Pyrenean sheepdog long haired

FCI standard Nº 141

Revised by Jennifer Mulholland in collaboration with Raymond Triquet
Group 1 Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs)
Section 1 Sheepdogs
With working trial
Acceptance on a definitive basis by the FCI
Friday 28 January 1955
Publication of the official valid standard
Thursday 26 March 2009
Last update
Monday 25 May 2009
En français, cette race se dit
Chien de berger des Pyrénées à poil long
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
Langhaariger Pyrenäen schäferhund
En español, esta raza se dice
Pastor de los Pirineos de pelo largo
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd
Pyreneese herdershond langhaar


Sheepdog used in the farms and pastures of the Pyrenees.

Brief historical summary

Coming from humble beginnings, it was practically unknown to the official dog scene until the early 20th century. Its type varies considerably from one valley to the next, its shape, its coat can be very different, but its character and behaviour never vary. The first official standard was drawn up between 1921 and 1925 by Mr. Bernard Sénac-Lagrange. It was first modified under his presidency and then under those of Messrs. Charles Duconte (1954-1986), Guy Mansencal (1986-2000) and Alain Pécoult (since 2000-…) in close collaboration with Raymond Triquet since 2001.

General appearance

Dog displaying a maximum of nervous energy in a minimum of size and weight. An ever alert physiognomy, a knowing air combined with great liveliness of movement give this dog a characteristic appearance unlike any other.

Important proportions

• Skull is about as long as wide.
• Muzzle is shorter than skull in ratio: muzzle 2, skull 3.
• Length of body is greater than height at withers.
• Distance from elbow to ground is greater than half height at withers.

Behaviour / temperament

It is a courageous, resourceful little dog, showing initiative ant totally devoted to its master. It is headstrong by nature and firm control is usually needed to channel its energy and bring out the best of its intelligence liveliness. It is often wary of strangers.


Cranial region

Triangular in shape.
Moderately developed, almost flat, with a scarcely noticeable central furrow, harmoniously rounded on the sides, showing a very slight occipital protuberance. Approximately as long as it is wide. Front section slopes gently to the muzzle.  
Scarcely discernible.

Facial region

Straight, a little shorter than the skull, tapering like a wedge but without a pointed tip.
Not very thick, covering the lower jaw completely and showing no apparent corners. Edges and palate are black or heavily marked with black.
Jaws and teeth
Complete dentition. Strong canines. Scissor bite (upper incisors covering lower incisors without loss of contact). Pincer bite (edge to edge) is tolerated.
Expressive, slightly almond-shaped and dark brown. Neither protruding nor sunken. Wall eyes are accepted in dogs having blue with black mottling (harlequin or slate grey) coats of which they are almost always a characteristic. Eye rims are black whatever the coat colour.
They must be rather short, moderately broad at the base and not set too close to each other at the top of the skull, but not set too far apart either. They are triangular, fine and ending in a point; dropped, flat and very mobile. When alert, seen from the front, the top edge notably prolongs the transversal line of the skull. They may also be half-pricked; in which case the lower part must be pricked and mobile, and ideally the top third or half of the ear should fall forward to the front or the side, symmetrically for both ears.


Rather long and muscled, springing well up from shoulders.


The bone structure is strong without heaviness, muscle is lean.
Upper profile
Rather long and strong.
Short, slightly arched, but seems more so because coat is often thicker on hindquarters and croup.
Fairly short and rather oblique.
Moderately developed, reaching to elbow.
The ribs are slightly rounded.
Scarcely descending.


Well fringed, not very long, set rather low and with a hooked tip. When the dog is alert, the tail should, in general, hardly rise above the topline, however it may curve forward. In countries where this practice is not forbidden by law, some dogs are docked. A rudimentary tail is permitted.



Upright, lean, sinewy, well-fringed.
Rather long, moderately oblique.
Upper arm
Oblique and moderately long.
Noticeable wrist joint.
Slightly oblique seen from the side.
Lean, fairly flat, of a definite oval shape. Dark pads. Small hard nails covered by hair which is also found under the foot, between the pads.


Rather closed angulation. Semi-long coated dogs have no fringing on limbs.
Upper thigh
Not very long, moderately oblique, strong, well-defined muscle.
Lower thigh
Rather long and oblique.
Well-angulated and parallel to the body.
Perpendicular to the ground or very slightly oblique from back to front.
Lean, set low, well angulated, hocks are sometimes a little close.
Hind feet
Lean, fairly flat, of a definite oval shape. Dark pads. Small hard nails covered by hair which is also found under the foot, between the pads. Single or double dewclaws are acceptable on hind legs as is their absence.

