so always needs to be with their owner. As an extremely active dog, the Pyrenean Sheepdog needs a lot of exercise, play and training to keep them happy. If they do not get this, they can become depressed and frustrated and will bark, be destructive and will be generally difficult to handle. It’s important to put time aside each day to do interesting training sessions with your Pyrenean Sheepdog, it’s a good idea to integrate dog sports into your routine. 



History of the Pyrenean Sheepdog

The Pyrenean Sheepdog originates from the Central Pyrenees, specifically from the mountainous region of Haute Pyrenees. The Pyrenean Sheepdog is one of the oldest French breeds and is small compared to other sheepdog breeds. Despite their smaller size, Pyrenean Sheepdogs boast incredible endurance and energy. They were bred to work in the challenging mountainous terrains herding and guarding livestock. Pyrenean Sheepdogs only began gaining recognition outside of the Pyrenean region in the 19th century. Pyrenean Sheepdogs are excellent watchdogs and were also used during World War I to help find injured soldiers and carry messages. 


Despite their value, Pyrenean Sheepdogs almost disappeared entirely in the 1900s but enthusiasts helped to keep the breed alive. The French Kennel Club created the breed standard in 1926 and by the late 20th century Pyrenean Sheepdogs were becoming more popular both as working dogs and as companions. While still rare in the UK, more people are expressing interest in the Pyrenean Sheepdog breed.

Interesting Facts About Pyrenean Sheepdogs

  • The Pyrenean Sheepdog is smaller than many other sheepdog breeds.

  • This is one of the oldest French breeds. 

  • Pyrenean Sheepdogs still herd and guard flocks of sheep in France.

  • Another name for this breed is Le Berger des Pyrenees.

Getting a Pyrenean Sheepdog Puppy

Buying a puppy is incredibly exciting but a puppy is a big investment and there are a number of online scams to be aware of. Take a look at our buying guide to help you safely find and buy your new puppy. If you think the Pyrenean Sheepdog is the right breed for you, check our puppies page to see if there are any puppies available in your area. At Puppies, we perform several scam and fraud checks to ensure breeders are responsible. 



How much does a Pyrenean Sheepdog cost to buy?  £700 - £1500

How much does a Pyrenean Sheepdog cost to feed? £40 per month.

How much does insurance for a Pyrenean Sheepdog cost? £35 per month.


As Pyrenean Sheepdogs are quite rare in the UK you may need to wait a while for a puppy. An alternative option is to consider adoption. We’d recommend speaking to your local dog rescue centre about adopting a Pyrenean Sheepdog. The following associations may also be able to help: 


Rehome a Pyrenean Sheepdog with the Dogs Trust. 

Speak to the Pyrenean Sheepdog Club of GB about adoption.

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