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The Pyrenean Shepherd might not be as well-known as the Border Collie or the German Shepherd, but that doesn’t mean tons of people aren’t trying to bring one home. Just because they’re small and adorable, though, that doesn’t mean they’re the perfect fit for your home.
White, black, merle, brindle, fawn, blue merle, grey
Those with plenty of land, those looking for a running companion, and those who need a working dog
Dedicated, energetic, stubborn, intelligent
While they’re great with kids, they struggle around other pets, and you also have to address their abundance of energy. If you’re interested in the breed or are thinking of bringing one home, you’ve come to the right place.
We walk you through everything that you need to know about these adorable and high-energy dogs here.
Pyrenean Shepherd Characteristics
Pyrenean Shepherd Puppies
Since Pyrenean Shepherd dogs are great companions, many people want one, so the price naturally skyrockets. If you want to find a reputable breeder to get a purebred Pyrenean Shepherd puppy, you’re in luck but remember they’re not an affordable dog breed. There’s no doubt that they’re expensive, but considering their long lifespan, you will at least get to enjoy your new puppy for a long time after you buy them.
When you welcome a Pyrenean Shepherd into your home, be ready to have a loyal dog by your side. They are very energetic and will need plenty of physical and mental stimulation to avoid boredom. They tend to be stubborn at times so training is essential and it will require plenty of positive reinforcement and patience.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Pyrenean Shepherd
Pyrenean Shepherds are extremely intelligent dogs, and as such, there’s not much that they can’t do. However, they are a bit mild-mannered, stubborn, and shy, so training them can be a bit challenging.
Keep in mind that they have tons of energy, so if you’re not giving them plenty of space and time to roam, you’ll end up with an untrainable dog that exhibits tons of destructive boredom behaviors.
Still, if they get the exercise that they need, then they’re great family dogs, and with a bit of work, you can train them to do just about anything!
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪
The Pyrenean Shepherd is an excellent dog for families who are willing to dedicate a consistent amount of time to taking them outside or who have plenty of land for their pup to roam. These dogs do extremely well with kids, and their size makes them an outstanding choice for those with younger and older children.
However, if you live a busy life and need to leave your pup at home for an extended period without anyone else home, a Pyrenean Shepherd probably isn’t the breed that you’re looking for.
Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?
While the Pyrenean Shepherd gets along great with children, when it comes to other pets, they’re notorious troublemakers. Their herding instincts make them a tough choice to keep around cats and other small pets, and their timidness and high-energy combo make them a tough choice for other dogs.
Still, if you’re an experienced dog handler and can take the time to socialize them with other pets, it’s possible for everyone to get along, but it’s not going to be an easy task.
Things to Know When Owning a Pyrenean Shepherd
While owning a Pyrenean Shepherd is similar to owning other dog breeds, there are a few specific things that you need to be aware of.
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
While the Pyrenean Shepherd might be a herding dog that can run all day, one of the top perks for farmers and herders is the fact that they don’t eat much despite their high energy levels! This kept costs low for farmers, and it does the same to your budget.
The average Pyrenean Shepherd needs anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5 cups of high-quality kibble each day, depending on their weight and activity level. If you do happen to have a large Pyrenean Shepherd that gets tons of exercise, you might need to up their daily intake to 4 cups of kibble.
You can supplement their diet with various treats, but don’t overdo it! Finally, while you can go for low-quality dog food for your Pyrenean Shepherd, keep in mind that such food can lead to future health issues and even shorten the lifespan of your dog.
The price difference between high-quality and low-quality food isn’t as stark as you might think, especially since the Pyrenean Shepherd doesn’t eat that much — try to go for the good stuff.
Just because a Pyrenean Shepherd can run up to 25 miles a day doesn’t mean that they need to run that much. Still, they are a high-energy breed, so you need to ensure that they have plenty of time to get out and exercise.
Aim for at least 1 hour of exercise each day, but also ensure that they have a fenced-in area where they can roam and run to burn off any extra energy that they have.
Keep in mind that if you live in an apartment or another area where you need to leash them at all times, it’s going to be hard to keep up with their exercise requirements. Chances are that you’ll wear out before they do!
The Pyrenean Shepherd is an extremely intelligent and curious dog breed, so if you take your time, you can train them to do just about anything. The problem is that they’re extremely stubborn, and they can get shy and timid when pressured.
Therefore, it takes an experienced hand and tons of consistency to fully train a Pyrenean Shepherd. Keep training sessions short and full of positive reinforcement. Their stubborn nature makes it easy for them to get frustrated and lash out, which will significantly set back your training schedule!
One area that the Pyrenean Shepherd doesn’t require a ton of care is their grooming requirements. While their care level isn’t zero, they’re not the most extensive shedders either. Plan to brush them out a few times a week, and brush their teeth each day to keep up with oral hygiene. While it can be tempting to skip this, by simply brushing their teeth every day, you can save yourself thousands of dollars in future vet bills and spare your dog from a mouth full of pain.
Health and Conditions 🏥
Most purebred dogs have genetic health concerns, and the Pyrenean Shepherd is no different. While they don’t have that many concerns, there are still a few that you should keep an eye out for.
If you notice any of the following conditions, reach out to your dog’s vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment plans. The best thing that you can do to keep your dog healthy on a daily basis is to ensure that they’re getting enough exercise and to feed them a high-quality diet.
Male vs. Female
While there are not too many differences between male and female Pyrenean Shepherds, there are at least two that you should be aware of. First, males tend to be bigger than females. This means if you want a 50-pound Pyrenean Shepherd, you have a much better chance if you go with a male. However, if you’re looking for a Pyrenean Shepherd that’s closer to 30 pounds, you have a better chance with a female.
Second, males generally demand more attention than females. It’s not that the females don’t need or want the attention, they’ll just make you go to them to get it.
Of course, genetics play a role in both their size and behavior, so there are no guarantees. You can end up with a large and attention-demanding female or a small and mild-mannered male.
3 Little-Known Facts About the Pyrenean Shepherd
1. They Could Be 6,000 Years Old
There are old dog breeds, then there are the Pyrenean Shepherds. No one is 100% sure when the first Pyrenean Shepherd came around, but we know that humans have been using herding dogs for at least 6,000-years.
Since the Pyrenean Shepherd is one of the oldest breeds that we know of, it’s not a far stretch to assume that they might’ve been around for at least 6,000 years!
2. They Can Run 25 Miles Per Day
Herding dogs are known for running and the Pyrenean Shepherd is no different. These pups can easily cover 25 miles a day, which means you won’t have to worry about them wearing out on you!
However, if you don’t take these pups outside often enough, their high-energy demeanor can quickly lead to destructive boredom behaviors as they burn off their extra energy.
3. They Love Families — But Struggle With Other Dogs
While the Pyrenean Shepherd is an extremely loving dog, when you pair their nervous nature with their herding instincts, they become a challenging breed to keep around other dogs. It’s not impossible, but an experienced hand and plenty of socialization are critical.
While the Pyrenean Shepherd is an adorable dog breed that gets along great with kids, be sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into before you bring one home. Since they’re a high-energy breed, if you don’t have the time or ability to get them out as much as they need to, they’re not going to be as happy as they should be.
But if you’re looking for a running companion or a working dog or you just have a ton of space for a dog to roam, a Pyrenean Shepherd might be what you’ve been looking for!
Featured Image Credit: Klaus Feurich, Shutterstock