Pyrenean sheepdog smooth faced

FCI standard Nº 138

Origin
France
Translation
Mrs. Pamela Jeans-Brown revised by Alain Pécoult and Raymond Triquet
Group
Group 1 Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs)
Section
Section 1 Sheepdogs
Working
With working trial
Acceptance on a definitive basis by the FCI
Wednesday 26 January 1955
Publication of the official valid standard
Tuesday 13 March 2001
Last update
Friday 15 April 2005
En français, cette race se dit
Chien de berger des Pyrénées à face rase
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
Pyrenäen schäferhund mit kurzhaarigem gesicht
En español, esta raza se dice
Pastor de los Pirineos de cara rasa
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd
Pyreneese herdershond vlak gezicht

Usage

Sheepdog.

Brief historical summary

This variety of Pyrenean Sheepdog was principally found in the Pyrenean foot-hills where it was “much appreciated by horse-dealers and cattle-drovers” according to Bernard SÉNAC-LAGRANGE (1927 club’s yearbook) . Its distinctive features compared with those of other types of Pyrenean Sheepdogs gained it an appendix in the breed standard from the 1920s.

General appearance

Overall, the smooth-faced Pyrenean Sheepdog has the same characteristics as the long-coated Pyrenean Sheepdog.

Important proportions

• The skull is approximately as wide as long.
• The muzzle is slightly shorter than the skull, but longer than that of the long or semi-long coated varieties.
• The length of the body is almost equals its height.
• The distance from the elbow to the ground is greater than half the height at the withers.

Behaviour / temperament

Lively, biddable dog, sometimes wary of strangers.

Head

Cranial region

Head
Furnished with short fine hair (hence the name “smooth-faced”).

Facial region

Muzzle
The muzzle is a little longer than that of the semi-long coated Pyrenean Sheepdogs.

Body

Body
A little shorter than that of the long-coated Pyrenean Sheepdog, it is a more square-shaped body.

Limbs

Forequarters

Generality
Covered in smooth hair with a light fringe of hair on the front legs and breeches on the hind legs.

Hindquarters

Generality
Covered in smooth hair with a light fringe of hair on the front legs and breeches on the hind legs.

Feet

The foot is both tighter and more arched than that of the long-coated sheepdog. Angulations are more open in this variety.

Gait and movement

On the move, the smooth-faced Pyrenean Sheepdog has a shorter stride than the long-coated variety.

Coat

Hair
On the body the hair is semi-long or less than semi-long. It reaches its longest length on the neck and withers (6-7 cm) and on the median line of the back (4-5 cm).

Size and weight

Height at withers
Males 40-54 cm, females 40-52 cm.

Faults

• 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.

Important

The faults and eliminating faults are the same as those indicated for the long-coated variety, except for those describing coat and proportions.

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.

Bibliography

http://www.fci.be/

 

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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