The Pyrenean Mastiff: A Complete Guide

The Pyrenean Mastiff is an ancient dog that is native to the Pyrenees mountain range in North Eastern Spain.

They are thought to be the descendants of the ancient Assyrian dogs that ran off into the mountains during their conquest of the Europe thousands of years ago.

The early settlers of those mountains did their best to domesticate the dog into a breed that could serve as a good working dog. The Pyrenean Mastiff did not disappoint.

It was a breed that was well-acclimated to the harsh mountain conditions of the day. They are large, fearsome, and noble dogs that would watch over the shepherds’ flock with unflinching loyalty.

In the Pyrenees mountains, large bears and packs of bears would roam the hillsides searching for vulnerable sheep and goats that would make easy prey.

The one thing that they feared was the Pyrenean Mastiff. These dogs are strong and courageous enough to fight a full-grown bear and win.

However, despite their considerable ability as a guarding and shepherding dog, this breed also has a number character traits that make it a great companion.

They are loyal, very intelligent, easy to train, and can be quite affectionate of their owners.

When they aren’t being used for work purposes, they are playful and enjoy going on a walk or relaxing on the porch with their owner.

The Pyrenean Mastiff almost went extinct in the 1940’s.

World War II meant that food was scarce, and few people could afford to keep up with the massive amount of food that these dogs consume on a daily basis.

In addition to this, sheep were more commonly being transported by train which put both shepherds and their loyal companions out of a job.

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A few decades after the war, however, some Spanish dog enthusiasts gathered together a group of 30 Pyrenean Mastiffs and bred them back into population.

They have since become a very popular working dog in Europe and are especially popular as companions in the countryside where they have space to roam freely.

Pyrenean Mastiff Puppies – Before You Buy…

The Pyrenean Mastiff is a great choice for you.

While this dog is very appealing to many people, they are certainly a responsibility and aren’t the type of dog that you want to keep as a house pet.

They don’t take well to being cooped up in a small house and need lots of open space to roam around and explore.

This means that the Pyrenean Mastiff is best suited to people who live in the country or who own a farm or ranch.

They also eat a lot of food which can be quite expensive over the course of a year. If these aren’t issues for you, however, then the Pyrenean Mastiff may yet be a great companion for you.

Let’s take a few minutes to look at some of the information that you should know before bringing one of these dogs home.

What Price are Pyrenean Mastiff Puppies?

Pyrenean Mastiffs usually range between $1,000 and $1,800 depending on the quality of the dog.

There are usually three separate classifications for this breed; working quality, breeding quality, and show quality.

Working quality dogs will make the best family companions and are usually the most personable, show quality dogs look the prettiest, and breeding quality dogs lay right in between the two.

Since these dogs are primarily bred in Spain, you can also expect to pay extra for any shipping costs to the US and in some cases, you will have to pay for a ticket to travel and pick the dog up in person.

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How to Find Reputable Pyrenean Mastiff Breeders?

Since the breed is not incredibly popular as a show dog in the US, there is not a high-instance of irresponsible breeding.

Most breeders operate on a small scale and produce several high-quality litters a year. They can usually be found in rural Spain where the breed is most popular.

These are very rare dogs outside of Europe and can be hard to find if you reside out of the country.

Expect to travel around and have to do some networking to find a breeder who will be willing to ship one of these dogs to you.

3 Little-Known Facts about Pyrenean Mastiff Puppies

  1. The Pyrenean Mastiff drools a lot, especially when they smell food. Make sure that you keep plenty of rags and paper towels on hand.
  2. The Pyrenean Mastiff forms very protective bonds with the people and animals in your household. They will guard them with their lives.
  3. The Pyrenean Mastiff can be very attached to their owners in their puppyhood, but will gradually grow to be very independent once they pass the 1-year mark.

Physical Traits of the Pyrenean Mastiff

The Pyrenean Mastiff is a very hardy breed.

The Pyrenean Mastiff is a large and hairy dog. If they get the proper amount of exercise, then you can expect them to grow to be very muscular.