Gait and movement

Walking, the Pyrenean Sheepdog has a rather short stride. The trot, preferred pace of the Pyrenean Sheepdog should be free and vigorous. At a gentle trot, the head is carried fairly high, when the speed increases, the head is in line with the back. The feet are never raised high, the movement is flowing, the dog skims over the ground.


Thin, often marbled with dark patches, irrespective of coat-colour.


Long, or semi-long, but always dense, almost flat or slightly wavy, thicker and woollier on the croup and thighs, texture somewhere between goat’s hair and sheep’s wool. In some dogs the mixture of coarse and woolly hair can produce sorts of strands or cords called “cadenettes" and sometimes matted or felted hair called “matelotes” which overlap like tiles on the croup. “Cadenettes” can be found on the chest and the forelegs at elbow level. The muzzle has shorter, less dense hair. On the end of the muzzle, and sometimes along the whole muzzle, it is laid flat and set from front to back. On the sides as well as on the cheeks, the hair is longer and brushed up in a windswept way from front to back. Eyes must be clearly visible and not covered by hair.
Fawn, lighter or darker, overlaid with black or not and sometimes with a little white on the chest and on the limbs; grey, lighter or darker, often with some white on the head, chest and limbs; blue with black mottling (harlequin or slate blue). There are also brindle, black coats and or black with white markings (limited spotting). Solid colours are preferred.

Size and weight

Height at withers
Males from 42 cm to 48 cm, females from 40 cm to 46 cm. A tolerance of + or - 2 cm is allowed for perfectly typed specimens.


• Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

Serious faults

 Heavy dog, not very active.
 Ogival skull, rounded forehead, stop too much pronounced or non existent.
 Muzzle square or rectangular, lack of pigmentation on nose or lips.
 Eyes light or of wild expression.
 Lack of pigmentation on the eyerims.
 Tail curled on or over the loin.
 “squirrel tail” (carried horizontally over the back).
 Fused vertebrae.
 Coat too abundant on the head, especially when it covers the eyes and on the muzzle when it looks like a griffon's moustache.
 Poor texture, soft, wiry, curly or frizzy.
 Coat lacking density or thickness.
 White covering more than one third of the coat.
 Harlequin coat lacking contrast between grey and black or having fawn glints.
 Very diluted coat colour.
 Black coat with tan on head and on limbs (black marked with fawn).

Disqualifying faults

 Aggressive or overly shy.
 Nose and eyelids any colour other than perfectly black.
 Over or under-shot, or any malformation of the jaws.
 Absence of more than 2 teeth (except PM 1).
 The presence of canines and carnassial teeth (PM4 upper jaw & M1 lower jaw) is obligatory.
 Naturally erect ears.
 Wall-eyes for any dogs other than blue with black mottling (harlequin or slate-grey).
 Flesh colour on the eye-rims.
 Light yellow eyes.
 Tail limp, hanging vertically.
 Coat curly.
 White or colour not stipulated in standard.
 Wwhite covering more than 1/3 of coat in black dogs.
 Outside the limits.

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.



Detailed history

Paradoxical destiny as that of the Shepherd of the Pyrenees, since this dog, yet very old, was one of the breeds shepherds French later recognized, well after the Briard or Beauceron in particular, even though its appearance, unlike that of its rivals had changed very little over the centuries.

According to the most recent studies, the current Pyrenean Shepherds would have for their ancestors small herd dogs, themselves from the Tibetan Terriers who, along with larger dogs descended from the Tibetan Mastiff, had accompanied the Asian hordes. during the great invasions of the fourth century. As the westward advance of Attila's and Genghis Khan's armies, Mastiffs and Terriers of Tibet were allegedly crossed with native stumps to give birth to the ancestors of the Nizinny, Tatra Shepherds and other white-clothed mastiffs and, on the other hand, those of the Catalan Shepherds (Gos d'Atura) and the Pyrenean Shepherds.

This thesis, unquestionably the most convincing that has been issued on the question, at the same time destroys many of the theories previously supported by certain specialists for whom the Pyrenean Shepherd would be a descendant of the Berger de Brie. If these races clearly have a certain number of points in common, if only because they are both shepherdesses, it is highly unlikely that they have ever had the opportunity to meet at times when the means of communication not very developed made each province, especially when it was mountainous, a true "continental island".

