The Pyrenean Mastiff temperament isn’t what you might expect based on his stature. If you go by his looks, you might expect a widely aggressive dog that needs to assert his dominance. But this description doesn’t fit him at all.
He’s instead a calm, well-tempered dog that could be a wonderful pet for many different households. There’s a stubbornness issue, which could make him a less than ideal companion for a first-time owner.
But otherwise, he’s a lovable, massive dog who will protect his family at all cost. He’s even able to get along with other animals as well. If you’re looking for a larger dog, there aren’t many better options than a Pyrenean Mastiff.
The Pyrenean Mastiff Temperament & Personality
As we discuss the following traits, you’ll see why the Pyrenean Mastiff temperament makes him such a good pet. Even his less than desirable characteristics are easily fixable and don’t cause a significant amount of issues.
Calm & Dog-Friendly
The Pyrenean Mastiff temperament is one that features an enduring calm quality. This sense of calmness gives him a unique ability, which a lot of larger breeds lack: being dog-friendly. As a result, he becomes an ideal pet for someone looking for a second dog.
He’s even friendly with other animals such as cats as well. This trait is the result of his ancestors being the protector of farm animals for centuries; it’s just in his DNA. You do have to watch him during his interactions with other animals because of his strength.
He can get a little carried away at times, but it’s easy to reel him in or control with a handler who can showcase strong leadership. It also essential you socialize him early to ensure this trait emerges.
Even with his calm personality, he will not hesitate to use his strength on something he perceives as a threat. His guardian nature will come out to protect his loved ones, which makes him a fantastic guard dog.
Intruders won’t make your house a priority with him roaming around inside. And if they do try to attempt a break in, he will ensure it’s not a successful one. But this protectiveness does have a drawback; he tends to be very untrusting of people he doesn’t know.
If he’s not socialized correctly, this innate distrust of strangers could cause him to be aggressive. As you might expect, this situation could end being problematic. But since he’s easily trainable, this issue isn’t significant and one that you can deal with rather quickly.
Independent & Strong-Willed
One of the more challenging parts of the Pyrenean Mastiff temperament is its independent nature. He will often do things in the way he sees fit rather than adjusting his behavior.
Given this trait, you can see how training him could be slightly tricky for an inexperienced owner. He’ll need someone who can assert their authority over him or issues could arise. But this independent nature isn’t all bad though.
It also means he’ll be perfectly fine doing this own thing. You won’t have to worry about continually entertaining him or being crowded by him. And it makes him the perfect dog for working applications like herding animals such as sheep.
Although he’s strong-willed and quite stubborn, training him isn’t too difficult because of his high IQ. This high IQ makes it easy for him to pick up new concepts incredibly quickly. As a result, teaching him basic commands is quite simple with the right handler.
This high-level of intelligence also means he needs more mental stimulation than some other breeds. With this in mind, it’s essential you find some way to mental challenge him, or he could become restless.
His restless energy will manifest in ways no dog owner would like to experience: ripping apart couches, pillows, shoes, etc. Pyrenean Mastiff owners often find that puzzle toys are a great source of entertainment for them.
You could also try hiding his food or treats around the house to make his dinner a more beneficial experience. It’ll slow down his food intake rate and lessen the risk he contracts bloat as well.
Loving and Affectionate
Pyrenean Mastiffs are gentle giants who often show their family a lot of love. Even at their massive size, it’s not uncommon for him to try and lay on top of you. He doesn’t realize that a dog the Pyrenean Mastiff size isn’t meant to be lap dogs.
He‘ll gladly spend his Sunday afternoon laying right next to on the couch watching football. If you’re looking for a nap time buddy, there isn’t a dog breed that’s better equipped than a Pyrenean Mastiff.
However, he will snore and drool throughout the sleeping sessions. It’s adorable but can be quite annoying and gross.
This loving Pyrenean Mastiff temperament also ensures he’s an excellent companion for older children. But their massive size does make him incompatible with toddlers.
