Pyrenean Mastiff

Written by: Jamie
Updated: August 11, 2020

Looking for more information on the fantastic Pyrenean Mastiff? Then you’re in the right place! Find out the key differences between this gentle giant and other Mastiff breeds below.

Pyrenean Mastiff standing beside its owner

Height: Female 25-30 inches, male 30-31 inches
Weight: Female 54-81 kilos, male 81-100 kilos
Pyrenean Mastiff Lifespan: 10-13 years
Pedigree (registered with the KC?): Yes, this breed is registered with the Kennel Club.

Positives and Negatives

Let’s start with a brief lowdown on the Pyrenean Mastiff:


  • Has a very calm and gentle temperament
  • Low prey drive
  • Excellent family dog
  • Easily trainable, can work as a service/therapy dog


  • Will regularly shed their fur
  • Expensive to feed
  • Not suitable for an apartment or first-time owner
  • Has a tendency to drool


Unlike other Mastiff types that have been bred to protect, the Pyrenean Mastiff is not a naturally aggressive dog. It’s this characteristic that’s made this breed the preferred choice for families in Spain over the Spanish Mastiff.

However, they’re not exactly “softies” they will still protect and look out for their household as and when necessary.

A fluffy coat is what makes the Pyrenean Mastiff ideal for outdoor living. Yet they would definitely prefer to stay indoors! The breed today will often be seen curled up in the living room snoring away. Their docile and friendly nature is what makes this gentle giant so loveable.

Pyrenean Mastiff dog standing on snow

This pooch is closely related to the Great Pyrenees dog, developed on the French side of the Pyrenees mountains. Unlike the Pyrenean Mastiff, which was developed on the Spanish side. Although they were raised nearby, they are two completely separate breeds.

A dog like this will cost you in food and you must have a large garden with high fences. Provide them with a happy home, establish your leadership and you will have a loyal, well-natured companion. Luckily, this dog has a low prey drive, so they aren’t likely to disappear from your side, to chase smaller animals.

Once you become an owner to a breed this ancient, you will understand why they are still loved to this day. Whether your single and seeking a doggy companion, a family looking for a special addition or you need a working dog. The Pyrenean Mastiff will be able to adapt to the perfect pet for you.


Pyrenean Mastiffs originated from the ancient Kingdom of Aragon on the Iberian Peninsula. It is a mountainous area across the North-East of Spain. This breed has been documented as far back as the Middle Ages. Their lineage descends from ancient Molosser dogs.

This dog would help escort livestock from higher ground in the Summer, to lower ground in the Winter. Their independence and intelligence are why they were chosen to look after and protect the children. It is a job they have proudly held since the 1200s.

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A Pyrenean Mastiffs working life would mainly include protection. They would have to defend the herd from predators such as wolves, bears, and even thieves. Although they are more docile, they will still fearlessly defend their pack whenever necessary.

It was not until the 20th century, that the changes in farming began to reduce the numbers of Pyrenean Mastiffs. The Spanish Civil War also caused a decline in numbers. It wasn’t until the 1970s when Pyrenean Mastiff breed enthusiasts began to help raise the numbers.

Now, this pooch is seen in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Their popularity in America is increasing, and they are quickly becoming a family favorite!


Pyrenean Mastiff Temperament:

One of the calmer breeds of Mastiff, this dog will make an excellent all-round pet. So long as you have enough space to house them. Although they are more laid back, they will still be highly protective of their family.

Their kind nature to both animals and people is what makes the perfect gentle giant. This pooch was bred to protect, yet not with outward and instant aggression. Unless there is a clear threat, this dog will mostly be happy and friendly.

Pyrenean Mastiff standing beside its owner

Pyrenean Mastiffs are loyal and gentle, they will show affection and request a cuddle every now and again. It is unsurprising that this obedient breed is also used as a service dog.

Are Pyrenean Mastiffs Good With Strangers?

This dog isn’t aggressive, they are friendly towards strangers, provided they don’t pose a threat. A dog like this will never feel intimidated by a person they don’t know. Their deep and loud bark is more than enough to scare people away.

Are Pyrenean Mastiffs Good With Children?

