Breeding Guidance

As approved by membership on August 18, 2018

PHILOSOPHY: As a rare breed, the Pyrenean Mastiff has special conditions that must be considered when breeding. The Pyrenean Mastiffs USA Club (PMUSA) recognizes this need and has developed breeding guidance for approved club breeders. Too often breeders try to breed the perfect dog with perfect health and by doing so end up with unhealthy dogs because they have artificially constricted the breeding gene pool. The danger of trying to breed out an issue is that you usually end up with one or more new and often times more dangerous conditions in the breed. To keep the Pyrenean Mastiff a viable breed while remaining true to the standard, we must have as much genetic diversity as possible. That is the primary goal of this club’s breeding guidance.

PMUSA BREEDING COUNCIL: PMUSA, within the first year of existence, will establish a breeding council that will consist of 4 members plus the President of the club. Ideally the council will consist of 2 breeders that breed for show purposes, and 2 breeders that breed for livestock guardian dog (LGD) purposes. This mix may be different due to not enough of one type of breeder, but should be corrected as soon as allowed by membership. This council is responsible for determining any changes that need to be made to this guidance, and then submitting the recommended changes to the club at a general meeting for approval by the voting members. This council will also hear and rule on any breeder requesting an exception to this guidance due to special circumstances. The determination of this council is final on those matters where exceptions to this guidance are concerned.


  1. Members must comply with all breeding requirements as outlined in this document before breeding a litter.
  2. All dogs and bitches intended for breeding must complete a DNA test with Embark, the officially approved PMUSA DNA company. When breeding a bitch or stud, members shall use the DNA results and any known issues with a dog/bitch, or their off spring, to avoid breeding two carriers of a recessive genetic illness, or the carrier of a dominant illness.
  3. The Coefficient of Inbreeding (COI) shall not be greater than 15% within 5 generations, and ideally should be less than 10%. The closer to 0 the better the match.The club goal is to obtain these percentages within 10 generations by 2030 if not sooner. The COI can be attained through DNA comparisonthat provides a true and accurate measure, or through a mathematical calculation. The DNA comparison is accurate while the mathematical calculation is a mathematical estimate.

    If you are choosing to breed before PMUSA has a means to calculate the COI of your chosen pair, the following applies:

    1. A single name cannot be repeated more than 3 times in 5 generations.
    2. No more than 2 names can be a repeat in a pedigree within 5 generations, however, only 1 of the two can be repeated no more than 3 times. The other must be repeated only 2 times.
    3. For the purposes of COI requirements, imported dogs/bitches are exempt from this requirement. Breeders will reduce the COI of offspring to within acceptable limits within 3 generations of import.
  4. All bitches and dogs must complete and have on file and available for public view with OFA the results of hip and elbow dysplasia evaluations taken on or after 24 months of age and have been assigned a CHIC number. Because the Pyrenean Mastiff is a rare breed, we cannot afford to unnecessarily eliminate genetic material in order to find perfection. PMUSA will allow dogs/bitches to be bred with levels of hip dysplasia from excellent to moderate as determined by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) according to the below table.

    An X in a box represents an authorized breeding.
    The letters in parentheses are the European rating equivalent
    HIP RATINGS Excellent (A) Good (A) Fair (B) Mild (C) Moderate (D)
    Excellent (A) X X X X X
    Good (A) X X X X X
    Fair (B) X X X X
    Mild (C) X X X
    Moderate (D) X X

  5. Dogs/Bitches may be bred with an elbow OFA rating of 0 or 1, but if the dog or bitch has a 1 rating, the mate must be 0.
  6. Any dog or bitch that is diagnosed with one of the below listed medical conditions will not be eligible to be bred. The parents of that dog/bitch, while now identified as carriers of the recessive gene, can still be bred but cannot be bred to any known carrier. The reason the dog/bitch with the condition cannot be bred is that all puppies from that dog/bitch will be known carriers thus greatly increasing the number of recessive genes in the gene pool as compared to a carrier being bred to a non-carrier where statistically genetic combinations between the pairing would produce far fewer carriers.
    1. Lumbosacral Transitional Verteba (LTV) can be determined when hip x-rays are taken and submitted to OFA
    2. Patella Luxation can be determined by your veterinarian through patella manipulation.
  7. While not required, it is recommended that for any puppy obtained for breeding purposes, that the owner obtain a preliminary OFA evaluation of the hips at 4 months of age or soon there after in order to get an early evaluation of HD or LTV to help determine showing/breeding potential.
  8. Studies have shown that bitches are healthier if bred at a young age which is also typically when they have larger litters. Studies have also shown that a bitch’s reproductive system is healthier if litters are born back-to-back. The bitch should never be bred back-to-back unless she has totally recuperated from her last litter and is completely healthy.
  9. Both dogs and bitches may be bred if a preliminary OFA has been performed on the hips and elbows on or after 18 months of age, the results have been received and the breeding guidelines are met. This does not eliminate the requirement to have final OFAs performed at 24 months of age or after.
  10. A dog may not sire more than 3 litters in a calendar year.
  11. The breeder shall use the AKC-FSS standard as the guide for all breedings, with emphasis on exemplary breed type, stable temperament, health, elimination of disqualifying physical faults, and with consistent betterment of the breed in mind.
  12. All Pyrenean Mastiff puppies must receive an international microchip prior to litter registration and prior to transfer to a new owner.
  13. The following outlines required and recommended registrations for both show and Estate / Livestock Guardian Pyrenean Mastiffs. Once the Pyrenean Mastiff is recognized by AKC, the only required registration for any Pyrenean Mastiff will be an AKC registration. Until that time,PMUSA member’s shall register their Pyrenean Mastiff(s) and litters as follows:
    1. Show Registrations:
      1. AKC-FSS in order to support obtaining AKC recognition both through the number of registered Pyrenean Mastiffs and through obtaining Open Show Certificates.
      2. The Federación Canófila de Puerto Rico (FCPR) which is affiliated with the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) which as a collection of international clubs and partners that recognize the same standard for their breeds and allow import and export of dogs to and from FCI clubs world wide. FCPR is also recognized by both AKC and UKC. This fact ensuresthat for Pyrenean Mastiffs that only have FCPR registrations, current and future generations, can be brought into the fold of AKC and UKC for breeding purposes which helps with genetic diversity.
      3. While not required it is recommended that show dogs be shown in the United Kennel Club (UKC) in order to obtain championships.
    2. Estate / Livestock Guardian Registration:
      1. AKC-FSS in order to support obtaining AKC recognition both through the number of registered Pyrenean Mastiffs and through obtaining Open Show Certificates.
  14. Foreign Pyrenean Mastiffs used for breeding shall meet all requirements of their country of registration.
  15. Breeders will ensure that their dogs, bitches and resulting litters are entered into the PMUSA pedigree database with all required information.
  16. While our guidelines are open to interpretation it is up to each and every individual breeder to weigh the pros and cons of each breeding to maximize genetic diversity and health within the breed without jeopardizing long term goals of keeping the breed healthy and sound. Our breeding committee is always available if there are any questions or concerns and a breeder is in need of assistance.