It has been claimed the forbears of the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, and the Pyrenean Mastiff, were white livestock guardian dogs, that they were introduced to the Pyrenees Mountains from Asia by the Romans. As such the breed is believed to be closely related to both the Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog of Italy and the Kuvasz of Hungary. Genomic data indicates that the Pyrenean Mountain Dog falls within the same genetic clade as the Pharaoh Hound, Cirneco dell'Etna, and the Ibizan Hound. Usually called the Patou in France,[note 1] for millennia these dogs were used by shepherds throughout the Pyrenean region to protect their flocks from predation by wolves and bears; in this role the breed was usually equipped with a heavy iron wolf collar studded with long nails to help protect it when fighting off wolves. The Pyrenean Mountain Dog was often used by shepherds in combination with the much smaller Pyrenean Sheepdog, the former guarding the flocks and the latter herding them. Historically the Pyrenean Mountain Dog was also used to smuggle contraband between France and Spain across the Pyrenees, carrying packs, these dogs traversed routes impassable to humans to avoid detention by customs officials.
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