And even assuming that such genetic "infusions" could have occurred between a dog known only in the southwestern quarter of France and another widespread especially in the plains of the north of the country, it is hard to see how the Briard could have to give birth to the small Pyrenean, while the latter is, according to the oral tradition of his home soil, much earlier than his presumed ancestor.

To top it all off and to end up disturbing the public mind, some cynologists of the late nineteenth century went so far as to claim that the Pyrenean Shepherd and the Pyrenean Mountain Dog were one and the same. race, while everything distinguishes our light athlete from his friend, a worthy representative of another group, also very old, that of molossoids. The origin of these successive confusions is probably found in the errors of ancient authors, usually better inspired, whose work on the Berger des Pyrénées, often conducted from information not checked or verified in the field, proceeded more from the imagination than scientific observation. Thus, luminaries as famous as Brehm in Germany, Reul in Belgium, the Earl of Bylandt in the Netherlands evoked in their respective works a Pyrenean Shepherd at the limit of fantasy, quite different in any case from the real subject. Witness this preliminary draft standard proposed by the Earl of Bylandt in 1897 in his book The Dog Breeds, and which described a dog with hair bushy and half-long, with a little curved skull, long snout, small ears, eyes sometimes narrowed and long-bodied, or this quote from the German Brehm, which evokes a dog with almost hard hair, curly when young, white stained with large black plates, tall, short and muscular, with the fingers are broadly webbed, the head broad and developed, the ears fairly pointed and drooping, the snout long, square, and large blue eyes salient emphasizing intelligence, gentleness, intrepidity.

Closer to the subject and visibly better informed, Pierre Mégnin, for his part, portrayed the portrait of the Pyrenean Shepherd: "It is a Griffon whose head is scarcely loaded with hair; he has barely a few long hairs on his eyebrows, but he has neither mustache nor pronounced goatee. It is at the rear end that the hair has accumulated. There, he has strong panties and, on the thighs, a thick mattress. The members are almost flush. The feet are very spread out and remind the paw of the bear. The ears are straight instead of lying down. As for the color, it is not white with large black plates, but silver gray with the said black spots, with or without fire on the legs, a color that is vulgarly called Danish. The eyes are frequently minnows, that is, with a light blue iris. "

Despite the interest that French and foreign dogs began to bring to the Shepherd of the Pyrenees, it was not until the First World War that this dog really emerged from the shadows. In 1916, Sub-Lieutenant Paul Mégnin, Commander Malric and Veterinarian Hérout, who had been under his responsibility for the Service des chiens de guerre, suggested to the French staff that the Pyrenean Shepherd be used as a liaison dog. patrol officer. The idea was immediately adopted by the military officials, and the Service of the dogs of war sent to the Pyrenean region Théodore Dretzen, a connoisseur of the race, to recruit as many subjects as possible. Narrower than many other shepherd breeds, the Pyrenean were soon to become valuable auxiliaries for the Allied infantrymen. Witness this appreciation of J. Dhers later published in the columns of L'Eleveur, newspaper in which he had meanwhile become a collaborator: "As a former training officer of the Service of the dogs of war, it is my duty to to proclaim loudly that it is the race of the little Pyrenean Shepherd who has furnished the army with the most intelligent, the most cunning, the quickest, and the most skilful liaison dogs. "

These eloquent statements of service were to contribute to the renown of the Pyrenean Shepherd in the immediate post-war period, culminating in the creation in 1923; under the leadership of Bernard Senac-Lagrange, to whom we owe an exhaustive study of his racial characters, and some Pyrenean dogs; of the Meeting of Pyrenean dog lovers. This club having drafted a standard, nothing was now opposed to the recognition of the Shepherd of the Pyrenees by the Central Canine Society and the Ministry of Agriculture, recognition which intervened in 1926. This dog could therefore participate, the same other shepherd breeds such as Beauceron and Briard at the Central Agricultural General Competition.

A rarity in the annals of dog breeding, the drafters of the standard had been careful to distinguish two varieties of Pyrenean Shepherds: one whose head, in its general form, is reminiscent of the brown bear, with the muzzle shaped corner, the other with a clean face and a little shorter hair on the body; they had moreover admitted a difference of ten centimeters in the size of the subjects. Many amateurs were surprised, especially J. Dhers, at the end of the last century, who explained this particularity by the continental insularity mentioned above, and who wrote: "Although the race is very clearly fixed and defined we see in our mountains that the types vary somewhat from valley to valley. The standard remains the same, but some small details do not escape the mountain cynophiles. This is how Arbazzie's dog would be the model type of the standard. The little dog Saint-Beat is beefy, with a round head. Looks like a miniature Bobtail. The Shepherd of Azun, always black, seems a diminutive of the Groenendael.

