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Berger des Pyrenees

Herding Dog Group

The goals and purposes of this breed standard include: to furnish guidelines for breeders who wish to maintain the quality of their breed and to improve it; to advance this breed to a state of similarity throughout the world; and to act as a guide for judges.

Breeders and judges have the responsibility to avoid any conditions or exaggerations that are detrimental to the health, welfare, essence and soundness of this breed, and must take the responsibility to see that these are not perpetuated.

Any departure from the following should be considered a fault, and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dogs ability to perform its traditional work.


The Berger des Pyrenees is an ancient breed, a shepherd/flock guard native to, and developed in, the Pyrenees Mountain valleys of France.

The Berger des Pyrenees was recognized by the United Kennel Club on January 1, 1995.

General Appearance

The Berger des Pyrenees is a lean, lively dog of minimal height and weight, with an enormous amount of nervous energy and a mischievous, wary expression. The breed has two varieties: the Smooth-Faced and the Rough-Faced. The Smooth-Faced variety is not as high strung as the Rough-Faced, and tends to be more tractable. It is more outgoing with strangers, and has a very lively, cheerful disposition.

Faults: A heavily-boned dog. A square dog. Unsoundness. Heaviness. Thick musculature.


This breed is always on the alert, watchful, and ready for action. This temperament, along with his great vivacity of movement, gives this little dog a highly singular gait and appearance, characteristic of no other breed.

Faults: Lack of vivacity. Common looking expression. Vicious appearance.


The head is triangular in shape.


The skull is nearly flat on top; rounded at the sides. There is a barely noticeable median furrow, and the occiput is barely perceptible. The skull slopes gently to the muzzle, without a marked stop.


The muzzle is straight and shorter than the skull. Narrow, but not exaggeratedly so, it affects a wedge shape and is well filled in under the eyes. The Smooth-Faced variety has a slightly longer muzzle which is covered with short, fine hairs. The mouth is tight. The lips are not very thick. The upper lip falls only far enough to cover the lower jaw. This often gives the impression that the dog is smiling. The mucous membranes of the lips and palate are black or strongly marked with black. The lips should never sag.


A full complement of strong white teeth meet in a scissors bite. An even bite is acceptable, but not preferred.

Disqualifications: Overshot, Undershot bite. Wry mouth.


The eyes are slightly almond shaped and very expressive. They are dark brown in color, except in the blue merle or slate grey dogs, where wall eyes are acceptable and almost always present. The eye rims are black, regardless of coat color. The eyes are not too prominent, nor too deeply set.

Disqualifications: Missing pigment on eye rims. Blue eyes in a dog with a coat color other than grey or merle.


The nose is black.

Disqualification: Nose color other than black.


The ears are rather short and are moderately wide at the base. They are set on top of the head, neither too close to one another nor too wide apart. The ears are traditionally cropped straight across and are thus well carried. Natural ears are acceptable as along as they are set on, and carried, correctly, with the top one-third to one-half falling forward to the front or the side, symmetrically for both ears.

Disqualification: Naturally erect ears.


The rather long, well-muscled neck springs rather upright out of the shoulders.


The rather long shoulders have medium angulation. The tops of the shoulder blades are clearly visible above the line of the back.


The forelegs are straight, lean and sinewy. There is a noticeable wrist joint. The pasterns are slightly sloping. The distance from the elbow to the ground is slightly more than half the height at the withers.


The body is longer than it is tall. The back is rather long and well-supported. The loin is short and slightly arched. The croup is rather short and sloping. The slightly rounded ribs extend well to the rear. The chest is of medium development and extends only to the elbow. The flank is well tucked up.
The Smooth-Faced variety is slightly shorter-bodied than the Rough-Faced variety.

Faults: Roach back. Level backline.


Strong, with well-defined muscle and good angulation of the pelvis and femur.


The lower thigh is longer than the upper thigh and there is good angulation at the stifle. The hock joint is lean, and the rear pasterns are short and either perpendicular to the ground or slightly oblique from back to front. Single or double dewclaws are acceptable, as is the absence of dewclaws.


The clean-boned feet are rather flat and oval-shaped. The pads and nails are dark. The small nails are very hard, and are hidden by the hair growing out from between the toes.
The Smooth-Faced variety may exhibit a foot that is a little shorter and more cupped than the Rough-Faced variety.

