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The character of Patou,
Pyrenees Mountain Dog or
its use as a Herd Protection Dog

The use of the Pyrenees Mountain Dog,
Patou at work herd

in construction

Colloquially called "Patou" or "Pastou", derived from the word "Pastre" (shepherd in old French), originating from the Pyrenees, it developed on both sides of the border with Spain. Gradually it spread towards the Alps and then reached the rest of Europe.


It is the ultimate protection dog for sheep herds!

Deterrence is his favorite weapon, combined with his impressive build.


You will meet him, mixed with the herds he cares for, trained for this task, through centuries of use.

Its role is not to gather the flock. This function falls to “Shepherd” dogs. The role of the Pyrenees Mountain Dog “Patou” essentially consists of protecting animals against predators plaguing the Alps. Such as Lynx, Wolves and Bears, but especially against stray dogs which are a calamity and the main cause of the sheep carnage, persistently reported by the media.  


We must observe the work of the “Patou” as a protection dog. When the herd moves.  He walks in front to warn of any untoward encounter.

Once the herd has settled on a new pasture, the “Patou” demarcates a protection zone which it constantly monitors, often placing itself at a height. Its activity and protective instinct allow it to anticipate the approach of any intruder.


The “Pyrenees Mountain” is not an attack dog, but a deterrent dog by its presence, its large size, its build coupled with its constant barking. The Patou thus erects an effective barrier around the herd against wolves, bears, lynx but especially against stray dogs.

In the event that an intruder does not heed his warnings, the Patou dog may then become aggressive and attack.


From an early age the “Patou” must be put in contact with the herd. The Patou working to protect the herd eats and lives constantly with the animals. As a result, he is immersed in the flock and the animals consider him dominant and equal to a shepherd. But we have had specific cases of Pyrenees Mountain dogs having never known a herd until the adult age of 2 or 3 years and being excellent working dogs for herd protection thereafter with a exemplary adaptation. Certain lines like ours have proven their ability to adapt to a radical change in life, despite a very family-oriented first life as a companion dog.


It is the oldest assistant of the shepherd, the "Patou" is part of our mountain heritage.

Widely used by sheep farms until the end of the 19th century, its use declined with the gradual disappearance of wild predators.

The reintroduction of these species into the natural environment in recent years has sparked renewed interest in the Pyrenees at work as herd protection dogs. In addition, the proliferation of stray dogs with modernized road networks promotes insecurity in our high altitude meadows. Today this type of Patou guard dog is in demand again.  


It takes a lot of patience and rigor to educate "our patous", overcoming their little faults: a bit stubborn, lively and runaway. It is essential to respect the principles of never feeding Patous dogs outside the herd and never trying to attract them towards you when you move away from the sheep that the Montagne des Pyrénées guards.


If a stranger approaches the flock, a good protection dog will bark to warn its shepherd of this intrusion into the area it is monitoring.

A “Patou” seeks above all to impress you. Above all, do not shout, throw stones at him, or even more, threaten him with a stick. You risk being attacked by your provocations. You must display a calm attitude, which the Patou dog will interpret as a calming signal. You must stop walking, let the “Patou” sniff your scent and make sure of your intentions. Then continue slowly on your way, making a wide detour to get away from the herd. The dog Patou will accompany you for a while then return to his family.


The use of “Patou” for monitoring livestock, but also in agricultural areas, is developing more and more. Some departments allocate subsidies in this respect to farmers, find out more. You also have the possibility of purchasing from our breeding "Montagnes des Pyrénées", "Patou" or "Pastou" by recovering the VAT on our invoicing and benefiting from this aid.

The character of the Pyrenees Mountain Dog

The Pyrenees Mountain dog can also be welcomed as a companion dog into a family. The patou is an excellent guardian, but this dog must be able to roam around in a sufficiently large enclosed area given its size and adventurous nature. The patou is a rustic dog that can live outside all year round provided it is sheltered from bad weather. It is strongly recommended not to keep the Pyrenean mountain dog living in an apartment. It is necessary to perfect the education of the Pyrenean mountain dog from a very young age, taking into account its excellent memory, in order to avoid the stupidities that all young Patou puppies can commit. The patou is an excellent playmate for children provided that its education is carried out firmly and without brutality. Never hit a patou, the latter will lose his confidence in you and one day will turn against you in turn. An iron hand in a velvet glove without brutality and let him live his life as a patou dog outside as free as the air, let him smell the air and bark as he pleases, let him enjoy the pleasure of discovery of his property to be kept by himself, it is the atavism of the race!!!!

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