The protection dog‘s function is to deter any intruders from approaching the herd. It is neither a driving dog, nor a companion dog, much less an attack dog
The PatouA protective dog above all
The Patou, or dog of the Pyrenees, some will find him beautiful, imposing, kind… but others, will say he is mean…
On the contrary, this animal has for primary function the defense of his herd in the mountains against predators. This is why it can be “grumpy” towards you.
With the sharp increase in the number of predators (wild fauna, reinforcement of the Bear in the Pyrenees, roaming dogs…), such dogs represent again, for the breeders and the shepherds, a precious help for the protection of the herds.
We could discover it these days while walking or transhumant on the roads and paths of our valley accompanying his dear ewes to the high pastures.
All the beauty of the Patou
To learn a little more, “The Patou”, is an ancient breed of sheepdog. It is characterized by its imposing size and white hair. It is also a very good “buddy” as a companion dog. The female gives birth to about 2 to 12 puppies per litter. At adulthood a Patou can weigh up to 75kg for a male and 65kg approximately for the female.
In the mountains, unlike the Border Colley or the Labri, the Patou will not work with the herd (round them up etc) it will be there as a protector. For this, from their youngest age, the puppies are put with the sheep so that they get used to their “family” until a total and reciprocal acceptance. The dog will then live permanently within the flock: the summer in the mountains and the winter in the sheepfold.
The emblem of the resort
A shepherd will tell you, for the dog to be good, you must not socialize him too much, pet him, he socializes with the sheep!!
So if you walk the pastures of our valley do not be afraid to cross his path, click on this link to learn more, on the behaviors to hold.
And above all admire him, the Patou is an animal that respects itself and, has been for years the symbol of Saint Lary…hence the logo of the resort.
Keep your distance
If you cross a herd, go well around the grazing or resting area of the ewes: this way you respect the work of the shepherds without disturbing the animals
Beware of behaviors that seem harmless to you: attempting to feed, pet, or take a picture of a patou, lamb, or Patou can be interpreted as aggression.
Adopt a calm, passive demeanor to reassure it. If you are impressed, turn back.
If you have a pet dog (in an authorized area) keep it on a leash and stay a long distance away from the herd (200 meters).
If you are on a bicycle, it is best to dismount before you are near the herd.
Large signs inform you of the presence of these dogs: remember to spot them.