If you're in the market for a gigantic dog with a lot of personality, look no further than the Pyrenean mastiff. You may not have heard of this unusual breed, but they're gentle, full of personality, and above all, huge.
The Pyrenean mastiff is a large, fluffy dog that weighs, on average, 180 pounds (though males can weigh up to 220 pounds). It is similar in appearance to the Saint Bernard, with a long, thick coat that's white in color with dark spots. It has a life expectancy of 10-12 years. Like other large dogs, the Pyrenean Mastiff can be prone to musculoskeletal problems, including hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia.
The Pyrenean mastiff historically has been used to guard flocks of sheep. Used in the Aragonese and Navarrese Pyrenees, the Pyrenean mastiff would guard the sheep as well as their human owners from wolves and bears (as well as potential robbers).
After the Spanish Civil War, the Pyrenean mastiff went into near extinction, due to a poor economy and the high cost of keeping such a large dog. In the 1970s, however, a group of Pyrenean mastiff fans began a project to recover the breed through the few dogs that were still left in the countryside. Since 1977, it has been documented as a modern purebred breed by the Club del Mastín del Pirineo de España in Spain.
Pyrenean mastiffs are self-reliant, calm, and gentle. They are patient and docile with children, and may be protective of them, as well as of other family members. They also tend to get along well with other dogs. Though they don't need an excessive amount of exercise, Pyrenean Mastiffs do require several walks each day, or they may become bored or restless.
As we've talked about, Pyrenean mastiffs are massive. They have a double coat with long, thick fur. They are primarily white, with dark spots, and they have a large head and floppy ears. Pyrenean mastiffs shed regularly and require a substantial amount of grooming. Brush them several times a week to avoid tangles. This breed tends to drool when eating or drinking, or when the weather is hot.
- Weight: 180-220 pounds
- Life expectancy: 10-12 years
- Energy level: medium
- Trainability: highly trainable
- Sheds: regularly
- Grooming: brush several times a week
- Barking level: medium
- Good with children: yes
- Good with other dogs: yes