Snowbear Great Pyrenees

Mary and Francis Crane
A Tribute
A History
The First Great Pyrenees Born in the USA

An Original Article
Steve Berman

It was June 20, 1933 when the first Great Pyrenees litter was born in the USA.

Sired by Ch Urdos de Soum out of Blanchette, the first Great Pyrenees litter in the USA produced 10 puppies.

The first Great Pyrenees born in America was a large blaireau male puppy.

 Mary and Francis Crane greatly admired Professor Will Monroe and promised their friend and ardent Great Pyrenees supporter the "pick of the litter". 

Professor Monroe chose the first born puppy in America, the largest and most heavily marked male, to be his first Great Pyrenees.

This marked male was registered as Basque Of Basquaerie.

The kindly Professor named his  "new brother" Basque and soon Basque joined the Professor at Couching Lion Farm, his home in Waterbury Vermont .

The Professor considered all of his dogs as his "brothers".
Sire: Ch Urdos de Soum

Basque of Basquaerie
w. June 20, 1933
Breeder: Mary Crane, USA
Owner: Will Monroe, USA

Dam: Blanchette

Basque and Monroe became a familiar tandem at many of the prominent East Coast show venues, and the pair were considered by Mary Crane to be "outstanding ambassadors" for the Great Pyrenees breed.

The professor, as I noticed after reading numerous articles, comments, and letters of his authorship over the years, made frequent mention of the breed's size as well as that of specific specimens and did appear to take particular pride in the size of Basque.

At eighteen months of age Basque was reported by Monroe as being 29" tall, 29" in length from the shoulder blades to the root of his tail, and 11" from the dome of his head to the point of his nose. Basque carried 128 pounds on his 29" frame.

I believe Monroe carefully chose his words when he stated Basque was: "to date, the heaviest American-bred Great Pyrenees". (Dec 1934)

Collection of Stephen and Mary Berman

And at three and a half years of age or about December of 1935, Monroe referenced Basque as "the largest of the breed" with a weight of 144 lbs.

Basque was shown on occasion by the professor and although Basque won points toward his championship he never "made his championship". Basque also was awarded a Working Group placement.

Collection of Stephen and Mary Berman

The show career of Basque was inhibited by his health issues
as well as health issues of the professor.

On one occasion while guarding the professor's property, Basque engaged a large porcupine. In dispatching the quilled intruder Basque suffered the fate of those who engage the quilled ones with a bit too much zest and not enough patience.

Basque quite understandably was not anxious to have his head and bite examined in the show ring for quite some time. And so his show career was interrupted.

However, Basque was to face a far more dangerous adversary than the porcupine whose quills caused him great pain and a serious infection. This adversary was far more dangerous then the occasional lumbering bear Basque "warned off" the professor's property or any of the other four legged predators that wandered onto the Monroe property: Basque contracted distemper.

In the Fall of 1936, distemper, that dangerous and deadly adversary, affected four of his five beloved "brothers", his dogs. Distemper extracted a fatal toll on two of the afflicted foursome.

A distressed Monroe stated Basque

"clung to life by a slender thread".

And the professor, he of advanced years and declining health, was so adversely affected by caring for his beloved dogs ravaged by distemper, wrote so eloquently of reaching

"near the end of my physical tether".

Basque, as Anie, as Urdos, as did many other Pyrenees before him, faced the challenge of that deadly invisible predator, distemper.

The first born Great Pyrenees in America would survive the disease although Basque never fully recovered from his illness.

Just two years after Monroe wrote of nearing the end of his own physical tether, in January 1939 he passed away:

Basque survived the professor by four years.

Granite Headstone
Basque of Basquaerie
20.6.1933 - 1943
First Great Pyrenees
Born in America
Collection of Stephen and Mary Berman
Photograph: Gift from Paul D. Strang

This  original article appeared on a website we designed and  authored
as a Basquaerie Great Pyrenees tribute and memorial website.

Select pages from our Basquaerie website have been relocated to this website.

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