Pyrenean Mountain Dog

Pyrenean Mountain Dog Breed description: Character & Co

Pyrenean Mountain Dog


The Pyrenean Mountain Dog is a very original and large French shepherd dog. The beautiful white animals are only suitable as house dogs under certain conditions and should only be kept by experienced dog owners that can offer them a lot of space.

The origin of the Pyrenean Mountain Dog

In the vast mountainous landscape of the Pyrenees, this dog has watched over the flocks of sheep for centuries. When the castles and palaces of this rugged environment were still inhabited, it served the nobility as a reliable watchdog.

Life in the harsh environment of the mountains has created a very special kind of dog breed. There are still bears and wolves that live there today. The "Patou", as the dog is affectionately called by the locals, will defend its master, the farm and the herd with its life at all times.

At the time of Louis XIV, the dog came into fashion as a status symbol among the French upper class. In 1923, the first official breed standard was defined. After the Second World War, the population of large mountain dogs had dramatically decreased. The urbanisation had pushed back the agriculture in the Pyrenees more and more and so the number of Pyrenean Mountain Dogs increasingly went back.

The dog was managed to be bred back from stocks in the valleys and individual populations that had survived in remote mountain regions. Today, the French can keep their "Chien de Montagne des Pyrénées" in honour once again. The FCI leads the Patou under the standard No. 137, group 2, section 2 Molossoids and 2.2 Mountain dogs.

The breed characteristics of the Pyrenean Mountain Dog

They look like big white cuddly bears! Nevertheless, these dogs are not always fun to play with. They are considered stubborn and can only be led by experienced dog owners. First-time owners should not buy this dog under any circumstances. Their herd protection instinct can be so strongly developed that it becomes aggressive when not kept occupied. This dog loves independence and is used to making its own decisions.

Many Pyrenean mountain dogs do not get used to living in a house, they prefer to lie outside in all kinds of wind and weather conditions.

  • very large white mountain dog
  • is considered a national symbol of the South of France
  • Working dog and not just a pet
  • only suitable for experienced dog owners
Banner: Shutterstock / Gasper Grubelnik
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Alternate Name Patou, Great Pyrenees, Great Pyrenees
Origin France
Life expectancy 10 - 12 years
Care requirements -
Activity level -
FCI group Molossian type
AKC group working group
KC group not recognised

The typical character traits of the Pyrenean mountain dog

The Pyrenean mountain dog is loyal and loves the land it protects. It is local and used to moving in the cycles of nature and with the migration of herds. This behaviour is still characteristic of the original representatives of this breed today.

However, there is also a stroke, which has long lived as a guard dog and more tied to humans. The descendants of these dogs are much better suited as friend and companion, because the semi-wild specimens from the Pyrenees.

The dog is obedient and intelligent, but will only subordinate itself to an owner to a limited extent. If you have little time and live in an apartment, this dog is definitely not an option for you. If you have a large farm, a breeding farm or just a huge property that needs to be guarded, then it is more likely.

Also here the dog must be perfectly trained and obedient. If you can't deal with this animal sufficiently, you must expect serious problems. After all, the Patou brings it up to 80 cm height at the withers. If he accepts a leash at all, then only symbolically!

  • very faithful and reliable dog
  • needs a serious task
  • subordinates itself only conditionally
  • only durable in the countryside if there is a lot of space
Mountain dog from the Pyrenees running across a flower meadow, small Patou puppy, large dog breed with long coat similar to Golden Retriever Patou mountain dog from France, big white dog with long fur big white dog, Pyrenees mountain dog, dog with long coat

Breed typical diseases of the Pyrenean Mountain Dog

Because of their size, this breed of dog also tends to develop hip dysplasia. In general, all of their joints are fragile. They should move carefully only within their natural range and should not be forced to do dog sports or climb stairs.

Acquisition, breeding and keeping of the mountain dog

If you are really sure that you want to buy and keep a Pyrenean Mountain Dog, you can find it at a breeder or the animal assistance.

There are a few Pyrenean Mountain Dog breeders also with us in Germany. Make sure to buy a dog that comes from a breeding line that has been living as a "house dog" for several generations. These animals can have a more moderate temperament and be used to education.

For a Pyrenees mountain dog puppy you pay a purchase price starting from 1000 euro upward. Breeders can be found at the VDH.

If you want to give a second-hand Patou a chance, then look at the animal protection. Here you only pay a commission of a few hundred euros. The herd protection dog assistance worries about the switching of the Patou and other uriger races.

Chien de Montagne des Pyrénées, Patou Breed description

Their coat is their trademark! Beautifully white, occasionally with subtle markings in the colours yellow, grey or light brown. The long tail is, like their whole body, densly coated with fur and beautifully curved. A well cared for Patou has silky medium-long hair that hangs down gracefully.

Wild dogs can be dishevelled, but still look elegant. Especially in winter the coat is extremely thick and wonderfully repellent against dirt and water.

Because of their thick fur alone this dog usually does not like being inside the house. They carry their head up high, their eyes have a targeted, penetrating gaze. Around their head they have a a distinctive mane.

Their build is somewhat sturdy and yet graceful. When they move, the Pyrenean Mountain Dog looks light-footed and elegant despite its size. The legs are medium long and stocky with huge paws.

  • pure white coat with lighter markings
  • large expressive head with mane
  • dense medium-length coat
  • sturdy and yet elegant physique

Size, weight and life expectancy of the Patou

With a withers height of up to 80 cm, the Patou is one of the giants in the world of dogs. Despite their stately size, these originally kept animals easily reach an age of 12 years or more.

  • Height measured at withers male and female 65 to 80 cm
  • Weight male and female 60 to 75 kg
  • Life expectancy up to 12 years or more
Fur length medium
Fur -
Ear shape Triangle
Tail fanned out
Anatomy rugged, massive
Size ♀ 65 - 74 cm
Weight ♀ 36 - 41 kg
Size ♂ 70 - 82 cm
Weight ♂ 50 - 54 kg
Suitable For -


Mountain dog from the Pyrenees running across a flower meadow, small Patou puppy, large dog breed with long coat similar to Golden Retriever
Patou mountain dog from France, big white dog with long fur
big white dog, Pyrenees mountain dog, dog with long coat

Sources and relevant links


Accessed on 04.04.2023

Gabriele Lehari (2013). 400 Hunderassen von A bis Z. Eugen Ulmer KG.


Accessed on 04.04.2023


Accessed on 04.04.2023

Accessed on 04.04.2023

Jörg Krämer (2021). Pyrenäenberghund - Aus den Pyrenäen in den Ruhrpott. tredition.

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