Would you like to add to the family a member who instinctively cares for, guards, and nurtures others? The Great Pyrenees were first cultured to help Pyrenean Shepherds of Western Europe take care of their flocks. Over the years, they have evolved into wonderful pets. They are kind dogs that are loving and patient with vulnerable members.
But that is not the only reason why you would pick Great Pyrenees. They are purebreds adorned with striking looks and a great personality. It is no wonder that the breed was declared the Royal Dog of France by King Louis XIV’s royal court.
The breed has a rich history in Europe. It dates as far back as 3000 BC. It was introduced to America in 1824 by the Marquis de Lafayette, a French military officer who fought in the American Revolutionary War. More than 100 years later, the American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed in 1933.
Are you considering adopting a Great Pyrenees as a royal member of your family? Here are a few notes that will help you decide.
General breed information
The Great Pyrenees is a large dog, and it has a muscular build. An adult male weighs 100 to 150 pounds, and a female weighs 85 to 120 pounds.
It falls under the category of a working dog and has a keen drive for working. The Pyrenean shepherds loved it because, besides the muscular build, it is also fearless. It could fight off attacking wolves and bears. But at the same time, it was gentle and caring to the sheep.
Adults can grow to about 32 inches (2.6 ft) in height. It has a rough, thick white overcoat and a woolly undercoat. Some dogs may have gray markings, and others have brown or reddish-brown markings. But for most dogs, white is the dominant color. Most Great Pyrenees live up to 12 years.
It is a nimble-footed breed, and you would notice its graceful movements rather than speed.
The Great Pyrenees is still a keen worker today, and you can expect a faithful worker’s personality.
Anyone can fall in love with the Great Pyrenees’ combination of gentleness, attractive looks, and strength. They are also friendly, confident, and affectionate. The demeanor is of a loyal worker exhibiting confidence, composure, and patience.
They are devoted to their charges and get along with children and other pets. This breed would go the extra mile to protect their family members.
They are also territorial and protective. The instinct to protect could work against strangers or neighboring kids who may visit to play.
The breed is nocturnal and has a keen sense of hearing. Do not be surprised if the dog stays up all night barking. He is trying to scare off squirrels and other predators.
The Great Pyrenees are intelligent dogs. Some trainers say they are arduous to train, but we think training is a life-long and fun activity. They are just strong-willed dogs that require a firm and consistent leader. Others may describe them as reserved dogs with medium energy levels. As dog breeds go, Great Pyrenees are likely to develop anxiety, so giving them love, attention, and a calming bed will go a long way to keeping them happy and healthy.
They like human company and are adventurous. The Great Pyrenees make excellent companions if you love outdoor dog fun. Do not make the mistake of leaving the dog at home alone. He would get bored and indulge in mischief.
Everyone agrees that all Great Pyrenees have a great personality. But their high tendency to bark, especially at night, could be something to consider.
Care and grooming
The thick white double-coat of Great Pyrenees can only mean two things: Plenty of shedding and grooming.
If you are unsure whether to DIY or hire professional groomers, check out the pros and cons. If you opt to DIY, plan to brush the hair at least once a week. Also, schedule monthly baths. The fur on Great Pyrenee seldom mats. However, an effective plan to control the hairballs and keep them off your clothes and furniture is vital.
The thick white coat also means that the dog languishes in hot weather. Plan to shave him more frequently as summer approaches. But the dogs thrive in cold weather.
When grooming, look for a set of additional dewclaws on their rear limbs and clip these too; it will help avoid splitting.
Training and exercise
Having been bred to be watchdogs for flocks, Great Pyrenees require more than the usual exercise. Make plans for frequent and intense sessions.
Concerning training, like all dogs, they respond best to a firm and consistent leader. Teach them to socialize first. It could be the most crucial skill they learn. The Great Pyrenees are naturally wary and suspicious of strangers. This could pose a challenge to your visitors and when you are in social spaces. Training should start early and should continue into adulthood. Consistency, patience, and firmness will eventually win them over.
You may consider getting professional help when training a Great Pyrenees.
Dogs have many health issues. Check with the vet for the following health concerns common to Great Pyrenees:
- Abnormal development of the hip socket.
- Discomfort in the joints due to abnormal formation of cartilage
- Inverted eyelids
- Addison’s disease.
Apart from these health issues, the Great Pyrenees are renowned for their ability to tolerate pain. Inspect the dog regularly and check for injuries and pain points.
The Great Pyrenees are easy feeders. Serve him a cup or three of dry, high-quality dog food twice a day. The amount of food varies with age, size, and level of activity. Have plenty of treats on standby. They work wonders in bending the dog’s strong will. You can consult with a veterinarian concerning special diets for a specific dog.
If you plan on adopting a Great Pyrenees, stick to reputable breeders, and you may avoid many health and temperament issues. Here is a review of the pros and cons to help you decide.
- Striking looks
- Friendly and affectionate.
- It gets along with children and other pets.
- Loyal and protective.
- It has a high propensity to shed. Thus requires plenty of grooming.
- It has a high tendency to bark, especially at night.
- Has a strong will, and inexperienced owners could face challenges when training.