The Berger des Pyrenees, also known as the Pyrenean Shepherd or Sheepdog, is a herding breed from the Pyrenees Mountains in southern France and northern Spain. This breed's history can be traced back to at least medieval times, with some experts suggesting that they have been working alongside shepherds in the region for thousands of years. The Berger des Pyrenees was often used to herd and guard sheep, showcasing their agility, endurance, and intelligence. It wasn't until the late 19th century that breed standardization began. The Berger des Pyrenees comes in two different varieties in terms of coat length - the smooth-faced and the rough-faced. The smooth-faced variety has short, fine hair on the muzzle and slightly longer hair on the body. The rough-faced variety has longer hair, often slightly wavy or curly, including on the face. In World War I, the breed served as courier dogs and search-and-rescue dogs. Post-war, their popularity began to increase, and they were officially recognized by the French Kennel Club in 1926. They were later recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2009.
The Pyrenean Sheepdog is a generally healthy breed, but can suffer from hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, patent ductus arteriosus, progressive retinal atrophy, patellar subluxation, choroidal hypoplasia, and epilepsy.
According to the UKC, the rough-faced longhaired variety is more high strung than the smooth-faced (the latter of which tends to be easier to handle). The rough-faced longhaired is also said to be less outgoing with strangers.
Otherwise, the Berger des Pyrenees is an energetic and intelligent breed. They are known for their unwavering loyalty, which can often manifest as protectiveness over their family. They are often reserved with strangers but warm up once they get to know them. Given their herding background, these dogs require a lot of physical and mental stimulation to keep them happy and prevent them from developing problematic behaviors. They are often a good fit for active individuals or families, as well as for those interested in participating in dog sports.
According to the AKC, only two Pyrenean Sheepdogs are needed to manage a flock of 1,000 sheep!
Berger des Pyrenees is one of the smallest herding dogs, but they are known for their speed and agility despite their small size.
This breed is still used for herding in its native region of the Pyrenees Mountains, showcasing its hardworking nature and agility.
They have a distinct, expressive face, and are known for their almost human-like expressions.