These morphological differences are explained mainly by geographical reasons, and especially by the difficulties of communication between the poles of habitat at altitude, which favored the fixation of certain local types highly consanguineous.

Conversely, the clean-face type proper is, according to specialists, derived from crosses between the so-called "classical" Berger des Pyrénées and dogs from subpyrenees. Charles Duconte, judge of the SCC and end connoisseur of the race, wrote besides on this subject: "There exists in the sub-Pyrenean region, and particularly in Béarn, the Bigorre and the Adour basin, a big number of sheep dogs. Their proximity of habitat, the transhumance of certain herds which accompanied the dogs make that there were necessarily unions between them and their mountain brothers. This resulted in general a dog higher on legs, half-long hair on the body, flush on the head and limbs, whose cranial box, a little more developed, yet reminds by its shape that of pure mountain . These dogs are, moreover, very much appreciated by the horse traders and "beaters" who run the fairs in the region. "

Highly esteemed for his ability to drive sheep and horses, praised by the military for the services he had rendered in time of war, the Pyrenean Shepherd had acquired titles of nobility that allowed him to begin an irresistible rise . As early as 1927, Dutrey de Rabastens devoted to him a remarkable doctoral thesis entitled The Cradle of a Canine Race: the Pyrenean Sheepdog; this thesis will later inspire Duconte and Sabouraud for their book Pyrenean Dogs. The small Pyrenean was henceforth at the heart of the concerns of distinguished cynologists.

After the Second World War, the development of tourism, which allowed thousands of townspeople to get acquainted with this little dog, further increased its popularity, which became international. The Pyrenean Shepherd was perhaps the last shepherd race that the world of dog-eating discovered, but its notoriety should never be questioned again. So much so that today he is a very appreciated pet dog. We could say that the Pyrenean Shepherd enjoys a reputation inversely proportional to its size. The breed is indeed unanimously praised, and by the professionals who chose to make it work and by the individuals who adopted it as a pet dog. It is above all a dog remarkably adapted to the altitude. Its body is in a rectangle, and its center of gravity, close to the ground, ensures maximum stability in the accentuated slopes. He has a dry foot and lean sole, and holds the rock very well. Slightly turned outwards, her hind limbs make it easier for her to walk in the mountains. His reasonable food needs and small size, which prevented him from overturning a sheep by jostling him, made him once the ideal auxiliary for shepherds.

At work, his behavior perfectly reflects his two essential qualities: alertness and alertness. Very fast, he pushes the stragglers with a blow of muzzle, makes return in the row the insulated, darkness in front of the herd to indicate the sheep or the sheep the direction to follow. But when necessary, he also knows how to stop his passion. In dangerous passages, deftly, he will direct the animals one by one in a vigilant manner to put them in a safe place.

If there is one area where the Shepherd of the Pyrenees surpasses the shepherd himself, it is in the search for a lost animal. A sheep is missing. Preceding the shepherd, the small Pyrenean begins his search, searches the most difficult to access corners, explores the slightest flaw. A sense of duty described to us by a shepherd: "During the winter, for the fattening of the young, I used to drive the lambs in a special box to give them an extra ration. The lambs quickly understood the purpose of the maneuver and thus made the job easier. Willy, a Pyrenean Shepherd, regularly attended the operation, sitting near the door. One would have sworn he counted the lambs in passing. One day, when the lambs had finished eating and had left the box, the dog went, as he usually did, to visit the place where the little ones came from and, panicked, returned immediately to my wife, trying to make him understand that you have to go see. Before his indifference, he pulled the bottom of his apron. My wife finally decided to realize on the spot and found a lamb stuck behind a rack, breathless from having struggled. Willy licked the little animal's head for more than five minutes to comfort him and accompanied him to his mother. "

Another shepherd, Philippe Defrance, evokes in his turn the qualities of the small Pyrenees: "The reflexes of the Pyrenean Shepherd are incomparable and superior to those of all the other shepherd races. His obedience and faithfulness are remarkable. His initiative, his judgment and his memory are never lacking as soon as he is put to the test. His courage results from his hardening to suffering. The lices are no less excellent dairy when they find in their rations the necessary nutrients. "

