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Pyrenean Mastiff Breed Fact Sheet

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Pyrenean Mastiff Breed Information

Group 6: Utility

Energy Level: Moderate

Original Function: sheep guardian

Temperament & Characteristics: Friendly towards humans, calm, noble, and very intelligent, at the same time courageous and proud towards strangers from whom he never backs away. In his behaviour towards other dogs, he is good natured and aware of his superior strength. Occasionally, he will fight with great skill, an atavistic quality which goes back to hundreds of years of fighting wolves. His dark bark comes from deep within his chest. His expression is alert.

Recommended for: Origonally a flock guard, nowadays an excellent guardian of family and property, best suited to families on well fenced small acreage.

Be Aware: This is a very large dog.

Lifespan: 10-12 years


Height: minimum height for
77 cm (30 ")

Height: minimum height for
72cm (28")

Colour: grey, golden, brown, silvergrey, black, marmorated, and sandcolored not red!

Coat: Dense thick and of moderate length. longer on neck, back belly tail, Bristly not wooly.

General Appearance: See breed description below



The Pyrenean mastiff, also called Mostin De Aragon or Mastin Del Pirineo. Their distant relatives were most likely big dogs brought from Mesopotamia & Asyria to Spain. They are one of the giant breeds listed as Molosser breeds. The function of the Pyrenean Mastiff was to accompany herds of sheep from winter to summer grazing land, guarding and protecting them from wolves, bears and thieves on the way. They wore heavy spiked metal collars called "carlunkas' to protect their necks. The Sheep & Herd Federation, was formed in Spain, the federation was very powerful due to the sheep driven economy. These mastins were highly sought after and greatly valued. For several hundred years the breed was isolated because of the location, in addition to the climate, this heavily influenced the makeup of today's Pyrenean Mastinos. The nearest relative most likely the Pyrenean Mountain dog. These two breeds were probably common until the pyrenes were split into almost in two different parts. The nortern region became France and the southern area became Spain. Another relative is also found in Spain, in the Spanish Mastiff. This breed is from the lower located parts of Spain and because of the climate and location it is now a different breed in many ways a much shorter coat being one of the examples. The Pyrenean mastiff nearly became extinct during the 1930 `s, with the eradication of wolves and other predators, and the reliance on rail to transport the sheep as well as both civil war and world war II, food was scarce, and the numbers of Pyrenean Mastiffs was reduced dramatically. Fortunately for the breed there was a group of dedicated Spanish enthusiasts who had these dogs, or had heard of them. They combined in their efforts to travel the country, they found about 100 dogs, and selected 30 from which to establish a breeding program. The Spanish club was intent on saving the Pyrenean mastiffs from extinction, and promoting the breed to the world. To this end these dedicated enthusiasts have accomplished their mission.

The Pyrenean mastiff are a rectangular big and strong dog. The minimum height for females are 72cm or 28" and for males 77 cm,or 30 " The biggest individual is always preferred. There are no upper limits regarding the height. The head is big and wide with a slight but definite stop. The ears are medium sized are placed highly above the eyeline. Colour of the eyes are brown with a calm and intelligent look. The nose is powerful which gives the face a deep profile. The throat is strong and heavily coated which helps the dog to protect itself during possible attacks. The shoulders are massive, bent, with powerful muscle substance. The backline is straight, but a slightly swaying backline allowed. This trait was found often among the old mastines. The bone structure is powerful and massive. The front legs should be separated to make room for a wide and deep breast. The back legs have to be strong and angled well enough to give powerful impulsion. Double dewclaws are usual but not obligatory. The PM has a tight, coarse and moderate long coat between 6-9 cm. This is longer on the shoulders, throat, under the stomach and on the backside of the legs. The base colour is always white with a characteristic mask covering both ears. Usually there are several spots on the rest of the body, but they have to be well defined and with the same colour as the mask. Colours are grey, golden, brown, silvergrey, black, marmorated, and sandcolored not red!

The temperament is not complicated, the PM will learn fast and his behaviour is very routine. Even if the Pyrenean mastiff appears passive, it will always be aware of everything that goes around it. This kind of behaviour makes the dog very stable even in extreme situations. This of course in addition to that the fact that this dog is aware of its power, strength and size. The Pyrenean mastiff is not an aggressive dog, it will seldom look for trouble. But with a smoothness and quickness in the movement, he is well prepared to take it. The male, as a lover, will not accept any competition from other dogs. He has almost no time to eat and just in this situations he will leave the female. The female is almost the opposite, very feminine and would like to be flirted with by 2 or even more males. When visiting places where an PM is located, you will always be meet by deep barking. The Pyrenean mastiff assure you that you are walking on private property and after an complete inspection the he will follow you to the door….. or keep on barking if he doesn't like what he has inspected. The behaviour is very dependable. Saying this he is willing to give his friendship away, especially to children !! The Pyrenean mastiff will adore the children of the household.. If you, as an adult, are angry with the children, he will always protect them and take their side. The owners and family are the ones he loves the most and will have most confidence in. The Pyrenean mastiff likes short and simple commands, used from day one !! With an hard and punished education you will get a nervous and uncomfortable dog. The Pyrenean mastiff tolerates well a pretty hard climate over long periods due to the long and strong coat. It will search for the highest part on the property and lay down there for hours just doing almost nothing but being aware.
Thanks To Finn Espen Nergård for allowing the use of this text.

Grooming- a brush once weekly and a bath when needed

Exercise- A walk daily is required to help keep them fit and healthy

Health- a good diet is important, please refer to breeders for best possible diet recommenced, or for Diet and other general dog health information Health/Nutrition

Information Submitted by
Finn Espen Neurgard & Anne Briglia


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