The Pyrenean Shepherd

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The Pyrenean Shepherd, AKC’s 161st breed, became eligible for AKC registration and competition in the Herding Group on Jan. 1, 2009, with an open registry for the breed until January 2012. Small herding dogs of this type are said to have existed in the Pyrenees Mountains of France since ancient times, and to still gather sheep alongside herdsmen in the Pyrenees Mountains today. These dogs worked as the gatherers and movers of sheep and goats alongside the Great Pyrenees, which guarded the flocks or herds from predators. The Pyrenean Shepherd, needed only for herding and not for protection, was thus said to be selected for a high degree of herding instinct, soundness, and for size, since a smaller dog required less food and should be quicker and more agile. This is, however, a breed for which selection for specific qualities was only carried to a limited degree.

Even fanciers with long experience in purebred dogs will likely find the study of the Pyrenean Shepherd a challenge. Judges may require many years of scrutiny to sort out the heretofore unheard of range of characteristics described in this breed standard. This is indeed a breed that would ideally have been divided into two varieties, but AKC’s current policy is to no longer recognize different varieties of a breed.

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