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Pyrenean Mastiff

Updated on September 29, 2021
Written by
Joel
2 sources cited
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The Pyrenean Mastiff is a giant breed dog with a calm, pleasant demeanor. They are great family dogs but also offer protection. They have great protective instincts. Their intimidating size and fearless instinct to face down danger and protect their flock make them great guard dogs

Being large breed dogs, they were bred as a livestock guardian and continue to be used for this purpose, but they are just as good at protecting your human family as they are at protecting animals.

Pyrenean Mastiff 3

This breed has a patient temperament that makes them great around young children and other pets alike. The biggest downside of bringing a Pyrenean Mastiff into your home is the amount of dog food you'll need to feed it and the amount of grooming that goes into maintaining its thick coat. 

This gentle giant is a rare breed that came from the Pyrenees Mountains in Spain. 

Trainability

Pyrenean Mastiffs are gentle but stubborn. They respond best to a reward-based, positive training approach. You should begin training as early as possible. It's never cute when puppy mistakes carry over into adult doghood, but it's even less so when you're dealing with a large breed dog like the Mastiff.

Training should be fun and effective for both you and your dog. Begin obedience training at a young age, around week 10, and keep early training sessions short and basic. Always end on a positive note with training, even if that means going back to a skill they learned very early on.

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This breed is easy to train because they are calm and easygoing. Do so while they’re young dogs because older dogs will be reluctant to learn new tricks. They tend to be a self-reliant breed and can be headstrong, but once you get to know your dog better, you'll learn the tricks to get them to listen and be enthusiastic about learning. Resist any testing you'll get from a Pyrenean Mastiff puppy and stick with consistent training that is enjoyable for both of you.

You should never use force when training your Pyrenean Mastiff. If you are struggling to teach your dog the basic skills he needs to learn to behave properly, it's worth looking into a professional trainer. This is a giant breed, and you're not going to want an out-of-control dog of this size, even if they do tend to be friendly and gentle. 

Because it is a very large dog, your pet will often need help understanding its strength. At the very least, your dog needs to understand basic commands that put you in control in a variety of different situations.

Early socialization is essential to ensure your pup will grow into a well-behaved dog. Like most breeds, this dog takes well to humans who act as strong pack leaders and seek guidance from their people.

Temperament

Pyrenean Mastiffs are known for their calm demeanor. They were bred to wander among a herd of sheep without scaring them, and they still possess this same placid nature. They are protective and can take a dominant role if not given clear guidelines and leadership by their humans. But if faced with a threat or feel a member of their pack is threatened, they have no qualms about facing down their fear.

This breed is very tolerant of other dogs, and they tend to be patient with kids and pups alike. It's surprising how calm this breed is, considering its size. Those familiar with the breed describe them as confident and even-tempered.

Once full-grown, Pyrenean Mastiffs like to spend their days lying around observing their surroundings. They seem to understand how large they are and, as such, aren't bothered by much. They rarely use their strength, but they seem to know it's there when needed.

Make no mistake; these dogs will protect your home and your family. They quickly change into fearless, aggressive, and intimidating guard dogs if needed. But unless there's an obvious threat, you don't need to worry much about your pup losing his temper.

These gentle giants make great family pets and are comfortable in families of all sizes.

Appearance & Care

Pyrenean Mastiffs are high-maintenance dogs because they are large and have long, thick coats. They require moderate grooming and have expensive lifestyles, mostly due to the amount of food they need to eat to maintain their size.

Pyrenean Mastiff 4

Appearance

The most obvious aspect of a Pyrenean Mastiff is his size. These dogs are large, strong, and muscular. They are well-proportioned and sturdy, and it's surprisingly easy for them to move, considering their size. They have large, long heads with black gums and small, almond-shaped eyes. They have medium-sized triangular heads and broad necks. They are also one of the deep-chested breeds. 

They have a double coat that is long, thick, soft, and dense. This developed to protect them from the time the breed spent on windy mountain ranges. Their body color is always white, but they tend to have spots of color on their faces and ears. Their colors most often include:

  • Black
  • Brown
  • Gold
  • Medium gray
  • Beige
  • Marbled

Males tend to weigh about 175 to 220 pounds, while females range from 150 to 190 pounds. They stand between 30 and 32 inches high. This breed looks similar to the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, but that breed is smaller.

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Grooming

While you'll need to invest time in grooming your Pyrenean Mastiff, very little of this time will be spent bathing. The less you bathe this pup, the better. Their skin has natural oils that keep their coat fresh and healthy. The more they're bathed, the more you interfere with the natural oils, so it's best only to bathe when necessary.

You must brush this breed at least three times a week, if not more. Their coats will mat without frequent brushing. Some owners use a detangling spray to further reduce the risk of matting. They'll shed about two times each year, and you'll want to increase brushing sessions during this time to remove the dead hair. Make sure you trim their nails and check their ears during more comprehensive grooming sessions.

Ideally, you'll brush your pup's teeth once a day. At the least, you should include this as part of your multiple-times-a-week grooming sessions. They also tend to drool a lot, even when their oral health is perfectly fine. There's no reason to worry – just wipe it away and know that it's part of your dog's normal behavior.

It's surprising how high-maintenance this working dog is, but it's all due to its coat and size. It's important to understand the grooming needs of this breed and other large or long-haired breeds before bringing them into your home. These dogs have the same basic healthcare needs and concerns as all giant breeds, but overall they are happy, healthy dogs.

Health

The Pyrenean Mastiff is considered a very healthy breed. This is because there haven’t been many changes in its genetic type. The most common health problems affecting the Pyrenean Mastiff are ectropion, entropion, jaw abnormalities, inflammatory bowel disease, bloat and torsion, and hip and elbow dysplasia

Despite its massive size, the Pyrenean Mastiff’s life expectancy is long, with an average lifespan of 12 years

The American Kennel Club (AKC) considers the Pyrenean Mastiff as a rare breed. Therefore, not a lot of genetic illnesses associated with this breed have been identified.

Nutrition

High-quality dog food is enough for Pyrenean Mastiffs. It can either be homemade or commercially manufactured. When preparing dog food at home, make sure that it is under a veterinarian’s supervision. 

Breeders recommend that Pyrenean Mastiff puppies be kept on a high-protein, large puppy kibble. Calcium content should be between .8 and 1.5. Phosphorus should be at .6 to 1.2. The food should have a glucosamine content of 1400 mg/kg and a 1200 mg/kg chondroitin content. If the numbers aren’t met, supplements should be given.

Pyrenean Mastiffs have a tendency to become overweight. Watching your dog’s weight level and calorie consumption are very important. Treats may be given as a reward during training but not too much because these can cause weight gain and obesity. Obese dogs are more prone to hip dysplasia. 

How Do I Know If I Have a Pyrenean Mastiff?

Despite its limitations, the only way to know for sure that you have a Pyrenean Mastiff is a DNA test. However, because these dogs are so large and are the only giant breed with this look, you'll likely have some indication that your dog is full or part Pyrenean Mastiff even without a test.

Additionally, there are several credible websites that can provide you with helpful information about Pyrenean Mastiffs.

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Resources

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“Pyrenean Mastiffs USA Club.” Pmusa.pyreneanmastiffclubs.org, pmusa.pyreneanmastiffclubs.org/.

“Pyrenean Mastiff Dog Breed Information.” American Kennel Club, www.akc.org/dog-breeds/pyrenean-mastiff/.

Joel
Content Contributor
Joel is a writer with a passion for the science of DNA and the power of its manipulation.
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