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International Connections
Pyrenean Mountain Dog Global Connections


The first World Conference was held in the UK in 1996, hosted by the PMDC of Great Britain, the second in November 2000, hosted by the PMDC of Victoria in Australia and the third was held in France in 2005. It is a 2 or 3 day event offering an opportunity for Pyr breeders, owners, fanciers etc -- anyone who supports and has an interest in our breed, to come together to discuss matters relating to the health, welfare, protection and future of the breed, and it's function as a show, working and companion dog. The programme varies depending on suggestions from Pyr owners who wish to see certain matters discussed and the ideas of the host country, also on the speakers available.

Stella Hughes, New Zealand

The 1st world conference was held at Warwick University right in the middle of England in 1996, which was the PMDC of Great Britain's Diamond Jubilee year. On the eve we held a sumptous banquet and next day the conference itself. We were extremely fortunate to have many breed specialist from different countries as our speakers. From America, Mr Whitney Coombes, from France, Ms Alain Pecoult and from UK Sq Leader Peter Gilbert. These three were the main speakers on their own interpretation of their Countries breed standard. We also had guest speakers, Elina Haapaniemi from Scandinavia on their viewpoint, Sally Richards from UK spoke on nutrition, Birte Brejl from Denmark spoke on temperament, David Bentley, vet, spoke on skin disorders and Richard Crago, Australia on Pyreneans guarding flocks. Altogether a very comprehensive conference.

The first event of the Victorian calender, at KCC park - which is wholly owned by the dog fraternity and is purpose built, was the PMDC of Victoria Inc. 26th Championship show. The dogs were judged by Terry Munro and bitches by Ian Spencer-Brown, referee was Tony Syme. Best In Show was found in the bitches being Scott's Ch Cyrus Morning Glory with the runner-up being Murray's Ch/AmCh Tip 'n' Chips Maximum Appeal.

The following day the Conference commenced with the Master of Ceremonies, Mr Blair Edgar whose flair and humour was appreciated throughout by everyone. Blair called on his first speaker, Mr Eddy Van Eck, the president of the Victorian club, who welcomed everyone and officially opened the Conference, read apologies and congratulatory messages worldwide, before introducing Mrs Ruth Nicholson, the Patroness of the PMDC of Victoria Inc. Ruth shared her vast Pyrenean experiences with the floor. Eddy again took the floor and discussions ensued as to whether the meeting wished to form a World Steering Committee. This item was agreed in principle. Prior to the conference, Eddy had asked for nominations for initial delegates from each country. The meeting agreed that two delegates per country should act as representatives on the steering committee. Further discussion took place later the following day to establish the function of the steering committee and how it could best work.

After the coffee break, Dr. Robert Brown and Ms Valerie Johnson spoke on the subject of Healthcare and Nutrition. This was a very informative talk covering Hip Dysplasia, Dwarfism, OCD, Allergies, PRA, Mental Health, vitamin supplements and nutrition.

The first morning finished with Rina Murray's description of the Essence of the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, which incorporated the air of great confidence, combined with a certain elegance and asked the audience to consider what attracted them personally to the breed.

After a sumptuous lunch the afternoon session commenced with the panel of three speakers on 'One World Standard'. Keith Savage delivered the proposed changes ot the British breed standard combined with the reasons for these changes, and how they had related and developed from the original standards of each country over the years, that the perceived need for these changes is to complete the standard changes made in 1972 and align the Brisish standard more closely to the FCI standard. Keith was followed bt Dr Robert Brown who spoke about the formation of the American standard stating particularly that this standard is owned by the GPCA who therefore can make alterations , whereas the British standard is owned by the British Kennel Club and therefore the set procedure agreed with the Kennel Club has to be followed before any changes can happen. The final speaker on this subject was Eddy Van Eck who gave an insight into the Australian situation and stated his strong desire that only one standard should exist throughout the world. Discussion continued around the alignment of the three standards.

After tea, Tracy Bassett spoke on Complusory Identification and the various methods available. Tracy went into great depths with the advantages and disadvantages of each method, which included collar and tag, microchipping and tattooing along with registration systems to record all details.

The final speaker for the day was Lionel Blakely whose subject was Code of Ethics. He spoke about the practices which the Australian Clubs follow and the reasons surrounding the rules which they must abide by.

Next morning, day two of the Conference, opened up with an enlightening talk by Ruth Marcy and Christine Palmer-Pearson on the Pyrenean as a /Show dog/Companion dog/ and Guardian dog coupled with the appropriate judges education programme and training of these dogs, including some amusing photographs of agility and obedience dogs in action.

Ian Spencer-Brown spoke on the subject of Kennel Blindness with amusement and sincerity and must have touched a lot of people with his anecdotes and examples.

After tea the discussion continued around the World Steering Panel Committee as to the difficulties they face and identified areas where the conference would like issues addressed, which included operational difficulties such as language and funding, and promotion of the Steering Panel to supply delegates from other countries.

Joyce Stannard congratulated the PMDC of Victoria on their running of the Show and Conference on behalf of all the visitors, Eddy then closed the meeting after receiving agreement from the floor to hold a World Conference every five years. We then retired for lunch where we enjoyed a barbeque whilst being entertained by Murrundindi, one of the last descendants of the of the Tribal Chief of the Wurundjeri tribe of Melbourne, who played the didgeridoo, danced and told stories of his people and finished by throwing his boomerangs. The finale was a magnificent auction of Pyrenean Memorabilia followed by a slice of the beautiful celebratory cake in the shape of Australia and Tasmania, each section decorated with the wild flower of the region, made by Kay Kirkham who, along with her family had been catering and organising the event from the back room , and to whom we extend our sincere thanks for a job well done.

We all left with a very positive attitude, looking forward to the next World Conference in 2005.

Conference Reports by Carol Savage, Great Britain. Conference 2000 report condensed from Carol's report in the International Magazine, March 2001

WORLD CONFERENCE 2005 ( coming soon)


Published by the Pyrenean Mountain Dog Club of Great Britain, this magazine provides news from around the world,
World Conference information and interesting articles including history, care, stories etc.
To subscribe contact the editor Mrs J. Stannard, whose contact details are available at the club website
PMDC of Great Britain


There are several email lists where lively, entertaining, informative discussion on the breed take place.

PYR-L is a general list, conveniently divided into topics which enable members to select the topics of most
interest to them if they want to limit the volume of mail.
To join this list, send an email to PYR-L leave the subject line blank
and in the message box, type "subscribe PYR-L and your first and last name" eg: subscribe PYR-L Mary Jones

PYRNET is another similar email list to meet Pyr owners, share Pyr stories and ask questions.
As with PYR-L, this list is also very supportive for new owners. To subscribe, visit the PYRNET website.

There are literally hundreds of Pyr websites on the WWW, most of them can readily be found by conducting a search and following the links. I guess a good place to start is RIGHT HERE!

Pyrenean Mountain Dog/Great Pyrenees HEALTH SURVEY

This ongoing survey is conducted by the Great Pyrenees Club of America and is open to anyone who
owns a Pyr, in any country. Please support their efforts to compile records which help track the
health status of our breed and may serve as a valuable research tool for the future.
The online questionaire is available at the GPCA websiteHEALTH SURVEY

This page compiled by Stella Hughes, New Zealand.