Great Pyrenees vs Bulgarian Shepherd - Breed Comparison

Great Pyrenees vs Bulgarian ShepherdGreat Pyrenees is originated from France but Bulgarian Shepherd is originated from Bulgaria. Great Pyrenees may grow 7 cm / 3 inches higher than Bulgarian Shepherd. Both Great Pyrenees and Bulgarian Shepherd are having almost same weight. Great Pyrenees may live 45 years less than Bulgarian Shepherd. Both Great Pyrenees and Bulgarian Shepherd has almost same litter size. Both Great Pyrenees and Bulgarian Shepherd requires Moderate maintenance.

Basic Information

Group:
Working dog
Working dog
Origin:
France
Bulgaria
Height Male:
70 - 82 cm
27 - 33 inches
65 - 75 cm
25 - 30 inches
Height Female:
65 - 78 cm
25 - 31 inches
63 - 72 cm
24 - 29 inches
Weight Male:
48 - 54 kg
105 - 120 pounds
45 - 57 kg
99 - 126 pounds
Weight Female:
44 - 54 kg
97 - 120 pounds
40 - 52 kg
88 - 115 pounds
Life Span:
10 - 12 Years
45 - 57 Years
Litter Size:
7 - 12
5 - 10
Size:
Large dog
Large dog
Other Names:
Pyrenean Mountain Dog
Karakachan Shepherd Dog, Karakachan
Colors Available:
cream, White, white with patches of light tan or grey
BlackWhiteTricolor
Coat:
Medium to long, coarse, straight or wavy
Single
Shedding:
Moderate
Moderate
Temperament:
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Gentle, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Quiet, Responsive, Social, Territorial
Alert, Courageous, Independent, Intelligent, Loyal, Protective, Territorial
Grooming:
Moderate maintenance
Moderate maintenance
Trainability:
Easy
Moderate
Hypoallergenic:
No
No
Kids Friendly:
Yes
Yes
New Owners Friendly:
Yes
Yes

History

great pyreneesThe Great Pyrenees could be from Spain or France because the dog hails from the Pyrenees Mountains, which spans both France and Spain.

The dog was used to defend flocks from predators but its lineage goes a long way back, thousands of years in fact. It is thought that they only arrived in Europe about 5,000 years ago. The dog was adopted into the court of Louis the XIV as a royal dog.

During the mid 1600s, the dog's numbers dwindled but the French developed kennel clubs where the dog could be bred and its numbers restored. It was in 1933 that the Great Pyrenees received American Kennel Club recognition.

bulgarian shepherdThe Bulgarian Shepard Dog comes from the ancient line of Molossers of Central Asia and Tibet, and the shepherds of the Balkans, Turkey and Caucasus. Among the oldest and most valued of the working dogs of Europe, the Bulgarian Shepherd breed was created by mixing the Balkan breeds with the dogs from Central Asia by the proto-Bulgarians around the 7th century. The Karakachanskoto Kuche was introduced to Bulgaria and accepted by the sheep herders. Mixing this breed in with the Balkan and Central Asian mix developed the Bulgarian Shepherd we know today. In the long run the original Karakachanskoto Kuche became extinct, replaced entirely by the Bulgarian Shepherd even in places where the new breed is still called by the Kuche name. Although the breeds are not the same, most of the dog world does not know the difference.

In Bulgaria however the Karakachan is a national treasure and the history of the breed runs deep. One Kuche could run up to 1200 animals and hundreds were used by the herdsmen in the mountains of Bulgaria. There were many regional types of Bulgarian Shepherds with very little difference between those types. These dogs were so prized by the shepherds that the dogs ate first before the people. The dogs however ate a vegetarian diet of milk, wheat, water and oats. The Bulgarian Shepherd lives a long life of often over 20 years. The Bulgarian Army made good use of these dogs early in the 20th century.

Following World War II, the wolves were close to extinction and property in Bulgaria was nationalized. There was no longer a need for a large force of working dogs. The Communist government exterminated large numbers of sheep dogs including the Bulgarian Shepherd. Only those species on government owned farms and in remote regions survived. When the government farms were disbanded in the early 20th century, these dogs were exterminated as well. Only those in the mountains survived. Commercial breeding of the Bulgarian Shepherd in the end of the century has resulted in controversy as other breeds came into the breeding program.

Use of breeds such as Sarplaninacs, Caucasian Ovcharkas, St. Bernards, Central Asian Ovcharkas and Bosnian Tornjaks in these programs resulted in Bulgarian Shepherd or Karakachans that were a lot different from the original breed. There is therefore some concern about the future of the breed in Bulgaria, yet they received official Bulgarian national recognition in 2000. Today’s Bulgarian Shepherd is a guard dog for both property and livestock.

The official standard for the breed came about in 1991 and in 2005 it was recognized by the Bulgarian State Commission for Animal Breeds. Only those dogs that meet this standard are considered “true” Karakachans. The Bulgarian Shepherds are willing to fight bears and wolves in defense of its family and flock. The dog is brave and loyal, dignified and powerful. They are recognized by both the Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA) and the Bulgarian Republican Federation of Cynology (BRFC) a member of the FCI.

Description

great pyrenees puppyThis is a beautiful dog, noticeable by the essentially white coat and his overall size, standing at 70 to 82cm and weighing between 40 to 54 kg.

The double coat is medium to long, coarse and straight or wavy and and it can be solid white, cream or white with patches of light tan or grey.

