Let's talk Pyrenean Shepherds

The benefit of a lesser celebrity status is that those who know the Pyrenean Shepherd are eager to brag about the dog’s earnestness and inimitable nature. This sprightly little dog’s standout trait is an inordinate need for speed, which makes them top finishers in agility competitions. Pyrenean Shepherds come in two coat varieties but both possess a zest for life and a cooperative manner. An ancient breed, the Pyrenean Shepherd moves into the modern age with a characteristic energy and intensity not seen in many other dogs.

Official name: Pyrenean Shepherd

Other names: Chien de Berger Pyrénées, Pyrénées Sheepdog, Labrit, Labri

Origins: France

Side view of Pyrenean Shepherd in black and white
Drooling tendencies Very low Warm weather? Medium
Shedding level Medium Suited to apartment living? Low
Physical activity needs High Kid-friendly? High
Compatibility with other pets Medium Can stay alone? Low

We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behavior. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

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Illustration of Pyrenean Shepherd
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4 - 17 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight
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4 - 17 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight


 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 10 months
 Adult age  10 months to 8 years
 Mature age  8 to 12 years
 Senior age  From 12 years

Pyrenean Shepherd standing on grassy hill with tongue out


Get to know the Pyrenean Shepherd

All you need to know about the breed

Energetic but with an affectionate side, the Pyrenean Shepherd is a conversation-starter, a traditional herding breed with practically unparalleled vigour.

The breed comes in two varieties—rough-faced, with medium-length hair that’s slightly wavy or flat and a coarse texture that’s longer on the sides of their face, and a smooth-faced variety, with short and fine hair on their face and longer hair on the sides that forms a ruff. With their bedhead tresses, wide-eyed expression, and somewhat large paws, this dog has an enchanting look, for sure.

When it comes to energy, the Pyrenean Shepherd has it in spades. It comes from deep within and emerges best in the show ring, where the Pyrenean Shepherd can compete in tracking, dog dance (uh-one-and-a-two), agility, flyball, or herdsmanship. The breed has considerable smarts, too, and a nonstop approach to life that will keep owners on their toes.

The Pyrenean Shepherd does enjoy their human companions tremendously but they can be wary of strangers until they get to know them; when that happens, the breed warms right up. The Pyrenean Shepherd is great (and gentle) with children, once trained, with whom they’ll want to play for hours on end.

Close-up of Pyrenean Shepherd sitting on grass


2 facts about Pyrenean Shepherds

1. Raising their voice

As a lively breed, and one who has traditionally been used for herding animals, the Pyrenean Shepherd developed their voice for use to alert shepherds. Today’s Pyrenean Shepherd can still like to bark—at times a bit too much. Train them from a young age and their baying will be kept … at bay.

2. Watch their weight

Highly active dogs are bound to burn calories and the Pyrenean Shepherd is one of them. The breed is, frankly, known to be a huge glutton and has a tendency to put on weight if they’re not careful. Even though they may look at you with those puppy dog eyes, make sure to keep to their regular portions, and give treats taken only from their daily allowance of kibble.


History of the breed

The Pyrenean Shepherd is said to be among the oldest of the French shepherds, but, shrouded in myth, their origin is somewhat unknown. What is for sure: The breed has existed for thousands of years as a companion to the Pyrenean shepherds who engaged in transhumance herding high in France’s Pyrénées Mountains. The practice saw nomadic shepherds and their faithful dogs move livestock between fixed seasonal pastures. The herding—key to the animal’s well-being—is practised today, with the Pyrenean Shepherd still alongside.

With a very focused job and a region that thrived because of it, the Pyrenean Shepherd survived also in part to their isolation in an area where little-to-no cross-breeding took effect, so genetic defects were few and far between.

During World War I, many of these dogs were used by, and gave their lives for, the French military as couriers and search-and-rescue dogs. Despite their dwindled numbers, the breed has bounced back today. The Pyrenean Shepherd was accepted for registration in 2009 by the American Kennel Club.

Pyrenean Shepherd standing with tongue out in black and white


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Pyrenean Shepherds

1. Ears

Ears set wide at base, triangular and pointed.

2. Body

Robust and deep-muscled body with very deep chest.

3. Coat

Smooth, somewhat woolly and profuse coat.

Pyrenean Shepherd standing in field of white flowers


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Pyrenean Shepherd
Close-up of Pyrenean Shepherd puppy against blue sky background


Caring for your Pyrenean Shepherd

Grooming, training and exercise tips

The Pyrenean Shepherd breed comes in a rough-faced or smooth-faced variety, the former with medium-length, coarse hair and the latter with short, fine hair. Both varieties are easily cared for with weekly brushing and a bath only as needed. Clean those ears and eyes regularly as well as nail pads that could harbour debris. Brush your dog’s teeth as often as possible to prevent periodontal disease.
Potential owners of the Pyrenean Shepherd should know that this breed’s need for exercise is great. They require physical stimulation and the mental kick that comes with it. The dog has incredibly high energy and their ability to fly like the wind has made them ideal for canine sports. The Pyrenean Shepherd will take to training well but watch that their bossiness doesn’t kick in. Starting them with obedience training early in puppyhood will make for the best behaviour, and very firm commands are the ones this breed is likely to respond to. They’re not ranked as the smartest breed on the block but know the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.


All about Pyrenean Shepherds

As a rustic breed, the Pyrenean Shepherd is usually found outside in one activity or another as a highly-playful dog that has an inordinate amount of energy. Their demands are few—as long as you play alongside. The dog’s coat varieties are low maintenance, requiring only weekly brushing. The Pyrenean Shepherd is known to be a trainable dog as well.

The Pyrenean Shepherd is one dog that requires a lot – repeat, a lot – of exercise in order to maintain their health, so being outside suits this breed best. This is a highly-active breed who functions optimally in a rural environment or one with a sizable garden..



1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/