20 Things You Didn’t Know About the Pyrenean Mastiff

There are many ways to describe a Pyrenean Mastiff, but some of the words that come to mind off the bat are noble, brave, gigantic, and extremely fluffy. While that could easily be descriptive of a whole host of dog breeds, Pyrenean Mastiffs are a completely unique breed. These gentle giants have been around much longer than other breeds, and they have an air of nobility in their stance that commands respect and admiration from anyone that comes across them. Pyrenean Mastiffs are great dogs to have around, and if you’ve been thinking of having a new furry companion, here are 20 things you should know about this breed before you get one.

1. Origin

The Pyrenean Mastiff is a breed native to Spain. It originated specifically in the Aragonese Pyrenees region of the country, and the earliest records of the breed dates back to 1977. However, there’s a slight possibility that the breed is actually older. There’s no specific documentation regarding the first ever Pyrenean Mastiff, but the earliest records come from the Club de Mastin del Pirineo de España. Bred from Spain’s high elevations, the Pyrenean Mastiff is a true mountain breed.

2. Unknown pedigree

We know that part of the Pyrenean’s genealogy is the mastiff. However, not much else is known about the pedigree of this breed. We know that Pyreneans are mountain dogs, and we can make comparisons based on physical attributes. The general consensus is that Pyrenean Mastiffs descended from an ancient livestock guardian-type dog breed. Regardless of its unknown pedigree, we know enough about Pyrenean Mastiffs to know that they are excellent dogs.

3. Size

We know they are giants. We know that they are almost larger than life. But you can’t really grasp how big these dogs are until you see one face to face. Pyrenean Mastiff males can grow up to 30 to 31 inches in height, while females can grow up to 25 to 30 inches. Given the height of this breed, you can probably imagine just how heavy they actually get. Pyrenean Mastiffs can weigh anywhere from 175 to 200 lbs. The heaviest Mastiff dog weighed 282 lbs., however, So it’s likely that your pup can weigh well over the average.

4. Food

With a large dog breed almost automatically follows a large diet as well. Before fully committing to caring for such a large dog, you should be aware how much food they actually need to consume in order to stay healthy. While average-sized dogs might need 1 to 2 cups of food daily, the Pyrenean Mastiff will require anywhere from 10 to 14 cups of food every single day. That easily translates to 40 to 80 lbs. of food every month. Clearly, that’s an expense you have to be prepared to make if you want a Pyrenean Mastiff at home. Also, you have to make sure they eat high quality kibbles that are intended for larger breeds. This is simply one of the best ways to

5. Intelligence

Pyrenean Mastiffs are known to be self-reliant creatures. This is a hallmark of supreme intelligence in dogs. They are very intuitive, and they also learn fairly quickly. Pyreneans are great guard dogs because of this. But also, they’re just great companions altogether.

6. Training

Because of its intelligent characteristics, Pyrenean Mastiffs also tend to be more difficult to train. They’d much rather figure things out on their own, which of course doesn’t work well inside a home. Because these dogs are very much independent, you need to be even more firm and consistent with training. Harshness will never work for this breed, as they respond better to positive reinforcement. You also need to make sure that you include socialization as part of a Pyrenean’s training. They tend to be wary of strangers even with sufficient training—both a good thing and a bad thing depending on the context.

7. Temperament

These dogs can best be described as gentle giants. The size of a Pyrenean Mastiff is highly misleading, but their gentle faces give them away. These dogs are about as calm as you could ever imagine a sleeping dog would be. They are quiet, passive, and all-around mild tempered. For this reason, they are excellent home pets. They are great around young children, and they also tend to get along with other animals as well. They’re rarely aggressive, but their presence is enough to drive intruders away.

8. Exercise

As much as these animals were bred to do work, they would rather lay around than do anything. It’s not that they’re lazy, but they do like to lounge around. Be that as it may, Pyreneans are better when they get exercise. It’s highly recommended that these animals get some type of daily workout. Even daily walks would be better than nothing. In addition to physical exercise, make sure that your pup also gets some mental stimulation to keep its brain healthy and in a positive disposition.

9. Coat

Pyrenean Mastiffs are fluffy. It’s one of our favorite things about this breed really. Pyreneans have a long and heavy double coat that regularly sheds. If you have an aversion to dog hair, owning a Pyrenean might not be the best idea—unless you don’t mind constant vacuuming. You can definitely keep the shedding under control by brushing your Pyrenean regularly. This will also help keep its coat nice, healthy, untangled, and shiny. The breed coat typically comes in white with large spots of black, gray, brown, or tan.

