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Great Pyrenees Dog: Breed Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Great Pyrenees Dog

Height: 25 – 32 inches
Weight: 85 – 115 pounds
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Colors: White with badger, gray, reddish-brown or tan markings
Suitable for: Families, Houses with a fenced yard
Temperament: Stoic, Stubborn, Calm, Protective, Gentle, Smart, Independent

The Great Pyrenees is a purebred dog recognized by the AKC and lives up to its name of ‘great,’ both in size and in temperament1. They belong to the Working Group and were bred to watch over and protect livestock, and they carry that behavior into their household.

The Great Pyrenees are known for their regal yet kind expression and their majestic stance. They are large dogs that can average 100 pounds, although much of that can be found in their thick double coats. They are usually all white and sometimes have badger (patches of color found at the base of the tail and on the head), gray, tan or reddish-brown markings.

divider 10Great Pyrenees Puppies

Great Pyrenees puppy
Image Credit: Allison Kendall Moore, Shutterstock

The Great Pyrenees is a very mellow breed that is healthy and robust and has a large dog’s average lifespan. They are a challenge to train due to their independent nature, which also affects their sociability as they are very reserved towards anyone and anything outside of their family. Early socialization is essential for the Great Pyrenees to build their confidence and for them to get along with other animals. Take your time to learn what training methods work for Great Pyrenees to make it enjoyable for you and your pup.

This dog breed is a great choice for families who have enough space for their dogs to run around in and burn off all their energy. They’re also loyal companions and will love spending time with their owners.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Great Pyrenees

1. The Great Pyrenees was bred to be independent.

They were bred to look after flocks of sheep in the Pyrenees mountains and spent a lot of time alone, making them very independent dogs.

2. The coat of the Great Pyrenees is tangle and dirt resistant.

They have dense double coats that are weatherproof and surprisingly easy to groom.

3. The Great Pyrenees are night owls.

They were bred to look after flocks of sheep throughout the night while everyone was asleep, protecting them from predators. This makes them naturally nocturnal, which is helpful in a guard dog.

Great Pyrenees sleeping outside
Image credit: Webb Photography, Shutterstock

Temperament & Intelligence of the Great Pyrenees 🧠

The Great Pyrenees are very placid and loyal dogs that are highly intelligent. The side effect of this intelligence and their guarding instincts makes them stubborn and highly independent.

They are wonderful companions that love spending quiet time with their families inside and appreciate calm and predictable daily routines. They are wary of strangers and that, combined with their protective natures, means training and socializing them as puppies is crucial.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

The Great Pyrenees make an amazing family dog as they are very patient and gentle with children, but they aren’t terribly playful. The Great Pyrenees is a loving and devoted dog that will protect everyone in the household with strength and dignity.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

The Great Pyrenees is reserved with any animal it doesn’t know but will get along very well with pets within the household. They were bred to guard livestock and consequently will guard all pets that are part of the family.

Great Pyrenees Mountain Dog
Credit: Trong Nguyen, Shutterstock

Divider 4Things to Know When Owning a Great Pyrenees:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

While they are very large dogs, the Great Pyrenees don’t seem to eat as much as other dogs their size. However, you should follow the dietary guidelines for most large breeds. Be sure to shop around for high-quality dry dog food and follow the instructions on the food bag. Always check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s health or weight.

Exercise 🐕

While the Great Pyrenees is not a very energetic dog, they require a moderate amount of exercise. They will need long daily walks in addition to activities that will help keep them busy. Like most dogs from the Working Group, if they are bored, they will resort to destructive behavior and would do well with activities such as cart-pulling and obedience trials.

Great Pyrenees dog protects sheep_
Image Credit: Ingrid Curry, Shutterstock

Training 🦮

Training can be a challenge with the Great Pyrenees because of their independent natures. They need a lot of patience throughout the training process, as most obedience training will be met with indifference. Positive reinforcement, combined with consistent training, socialization, and puppy training classes, will help you raise a confident and loving dog.

Grooming ✂️

As previously mentioned, the Great Pyrenees has a thick double coat resistant to dirt and tangles, which makes brushing a much easier chore. However, they shed like crazy, so brushing once a week should help with the excess hair. If you brush them frequently enough, you won’t need to give them a bath often (usually no more than 3 or 4 baths a year), but be sure to use a good quality dog shampoo.

Other regular grooming habits should include cleaning their earsbrushing their teeth, and trimming their nails.

Health and Conditions ❤️

Your vet will check your dog’s eyes and skin and check X-rays and run blood and urinalysis tests in addition to the usual physical exam to check for any of these health problems.

Divider 5Male vs. Female

The male Great Pyrenees is bigger and heavier than the female. The male can be 27 to 32 inches in height, whereas the female can be 25 to 29 inches. The male can weigh 100 to 115 pounds, and the female might weight 85 to 100 pounds.

If you decide to have your dog spayed or neutered, spaying the female dog is a more challenging operation and, therefore, a more expensive surgery than neutering is for the male. Recovery time also takes a little longer for the female, but the final outcome will ensure that you have a dog that is less aggressive and much less likely to run away. It also has the advantage of warding off any potential future health issues.

Lastly, some believe that the male dog is usually more instinctively aggressive and less affectionate than the female, but there are debates about this. Your dog’s personality and temperament are generally determined by the training and socialization it received as a puppy and how you continue to treat it throughout your dog’s adulthood.

Divider 3Final Thoughts

The Great Pyrenees is a beautiful and noble dog. They are loyal, devoted, and loving family pets that will protect their family with determination and courage. Their gorgeous thick, white coats are self-cleaning, and they are calm dogs, especially while indoors.

Finding the right dog for your family is essential, and the Great Pyrenees will make a fantastic dog for the right family. If you are looking for a mellow and sweet-natured guardian, the Great Pyrenees will be the perfect new addition to your household and family.

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Featured Image Credit:Paolo Seimandi, Shutterstock

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