Faults: Thick feet. Cat feet. Nails too long. White nails.


The tail is usually docked, often flushed with the croup so that no remnant of a tail is left. Natural bob tails vary in length. A naturally long tail is perfectly acceptable as long as it is carried correctly. The heavily fringed tail is set on rather low. A long tail forms a crook at the end. Even when the dog is alert, the tail (short or long) must not rise above the level of the back, but continue along the slope of the croup.

Faults: Bad tail carriage. Lack of a crook in a long tail.


The hair may be long or semi-long, and almost flat or slightly wavy. The texture is harsh, being halfway between the hair of a goat and the wool of a sheep.

The hind legs of dogs with semi-long hair are generally not as heavily furnished as long-haired dogs. The croup and rear legs are more heavily furnished. Cording in this area is entirely acceptable.

Rough-Faced Variety

The hair on the end of the muzzle and the chin must be naturally short. It lengthens as the muzzle widens toward the skull, and is swept back, giving the characteristic windswept appearance necessary for correct expression. The eyes must be readily visible, not covered by hair. The forelegs are fringed with rather long hair.

Smooth-Faced Variety

The muzzle is covered with short, fine hairs. The hair on the body is semi-long, or shorter, attaining a length of no more than 3 inches for the ruff, and 2 inches or less along the back. Note: No placement is to be awarded to a dog whose facial hair has been cut, plucked, or otherwise altered in any way from its natural state. The legs are smooth, with minimal fringing. The forelegs are fringed with rather short hairs on the semi-long haired dog.

Faults: Too much hair on the head, especially if it hides the eyes. The hair on the moustache and beard taking on any similarity to that of a griffon. Hair of poor texture. Frizzy or fluffy hair.


Acceptable colors include: various shades of fawn, with or without a mixture of black hairs; gray, ranging from charcoal to pearl gray; merles of diverse tones; brindle, black; and black with white markings.
A little white is acceptable on the chest, head and feet, but solid-colored dogs are preferred.
Faults: White patches appearing other than where is acceptable. White patches that are too big. Black and tan coloration.

Disqualifications: Solid white, or any color not mentioned in the standard.


The skin is fine. It is often mottled with light and dark patches, depending on the coat color.

Height & Weight

The height range for males is 15.5 inches to 21 inches.
The height range for females is 15.5 inches to 20.5 inches.
Faults: Overweight. Fat. Heavily-muscled dogs.
Eliminating Faults: Any male or female under 14.5 inches or over 21 inches.
Disqualifications: Any male or female under 13 inches or over 22 inches.


The trot is free, flowing and vigorous. The feet are never raised high, giving the impression that the dog skims over the ground. At a slow trot, the head is carried fairly high, but as speed increases the head lowers to the level of the back.

Eliminating Faults

(An Eliminating Fault is a Fault serious enough that it eliminates the dog from obtaining any awards in a conformation event.)

Rough faced variety: Males under 14 inches and over 20 inches; females under 14 inches and over 19 inches. Smooth-faced variety: Males under 14 inches and over 22 inches; females under 14 inches and over 21 inches.


(A dog with a Disqualification must not be considered for placement in a conformation event, and must be reported to UKC.)
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid.
Viciousness or extreme shyness.
Nose color other than black.
Overshot bite.
Undershot bite.
Wry mouth.
Missing pigment on eye rims.
Blue eyes in a dog with a coat color other than grey or merle.
Solid white, or any color not mentioned in the standard.
Naturally erect ears.


General Appearance (expression, gait, size) 20
Head and Muzzle 15
Eyes 10
Ears 5
Neck, Topline, Tail 15
Coat, Color, Pigmentation 10
Legs and Feet 15
Shoulders, Chest, Ribs 10
Total 100

Please Note

In UKC Conformation Shows, this breed is shown by variety in this order: Rough-Faced, Smooth-Faced.

The docking of tails and cropping of ears in America is legal and remains a personal choice. However, as an international registry, the United Kennel Club is aware that the practices of cropping and docking have been forbidden in some countries. In light of these developments, the United Kennel Club feels that no dog in any UKC event, including conformation, shall be penalized for a full tail or natural ears.

UKC Breed Standards: Berger des Pyrenees

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Official UKC Breed Standard

Revised January 2, 2024

©Copyright 1995, United Kennel Club