The Pyrenean Mastiff is a fluffy gentle giant. This rare breed originated from the Pyrenees Mountains in Northeastern Spain and was bred to protect livestock from wolves and bears. For centuries, farmers relied on these dogs; however, in the 1940s, wolves and bears in that area all but vanished. The need for the Pyrenean Mastiff declined, leading to the near extinction of these dogs. A few decades later, wolves returned to that mountainous region, and, once again, there was a need for these protective canines again.
27 – 31 inches (males); 24-30 inches (females)
130 – 200 pounds
10 – 13 years
White coat with color patches (beige/black/brown/gray/silver/sable merle)
Families with children or pets; larger home environment
Calm, family-friendly, protective, intelligent
Even though this breed was used for hunting and protection, today, the Pyrenean Mastiff is a calm guardian and a dependable all-around family companion. These large canines are loyal and intelligent. Are you thinking about welcoming one of these dogs into your home? You would not regret your decision about adopting a Pyrenean Mastiff, but it is always best to know how to provide this breed the best life. This article explains essential information about this fantastic dog and what it needs to become a healthy part of your family.
Pyrenean Mastiff Characteristics
Pyrenean Mastiff Puppies
The first thing you want to consider when looking into buying a Pyrenean Mastiff puppy is that they are not an affordable dog breed compared to other dogs. Regardless of what quality of Pyrenean Mastiff puppy you are looking for, always buy from a reputable breeder and avoid puppy mills.
Once you have picked the puppy that brings you the most joy, you want to begin socializing this little fluff ball, so they get used to people at a young age. Your Pyrenean Mastiff will naturally be suspicious of strangers, but early socialization can be helpful overall. This breed takes longer to reach its full adult size – between 18-24 months. Feed them puppy food formulated for large dogs, so they do not grow too quickly, which could lead to physical issues for your pet.
Temperament & Intelligence of Pyrenean Mastiffs
The overall temperament of a Pyrenean Mastiff is calm, gentle, and friendly. Protective by nature, they can make excellent guard dogs and usually only bark when they are suspicious. Pyrenean Mastiffs are also suitable dogs for people who work or attend school outside of the home. These breeds are independent, so they will often do fine when left alone for a few hours if their basic needs are met, like having been fed, given fresh water, and taken outside for a walk.
Since these dogs are quite large, they are not suited for apartment living. Apartments often do not have the space for Pyrenean Mastiffs to move around comfortably on their own. Like a lot of large dogs, they thrive better in open spaces. Having a fenced yard is a fantastic space for your dog to play and enjoy the outdoors. These dogs have an average level of intelligence, so they are more than happy to lounge around if you are busy with other tasks. But having a toy or two around the house never hurts!
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪
Do not let their size deter you from knowing the true nature of the Pyrenean Mastiffs! These gentle giants make excellent additions to families. They are wonderful with children, but it is always important to be present when your dog is playing with smaller children due to their size. Remember that the Pyrenean Mastiff is wary of strangers and will act protectively. Although these dogs will only get aggressive if forcibly provoked, socialization is essential. However, since they have a naturally suspicious nature, this makes them excellent guard dogs.
Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?
Due to their gentle temperament, Pyrenean Mastiffs are known to get along with other dogs and even extend their friendly demeanor towards cats! While it is in their nature to be accepting of other animals, it is always recommended to socialize your dog at a young age. Then, introducing them to other four-legged creatures will be easier on both your dog and the owner.
Things to Know When Owning a Pyrenean Mastiff:
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
A large dog will have a large appetite! On average, your Pyrenean Mastiff will eat between 7-10 cups of dry food a day. Spread the food out over the day, so your pooch does not get bloated. Always feed your dog good quality dry food that has a majority percentage of meat-based proteins. For puppies, ensure that you give them puppy food, not adult food, as it will provide them with the nutrients they need but make sure they do not grow too quickly.
Pyrenean Mastiffs are not overly active dogs and do not mind lounging around, but they still need space to move around and exercise. Going on a few walks during the day or playing with a toy in a fenced-in yard is a great way to get your canine moving around. However, when your Pyrenean Mastiff is a puppy, you do not want to overwalk them because their bones are soft and still growing. Having them run around too much for long distances is not the best idea. But short walks and playing in grassy areas are great places to start! Even when your dog reaches adulthood, walking them on soft ground instead of concrete is better for their joints overall.
While Pyrenean Mastiffs are friendly, training them can take a little bit more effort on your part because they are a bit stubborn. Patience is an integral part of training them. Since they are docile and gentle, they respond better to commands once they have bonded with you. Giving them treats is always a good fallback if there are some setbacks. However, keep the number of treats used as a reward to a minimum as you do not want your dog to pack on the pounds.
This fluffy ball of joy will need grooming at least twice a week. Pyrenean Mastiffs have a thick undercoat that was meant to keep them warm in mountainous environments. But since your home environment is most likely not the same as the northern Spanish mountains, this means that maintaining their coat is a must to prevent matting. The best grooming tools for these fuzzy canines are the slicker brushes followed by an undercoat rake. This breed also drools! This is common for this type of dog, so it is recommended to have a few clean towels handy to wipe yourself after a Pyrenean Mastiff cuddle session.
Health and Conditions 🏥
The Pyrenean Mastiff is a fairly hardy dog, but you should keep your eye out for the following ailments.
Male vs Female
The major difference between the male and female Pyrenean Mastiffs is the physical size. Females reach an average height of 24 to 30 inches and weigh between 130-180 pounds, whereas the males’ height is between 27-31 inches and can weigh between 140-200 pounds. Some males can reach up to 220 pounds!
3 Little-Known Facts About the Pyrenean Mastiff
1. Pyrenean Mastiffs might be descended from Ancient Greece.
Pyrenean Mastiffs are thought to be genetically connected to a breed of Molossers from ancient Greece. Molossers are considered one of the oldest dog breeds and are known for their large chests and muscular legs. Phoenicians brought Molossers from Sumeria and Assyria to Spain about 3,000 years ago.
2. You must love fluff in your home!
Pyrenean Mastiffs shed quite a bit. Their thick coat was designed to keep them warm in mountainous climates. These dogs must be brushed several times a week. You can use the extra fluff to stuff some throw pillows!
3. On their hind legs, they are taller than the average-sized man.
Male Pyrenean Mastiffs can reach up to 32 inches while on four legs. However, on their hind legs, they could become taller than their owners!
If you have the space in your home and heart for a big, gentle canine, the Pyrenean Mastiff might be the perfect fit. Sure, they need some extra weekly grooming compared to other breeds and might drool on you a bit. But their friendly and gentle demeanor makes them an ideal dog for families and children. They are protective of their owners and household, making them remarkable and reliable guardians. These dogs can also adapt to their owner’s various lifestyles, so they can be left alone for a few hours without getting anxious or stressed. They are loyal, courageous, and excellent companions. These are all the reasons why a Pyrenean Mastiff should be at the top of your list when considering adopting a large dog.
Featured Image Credit: AnjavdR, Shutterstock