The hardy Savoy Sheepdog comes from the Alpine region of South-East France, where it can still be found as a prized sheep herder and protector, as well as a common farmdog. Strong, lean and quick, this highly intelligent worker might find its place in the world of dog sports such as Agility, but for now it is still a rare breed outside its home region. Some theories suggest the existence of another now-extinct mountain dog under this name which was supposedly much larger and more ferocious, but it is unclear whether this French Alpine Mastiff was just a different type of the Savoy Sheepdog or a separate breed. It is most likely that the large variety in question was related to the Italian Patua, if not being the same dog.
The modern Berger de Savoie is smaller than its ancestors and is an even-tempered and trainable breed. A tireless herder and watchdog, this rugged working dog is valued for its resilience and stamina. The body is strongly boned, muscled and deep-chested, with a powerful head and sturdy legs.
The medium-length coat is common in merle shades of grey with small patches of black, brown or blue, but other colourings exist, such as black-n-tan and tricolour. Lighter and not as tall as some of its Molosser cousins, the average height for the modern French Alpine Sheepdog is around 21 inches.