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Great Pyrenees Temperament
page 2

The "Dangerous dogs" law that has come to existence in the UK - and I understand from the Internet that it also is threatening responsible dog owners of certain breeds in at least some States in the USA - is something that might be spread to many other places in the world and make life complicated for owners of guard dog breeds.

How is the temperament?

We all have some vague ideas about how a Pyrenean ought to be. He should simultaneously be a good guard dog, yet friendly and gentle; have a good sense of occasion, be playful and calm, and maintain a tenderness towards everything that is small and weak.

It seems that through use as a livestock protection dog these in some way contradictory traits have developed in the Pyrenean. However changes in the balance among the traits can change the dog’s behaviour greatly.

Could Mental tests be a good guide?

At the same time these traits are very difficult to measure. Mental tests could possibly be a good guide to a dog’s disposition, but the mental tests I know of are not designed for livestock protection dogs. My experiences with this tests are that they tell very little about how the dog functions in everyday life.

I personally know of about ten dogs that have gone through a temperament test in Denmark. I know these dogs very well as four of them belong to me, but I would not be able to match the results and the dogs if it were not for the name on the papers.

Two opposite viewpoints

  • All Pyrs should be able to do their original job or
  • A handsome gentle dog is what we need today

Even if one thinks it would be a crime to change the Pyrenean temperament, it is necessary to know what it is that one wants to preserve.And then what does the standard tell us about temperament?

© U. Hock-Henschke