The Great Pyrenees, also known as the Pyrenean Mountain Dog or Chien de Montagne des Pyrenees, was originally developed as a guardian of livestock and still performs this duty in some areas of the world. The Great Pyrenees value as a pet lies in its imposing nature. This is a large dog that is very loyal and protective of its family. When not guarding, they are very calm and well-mannered.
Physical Traits of the Great Pyrenees
Before deciding on bringing home a Pyrenean, there are important details to consider. The adult Great Pyrenees is a large dog that stands 27-32 inches or more and can weigh over 100 lbs. This dog needs a lot of room to move around and is not suited for apartment living. This breed requires daily moderate exercise when not working as a livestock guardian.
On first impression, the Great Pyrenees looks somewhat like a small white bear. The Great Pyrenees has a long coarse overcoat with a soft thick undercoat which will require daily brushing to prevent matting. This breed sheds very heavily about once a year, although warmer climates may cause it to shed more frequently.
The breed does not do well in hot weather and can develop skin irritations. Avoid exercising them during the heat of the day and watch for signs of overheating. Another common problem among the breed is that it is prone to hip dysplasia. Being a large breed, most Great Pyrenees only live about 10 years.
Most Great Pyrenees are very laid back, easy going and watchful. They have a very loud bark and are prone to barking. If they or their family is threatened they have no problem stepping into the role of protector.
These gentle giants are generally good with children and other pets including cats, but caution is advised whenever introducing a new pet to the family. The Pyrenees can sometimes take issue with other dogs of the same sex and will display aggressive behavior.
Although intelligent, the Great Pyrs can be stubborn and difficult to train. Owners must be firm, patient and consistent when training their puppy or this dog may decide that it’s in charge. The dogs from this breed are notorious wanderers and should never tied outside. A good fence at least six feet high is recommended for keeping them safe.
Finding a Great Pyrenees
Because most families that initially purchase a Great Pyrenees soon discover that they have too much dog to handle, there is an abundance of Great Pyrenees available for adoption through Petfinder and other rescue groups. Check with these organizations before buying one from a breeder or pet shop. More importantly, make sure that this breed is the right fit before deciding to bring one home.