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©Greg Terra Photo Artisanat Les Carlines 2|gregory cremades

The Pyrenean Patou,

More than a dog... A symbol

The emblem of the Pyrenees par excellence, it embodies security and attachment.

The protection dog‘s function is to deter any intruders from approaching the herd. It is neither a driving dog, nor a companion dog, and certainly not an attack dog.

Le Patou

A protective dog above all

The Patou, or dog of the Pyrenees, some will find it beautiful, imposing, gentle… but others, will say it’s mean…

On the contrary, this animal’s primary function is to defend its herd in the mountains against predators. That’s why it can be “grumpy” towards you.

With the sharp increase in predator numbers (wild fauna, strengthening of the Bear in the Pyrenees, roaming dogs…), such dogs once again represent, for breeders and shepherds, a precious help in protecting their herds.

We’ve been discovering this lately as we walk or transhumance along the roads and paths of our valley accompanying our beloved ewes to the high pastures.

Herd life
Keep your distance!
Station emblem

All the beauty of the Patou

To learn a little more, “Le Patou”, is an ancient breed of sheepdog. It is characterized by its imposing size and white coat. It is also an excellent companion dog. Females give birth to between 2 and 12 puppies per litter. At adulthood, a Patou can weigh up to 75kg for a male and around 65kg for a female.

In the mountains, unlike the Border Collie or Labri, the Patou won’t be working with the herd (rounding them up, etc.), but will be there as a protector. For this reason, from a very early age, puppies are placed with the sheep so that they can become accustomed to their “family” until they are fully accepted by both parties. The dog will then live permanently with the flock: summer in the mountains and 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 roam the pastures of our valley don’t be afraid to cross his path but read below the behavior and conduct to adopt.

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.

What to do

Keep your distance

If you come across a flock, go well around the ewes’ grazing or resting area: in this way, you respect the shepherds’ work without disturbing the animals.

Beware of seemingly innocuous behavior: attempting to feed, pet, or take a photo 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’re on a bike, it’s best to dismount before you get close to the herd.

Large signs inform you of the presence of these dogs: remember to look out for them.