Pyrenean Mastiff

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Pyrenean Mastiff
Other names
Height Dogs minimum 77 cm[2]
Bitches minimum 72 cm[2]
Weight 60–90 kg[1]: 553 
Kennel club standards
RSCFRCE standard
FCI standard
Dog (domestic dog)
A Spanish (but not Aragonese) carlanca or wolf collar

The Pyrenean Mastiff (Spanish: Mastín Español del Pirineo or Aragonese: Mostín d'o Pireneu) is a large breed of livestock guardian dog from the autonomous community of Aragón in northeastern Spain. It was traditionally used to protect flocks during the annual transhumance to high summer pasture in the Pyrenees.[1]: 552  It is a distinct and separate breed both from the Pyrenean Mountain Dog and from the Pyrenean Shepherd.


The Pyrenean Mastiff originated in the historic Kingdom of Aragon, where it has been documented since the Middle Ages. Its origins and purpose were in the annual transhumance of flocks to the high pastures of the Pyrenees for the summer months, and the return to lower ground for the winter. The dogs were kept with the sheep from an early age; their job was to protect the flocks from predators, and in particular from wolves. Like other European flock guardian breeds, they were often fitted with a spiked metal wolf collar or carlanca for extra protection.[1]: 552 

Three of the dogs were shown in Madrid in 1890. In the first edition of the Libro de Orígenes Español (Madrid, 1913), the second entry for dogs registered in 1912 is a "Mastín Español del Pirineo".[1]: 553 

In the latter 1940s the wolf disappeared from the Pyrenees, and once its principal function was no longer needed, the breed began to decline.[1]: 552  It was fully accepted by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 1954.[3] In 1977 a breed society, the Club del Mastín del Pirineo, was formed;[4] the dogs gradually became diffused through much of Spain, and later spread to other countries in Europe and the Americas, and to Australia and Japan.[1]: 552 


The Pyrenean Mastiff is a very large dog. The minimum acceptable height at the withers for males is 77 centimetres (30 in), and for females 72 centimetres (28 in); there is no upper limit, and larger dogs are preferred.[2] They have a heavy white coat with a mask of a darker colour, and often with patches of the same colour on the body; the ears always have darker spots.[2] The weight varies between about 60 kilograms (130 lb) and 90 kilograms (200 lb).[1]: 553 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Miguel Fernández Rodríguez, Mariano Gómez Fernández, Juan Vicente Delgado Bermejo, Silvia Adán Belmonte, Miguel Jiménez Cabras (eds.) (2009). Guía de campo de las razas autóctonas españolas (in Spanish). Madrid: Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Medio Rural y Marino. ISBN 9788449109461.
  2. ^ a b c d FCI-Standard N° 92: Pyrenean Mastiff (Mastín del Pirineo). Fédération Cynologique Internationale. Accessed May 2020.
  3. ^ Mastín del Pirineo (92). Fédération Cynologique Internationale. Accessed May 2020.
  4. ^ Historia del Mastín del Pirineo (in Spanish). Club del Mastín del Pirineo de España. Archived 23 April 2020.