Their torsos are long and thick, and it’s not uncommon for them to carry some body fat around this area, especially if they live in a cold area. This helps to keep them warm when they are outdoors.

Their legs have a medium length and are thick and muscular. This is to support their large heavy frame.

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Pyrenean Mastiffs have very thick, wide paws which allow them to walk over almost any terrain from snow to mud with ease.

They have thick, short necks, and a head that seems a little bit small for their large body. This is due to the excessive double-coat of fur that the Pyrenean Mastiff often carries around.

When they shed, however, their head will appear to be much more normally shaped.

The Pyrenean Mastiff’s coloring is usually a white base with fawn, brown, or black spotting patterns. Their snout is usually black, as are their eyes and nose.

Their ears are large and droopy. They shed twice a year, and in the winter they grow a very long, thick coat to protect them from the elements.

Because of this, these dogs are not suited to hot, humid environments.

How Big is a Full-Grown Pyrenean Mastiff?

A full-grown Pyrenean Mastiff is a sight to behold. Males usually weigh between 160 and 170 pounds, and females weigh between 150 and 160 pounds.

They are fairly tall as well. Males have an average height of 30 inches, and females have an average height of 27 to 28 inches.

These large dogs take up more space than many adults, so make sure that your house has plenty of space or that you have a large doghouse in the backyard.

What is the Life Expectancy of the Pyrenean Mastiff?

For their large size, the Pyrenean Mastiff has a great life expectancy.

They can easily live up to 14 years old if they are well taken care of. Their average lifespan is around 12 years, however.

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Their longevity is attributed to the fact that the breed hasn’t been officially recognized by the AKC and show dog breeders who would seek to butcher the dog’s healthy body in favor of a “better looking” dog.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Pyrenean Mastiff

The Pyrenean Mastiff is an ancient dog.

To survive the harsh Pyrenees mountains and serve as a good shepherding dog, the Pyrenean Mastiff had to be quite intelligent.

These dogs have as much brains as they do brawn, and are very intuitive animals. They can automatically sense when something is off in the air, and pick up on people’s emotions.

If the mood in your house is tense, then they will go on guard alert and may appear to seem more on-edge.

Pyrenean Mastiffs are very easy to train, and as long as they recognize that their owner is a strong leader, they will be very obedient dogs.

They are characterized by having a very steady temperament.

They don’t have a tendency to aggressive unless they feel that they or their family is in danger from an outside threat.

The Pyrenean Mastiff’s Diet

Pyrenean Mastiffs need a lot of food. Expect to pay around $100-$150 per month in food costs.

They will need to eat around 6 to 7 cups of food per day to maintain their weight. They have fast metabolisms and do best when they are fed four times a day.

This will keep their energy levels up and prevent them from begging for food.

How Much Exercise Does the Pyrenean Mastiff Need?

These dogs were originally wild mountain dogs. As a result, they need a considerable amount of exercise.

These dogs are happiest when they can live, eat, and sleep outside. This allows them to get up and explore throughout the day as they please.

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If you prefer to keep them indoors, make sure that they are allowed to get out for at least an hour a day.

Pyrenean Mastiff Health and Conditions

In general, the Pyrenean Mastiff is a very hardy breed. However, due to their heavy frame, some of these dogs have been known to develop Hip Dysplasia in their old age.

They are also prone to stomach problems and bloating, which can be easily fixed with a small surgical procedure.

As long as you take your dog to the vet once every few months for a general check-up, then they should remain happy and healthy.

Final Thoughts on the Pyrenean Mastiff

If you’re a farmer or live on a large ranch, then the Pyrenean Mastiff is a great choice for you.

They will watch over all of your animals and family diligently and will be a great companion as well.

These dogs are very independent and are relatively maintenance-free.

If you can give them the outdoor space that they need and keep up with their food costs, then you will have a great working dog that doubles as a friendly companion.

 

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3

OVERALL SUMMARY

4
Cost to Buy
10
Cuteness Level
9
Family Safety
8
Friendliness
9.5
Health Concerns
5.5
Life Span
5
Exercise Required
3
Food Required
OVERALL RATING 6.8 / 10

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