Quite exclusive, the Pyrenean Shepherd tends to know only one master, to which he will remain passionately attached, supporting everything of him if he feels that it is useful. His vigilance at work is matched only by his mistrust at home. His bravery is legendary too. It is even said that formerly he did not hesitate to attack the bears who would have approached a little too closely his master's flock. Quite a fighter, the Pyrenean Shepherd is often at the origin of fights with other dogs. In these moments, he shows flexibility, rapidity, offering only little grip to his adversary, and, by a succession of skilful dodges and unexpected attacks, he places a few well-felt teeth. He is a light athlete, a fighter without weakness, characteristics that we sometimes tend to forget when this dog lives in the city.

To preserve the qualities of the Pyrenean Shepherd, the breeders and managers of the Reunion club of Pyrenean dog lovers have taken over, for some years now, the credo of all the "bergérophiles": out of work, no salvation. Which means, in a more explicit way: the dog can not be removed from the functions of a working dog which he has filled for many centuries without running to the degeneracy of the type. To this end, the Pyrenean Shepherd, who, for obvious economic reasons, had no future in driving sheep, has reconverted to new tasks, reconversion that his versatility has allowed him to succeed fully.

Not hesitating to bite if necessary, the small Pyrenean was thus initiated to the role of dog of defense and police. If its size prevents it from jumping as high as some others, its relaxation does not less than admire. One injured male was seen on an anterior paw crossing a stone wall of 1.70 meters and a fence surmounted by barbed wire. With such possibilities, the Pyrenean Shepherd was naturally called to become a guardian of children, especially since he knows how to be calm in the presence of a weaker, he is usually so exuberant.

Very sporty, he can hardly stand being confined to an apartment, and even in a garden if he does not have the opportunity to run on larger spaces. In its natural environment, it can travel from 15 to 40 kilometers per day. He badly needs the presence of his master; if he has to stay alone too often, and especially if he feels useless, he can become sullen, even aggressive. Apart from this case, he does not pose any particular problems, and, provided his education has been firm but fair and given between two and six months, he can be taken everywhere.

Left alone at home or in a car, the Pyrenean Shepherd will tend to bark. Sometimes embarrassing, this propensity to make his voice heard is part of his personality, which is never good to annoy systematically. Pet since he no longer has to spend on the slopes of the Pyrenees, this dog remains hereditarily marked by the lives of his ancestors. Although his field is increasingly that of large cities, he needs to lead a life that will allow him, daily, to express his vitality and intelligence.

All; or almost all owners of Pyrenean Shepherds are certain and proud to have a dog that is not "like the others". They are not necessarily wrong. Called in his original region "the dog who saw God" because of his expressive look that denotes intelligence and sometimes even exaltation, this mountaineer in the soul has shown for a long time that he knew how to adapt to other places, urban or rural.

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    Silkese He is not recognized by the F.C.I. Origin Australia <> Central Mediterranean Basin -> U.S.A. Translation Francis Vandersteen A brief presentation of the Silkese The Silkese is a toy-sized hybrid of an Australian Silky Terrier and a Maltese. The Silkese has a long, silky coat that comes in a variety of colors such as black, brown, white,...
  • Silkchon -- Australian Silky Terrier X Bichon frise

    Silkchon He is not recognized by the F.C.I. Origin Australia <> France / Belgium -> U.S.A. Translation Francis Vandersteen A brief presentation of the Silkchon The Silkchon is a designer hybrid that was created by crossing the Bichon frise with the Australian Silky Terrier. This lively little dog has the physical and temperamental characteristics...
  • Siberian Shiba -- Siberian Husky X Shiba

    Siberian Shiba He is not recognized by the F.C.I. Origin Siberia <> Japan -> U.S.A. Translation Francis Vandersteen A brief presentation of the Siberian Shiba The Siberian Shiba is an adorable little dog created from a Siberian Husky and a Shiba. Although it can vary from one individual to another, most Siberian Shiba need attention and can be...
  • Siberian Pinscher -- Siberian Husky X Dobermann

    Siberian Pinscher He is not recognized by the F.C.I. Origin Siberia <> Germany -> U.S.A. Translation Francis Vandersteen This breed is also known as Dobsky A brief presentation of the Siberian Pinscher The Siberian Pinscher is a hybrid of the Siberian Husky and the Dobermann. The Siberian Husky is easy-going and outgoing, capable of fulfilling a...