Pyrenean Sheepdog Long-Haired (Chien de Berger des Pyrénées à poil long)
The Pyrenean Sheepdog is an ancient variety of a herding dog that was developed and still thrives in Pyrenees Mountains. The breed is marked by an out-going and lively demeanour, which causes its great popularity as a companion animal. But remember that this breed needs early and thorough socialisation to become a well-mannered member of a human family.
The highlands of the Southern France are the home of the tenacious yet merry Pyrenean Sheepdog. From times immemorial this miniature dog has skilfully managed large herds of sheep in incredibly harsh surroundings, and its cousin the Great Pyrenees defended the stock from various types of predators. The breeds’ ancestry remains unclear although there is a legend that Pyrenean foxes and bears were used in its development. Some also believe that the Cro Magnon people invented the original version of the breed.
For centuries stock-raising has been the major source of subsistence for the vast majority of local folks. Despite its small stature the Pyrenean Sheepdog was capable of working indefatigably for multiple hours on end and was treasured as an indispensable helper of the herder. And its docility, outstanding intelligence and amiable disposition made it a popular pet that lied unobtrusively near the easy chair of its master after a long working day.
During the XIX century several specimens of the Pyrenean Sheepdog found their way to America in the company of herdsmen who migrated to this country in search for employment. Allegedly these dogs were actively involved into breeding of the Australian Shepherd.
In the course of the World War I lots of Pyrenean Sheepdogs were retrained into war dogs. In particular they served as messengers, stood guard and searched for injured soldiers.
In spite the fact that the dog has been known to American canine fanciers since at least the XIX century its systematic breeding was initiated only in 70s of the last century. The Pyrenean Shepherd Club of America was founded in 1987 and the American Kennel Club granted it full recognition in 2009.
In France the Pyrenean Sheepdog is still applied in its initial role of a sheep and livestock herder. Furthermore in its native land its members successfully compete in various canine sports including agility, obedience, fly ball, working trials and Cani Cross.
Exceptional stamina, strong work ethic and excellent quick-wittedness are the qualities of an ideal herding dog and the Pyrenean Sheepdog has them to the full. Unfortunately the very same characteristics also mean that the breed requires early and regular socialisation to make a good family pet. It’s prone to be a one-person dog and should be taught its inferiority to all family members. The dog is completely fine with children if it gets to know them in its puppyhood. But it won’t put up with rude invasion into its personal space so it usually gets along much better with older kids.
The Pyrenean Sheepdog is both territorial and vigilant dog, which perceives all strange people as potential intruders. Remember that such initial suspiciousness can easily develop into immediate aggression if your pet doesn’t receive sufficient obedience training in a young age. This dog makes an ultimate watcher since it has delicate ear and keen nose to notice every minor change in the surroundings. Small size doesn’t prevent this breed from being a superb guardian, which will ferociously defend its masters and their properties.
The Pyrenean Sheepdog has mixed reputation with its counterparts. On one hand, it enjoys playing with them in dog parks. On the other hand, it wants to play dominant role in the group of other canines and may put up fight with unfamiliar dogs to confirm its authority. This dog will get on with individual cats and other pets if they were properly introduced to each other in an early age.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· hip dysplasia;
· patellar subluxation;
· patent ductus arteriosus (PDA);
· eye problems.
Pyrenean Sheepdog Long-haired (Chien de Berger des Pyrénées à poil long) has long or semi-long thick coat that needs regular grooming. Weekly brushing is a must for this variety of the breed otherwise its hair will mat and tangle badly. Nonetheless some of its specimens possess fur that forms cords in a natural way. Consult the dog’s breeder how to maintain such coat in proper condition.
The master should also take time to trim the nails of its pet at least every other month and brush its teeth on a weekly basis. Check its ears periodically and wipe them with a soft wet cloth if they look dirty.
It’s a pleasant task to train the Pyrenean Sheepdog since this smart and curious dog catches the meaning at once. In fact it’s ready to work just for your praise and can be taught very advanced tricks with trivial amount of repetitions. However the breed is also notable for bossy nature and requires a strong and confident handler.
The well-trained specimen of the Pyrenean Sheepdog attains resounding success in various canine competitions especially in agility and obedience trials. Any forms of negative reinforcement must be completely excluded from your training techniques otherwise you risk losing trust of your pet.
The Pyrenean Sheepdog has almost limitless reserves of energy and should be provided with lots of physical outlets on a regular basis. It needs daily chance to run off-leash otherwise it will demonstrate hyper activity indoors. Thanks to its tirelessness this dog makes a wonderful companion for a bicyclist and fancier of hiking.
Additionally the breed is always willing play and can fool around with family kids from dusk till dawn. Nonetheless without necessary amount of physical stimulation the Pyrenean Sheepdog will find some undesirable ways to entertain itself or will bark for several hours on end.