Erger des Pyrenees

(Smooth Face and Rough Face)

Pyrenees Herding Dog

he Berger des Pyrenees, or Pyrenean Shepherd, is an ancient breed; it is known to have been used as a herding dog in the Pyrenees Mountains for as long as men have been herding sheep there. The shepherds used two different breeds for two purposes. The Great Pyrenees were livestock guardians and protected the flocks from predation, while the smaller, more active herding dogs, the Berger des Pyrenees, were used to move the flocks. This breed is also thought to be the ancestor of several modern herding breeds, including the Australian Shepherd.

The Berger stands 15 to 20 inches tall and weighs 25 to 30 pounds. The eyes may be blue, brown, or marble; the ears may be cropped or fold naturally. The tail is a natural bob or may be docked. The coat is wavy, long, and may be corded or brushed. The smooth-faced variety has short hair on the face. The rough-faced variety has longer hair on the muzzle and cheeks. The coat may be gray, blue merle, black, or black with white markings.

If the coat is allowed to cord, ask a breeder for a demonstration on coat care. If the coat is to be brushed, it requires twice weekly brushing.

This active herding breed needs daily exercise and a job to do. That could be herding, running the agility course, trick training, or running alongside a bicycle. This is not a good dog to leave alone for hours each day; if bored, she will get into trouble.

Bergers are wary of strangers, so socialization should begin early, as should training. The training needs to be fun and varied; repetition is not good for this breed. Training should continue on into adulthood so she has a sense of purpose.

The Berger is good with an experienced dog owner. She is affectionate, silly, and playful with her own family and is great with the children she is raised with. She is reserved with other dogs. Health concerns include hip dysplasia and knee problems.

Breed in Brief

Registries: AKC FSS, CKC Occupation: Herder Size: 15 to 20 in tall; 25 to 30 lbs

Longevity: 12 to 14 years Exercise: Very active Training: Easy; needs a job Grooming: Moderate

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