The Pyrenean Sheep Dog


 From paintings by Louis Agassiz Fuertes


One of the most beautiful dogs in the world is the Pyrenean sheep-dog,

but, alas! the breed is almost extinct. Technically speaking, this animated

snowdrift is not a sheep-dog at all. but closely related to the mastiffs.

In form of body and texture of coat he greatly resembles the ,

though the latter is not so tall on the legs and is quite different in color,

being velvety black, with rich tan markings.


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Had the Pyrenean dog been a herder of sheep like the collie,

no doubt his tribe would have been as numerous as ever; but the Spanish, and

later the French, shepherds used him chiefly to guard their

flocks against the ravages of the wolves and bears.

When wolves and bears became scarce in the ,

the need of this valiant defender grew less and the breed was neglected,

until now but a few specimens remain.

The Pyrenean sheep-dog is one of the finest dogs that has been used in the

manufacture of the present-day St. Bernard.

It is quite possible that the old hospice-dog (which died out when roads and railways cut

hither and thither through the Alps) was more of this type than is generally supposed.

The Pyrenean dog is one of the large dogs, but by no means so immense as the St. Bernard.

A good male dog would probably weigh about too to no pounds, as against 250 pounds for the St. Bernard.

He is usually or and bears a coat much like that of a

Newfoundland, only with more underfur and of a more woolly texture.

He has seldom been brought to this country or even to England.

He is preeminently a guardian dog, used to insure safety to the flock from the attack of wolves.

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