The Pyrenean Sheepdog has a long history and is probably one of the oldest French breeds. However, his earliest ancestors are left to speculation and not much was known about him until around the late 1800s. He was almost unknown to the outside world but this ‘Le Berger des Pyrenees’, the name he is known by in France, was brought out of the shadows during 1914 – 18, to play his part as a working war dog. The first Pyrenean Sheepdog to be registered with the English Kennel Club was in 1988. The “Pyrenean Sheepdog Club of Great Britain” was formed in 1992.
The Pyrenean Sheepdog (long coat) has a long, harsh and dense coat, resembling that of goat hair. The hair on the head does not hide his eyes; hair on top of the muzzle is very short but longer on the cheeks and face, sweeping back to give a ‘windswept’ effect. He comes in various shades of fawn, light to dark grey, blue merle, black, brindle or slate blue.
IMPORTANT. A Pyrenean Sheepdog with exaggerated features is the result of bad breeding. Credit; The Breed Club Connection.
Pyrenean Sheepdogs/Shepherds are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions. Not all Pyrenean Sheepdogs will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed.If you’re buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy’s parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been clinically tested for and cleared of a particular condition.
The Pyrenean Sheepdog, known also as the Pyrenean Shepherd, is most parts of the world, is known as one of the healthiest of breeds, but of course, no breed is free of genetic defects. This breed is known to be subject to occasional cases of hip dysplasia, epilepsy, sub-luxated patellae, PDA, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). These diseases are not common, nor life threatening. Dogs exhibiting these problems should not be bred. And preliminary testing for such problems should be done on all breeding stock.
HIP DYSPLASIA; This is an inherited condition in which the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip-joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but others don’t display outward signs of discomfort. (X-ray screening is the most certain way to diagnose the problem.) Either way, arthritis can develop as the dog ages. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred — so if you’re buying a puppy, ask the breeder for proof that the parents have been clinically tested for hip dysplasia and are free of problems.
ELBOW DYSPLASIA; Similar to hip dysplasia, this is also a degenerative disease. It’s believed to be caused by abnormal growth and development, which results in a malformed and weakened joint. The disease varies in severity: the dog could simply develop arthritis, or he could become lame. Treatment includes surgery, weight management, medical management, and anti-inflammatory medication.
PATELLAR LUXATION; Also known as slipped stifles. The patella is the kneecap. Luxation means dislocation of an anatomical part (as a bone at a joint). Patellar luxation is when the knee-joint (often of a hind leg) slides in and out-of-place, causing pain. This can be crippling, although many dogs lead relatively normal lives with this condition.
PROGRESSIVE RETINAL ATROPHY (PRA); PRA is a family of eye diseases that involves the gradual deterioration of the retina. Early in the disease, dogs become night-blind. As the disease progresses, they lose their daytime vision as well. Many dogs adapt to limited or complete vision loss very well, as long as their surroundings remain the same.causing joint laxity. This can lead to painful lameness. Your vet may recommend surgery to correct the problem or medication to control the pain.
EPILEPSY; Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes periodic seizures and convulsions. Your vet will need to know how severe the seizures are and how often they occur to decide what medication to prescribe, if any.