Health and medical examinations
The Pyrenean Mountain Dog is still one of the relatively healthy breeds. However, even there are predispositions for certain diseases. You can read more about the most common diseases affecting this breed on the website of the Pyrenean Breeds Club (CZ) HERE.
Of the medical examinations for the approval for breeding in the Club of the Pyrenean Breeds, we are required only with HD examination - hip dysplasia up to grade C (2/2) and patella luxation examination (PL). As for the examination of PL in our club, we lack a bit of meaning, because the result with a worse degree does not bring any restrictions on use in breeding. In addition, we consider the examination of patella luxation to be very important. Unfortunately, we were “lucky” enough to experience a dog in puppy age with a higher degree of luxation and we can say from experience that this is really nothing that could be left unnoticed. Such a higher degree of dislocation very adversely affects the life of a young dog. The condition and development must be monitored for some time, and therefore one must prevent the possibility of active movement so that the condition does not get worse. The dog then does not understand why it must be closed somewhere, especially when it comes to a breed, such as the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, which is definitely not a couch potato. This breed needs enough space for movement for physical and mental health. And so, any confinement to cages, pens, or other restrictions on movement very negatively affects the healthy mental development of the dog at such young age.
By the time we own this breed, we have experienced countless diseases that are common for this breed. We experienced a dog with osteosarcoma (bone cancer), infertile bitch, osteochondrosis, rotation of the femur (valgus deformity), dislocation of the patella, torsion of the stomach, inflammation of the salivary gland, entropion and also the usual, even less common minor injuries that dogs sometimes cause in between each other. All this led us to the conclusion that we will have the maximum available medical examinations done on all our breeding individuals. You will see the results of each approved dog in the section Our dogs – Stud males or Females. We decided above all for our own peace of mind, and that in a way we do our best not to use dogs with any genetically transmissible (testable) disease in breeding. Of course, we can’t affect what they carry in their genes without visible symptoms. This is based on the fact that in each country there are different conditions for breeding, some require more and others, on the contrary, nothing at all, such as the "Mecca" of the breed - France. Even if the same rules can be set for everyone, we still cannot guarantee that a perfectly healthy individual will be born from a mating. They are living creatures and from our own experience we can say that even the combination of two outstanding dogs cannot promise us with certainty, healthy, perfectly suited offspring.
We will be very happy if the future owners of the dogs bred by us decide to go the same way as us. Regardless of whether or not they want to include their pets in breeding, we would like to recommend to do at least the most basic medical examinations
Osteosarcoma - first week
Inflammation of the salivary gland
Patella luxation - 3rd/4th stage
Valgus deformity after surgery
Under this term, everyone imagines something different. Our definition of care is quite simple. We make sure that our dogs have the comfort they need. Regular feeding, fresh water, necessary vaccinations and general view of their condition. When it comes to caring for the exterior, we don't worry too much about it. The Pyrenean Mountain Dog has a so-called miraculous coat, so when one day they are muddy, the next day they look like washed in a washing machine, without any of our intervention. For this reason, we will never bath our dogs. Frequent bathing and use of various shampoos or other products make the coat lose this ability. We are in a similar situation with brushing. We don't sickly brush them every day. In fact, we only brush them properly when they shed, possibly we lightly brush the coat before the show, exceptionally then as needed, when it seems to us that it is necessary. What we must not forget are double declaws. We cut them as needed rather than in a regularly. We cut them rather several times a little bit than too much at once. Don't be afraid to do it yourself. One of our friends, who was with her first dog of this breed on surgery at a "prestigious" veterinary orthopedic surgeon. He didn't even tell her he had cut her declaws. She asked us to show her how much and how to cut them. However, we searched in vain for claws, they were nowhere to be seen. The doctor (or staff) had cut them while the dog was under anesthesia almost at the root. Probably assuming that the dog didn't feel it anyway under anesthesia. Therefore, if this is your first dog of this breed, and you have no experience with trimming declaws, you should rather ask the breeder to show you the way it should be done and do it yourself. Other details such as cleaning the ears or dental plaque are done as needed. As part of care, we would also like to mention movement. Our dogs have over 2.5 hectares available for free movement. Despite this, we take them for walks in the woods, and this is an opportunity for them to get used to the leash. Not everyone has the opportunity to provide their dogs with such opportunities for movement, in which case we recommend frequent walks. The Pyrenean Mountain Dog is a livestock guardian breed. It needs to have a busy mind. At the same time, it is also a typical pack dog. If it is somewhere in a small garden, or God forbid, locked in a crate, and without a companion, it can get bored. Then we can only wonder what things they can come up with. We personally have crates at home in the yard. Not all our dogs are directly on the pasture. We have permanently open crates, integrated thermo-isolated sheds with the same temperature during all year and automatic watering bowls. When the temperatures are high in summer, they crawl in to cool off. We close them there only if trucks or a tractor or other equipment drive around the yard, just for their safety and it is about minutes. Another case where we use crates is when a female is on heat and there is also a dog in the yard. That's why we try to teach all our dogs to stay both in the pasture and in the yard, so that they can get used to both and we don't have to lock anyone up. On the pasture, they use as shelter the roof above the wood used for heating and the sheepfolds, and they also have their own shed there, which they do not use at all. In any weather they prefer to be outside and only when there are really big bursts they hide with the sheep in the sheepfold.
One of the conditions for a dog to be approved for breeding in our club is participation in two exhibitions (dog shows), one of which must be organized by the club. We do not want to attend one exhibition after another and collect trophies or medals on the shelves. We the club shows are the only important ones, where dogs are judged by a breed specialist. We consider the opinion of the breed specialist to be authoritative. Shortcomings pointed out by a breed specialist or elevated qualities can be a great guide for us in the future for planning matings. We are very happy that the club provides us with such a great opportunity to have our dogs judged by a different specialist each time. Other special exhibitions for the breed are organized every year in the French Argelès-Gazost, the cradle of the breed at the bottom of the Pyrenean mountains, in the south of France, or in the Swedish Norje Boke. We are interested in regularly participating in these foreign exhibitions and at the same time take the trip as a family vacation. We are mainly attracted by the friendly environment and time spent with nice people with the same interests. Many foreign specialists and breeders from almost all over Europe take part in these foreign special shows, thus offering us the opportunity to have our dogs judged in a really numerous and high-quality competition. At the same time, it is a good opportunity to see potential stud males live, or the parents of a potential new member of the pack. As for other exhibitions, if there are any in the area, we attend them just to “have a run”, especially with young dogs. We live in a village with thirteen inhabitants, so such exhibitions as a form of socialization are suitable for us. We consider the results from these exhibitions (not judged by breed specialists) not too important, but of course, we are happy to get good results.