Mastin del Pirineo general features, temperament, health

Mastin del Pirineo dog breed face

FCI # 92, Origin: Spain, Group 2.2 Molossoid Breeds. Mountain type.

Height: 28-30 in, Weight: av of 180 pounds

Grooming: High, Shedding: High, Coat: Medium or long weather resistant double coat.

Color: White with large brown, grey or black spots.

Ease of training: High, Energy level: Medium, Span of life: 7-10 years.

Breed: Noble strength, royal looks, stately gait - that is the Pyrenean Mastiff himself! Birthplace of this beautiful and courageous dog - Iberian Peninsula: mainly, the formation of the breed occurred in the kingdom of Aragon in northern Spain. The closest relatives of a Pyrenean Mastiff include Spanish Mastiff and a Great Pyrenean Dog.

Of all the versions about the emergence of these dogs the most plausible says that the ancestors of the Pyrenean Mastiff came to the Pyrenees, along with the adventurous Phoenician traders who conducted their trade throughout the Mediterranean.

For many centuries these fearless creatures were grazing the numerous flocks of sheep in the mountains, protecting them from predatory wolves and bears, who are always just dreaming about how to carry off the desired trophy. During the grazing the Mastiff was always wearing a special collar with spikes to protect his throat from the sharp teeth of predators. In addition, the Pyrenean Mastiffs had to make sure that during the driving of the cattle from one pasture to another no one of the sheep will fall into the hands of poachers. These obedient and strong dogs were very much appreciated by shepherds: they were looking after them and taking care of their indispensable assistants as they were their own childen.

Pyrenean Mastiffs proved themselves as reliable guards of houses and other properties, also these clever dogs were highly prized in the military services. But as hunting dogs, Pyrenean Mastiff, unlike many other local herding breeds, was never used.

Until the middle of the XX century, Mastiffs, living in the Pyrenees, got their names by the names of the areas in which they lived: in Aragon lived Aragon Mastiffs, in Estremadura - Estremadurian Mastiffs, in Navarro - Navarrian, etc etc. They differred from each other in size, kinds of coat and in the structure of the head. In the priorities of the breeders there have been mainly the working abilities of dogs, so to the exterior there was given a minimum value.

Mastin del Pirineo dog breeds

Multiple matings between different types of Mastiffs were stopped in 1946, when all the varieties of northern and north-eastern dogs were combined into one breed - the Pyrenean Mastiff. Also has been developed and adopted the breed standard. Simultaneously, the same way - by combining several breeds -  there happened also the forming of the breed "Spanish Mastiff".

In the middle of XX century Spain, weakened by civil war, fell on hard times. Pastoralism was in decline (even wolves, from which it was necessary to protect the sheep, were almost extinct) and, losing his relevance, the Pyrenean Mastiff, was on the verge of extinction. It became very difficult to keep such a big dog - only wealthy people could afford this, so the population of Pyrenean Mastiffs was diminishing rapidly.

In the mid-70's the group of enthusiastic scientists managed to revive the breed. Regular participation in exhibitions helped to bring the interest of breeders back to the Pyrenean Mastiff. In 1977 in Spain there was established club of the breed, and in 1981 - adopted a new standard of the Pyrenean Mastiff.

General Features: Pyrenean Mastiff is a strong, well built and elegant dog. Average height at the withers is 80 cm, weight - 70 kg. Despite such impressive size, the Pyrenean Mastiff is usually remarkably light-footed, so that his foot prints are almost not noticeable.The head of a Pypenean Mastiff is large, with elongated snout. Nose is black. The teeth are very sharp. Eyes are relatively small and dark. Pyrenean Mastiff has pointed drooping ears. Tail well feathered, dropped down. Pyrenean Mastiff's coat is thick, fluffy, not very long. Color - white with two gray or golden markings on the sides of the head and the base of the neck. Markings may also be at the back of the body. Pyrenean Mastiffs of black and white color are valued less.

Pyrenean Mastiff is a silent dog, friendly and very smart. Unpretentious in food.


Pyrenean Mastiff can successfully protect the property and his master, also he can hunt small game or carry the wagon. However, the greatest popularity he has won as a herding dog, since he can easily bear the cold weather and fight with wolves.

Temperament: Pyrenean Mastiff, of course, lost in our days his qualities of a defender from wolves and bears, but he is still a wonderful guard dog. In rural areas, these dogs feel just perfect, they lie quietly during the day in the yard, watching what is happening around them. However, at night they become alert, responsive to the approach of a stranger to the territory that is entrusted to them. They remember all workers in the farm, considering them as belonging to their property, which must be protected. The size and the strength of these dogs are certainly scary for any uninvited guests. In sheep farms, many people keep  one or more Pyrenean Mastiffs. This dogs get along well with animals and "educate" the lambs, as a gentle nurses. It's funny to watch as a huge dog weighing about 80 kilograms is taking a nap among the sheep, or gently passing through the herd without disturbing any animal. For a family of the farmer the Pyrenean Mastiff is a reliable friend and bodyguard, who has kept his valuable qualities to the present day.

Mastin del Pirineo dog breed photo

With regard to the nature of the Pyrenean Mastiff, among the representatives of this breed rarely you may find too aggressive individuals, keeping a reasonable distance is a sufficient precaution to avoid conflicts. All fanciers of the breed argue that there are no difficulties in training the Pyrenean Mastiff, many of this dogs successfully passed a course of training for the protective guard duty and obedience. Guarding and herding instincts in Pyrenean Mastiff are natural. For example, one farmer used to leave his dog for a few hours alone with the a flock of sheep in the pasture. In this case, there have been no attacks on passers-by, dog was only guarding the animals, warning those who came too close to the flock.

Adult Pyrenean Mastiff does not require too much of a dog food. Ration depends on the amount of work the dog has to do. The ability to adapt in this breed is very high, they are hardy, undemanding and can adapt to almost any conditions. Yet it is desirable to take into account the history and the purpose of the breed and not to make the Pyrenean Mastiff just some sort of a giant lap-dog.

Appearance of a Pyrenean Mastiff for some people may seem daunting and harsh, but in reality in the soul of this huge bear lies meek and gentle child. Pyrenean Mastiff is steady and calm even in the presence of strangers, but in case of danger, he immediately turns into a ferocious defender.

This noble and faithful friend of the family can sometimes show his independent nature, so in the obedience training for him the owner must find the right approach.

This stately and imposing "bear" would feel perfect in a country side house with large garden - because he loves nature and a leisurely walks in the fresh air. Still, do not forget about the physical activities for your large pet and do not let him turn into a house coach potato.

Today the Pyrenean Mastiffs are still used as herding dogs, but also, thanks to their vigilance and courage they have found a new job - as a bodyguards. In many European countries, there are organized the clubs of fanciers of this breed, and the Scandinavian countries the Pyrenean Mastiff even takes the second step of the podium (after the Bullmastiff) in popularity among the breeds of the Molosser group.

Health problems: As most of the Mastiff type dogs, the Pyrenean Mastiff is prone to the hip dysplazia.

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