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Pyrenean Mastiff

Pyrenean Mastiff

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Breed Organization
United Kennel Club
Native Country
Other Names
Mastin d' Aragon, Perro Mastin del Pireneo
Life Expectancy
Approximately 10-12 Years
Litter Size
Average 3-5 Puppies
Breed Group
FCI Molossoid / AKC FSS
Breed Appearance
Originating from Spain, the Pyrenean Mastiff, or Perro Mastin del Pireneo, is a large flock-guarding breed developed for fighting off predators of sheep such as bear and wolf. The breed is rather large, reaching 34 inches in height, and weighing up to 175 lbs.

Breed Description
Head: Large and solid. Broad, slightly rounded skull. Stop not pronounced. Rectangular muzzle tapering toward the large nose.
Ears: Medium size, triangular, dropping flat against the cheeks.
Eyes: Small, almond. Hazel, preferably dark, color. Black rims. Mild droop of lower lid slightly revealing the conjunctiva.
Body: Slightly longer than tall. Very strong and robust. Tapering neck with double dewlap. Withers slightly pronounced. Broad, deep brisket. Ribs well sprung. Belly moderately tucked up.
Tail: Thick at the root, supple, richly clad with fur (plume). Carried low at rest reaching the hocks, with the last third always curving up.
Hair: Stiff, thick, dense. Moderate length (6 to 9 cm). Longer on the shoulders, neck, underbelly, and back of the legs.
Coat: White with a well-defined mask. Sometimes the body has distinct markings of the same color as the mask. Ears are always dark. Tri-colors and solid white coats not preferred. Tip of the tail and feet must be white. Mask clearly visible, with a light-colored background. Preferred colors are white (solid white or snow white with medium gray or bright golden yellow markings), brown, black, silvery gray, light beige, yellowish sable, mottled.
Size: 28.5 - 34 inches at the withers
Weight: 120 - 175 lbs

The Pyrenean Mastiff was developed on the southern slopes of the Pyrenees Mountains in Spain. It is not to be confused with a closely related French breed, the Great Pyrenees. Some experts believe the Pyrenean Mastiff is the product of a cross between the Great Pyrenees and the Spanish Mastiff. Over the centuries, they guarded flocks during the Transhumante, the formal mass migration of the flocks up and down the mountainside with the change of the seasons. The breed was recognized in the late nineteenth century.

This strong, rustic breed is self-reliant and calm. It is even-tempered and docile at home and is protective with children. It is gentle with other dogs as well as other pets and people it knows. However, if challenged, the Pyrenean Mastiff will not hesitate to defend its family or itself from a perceived threat. Although it is gentle and kind with a loving temperament, it takes its work seriously and needs a strong, experienced leader. Certainly this large breed should be socialized from puppyhood to encourage confidence, but it will always be in its nature to remain suspicious of strangers.

The Pyrenean Mastiff should be trained with reward-based, positive lessons from as early an age as possible. This teaches it to pay attention to people. It is generally an independent-minded dog, and may not respect the owner if the owner is too passive.

The Pyrenean Mastiff is a very healthy breed. While they are a giant breed, and as such, can suffer from hip dysplasia, it does not happen that often. The biggest threat to the health of the Pyrenean Mastiff is Gastric Diatation Volvulus (GDV). To eliminate the fatal part of this malady, the flipping of the stomach, Pyrenean Mastiffs de Monte Sano has Laparoscopic Gastropexy performed on all it's dogs at 11 to 13 months of age. This operation tacks the stomach to the chest cavity lining so that the stomach cannot flip. It is still possible for the dog to bloat, which is the building of gases in the stomach, but the stomach will not flip. It is the flipped stomach that is life threatening and needs immediate attention. It is recommended that if you wish to purchase a Pyrenean Mastiff, that you consider having this procedure done on your puppy when it reaches around 1 year of age.

The Pyrenean Mastiff does not require a great deal of exercise, but it will become bored and restless without a sufficient amount. Several daily walks will give it the opportunity it needs to check its surroundings and get exercise. Outings are also a great way to socialize the Pyrenean Mastiff, who becomes gentler and more trusting with every friend it makes along the way. Brushing once or twice per week is required.

Originally bred to protect flocks of sheep from wolves and bears, this is a noble and brave, and yet gentle breed that does well with all types of animals. However, it will fiercely protect what it considers to be "it's flock" having never lost the centuries of ingrained fighting capability learned in battles with wolves and bears. Other animals and people have nothing to fear unless they are threatening, then they will find an extremely fierce and well equipped adversary. He makes a very good guard dog and companion if raised properly.

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