Great Pyrenees is also known as the Pyrenean Mountain Dog and Le Chien des Pyrenees. This giant livestock guardian originated in the mountains of southwestern Europe, where the breed has guarded flocks of sheep for centuries.
Great Pyrenees dogs stand between 25 and 32 inches tall and weigh 90 to 130 pounds. The head is wedge-shaped, the eyes are dark, and the ears are dropped. The body is slightly longer than the dog is tall. The tail is plumed. There are double dewclaws on each rear leg. The Great Pyrenees coat is weather-resistant and double, with a thick undercoat and a long, flat outer coat. This breed is either all white or white with markings of tan, gray, or reddish brown. This double coat needs regular brushing (at least twice a week) to keep it neat and clean. Brushing the outer coat is not sufficient; the undercoat must be brushed, too, to prevent matting. Daily brushing is needed during the spring and fall shedding seasons.
Great Pyrenees puppies can be quite active, although adult Great Pyrenees dogs are calmer. Great Pyrenees dog breed has lots of energy and needs daily walks and playtimes. This breed is not the retrieving type; the Great Pyrenees does not have much interest in bringing back a ball or toy. As with so many livestock guardians, this breed is more active at night. Early socialization is very important.
The Great Pyrenees needs to meet a variety of people and other dogs, and if he is going to be a livestock protection dog, must also be introduced to livestock. This breed is very protective, and his verbal warnings should never be disregarded. Training should also begin early and should be firm and consistent. These dogs are large and powerful, and the owner should establish leadership early.
The Great Pyrenees dog breed needs an owner who understands livestock guardian dogs. They bark and, if left outside at night, will bark loudly at any sound or perceived threat. Many Pyrenees also drool. Health concerns include eyelid problems, hip dysplasia, and bloat.
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The AKC Standard describes the Great Pyrenees as “strong willed, independent, and somewhat reserved, yet attentive, fearless, and loyal to his charges — both human and animal.”
A majestic-looking dog with a kindly, regal expression, the Great Pyrenees is calm, composed, and serious.
As an adult, he is quiet indoors and content with long daily walks and regular opportunities to stretch out. He does love to romp in the snow, and pulling a cart or carrying a backpack gives him a purpose in life.
Aloof with strangers, he should be accustomed to many different people in his early months.
The Great Pyrenees is patient with his own family’s children, but some are overprotective when neighbors join in for rough-and-tumble play. Likewise, he may be protective of his own family’s pets while aggressively driving off others.
These characteristics stem from his background as a livestock guardian, where he was expected to keep watch over the flock, making his own decisions about friends and foes and appropriate actions. Unless you establish yourself as the alpha (number one), the Great Pyrenees will trust his own judgment and do whatever he pleases. This breed is not an eager-to-please Golden Retriever.
Great Pyrenees have a deep, impressive bark, which they tend to use freely, especially at night when they are most vigilant.
Fences must be secure, for Pyrs have a tendency to roam. Some produce “slime” (excessive saliva).