The nose is black, the eyes brown, the ears of medium length and floppy and the tail long and plumed.

Temperament:

The Great Pyrenees is an intelligent, strong willed dog with a mind of his own so he will be able to be trained and socialized successfully.

His huge size will require that he be trained because when he is indoors he can knock things over and he must be able to respond to you telling him to lie down.

As a large dog, he isn’t suited for tiny homes, as he requires lots of space even though he doesn’t require a lot of exercise. Not only that, he takes his watchdog duties seriously and he is inclined to bark a lot, and in a small place, you’ll be getting constant complaints from the neighbors.

When trained and socialized, your big dog is social, active and loving. He gets on well with children, the elderly and with pets in the home. He isn’t that overly active and will happily make himself at home on your couch and bed.

bulgarian shepherd puppyA massive, powerful and muscular Molosser, the Bulgarian Shepherd is strong, agile, powerful and fast. They are intelligent and reliable. They have a long, thick, harsh coat in white with patches of black. Their skull is massive and broad with a furrowed forehead. The muzzle is massive as well while the nose has wide nostrils and is fairly large. It has close fitting, thick lips with strong, scissor bite jaws. The Bulgarian Shepherd’s eyes are deep, oblique and small. They are either hazel or dark. They have an intelligent and confident, yet firm almost grim expression.

Their ears are low set, small and v-shaped. They sit close to the head which sits on a powerful but short neck. They have a broad back, well-muscled body with a deep chest and long, rough tail. Their gait is a trot with a spring in their step. There are two types of coats – longhaired and shorthaired with no undercoats.

Health Problems

great pyrenees dogYour Great Pyrenees is a big dog with an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. His large size means you will need to look out for typical 'big dog' ailments such as hip dysplasia.

This problem can cause your pet to be in pain and he can also become lame, battling to walk and play and battling to get up after lying down.

Also, look out for bone cancer with your pet and as mentioned previously, bloat, which is a life threatening disease where the stomach of the dog swells up.

bulgarian shepherd dogThe breed itself is known to be healthy but they do face some of the usual health issues of the massive, giant breeds. This includes knee and elbow dislocation; hip dysplasia; bloat; entropion and osteosarcoma. All of these conditions require medical intervention, but bloat and osteosarcoma are the deadliest. Bloat needs immediate attention and osteosarcoma is a deadly bone cancer.

Caring The Pet

Exercise:

great pyrenees puppiesYour Great Pyrenees isn't going to be a dog leaping around you demanding a game or walk like what you get from some energetic dogs. He certainly doesn't require strenuous exercise but will require a nice, brisk walk every day. Give him some ball or rope games too. He's territorial and likes large grounds to walk around and guard and this constant guarding is a good form of exercise too.

Grooming:

With two layers, the coat of the Great Pyrenees will need to be brushed twice a week to prevent burrs attaching to the fur and to prevent it from matting, It also gets rid of loose hair during shedding.

He tends to drool so it's handy keeping a damp cloth close by just to give his face area a wipe down. Your dog's ears will need to be cleaned with special ear-cleaning lotion and his nails will also need to be trimmed.

Socialization and Training:

Socialize your Great Pyrenees with other dogs and people from a young age. Without proper socialization, this breed can become territorial and possessive of his family, which could lead to aggression. He bonds with his family but tends to be wary of strangers.

Diet:

It is far better to feed your Great Pyrenees smaller meals throughout the day as opposed to 2 large meals a day. A large dog like him can develop bloat from gulping down a large amount of food too quickly.

If you feed your Great Pyrenees commercially manufactured food, make sure it is high in omega 3 and 6 to keep his thick white coat luxurious.

Your dog will need a dog food targeted at a large breed. Remember to include some raw meat as well as cooked chicken, vegetables and brown rice into his kibble and always ensure fresh, cool water is available.

Feeding

bulgarian shepherd puppiesThese are large dogs with large appetites, but you want to keep them lean and active. Feed them at least twice a day with a high quality large or giant dog dry food. Four to five cups of food per day is the maximum.

Health issues

Patellar Luxation – a floating kneecap or dislocated knee. Will cause lameness.

Bloat - distended or twisted stomach. Can cause death.

Osteosarcoma – bone cancer must be treated immediately as it is potentially fatal.

Entropion – eye issues when the eyelid turns inward and damages the eye.

Hip Dysplasia – May cause lameness and arthritis.

Exercise and games

The Bulgarian Shepherd needs a good amount of exercise every day. Remember this is a working breed and they need a job. Long walks every day are essential for his well-being.

Characteristics

great pyrenees dogsThe Great Pyrenees is such a calm, independent, serious, well-mannered dog who loves to be around his human family and to please them. He is gentle and knows how to behave well around children, the elderly as well as with any pets in the home.

He makes a wonderful companion and although he loves indoor life as much as outdoor life, he is much happier settling into life in the country or the suburbs as opposed to life in the city and a tiny property.

Give your big white coated pet all the love he thrives on, and you'll enjoy a wonderful relationship with this large, amicable dog.

bulgarian shepherd dogsThis is a working dog, intelligent and independent guard dog. Reserved around strangers but loyal and devoted with his family. Tolerant of children in their family if they were raised with them. Not only will she defend human family members, she will guard and defend household pets as well. He is quite capable of making her own independent decisions. These are very intense guard dogs that will respond aggressively if they think their people are being attacked.

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