Pyrenean Mastiff – guardian of Pyrenees

Pyrenean Mastiff

It is an exceptionally intelligent and trustworthy breed. It was created primarily to defend its herd and territory. These features are inherited from generation to generation. Despite their large size, Pyrenean Mastiffs are very active, agile and fast.

These dogs were called the guardians of the Pyrenees thanks to the effective protection of the herd against predators. Looking at their appearance, it is not surprising – a large mass, large head, strong and thick paws mean that hardly anyone would risk trespassing the property on which there is a Pyrenean Mastiff. At the same time, they are great for families with small children, because they are very gentle and friendly towards all family members.

Representatives of this breed are extremely intelligent and curious dogs that will always be wherever something is going on. They can be easily trained because they quickly remember commands and positive associations. Behavior such as guarding or defending, however, we do not have to teach them because they have it in their blood.

Pyrenean Mastiff
Pyrenean Mastiff

FCI Classification:

  • Group 2 Pinscher and Schnauzer – Molossoid breeds – Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs
  • Section 2.2 Molossoid breeds, Mountain type
  • Without working trial
  • Country of origin: Spain
  • Usage: Guardian and protector, once against predators, especially wolves and bears. Today, a reliable property guardian and protector, easy to train
  • Other names:
    • Spanish: Mastín Español del Pirineo
    • Aragonese: Mostín d’o Pireneu
Pyrenean Mastiff
Pyrenean Mastiff

History of the breed

The origin of Pyrenean Mastiffs is not fully known, although many cynologists associate them with large shepherd dogs, which many years ago were used primarily to defend livestock herds. They appeared in Spain about 3,000 years ago, and the unification of the breed did not begin until the beginning of the 20th century. This dog is also referred to by native Spaniards as the Aragonese Mastiff, Navarre Mastiff or Leon Mastiff.

To effectively protect animals from predator attacks, these dogs have been properly adapted to cope with harsh climatic conditions, and are also able to find and overcome any threats. However, in the middle of the 20th century, the further use of Pyrenean Mastiffs for guarding purposes was abandoned due to changes in the Spanish economy.

Numerous crosses of this breed began to emerge, but in the second half of the 20th century, at the behest of the Pyrenean Mastiff Club in Spain, established in 1977, work began on restoring the disappearing population, thanks to which strong and intelligent mastiffs began to appear again, which perform defensive functions.

Pyrenean Mastiff
Pyrenean Mastiff



Representatives of this breed make a great visual impression – they reach a height of up to 80 centimeters, they are massive and strongly built. The length of the body is greater than the height at the withers, their chest is muscular and very roomy. Pyrenean Mastiffs have wide, thick legs, hard soles on their paws and compact toes.

The first thing that catches the eye is their large head with a slightly rounded skull. The ears are usually drooping, triangular and pointed. Their nose is large, wide and black in color. Their skin is thick and loose, which gives them extra volume.

Pyrenean Mastiffs have dense and thick hair of medium length – from 6 to 9 centimeters, it is very stiff to the touch. As for the color, the basic color is white, although most representatives of the breed are tricolor: the body is mainly covered with white color, and on it there are gray, brown or black patches and spots.

Pyrenean Mastiffs
Pyrenean Mastiffs


Pyrenean Mastiffs are very attached to their family members, show them a lot of affection and defend them in every situation. They are perfect for small children – they can play with them in an extremely safe way, knowing that they need to be paid special attention to. However, if we have more than one mastiff at home, we can observe that they are not so careful and gentle with each other.

It is a very intelligent breed, these dogs know perfectly well, what is going on around them, although they do not look particularly interested and alert. They can react adequately to a given situation, have a lot of energy and can be very mobile, at the same time they are also aware of their strength and temperament.

They learn new commands in a very short time, can find in completely new situations and understand perfectly what is being said to them and what is expected. Their psyche is the opposite of their appearance – delicate and sensitive, Pyrenean Mastiffs do not like to be disciplined and brought up forcibly, then they become very stressed and it is difficult for them to understand what is going on.

Pyrenean Mastiff
Pyrenean Mastiff


These dogs are usually in good health, with a life expectancy of 9 – 13 years. We can only meet with ailments typical of large breeds of dogs, most often it is gastric torsion or hip dysplasia. Cancer has also been reported in a large number of Pyrenean Mastiffs.

We must also not forget that these dogs are not adapted to lying in the pen all day and require a lot of exercises. Therefore, we must take them for a long walk at least 2-3 times a day and ensure the right amount of exercise. Otherwise, it will have a negative impact on their physical and mental health.

Pyrenean Mastiff
Pyrenean Mastiff

Detailed data / dimensions (size)

  • Height:
    • dogs: over 77 cm(30 in)
    • females over 72 cm (28 in)
  • Weight
    • dogs: 65 – 80 kg (143 – 176 lb), although there are individuals with a weight exceeding 100 kg (220 lb)
    • females: 55-70 kg (121 – 154 lb)
  • Lifespan: 9-13 years
Pyrenean Mastiff
Pyrenean Mastiff

Interesting facts

  • Pyrenean Mastiffs require regular grooming due to their thick, hard and dense hair to prevent tangling.
  • This breed is not suitable for living in a flat, it is best to provide them with a large house with a garden where they can run freely.
  • They are also perfect for living with other animals, so if we already have a dog or a cat, they should get along without any problems.
  • These dogs show a lot of distrust towards strangers, but little is needed for them to trust a man and sense his character.
Pyrenean Mastiff
Pyrenean Mastiff


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