The Pyrenean Mastiff is a large breed of dog originally from the Aragonese Pyrenees in Spain. It should not be confused with the Pyrenean Mountain Dog. The Pyrenean Mastiff is a very large dog, males 77 centimetres (30 in) and females 71 centimetres (28 in) at the withers, although they can be up to 81 centimetres (32 in). They have a heavy white coat with large darker spots. The average weight is about 81 kilograms (179 lb), although males can often weigh over 100 kilograms (220 lb).
For a long time the Pyrenean Mastiff accompanied the herds of sheeps in its migratory paths from the Aragonese and Navarrese Pyrenees until Maestrazgo. Its main function was to guard and protect the herds and its masters of the attacks of wolves, bears and thieves. During the 20th century, especially after the Spanish Civil War, due to economic difficulties, the mastiff went into decline as it was very expensive to keep a dog of its size. In the 1970s a group of fans started a job of recovery of the breed through the few specymens that were in the countryside and still had typical features of the ancient mastiff. It has been documented since 1977 as a modern purebred breed by theClub del Mastín del Pirineo de España in Spain. The breed is now being taken from its native region and promoted as a pet in other countries like USA by the Pyrenean Mastiff Club of America. It was recognised by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 1982.
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’s longish coat needs regular brushing and combing. It is a regular shedder, too, so the more frequently it is brushed, the less shedding there will be. Its ears should be kept clean and dry, as should the areas around its eyes.
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.