Also known as: Navarra Mastiff, Mastin d'Aragon
HISTORY BRIEF: The Pyrenean Mastiff is a native of the southern slopes of the Pyrenees mountains. Developed in the region of the Pyrenean Mountains that stretches from Aragon to Navarra, the breed was once known as the Navarra mastiff. The breed was at one time almost extinct but has gained new interest in recent years. It is still rare despite this. It is also known as the Mastiff of Navarre and the Mastin d'Aragon. The Pyrenean mastiff should not be confused with its French counterpart, the Great Pyrenees. The Phoenecian traders acquired mastiffs in Assyria and Sumeria. These dogs were sold in Spain where they were to be bred as working dogs and their heritage can be traced back to the great Asiatic mastiffs. During the Middle ages in the Aragon region of the yet unformed Spain, the Mastin del Pirineo (Pyrenean Mastiff) developed alongside the business of wool and lambs which was the livelihood of the people. In the kingdom of Aragon, the "Honrado Concejo de la Mesta" had no authority, and the herding rules differed from one valley to the next. The Pyreneans were home to many wolves and bears, and here the magnificent protector, the Pyrenean Mastiff or "Mostin"(from the old Aragonish language) was employed.
DESCRIPTION: The Pyrenean Mastiff has a longer coat that is hard, not soft or wooly. The head is important, the structure powerful, a wide chest and round ribs. They Pyrenean Mastiff is a breed of excellent temperament and indescribable charm. These Mastiff dogs do not require extensive care. They are proud, strong and sure of themselves and a great piece of the history of Spain. Pyrenean Mastiff are long lived, 12-14 years. Coat colors most frequently seen are white with markings either golden, any shade of grey, black or badger, sand, red or marbling markings on the sides of the head and ears and the beginning of the neck. Markings may also be found on the posterior. Least prized dogs are those to have black and white markings. No matter what the markings the main body color is always white. A few large patches on the body are permissible but not in all white or tricolored dogs.
Females: weight*; height 29 1/2 inches.
Males: weight*; height 32 inches.
*there are no limits to maximum weight.
WORKING CHARACTERISTICS: The Pyrenean mastiff is a flock guardian, hunter of wild game, personal guardian and working dog. It is an excellent sheep protector, resistant to cold weather and capable of fighting off predators such as wolves. Every Spring, for many centuries, the shepherds of the Pyrenees would move their large flocks from the lower mountain plains to grazing areas in the high, mountain valleys. The Pyrenean mastiff aided in moving and protecting these flocks during the trip. Four or five dogs would take charge of up to a thousand sheep. The mastiff was equipped with a heavy spiked collar known as a "carlanca" in order to protect the neck during a wolf attack. These dogs are dedicated traditionally to guard the ewe herds, and have adapted both their physical and mental abilities to the different circumstances, countries, climates, etc..., where their jobs have taken them.
HEALTH: Pyrenean Mastiffs are subject to certain genetic and hereditary diseases and should be screened for these conditions before breeding. Please click the links below to learn more.
Pyrenean Mastiffs are also subject to:
Pyrenean Mastiff Club of America
Pyrenean Mastiff Club of America