A Brief Retelling of Pyrenean Mastiff History
The Pyrenean Mastiff history starts in Spain’s Aragonese Pyrenees region. It has been said that he was originated from ancient dogs that were used as guard dogs.
His duties in this role can be traced all the way to the 1200s. But his presence in Spain can be followed back 3,000 years: experts believe the Phoenicians brought him over from Sumeria and Assyria.
Once in Spain, the Pyrenean Mastiff slowly grew into their role as livestock protectors and companions of shepherds. He took this role personal and was seen as the defender of the flock from larger predators: wolves, bears, etc.
And for centuries the Pyrenean Mountains remained his home until the 1940s when the breed was almost wiped out. This incident was a result of it becoming more financially responsible to ship sheep via train rather than herding them.
The Pyrenean Mastiffs numbers continued to wane for a couple of decades until the 1970s. During this time, a group of people who were fans of the breed began a recovery effort. As a result, this glorious breed bounced back.
He’s now being taken from his homeland by organizations into other countries and finding new use as a wonderful pet. The Pyrenean Mastiffs USA Club is responsible for doing this within the United States.
And in 2001, The Kennel Club finally recognized the breed. The American Kennel Club followed suit almost a decade and a half later identifying the Pyrenean Mastiff in 2014.
Pyrenean Mastiff Training
The Pyrenean Mastiff temperament makes training them a not too complicated task. In comparison to certain dog breeds, it’s remarkably easy. But this wide-held belief doesn't mean this breed doesn’t present its own set of unique challenges.
For instance, he can be quite stubborn and will bend the life of an inexperienced owner to his will. He’ll use those big droopy eyes and chin rolls to ensure you do what he wants. In response, you need to establish your position as the dominant figure in his life.
It essential you show him that you’re a strong leader from a young age. Starting these lessons at an early age is a must for a Pyrenean Mastiff owner. If you don’t, he could quickly get stuck in his stubborn ways and become untrainable.
Focusing on basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “stop” would be an ideal starting point. It’ll tap into his protective nature and soon become a staple of his daily life. And it doesn’t have to stop there, as he’s also one of the best breeds for learning defensive training.
Helpful Dog Training Resource:
For help with training your Pyrenean Mastiff dog take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.
The Pyrenean Mastiff Grooming Requirements
The Pyrenean Mastiff is a rather high maintenance dog when it concerns their grooming requirements. He needs brushing a few times every week or he’ll fall victim to easy tangling and matting.
During these brushing sessions, it’s best you use whatever tools you need to get those mats out: pin brush, metal comb, de-matter, or even de-tangling spray. In fact, you might require all of these to get the deep seeded mats and tangles out of his coat.
It also essential you understand his coat is incredibly dense, which means grooming him isn’t a quick process. But it’s entirely necessary as it slows down his shedding and keeps it from ruining everything in your home.
Aside from brushing, you also need to clip the hair in his toe crevices a few times a month. If you don’t, this hair can track in dirt or other substances and get lodged within his pads.
And we should mention the drooling given he’s a Mastiff after all. You should expect to be regularly cleaning drool off his chin or finding it splattering across your pant leg. But you do luck out with the bathing, as they’ll only require one once in a while.
Other than these things, the rest of the grooming requirements for a Pyrenean Mastiff are standard for every dog breed:
- Trim nails once a month
- Check ears regularly for build-ups
- Teeth need regular brushing
Pyrenean Mastiff Health Issues
Like any dog breed, there are specific health issues the Pyrenean Mastiff is susceptible to contracting. And if you plan on getting one, it’s in your best interest to understand the following conditions:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) or Bloat
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
The number of issues on this list might seem significant; however, the Pyrenean Mastiff is generally considered a healthy breed. Most of these conditions will be avoided by making sure you take them to the vet every few months.