10. Health

Pyrenean Mastiffs are generally healthy dogs, but there are health conditions that are typical for larger dog breeds that Pyreneans may be susceptible to. Hip dysplasia is common, especially in old age because of the weight that heavier dog breeds have to carry. Pyreneans may also suffer from various gastric-related diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, gastric dilation, and volvulus. They’re also likely to develop eye problems at some point. It would do Pyreneans well to get regular health and eye check ups.

11. Recognition

As popular as this breed may be, Pyrenean Mastiffs are not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club. It’s not an unusual scenario given that the breed is fairly new in comparison to others. Pyreneans are already regarded as pure breed dogs, and at this point recognition is simply a matter of formality. The breed has been, however, admitted into the Foundation Stock Service. Once registration numbers are high enough, the AKC should be able to recognize the breed.

12. Morphology

Its equally massive head complements the Pyrenean’s massive body. The head is strong and long, but its eyes are quite small. They’re generally almond-shaped and hazel in color. Pyreneans have medium triangular ears that hang flat against their heads. They have a black nose, and their muzzle is triangular in shape. They have a broad and flexible neck, and a high set tail. Their bodies are strong and muscular with deep chests and tucked bellies.

13. Weather tolerance

Because of their thick and long coats, Pyreneans don’t do very well in high heat climates. They have a high tendency of overheating, which is not a good thing for dogs. In contrast, Pyrenean Mastiffs do extremely well in the cold and can handle extremely low temperatures. This is likely due to their mountain breed origins, but their heavy coats definitely help that fact as well. If you live in a warmer environment and wish to won a Pyrenean Mastiff, make sure you take measures to have a cooled space for your dog and to make sure it is regularly hydrated.

14. Barking

Because of their mild temperament, Pyreneans are generally not barkers. They will bark when necessary, but otherwise they are pretty quiet company. Some might prefer this quality to incessant barkers, but others might say that they’re quiet even when they need to make noise—say when there’s an intruder at hand. You can certainly train your Pyrenean to bark when needed, but that’s another task to take on.

15. Drooling

Much like other Mastiff breeds, the Pyrenean Mastiff happens to be a heavy drooling breed. It’s cute to a certain point, but they can get quite messy at times. Of course, there are ways to adjust to it, especially knowing when they drool most. Pyreneans will have an excess of drool after eating and drinking, so be prepared to wipe up slobber then. Pyrenean Mastiffs also tend to drool heavily after some type of physical activity, which also naturally leads to more drinking afterwards. This is one of those things you just have to learn to deal with when you own a Pyrenean.

16. Puppies

Pyrenean puppies will start out small like any other pups, but they will take longer to get to their full-grown sizes. They’re so large that it can take a pup anywhere from 18 to 24 months before they reach full size (unlike average dogs that might take 3 to 6 months of growth in comparison). You want your Pyreneans to take as much time as they need to grow on a normal rate. You wouldn’t want them to grow too fast, which might be the result of overfeeding. This can become a risk for young pups that are too heavy for their bones.

17. Alone time

Since Pyreneans are naturally self-reliant creatures, they tend to do well being alone at home even after long stretches of time. They don’t bore easily, and they will lounge as much as they please. They will look for your affection as soon as you get home, but it will take them awhile to pine for it while you’re away. That said, it’s still important that you keep a close eye on your Pyrenean’s disposition. Just because they are okay with being alone doesn’t mean that they have to constantly endure it. Dogs still do best with company, and this applies to Pyreneans too.

18. Lifespan

Pyrenean Mastiffs have an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years. It’s pretty average for any dog really, but it can also be prolonged through healthy diet and exercise. Pyreneans can become obese if you’re not careful with them, and this would definitely cut their lifespan much shorter.

19. Cost

There are so many things to consider when getting a dog, and cost should always be one of your deciding factors. Some people forget that dogs will cost more than just their initial costs. They basically become another addition to your family, and that means an extra body to feed and care for. Pyrenean Mastiffs can cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $1,800 depending on the breeder, but show quality Pyreneans can cost at least $3,000 to $5,000. Average annual expenses to keep a Pyrenean Mastiff can also run you up anywhere from $1,500 and up. The costs are relative to the size of the dogs, especially since they eat quite a bit and require high quality food in order to stay healthy.

20. Space requirement

This is probably obvious to most, but it’s still worth mentioning here. Pyrenean Mastiffs are not apartment pets in any way, shape, or form. It’s only fair for these animals to have a space of their own, and in fact they will require it—both indoors and outdoors. Though they tend to lounge around most days, Pyrenean Mastiffs will still need room to roam around in. You’ll need it as well, especially with a larger furry friend about. Pyrenean Mastiffs will do better in homes with larger homes, and they will definitely look forward to having their own space being as independent as they already are.

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