Showsight Presents the Great Pyrenees

practices of many unscrupulous breed- ers selling to native tourists through the region. In 1907 Monsieur Dretzen from Paris, along with Count de Bylandt of Holland and Monsieur Byasson of Argeles-Gazost, formed the Club du Chien des Pyrenees (CCP) a.k.a. Argeles Club in Argeles-Gazost. They combed the mountains for a group of “faultlessly typical” specimens. Monsieur Dretzen took these dogs back to his kennel in Paris. Also in 1907, the Pastoure Club at Lourdes, Hautes Pyrenees, France, was organized to perpetuate inter- est in the breed. Each club wrote a breed standard. After the decimating effects of World War I, the breed’s numbers and quality had been severely compromised. A few dedicated breeders, headed by Monsieur Senac Lagrange, worked to restore the breed to its former glory. They joined together the remnants of the two for- mer clubs and formed the Reunion des Amateurs de Chiens Pyreneans which still exists today. It was this club that was responsible for the breed standard being published in 1927. This standard has served as a basis for all current stan- dards for the breed. After World War II, it was again Monsieur Senac Lagrange who took the lead in getting the breed back on its feet from the devastating effects of the German occupation. In 1931, Mr. and Mrs. Francis V. Crane imported several dogs and seriously launched the breed in North America

with the founding of Basquaerie Ken- nels in Needham, Massachusetts. Their lifelong effort on behalf of the breed provided the breed with an atmosphere in which it could thrive and prosper. They imported important breeding stock out of Europe just before the Con- tinent was closed by World War II. The American Kennel Club accorded the Great Pyrenees official recognition in February, 1933, and beginning in April, 1933, separate classification began for the breed at licensed shows. Today, the Great Pyrenees is a work- ing dog as well as a companion and family dog. Most never see a show ring, but they are trusted and beloved members in homes and may function as livestock guardian dogs on farms and ranches. They are very social dogs in the family but can be wary of strangers in the work environment (this includes the home). They adapt easily to other situations such as dog shows and make extraordinary ambassadors for the breed in settings such as hospitals and nursing homes. They have a special abil- ity to identify and distinguish predators or unwelcome intruders. The very traits that make Great Pyre- nees such a unique breed and “Pyr peo- ple” find so admirable can also make living with them a challenge. Great Pyrenees are livestock guardian dogs. They were bred to be left alone in the mountain valleys. They are guard dogs by instinct, not by training and they

cannot be expected to welcome uninvit- ed intrusions onto your property. They are not “attack” dogs but can be very intimidating to the surprised visitor. It is the owner’s obligation to maintain their Pyr so that his guarding instincts can be exercised in a responsible way. Great Pyrenees’ basic personality is dif- ferent from most breeds, since most breeds were bred to take commands from people. Pyrs were bred to work on their own. They are intelligent, some- times willful dogs. They have minds of their own and are not easily obedience trained. Many are almost cat-like in their independence. They are also barkers, especially at night. The amount of bark- ing varies from individual to individual, but the instinct is there and in some cases can cause major problems. Most Great Pyrenees in urban or suburban settings must be kept indoors at night because of the barking. Because of their instinct to establish and patrol a large territory, Pyrs must be confined in a well-fenced area. They are roamers and when out of the fence they must be kept on lead at all times. While most Pyrs are very protective of small animals, many will not tolerate another large dog of the same sex in their territory. If, after thoroughly researching the breed you decide that this is a dog that you would like to share your life with, please buy from a responsible breeder. When visiting the breeder, ask to see the parents of the puppy. Make sure that

388 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , S EPTEMBER 2018

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