One of the most popular livestock guardian dogs worldwide. With their attractive appearance, impressive size and calm energy, the Pyrenean Mountain Dogs (also known as the Great Pyrenees) are a crowd favourite at conformation shows. It is the national dog of the French, of which they have every reason to be proud. This breed has a gentle and well-balanced temperament coupled with agility and perseverance. They are naturally very observant and vigilant animals. Pyrenean Mountain Dogs are proud and independent, and therefore need to be trained with lots of patience and absolute consistency. Generally, they are friendly with other dogs. During the day, they rest for hours, but keep an eye on their territory. As a nocturnal breed, Pyrenean Mountain Dogs are extremely vigilant and perfectly reliable at night. In the Middle Ages, they were used as guard dogs, and often charged with the protection of villages and castles from outlaws. In the period of Romanticism, the breed was a favourite of the aristocracy. In 1675, during a trip to the Pyrenees, Madame de Maintenon, first mistress and later second wife of King Louis XIV of France (“the Sun King”), fell in love with this white giant. She bought a puppy and took it with her to Paris. From that moment on, Pyrenean Mountain Dogs “lived a double life”; on the one hand, they remained vigilant guardians of flocks, and on the other hand, they conquered the royal court. These magnificent white-coated dogs became a real status symbol.
Their coat repels dirt and therefore is easy to groom. The coat colour can be snow white or white with varying shades of grey, “Badger” (or “Blaireau”) or tan around the face, ears and sometimes on the tail. Some markings on the body may not be considered as a fault. The head is not too strong considering the breed’s stature. The nose is black; the eyes are small and soulful with an intelligent look. The teeth are huge with a normal scissor bite. At conformation shows, the absence of the unique double dewclaws on the back limbs will result in exclusion from the competition. Pyrenean Mountain Dogs are very affectionate, easy to train, brave, incorruptible and imposing.
Remember that pastoral dogs are confident yet humble, and besides all their independence and self-confidence, they are sensitive and love to flatter their owners. They were originally bred to protect flocks from wolves, bears and other predators. Dogs were equipped with spiked collars to protect the neck from the attack of beasts. Although a pastoral breed, they were not used to herd flocks but to guard them.