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Majesty in the Mountains

Meet the Pyrenean Mastiff - and the man who has dedicated his life to them

Almost every country in southern Europe has its own flavor of long-coated livestock guardian dog. Most fanciers recognize the breed from the French side of the Pyrenean Mountains, the Great Pyrenees (also called the Pyrenean Mountain Dog). But its counterpart on the Spanish side of those massive peaks, the Pyrenean Mastiff, is much rarer, much larger, and wears his Molosser heritage more obviously.  

We were lucky to sit down with Rafael Malo Alcrudo, who is all but synonymous with the Pyrenean Mastiff. In 1975, he started combing the mountainside villages and pastures of this rugged corner of Spain, a search he likens to that for the Holy Grail. The dogs he found, bred over hundreds of years to be formidable defenders against wolves and other prey animals, formed the foundation of the breed population today, which numbers about 1,500.  

Click on the video below to hear Alcrudo tell in his own words about the breed whose story has become irrevocably intertwined with his own.





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