The Great Pyrenees is a large, strong dog of majestic beauty, incredible intelligence, unique character and rich past. He is undoubtedly one of the most ancient guardian breeds of dogs. Only dogs with superb scent ability, sure foot and great endurance could survive on the steep slopes of the Pyrenean Mountains. Their legendary courage enabled them to protect the shepherd's family and the flocks of sheep and goats from wolves, bears and intruders. In the Middle Ages Great Pyrenees were used as guard and sentry dogs.
The breed survived several devastating periods in its history and was salvaged by French and American dedicated fanciers in 1920's and 1930's. Today the Great Pyrenees is still used as a watchdog and companion and for pack and guide work on mountain trails. Some Great Pyrenees can be overly territorial and may bark a lot.
Although Great Pyrenees dogs have a reputation of being calm, gentle and patient dogs, they are very independent, with a mind of their own, and often seem quite stubborn. Pyrs are loyal, territorial and protective and make excellent guard dogs. They have a weather-resistant double coat. Their color is all white or with badger, gray or tan markings.
Great Pyrenees Breed Outline
Other Names: Chien de Montagne des Pyrénées (Pyrenean Mountain Dog); Pyrenean Mountain Dog (UK), Chien de Montagne des Pyrénées (France), Pyrenean Sheepdog, Pyr; Great Pyrenees
Country of Origin: France
Utilization: Pastoral guardian in the mountains
FCI Classification: Group 2 - Pinschers, Schnauzers & Molossian Types and Swiss mountain dogs; Molossoids, mountain type (without working trial); AKC Classification: Working Group
Size: Giant (27-32 inches at shoulders)
Colors: White or white with markings of gray, badger, reddish brown, or varying shades of tan. Markings of varying size may appear on the ears, head (including a full face mask), tail, and as a few body spots.
Litter Size: 9
Life Span: 9-15 years
Grooming Requirements: Requires frequent brushing to remove dead hair. This should be done at least once a day to prevent matting.
Personality: Intelligent, calm, independent, self-confident and protective.
Social skills: Pyrs usually get along with other household animals if raised with them. They can be aggressive toward other dogs.
Suitability for Children: Very good with children of their family, but do not leave younger children alone with a Great Pyrenees. Pyrs are naturally mistrustful of strangers.
Exercise Needs: Calm indoors and not hyper at all. But they need daily exercise for at least 90 minutes to keep them in good shape.
Train Ability: Extremely intelligent but can be stubborn and dominant; needs to be handled in a firm and consistent manner from the early puppyhood.
Health & Behavioral Issues: Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, deafness, entropion (eye problems)