The reason for their existance
The Pyrenean Shepherd is a loose-eyed herding and tending breed; he is a jack-of-all-trades. When the farmer is out tending his flock, his little sheepdog is with him. His purpose was to take the sheep, with the shepherd, back and forth to the grazing pastures each day and to aid the farmer in working with the flock management. These pastures are usually not fenced so some tending is also required. He is also useful as an alarm system as nothing escapes his gaze and he is quick to bark a warning. He generally works close to the flock with little direction given by the shepherd. At the barn the farmer will also use his Pyr Shep to sort out individuals in the flock for milking or other purposes. The Pyr Shep is a versatile all-purpose farm dog. The breed's focus is his master so when you walk away from the livestock, your Pyr Shep will follow. When you are working with livestock and he sees you need his assistance he is quick to try and help out. He uses every means within his body; his liveliness, his bark & bite to control the sheep successfully (unlike the Border Collies use of strong eye contact). The herding instinct is still very strong in all Pyr Sheps. Some shepherds would not have any other breed except the petit berger des pyrenees while others complain the breed is too lively, barks too much or bites too much. Much depends on their training but inherently they are a useful, tireless worker for the farmer either at his farm or on the transhumance.The Pyr Shep is very quick and reactive in his style, but also very biddable.
We have now titled four of our females and three males competing at different levels of Canadian herding trials--often receiving "Reserve High in Trial" or "High In Trial" honors.
HOW YOU CAN GET STARTED
CONFORMATION SHOW RING
The Pyr Shep is a unique breed in the show ring. There are very few being exhibited and this makes it difficult for judges to develop a good feel for the breed. A pleasant dog exhibiting sound structure and temperament with no major faults will catch the eye of any judge and be remembered. The quality and temperament of the dog being exhibited needs to be exemplary to ensure the breed develops a good reputation in the show ring.
Raised properly, the pyr shep also makes an excellent dog for the Junior Handler. A small pyr shep at 15-16" weighing around 20 lbs is very manageable for a young Junior Handler for either manipulating the dog's position or lifting it onto a grooming table for examination (the breed is examined on the table in the United States only). At the same time, the characteristic devotion of the breed makes it such that the Junior Handler can easily keep the focus of his charge. The pyr shep is always aware of what is going on around him in the ring and this offers a little challenge for his handler but nothing that a tasty morsel doesn't rectify. Junior handlers are always asked questions about the dog they are exhibiting and information about the Pyr Shep is always interesting for youngsters to research and learn.
For the show ring the pyr shep is easily trained and exhibited as a "natural" breed. His handler does not need to fuss with long periods of grooming nor is the dog stacked in an unnatural stance. The breed's natural alert behavior keeps his eyes on his handler, while its typical mischievous smile and expression will usually keep the judge's eye on the breed.
The grooming requirements are very minimal. His nails should be trimmed and his teeth clean. The coat should be clean and free of tangles or debris. Often times a good brushing will be enough to tidy and clean a coat up for the show ring. The dog does not need to have a bath every time he is being exhibited in the show ring. There is no trimming or scissoring of his coat because a major part of his allure is his rustic appearance. The U.S. standard states that the breed's feet can be trimmed but I have not found this to be necessary. In fact, considering the amount of coat the breed can possess the lack of coifing and fussing tests the patience of many professional dog show exhibitors with fingers itching to get busy trimming this or that! If you have any questions regarding the grooming of your pyrenean shepherd then get in touch with your breeder. If you are hiring a professional handler to show your dog make certain that the handler is aware of how you want the breed to be presented in the show ring. If your Pyr Shep has the traditional cadenettes, a corded coat, then the cords can be split to keep their sizes even. I have several dogs with this type of coat and because they are working dogs the cords will pick up debris such as hay and vegetation seeds so I do spend some time picking these bits out of the cords before exhibiting the dog. I will also bath just the cords to get out any lingering odour of the barn. But, I have also gone straight from the barn into the show ring and placed with high honors.