But concerning hip dysplasia, you should make sure the Mastiff you get has OFA certified parents. Dogs with these types of parents have significantly less risk of contract this brutal condition as they age.
You should also monitor your dog’s eating habits as them eating too fast can lead to bloat: a condition that causes problematic issues and sometimes is lethal. Spreading out his meals into 2 or 3 servings can do a lot in preventing this issue from occurring.
Note: if you agree that your health and your dog's health should be a top priority then get a copy of The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health. Your Pyrenean Mastiff friend will love you for it. This guide will help save you money, time and most of all help you keep your dog healthy.
Finding Your Pyrenean Mastiff
If you’ve decided that the Pyrenean Mastiff temperament is a good fit, you still have one more choice to make: adopt or buy. Both options are seen as acceptable ways to procure a Pyrenean Mastiff.
But with either option, finding one may prove to be difficult inside the United States as it’s a rare breed.
Pyrenean Mastiff For Sale
If you’re looking to buy a Pyrenean Mastiff, a good starting place would be The Pyrenean Mastiff USA Club website. This club has become a force in making sure each one of these dogs has a safe and proper home.
All you have to do is contact the Pyrenean Mastiff breeders listed on the website and see what’s available. These breeders have all agreed to a code of conduct, which should keep them from doing any unsavory breeding practices. But it doesn’t mean you should take it for granted.
Once you contact a breeder, you must set up a meeting to ensure they’re reputable. Understanding the following warning signs should help you determine the breeder’s quality:
- Numerous Pyrenean Mastiff puppy litters on the property at the same time.
- They always have puppies for sale.
- You can buy a puppy online with a credit card.
- Give you the option of buying a puppy without papers for a lower price.
Another way you might come across a reputable breeder is through the American Kennel Club database. But as of right now, it shows there are zero available Pyrenean Mastiff puppies in the entire United States.
But when you do find one, you can expect to spend $1500 to $3000 on a Pyrenean Mastiff puppy. This high price is a result of their rarity and the general upkeep of breeding a dog this large.
Pyrenean Mastiff For Adoption
You can go about adopting a Pyrenean Mastiff in many different ways. You could go to the nearest shelter and express your interest in the breed: it’ll give them someone to call when a Pyrenean Mastiff does show up at the shelter.
Another option is contacting a Pyrenean Mastiff rescue such as the ones listed on the Pyrenean Mastiffs USA Club website. You could also use sites like Adoptapet.com or Petfinder.com to locate an adoptable Pyrenean Mastiff near you.
But regardless of the route you choose, there are specific questions that you must ask the organization you’re adopting from:
- Does he/she have a high energy level?
- How old is he/she?
- Are there any biting incidents you need to know about?
- Is he/she good with other animals?
- Does he/she have any issues with certain people such as men, children, or strangers?
- What is his/her personality like?
- How well-trained is he/she? Is he/she housetrained?
- Are there any health issues?
All of these questions will help you learn about his/her background: a vital aspect of building a bonding relationship with a rescue dog. It’ll also alert you to any personality issues that might not mesh with your household.
If you do end up finding an adoptable Pyrenean Mastiff, you can expect to spend anywhere from $50 to $300. It’ll all depend on the organization you’re adopting from: shelters tend to cost less while rescues will often have a higher price because they’re not government funded.
Conclusion: Is the Pyrenean Mastiff the Right Dog For You?
If you want a gigantic, affectionate companion, the Pyrenean Mastiff temperament would be an ideal fit for you. He’ll brighten up each day with his cute drooling and fun-loving attitude that’ll make each day an adventure.
But if you’re a first-time owner who tends to be a little passive, you should look elsewhere. His stubbornness will overwhelm you and present a challenge that you might not be ready to handle.
Calvin is the co-founder and one of the main contributors to dogtemperament.com. He has been an avid dog lover all his life. He enjoys researching and sharing great ideas on how you can avoid common pitfalls of dog ownership and build the most loving and enjoyable relationship with your dog.