Iberian Mastiff: breed history and dog character
The Pyrenees mastiff is a wonderful dog, a reliable watchman and a true friend. Thanks to its awesome appearance, no one dares to penetrate into its territory. And your whole family will have a friendly, sociable, magnificent companion who will never give offense to any of his relatives. In addition, the Pyrenean mastiff will get along well with young children, take them under its protection and patronage.
The Iberian Mastiff is one of the oldest breeds. Unfortunately, the history of these dogs is not known. These are working shepherd dogs, whose purebred production no one was engaged in. They were primarily valued for their ability to work. In 1890, several such dogs were exhibited at an exhibition in Madrid. They began to engage in breeding, they became more and more popular. However, the first breed standard was adopted in 1946. However, in the post-war period a crisis came. The Spaniards almost ceased to engage in cattle breeding, in connection with this the number of these dogs decreased sharply. The breed was on the verge of extinction. However, local dog breeders did not allow this breed to disappear. They began to breed these dogs, due to which the number of animals again increased sharply. And already in 1977, the Club of Iberian Mastiff lovers appeared, whose membership included breeders of this breed from different countries. In 1981, the breed standard was revised and adjusted by the Royal Dog Society of Spain. At the same time, the breed was officially recognized by the International Federation of Cynologists.
The Pyrenees mastiff is a very large dog, above average size with a harmonious build, moderate proportions, with a strong skeleton. The coat is not excessively long. Despite its size, the pyrenes should not look slow or heavy. Height at the withers of males - not lower than 77 cm.; female - not lower than 72 cm. Weight usually ranges from 55-75 kg.
The head is large and strong. The width of the muzzle at the base is approximately equal to the width between the temples. The side of the head looks deep. The width of the skull is equal to the length or slightly exceeds it. The stop is visible, not sharp. The muzzle with the straight back of the nose, triangular in shape, tapers towards the lobe, but not pointed. A wide and large upper lip covers the lower lip without clearance or sagging. The lower one forms a pronounced angle. The mucous is black. Scissor bite. The teeth are strong, white. The eyes are almond-shaped, hazel, small, eyelids with black pigmentation, close to the eyeball tightly. At rest, the lower eyelid slightly opens the conjunctiva. Ears of medium size, triangular, drooping, set at eye level. Previously traditionally stopped. The neck is wide, strong, the shape of a blunt cone, with loose-hanging skin and a double clearly shaped suspension. The case is rectangular, strong, but at the same time mobile and flexible. The top line is horizontal. The withers are well expressed. The back is muscular, strong. The loin is long, wide, and gradually narrows.
The croup is strong, wide, inclined to the horizon by 45 degrees. The height at the withers is equal to the height of the croup. The chest is deep, wide, with a protruding sternum. The abdomen is tightened moderately, the groin is deep. The tail is set high, thick at the base, mobile. At rest, it hangs down to the hocks, the last third is crocheted. In motion it bends in the form of a saber with a pronounced hook at the end. The legs, when viewed from the front, are straight, parallel, with visible muscles and tendons, the forearm is 3 times longer than the metacarpus. Hind legs muscular, powerful with regular angles. The legs are oval, the back is slightly longer than the front. In the list of the largest dogs in the world, the Pyrenees mastiffs take fourth place, but at the same time they are distinguished by a light sweeping trot and flexibility. The coat is double, the integumentary hair is dense, thick and of moderate length. In the central part of the body, the top of the hair is 6–9 cm. The neck, shoulders, stomach, back of the legs and tail are covered with longer hair. The structure of the spine is rigid. The color is white with a pronounced mask. There may be clearly defined marks in the same color as the mask. Ears are always spotty. The tip of the tail and the lower third of the limbs are white. Most preferred color: pure white with moderate gray, intense yellow, brown, silver gray, black, light beige, marble or sand markings.
Purpose of the breed
The owner of a cheerful and affectionate character, the Pyrenean mastiff can inspire genuine horror in a person unfamiliar with the breed with only one of its appearance. The dog’s character is known only in direct contact with her. In the Middle Ages, Pyrenees were bred not only to protect estates and sheep flocks. Large animals were used as military dogs. Each of them accompanied the host warrior, going into battle with the enemy. During the reign of Louis XIV, the Louvre was guarded by Pyrenean mastiffs, brought as a gift to the emperor from Spain. The Pyrenees were never used for hunting, despite their extreme endurance on long hikes. Reason, poise and friendly attitude to other representatives of the animal world did not allow the Pyrenean mastiff to become a hunter, unlike other shepherd breeds. And today the Pyrenees are used for their intended purpose - they help herders to transfer herds and protect them from gray predators. Recently, in many countries of the European Union, dogs have been used as bodyguards. The breed has also grown in popularity, occupying the second level of the rating of the largest dogs on the planet after the Bullmastiff.