Yes, this dog is great around children. They are also more relaxed compared to other large breeds. They are playful, affectionate, and gentle, the perfect all-round dog for a child. Their big size could make smaller children more prone to accidents. Yet they are an intelligent breed and are highly aware of how big they are.

Are Pyrenean Mastiffs Ok With Other Dogs?

Yes, the Pyrenean Mastiff is great with other dogs and household animals. They have a low prey drive so won’t have the instinct to chase. This dog was bred to solely protect animals and family, and it is a trait that has never left them. They can easily live with other household pets but should preferably be introduced from an early age.

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This isn’t a highly active breed. They only need around one hour of exercise each day. They can do well off the lead as long as their recall and training are perfected. Others may find this dog intimidating, so it is always preferred to unleash your dog in an enclosed space.

Pyrenean Mastiff dog closeup

They work best when they are given a task, so will need to be mentally stimulated. They’ll also require lots of space including a large garden. An apartment will not be suitable for this breed. High fences are also a must, they won’t hesitate to protect their family from anything they feel is a danger.


Read below for the following health issues related to the Pyrenean Mastiff:

  • Hip Dysplasia- An abnormality of the hip socket can lead to pain, lameness, and arthritis.
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus- The stomach turns, trapping the food and gases in the stomach. You must seek immediate veterinary attention. This breed can also suffer from other forms of Bloat.
  • Panosteitis- This health issue can occur in more than one bone. Inflammation on the outer bone of the leg surface can cause pain and lameness. It is also referred to as ‘Growing Pains’.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease- Inflammatory cells in the stomach or intestine increase causing a change to the digestive track lining. Symptoms include diarrhea, chronic vomiting, and a poor appetite.
  • Ectropion- An abnormality of the lower eyelid makes it drops outwards. This will expose the tissue causing dryness.
  • Entropion- Another abnormality of the eyelid except this time it rolls inwards. The eyelashes will rub against the cornea causing pain, ulcers and can even interfere with vision.

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Intelligence & Training

This dog is an incredibly intelligent breed. They will require mental stimulation and like many working dogs, they tend to get bored. Yet they don’t have a destructive nature. A smart pooch like this will need strong, clear leadership.

Pyrenean Mastiff puppies are especially headstrong. They will try and push boundaries so patience and consistency will be needed. You should focus on socializing this dog once they are allowed to go outdoors. Take them on different walking routes and allow them to meet new dogs and people.

Big dogs need responsible ownership. With a pooch this size, it is easier for something to go wrong. Taking on the responsibility of this dog can be extremely rewarding, once they have received the right training.

This dog isn’t sensitive, yet positive reinforcements are always the best way to get your dog’s attention. Replace food treats with affection where possible. You don’t want your dog to only be obedient when food is available.

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This fluffy Mastiff has a thick dense coat, so they will need regular grooming in order to look after it. Yet it is fairly quick and easy to maintain. A Pyrenean Mastiff will lightly shed all year round, but heavily in Spring and Autumn by blowing their coat.

Grooming rakes will be the best tool for this pooch, but you can also use a pin and slick brushes. Aim to brush through their coat at least twice a week. Their natural oils will give their coat that extra shine.

Pyrenean Mastiff dog standing beside its owner

Bath time should be every 6-8 weeks. Be sure to completely wash out the shampoo and conditioner from their coat. In this time, trim or file down your pooches nails. Brush their teeth weekly, preferably daily, and introduce your grooming routine from as early as possible.

The ears are also important and can collect debris and wax quicker than other breeds. Aim to clean them every week with some cleanser and cotton wool. You must try to avoid infections as this can be uncomfortable for your dog. Grooming is a great way for you to bond with your pooch. Make this enjoyable not avoidable!

Image Sources:

Photo of Pyrenean Mastiff, by Canarian, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo of Pyrenean Mastiff, by Canarian, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo of Pyrenean Mastiff, by VirtualWolf, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo of Pyrenean Mastiff, by Canarian, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

About the Author

Hi, I'm Jamie! I've always been around dogs and now writing about them is an absolute joy.
Read more about my story here.
Reach me at or connect with me on LinkedIn below.

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