Pyrenean Mastiff

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Is the Pyrenean Mastiff right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): Mastin del Pirineo; Mastí del Pirineu,Mastiff of Navarre, Mastin d'Aragon

The basics:
For centuries, the Pyrenean Mastiff has been used to protect houses, farms, castles, and sheep from predators like wolf and bear. As these predators declined in the 20th century, the role of this breed declined as well. It is now a rarity hard to find outside Spain. Don't confuse it with better known breeds like the Pyrenean Shepherd and the Great Pyrenees. In 2014, the American Kennel Club began to record it in its Foundation Stock Service, which may help to increase awareness of this breed.

That said, the Pyrenean Mastiff isn't a dog for everybody. Be a responsible dog owner with some experienced socializing and managing a large protector breed with an independent streak. These family-first dogs have an instinct to defend their flock, especially children.

Appearance / health:
The Pyrenean Mastiff is a massive, strong, powerful, and well-muscled. The head is large with a long muzzle. The neck is powerful and surrounded by loose skin and hanging double dewlaps. Eyes are small, hazel, or preferably dark, with mellow expression. Ears are V-shaped and should be separated from the face and partially lifted when the dog is alert. Tail is feathered and is usually kept low.

The Pyrenean Mastiff is a moderate shedder and a weekly brushing is enough to keep them tidy. The frequency of brushing should be increased before the onset of seasonal shedding. The double dewclaws need a weekly trimming to ensure they do not damage the back legs of the dog. Standard care is needed for eyes, ears, pads, and nails.

A walk or a jog is sufficient to keep them healthy and happy. The puppies need not be exercised much as excessive exercise hampers the growth of their soft bones and joints.

Health problems that may affect Pyrenean Mastiffs include entropion (inward turning of eyelid), ectropion (outward turning of eyelid), abnormalities of the jaw, bloat (flatulence) and torsion (twisting), inflammatory bowel disease and occasionally hip dysplasia (a hereditary disease that eventually causes lameness and arthritis of joints).

Behavior / temperament:
Being a herding breed, the Pyrenean Mastiff figures out the boundaries of its property and goes all the way to protect it against any intrusion.

They are never the first to pick a quarrel and try to keep the intruder at bay by grunting and growling. Even if the dog appears relaxed, it is well aware about the things happening around him. They are aggressive toward animals that do not belong to their flock.

Pyrenean Mastiffs are very intelligent and pick up commands easily. They are willful, obstinate, and manipulative and need consistent, firm, and on-going training. Their sheer size also necessitates early obedience training.

Pyreneans are average barkers and do not bark without a reason. Their bark is loud and heavy. They also grunt, snore, and sniff loudly.

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