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The Pyrenean Mastiff is originally from the Aragonese Pyrenees, Spain where it was bred as a working dog, protecting and guarding livestock. A large, furry dog that is quiet and docile, the Pyrenean Mastiff is a giant softie and should not be confused with the Pyrenean Mountain Dog. This breed has a dense double coat and a robust body, but it is still even-tempered and biddable. It thrives at home and gets on well with children. The Pyrenean Mastiff is a bit independent and can often be difficult to manage, but in the right hands, this dog is a great one to have around for a family pet.
Are you searching for a large livestock guardian dog? Read on to learn more about this native Spanish dog breed.
The Pyrenean Mastiff descended from a very ancient breed known as the Molosser, which is at one time a large and imposing dog called the Navarra Mastiff. Originally bred to guard and protect large flocks of sheep from wolves and bears. Some farm owners will even put spiked collars around the dogs' necks for extra protection during attacks.
Pyrenean Mastiffs have existed since the Middle Ages and were all over Europe including Spain and France. It is believed they were brought by Viennese and Phoenician traders to Europe. There are over four types of mastiff dogs developed in different regions along with the Pyrenean Mastiff.
The Pyrenean Mastiff is a favourite dog breed in its native land but was only recognised by the Club del Mastin del Pirineo de España in 1977. It was also recognised and accepted by The Kennel Club and the FCI in 1982.
The Pyrenean Mastiff is a giant dog, weighing 179 to 220 pounds and standing 71 to 81 centimetres with a well-balanced build. It is sturdy and muscular with a strong bone structure. It has a large and moderately long head, muzzle that tapers to the tip and a gentle stop. Its nose is large, wide and colour black, while its eyes are small and almond-shaped with the colour of dark hazel. This dog has an alert and noble expression. The ears are medium-sized, shaped like a triangle and are set above the eyes, hanging close to the cheeks.
Pyrenean Mastiffs wear a dense medium-length coat that is thick and coarse in texture. The hair is slightly longer on its shoulders, neck, belly, legs and tails compared to the rest of the body. The accepted colours include snow-white ground with patches of grey, golden yellow, brown, black, light beige, grey silver, sandy, or marbled.
Although sporting a thick coat, this dog breed is not difficult to groom because it is not prone to matting. Regardless, the coat requires brushing at least twice or thrice a week. It sheds moderately throughout the year and more during spring and autumn. Other than brushing its coat, dog grooming includes brushing its teeth, trimming the nails and cleaning the ears. As well, look out for ticks, fleas and signs of infection.
With its large and imposing appearance, the Pyrenean Mastiff is surprisingly a calm and placid dog breed. Since it was bred to guard livestock, it retains most of its protective instincts and will not hesitate to guard its family from threats. When at home, the Pyrenean Mastiff is quiet, docile and gets along well with children. However, care should be taken when this dog is around small children because of its large size. The Pyrenean Mastiff is not aggressive, although it's naturally wary of strangers, which makes it an excellent watchdog and guard dog.
Socialisation and training at a young age will help Pyrenean Mastiffs develop their confidence to become well-adjusted adult dogs. They are intelligent and desire to please its owners, so they are relatively easy to train. Since this is a working dog breed, they are most happy when they are given some work to do which is why they are willing to learn new things.
When socialised at an early age, they get along well with other dogs, but they will never back down from a fight when threatened. The Pyrenean Mastiff gets on well with the family cat especially one they have grown up with. However, since it has a high prey drive, it will think nothing of chasing neighbours' cats and smaller animals as fair game.
A typical serving for an adult Pyrenean Mastiff is 4 1/2 to 6 cups of high-quality dog food daily, divided into two to three meals. Feeding a giant dog can be daunting, so do not hesitate to consult with a veterinarian or canine nutritionists to help you determine the best diet for your dog. Typical daily calorie needs of an adult Pyrenean Mastiff that weighs 200 pounds:
Giant dogs like the Pyrenean Mastiff will require plenty of calories compared to small and medium dog breeds. However, owners must care to focus on the quality of the food than the quantity. Look for dog food that is rich in protein or make home cooked meals from animal meat. Again, if you're not sure then it best to work with a veterinarian.
The Pyrenean Mastiff is a healthy dog with a lifespan of 8 to 13 years. Just like all breeds, it is predisposed to health disorders related to its size like musculoskeletal problems such as Hip and Elbow Dysplasia. The breed is also at risk to develop Bloat or Gastric Torsion and some eye problems.
Like most large dogs, the Pyrenean Mastiff is not a high energy dog but will still require enough exercise to be healthy and happy. Give them at least 1 hour of daily exercise and the right amount of mental stimulation, so they don't get bored and become destructive. Make sure that when it is off the lead, the dog is in a safe and secure environment.
Are you planning to buy a Pyrenean Mastiff puppy? It seems easy but can be challenging when it comes to the financial side. Buying a dog means a change in lifestyle as it becomes a part of the family that needs to be fed and given proper care. With this said, having a dog means spending money for its care. Below is a quick breakdown of some significant costs:
As a rough estimate, caring for a Pyrenean Mastiff will cost you around £130 to £210 a month. However, this is only an estimate and does not include dog training costs.
Are you sure the Pyrenean Mastiff is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
Did you realise the Pyrenean Mastiff is not for you? Can check out more breed options that might suit your needs with our Pet Finder.
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