Character and training
To buy a Pyrenean mastiff and raise a puppy means to get a faithful friend and helper, a family protector. Despite the formidable appearance, the dog is incredibly calm and caring. Balance is a quality that breeders have developed over the years in the breed. Mastiff gets along with other pets and is patient with children. He loves to be with the owner, but does not depend on him and can be alone for a long time.
A large dog does not take root well in the city - it needs a suburban area for regular active walks. The dog requires early socialization in order to learn to recognize strangers. In training, he shows independence - not suitable for people without the experience of raising and keeping large dogs.
Be sure to establish rules of conduct in the house and require the dog to follow them. Training begins with training for a collar and a leash, followed by the general course commands - “to me”, “near”, “sit”, “lay” and others - and then the protective course exercises are included.
The Iberian Mastiff is not an indoor dog - he needs long walks in which physical exercises alternate with jogging and the development of intelligence. Can live in a street enclosure, as thick wool protects from the weather. It is categorically not recommended to contain a mastiff on a chain - a freedom-loving dog will quickly become embittered and will rush at people.
The number of walks per day for any type of maintenance is at least two. The duration of each is 1-2 hours. The apartment dog is walked in the fields, on an empty territory, and the one living in the aviary is walked on the site, taken out twice a week.
Nutrition Pyrenean mastiff must be limited - the dog is prone to obesity. It is advisable to feed with natural food with the addition of mineral components and vitamins. The diet should be rich in protein and calcium. Dry freeze-dried food is acceptable, but should contain from 40% meat ingredients, as well as vegetables and cereals. The rate of feeding is calculated by the weight of the dog.
Wool requires a weekly combing with a curler. Eyes and ears should be inspected daily and cleaned as needed. Chlorhexidine is used to remove sulfur from the ears, and the eyes are rinsed with antibacterial lotion. With proper care, the life expectancy of the Iberian is 10-12 years.
Due to the harsh conditions of the formation of the breed, these dogs are not at all whimsical to eat. They will be happy to eat everything you cook for them. Remember that in no case should you overfeed the dog. If your dog does not move much and does not spend much energy, it is enough to feed him once a day. If, on the contrary, your dog is restless, constantly playing, running a lot, and even guarding pastures, then feed the dog twice a day. After eating, the dog must rest, so that the food is well digested, otherwise digestion may occur. Since the wool of the Pyrenees mastiffs is quite long, it is recommended to give vitamin supplements, especially before moulting. The rest of the food is straightforward: meat and offal, cottage cheese, eggs; fruits and vegetables; cereals, greens. Remember that all products must be of high quality. Moreover, you can not feed animals already spoiled foods.
Pyrenean mastiffs are prone to diseases such as conjunctivitis and hip dysplasia. Conjunctivitis can be treated for a long time, in addition, it can go into a chronic form, so the condition of the dog’s eyes should be constantly monitored. This disease can be triggered by a speck, hair or eyelash that gets into the eye, as well as an infection that gets into the dog's body. After all, conjunctivitis may indicate a more dangerous disease. If you notice that your pet's eyes are watery, provide him peace, it is advisable that he be in the house so that there is no wind. Protect him from communicating with other dogs, because the disease can be transmitted. Wipe your eyes with a decoction of chamomile. See your veterinarian for the right treatment. Hip dysplasia is a very serious disease that can lead to complete immobilization of the animal. This is a genetic disease that is transmitted by inheritance, so be sure to be interested in the pedigree of your puppy. When the puppy is growing up, avoid physical exertion and injury. Do not overfeed the animal, as obesity also leads to joint diseases.
Puppy Breed Selection
Iberian Mastiff In Russia, the Iberian Mastiff is rare. The main population is concentrated in Spain and France. A significant number of dogs and kennels are located in the Baltic states. Future owners of the Pyrenees mastiff should decide in advance on the desired gender, color and purpose of the dog. Are you planning to participate in exhibitions, breeding or do you need only a guard and companion. Dogs are usually more dominant; bitches are better suited for families with children. For breeding or exhibitions, it is better to take adolescents, it is difficult to discern a champion in a 2-3 month old baby. An equally important point is the choice of the breeder. A dog handler with experience will definitely tell you which of the kids is more suitable in terms of temperament and external data, and will give recommendations on growing, upbringing and other issues. Puppies are recommended to be taken no earlier than 2.5 months. Pay attention to the appearance, compliance with the standard and conditions of detention. The possibility of free walking is welcome. Be sure to evaluate the feeding. A balanced diet for mothers and babies is the key to future health. Each puppy must have a stamp and a puppy card, which is later exchanged for a pedigree, veterinary passport with marks on preventive measures, vaccinations. It is also necessary to evaluate the psyche of the parents, or at least the mother. Her appearance after childbirth and feeding will tell about the breeder's attitude to his dogs.
A puppy of a Pyrenean mastiff in Russia usually costs from 70,000 rubles. The gender of the baby, the value of the producers, the geography of the nursery and many other factors matter. In Europe, the average cost of a Pyrenean mastiff is 2,000 euros.