When entering the ring with your pyr shep he needs to be trained to "stand" and "stay" and keep his attention focused on you, the handler.
Then the judge will usually ask you to trot your dog around the ring to examine his gait. Although the pyr shep sometimes likes to enhance his performance with a few jumps in the air I would suggest this behavior be kept to an absolute minimum. A lively trot on a loose leash will present the movement of the dog adequately. When coming to a stop it is handy to teach your dog to "stop" or give him a signal that you are slowing down. This prevents the dog from being pulled by the leash to a halt. When the judge is examining your dog tell the dog to "stand" and "stay" then squat down beside the dog all the while encouraging him to "stay" still. Do not allow your dog to jump at the judge or pull back from the judge. Keep your dog's focus on YOU! If your dog sits down then gently stand him up again. If your dog is being examined on a table place the dog on the table and align his feet squarely then tell the dog to "stand" and "stay". It is important not to rush through this process as that is often a signal to the dog that you are nervous and this results in the dog becoming nervous as well.
Always be proud of your dog and what the breed should be representing. The breed was not developed to be a show dog. It is a working farm dog and whether or not the dog lives on a farm does not matter as long as the owner, as a steward of the breed, conveys to others the respect the breed and its' heritage deserve.
The sky is the limit when you are doing agility with a Pyrenean Shepherd!
'Nikita' competing in agility
CLICK HER TO SEE MORE PICTURES OF CHAPARRAL PYR SHEPS
COMPETING IN THE SPORT OF AGILITY
LEARN HOW YOU CAN GET STARTED IN THE SPORT
"Rally" performed all over North America with Superdogs
and his freestyle routine is amazing to watch.
Rally and his owner, Angela, were
2007 Skyhoundz Canadian Frisbee Champion
CLICK HERE TO SEE PICTURES OF CHAPARRAL PYR SHEPS PLAYING FRISBEE
LEARN HOW YOU CAN GET STARTED
Visit this page to learn of upcoming DISC DOG SEMINARS by Angela
RALLY & OBEDIENCE
TRACKING & SCENT WORK
Pierre & Hiver learning to track
The Pyr Shep is used successfully as a Tracking, Scent Detection and Search and Rescue dog. He has great drive and a natural desire to please which makes training quick and fun. There are many very successful Bergers des Pyrenees competing in high levels of tracking competitions around the world.
"Jinn" and his owner Diana are the first Pyrenean Shepherd in North America to obtain the initial Scent Work title and are
currently working toward higher qualifications in this field.
We are extremely proud of Chaparral's La Petit Sorcier and his owner Diana.
RUNNING - CANICROSS - BIKING
This sport of running a race with your dogs is very popular in Europe and an excellent way of keeping both you and your dog fit. Children are allowed to start to compete at seven years of age with their own categories so it has also become a terrific family experience involving people and their dogs!
The dog is in harness and attached to the owner by a leash with a rubber/expandable end so there is some give. The dog is supposed to run in
front of the owner on a course which has been predetermined with varying degrees of difficulties and terrain and length going through villages, parks & forests.
There is also another similar sport, canicross-cycle, where the person rides a bicycle while the dog runs in front.
More information and pictures can be found at this site (french): http://www.cani-cross.be/
PYR SHEPS DOING ODD JOBS & IN THE NEWS
Pyrenean Shepherd and his owner track wildlife.
"Got a call some weeks ago that there was a crane that couldn`t fly in one ffield.".................http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattisj/6299404058/
Berger des Pyrénées can excel in a variety of
disciplines and sports. In France there are many that have
earned their titles in Ring 1 & 2 and in RCI. Several have
attained high standings in
Tracking competitions and others are used for Search and Rescue in
Avalanche and Disaster fields. Their great agility and nimbleness
are useful in
searching through ruins, and their
small size makes them easily transportable. All these disciplines make them a natural in the Obedience arena as well.
The breed has also been used for Truffle Hunting and can find a truffle as deep as 25cm!
What can't this little dog do when he puts his mind to it---that is up to you!
back to Pyr Shep Index