The Great Pyrenees, or Great Pyr as many affectionately call them, is a massive, muscular dog breed with a double fur coat. Most look like gigantic, fluffy bears because of their coats, which, as owners everywhere will warn you, shed massive amounts of fur year-round. One question many Great Pyrenees owners have when faced with these huge, shaggy dogs is, how am I going to groom this massive mound of fur?!
If you’ve adopted a Great Pyrenees for the first time, you’ll need to establish a grooming routine. To help, we’ve put together 11 grooming and haircut tips for your Great Pyrenees below.
The 11 Great Pyrenees Grooming Tips & Haircut Ideas
1. Maintain a Grooming Routine
This might seem like the most basic of tips, but you must follow it if you have a Great Pyrenees at home. Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of overall brushing per week, which can be broken down into 10-minute sessions three times a week or done in one sitting once a week.
Brushing prevents mats and tangling and removes dead hair. Brushing your big dog outside is also recommended so that all the loose hairs (there will be many) don’t collect inside your home. Thankfully, you can brush your Great Pyrenees outside year-round because they don’t mind the cold.
2. Use Several Brushes to Brush Your Great Pyrenees
Because they have a double coat, you won’t be able to get away with using a single brush. Instead, you’ll be better off with a metal slicker brush with curved bristles and a stainless-steel comb with wide teeth. Use the former first to remove dead and loose hair and the latter last to get deep down. You can also hit their coat with a soft bristle brush before shows or competitions to give it a silkier, smoother look. Also, give extra attention to your Pyr’s neck, the back of their legs, tail, and butt.
3. Never Shave Your Great Pyrenees
Although it may seem like a good idea, especially in the heat of summer, veterinarians and dog groomers agree that shaving your Great Pyrenees is a bad idea and should never be done. The reason is simple: shaving off their fur exposes them to the sun’s UV rays, significantly increasing their risk of sunburn and skin cancer.
Great Pyrenees have surprisingly delicate, pink skin, and shaving them removes their ability to regulate their body temperature. In short, shaving your Great Pyrenees isn’t as good an idea as it sounds and is not recommended.
4. The “Thin and Trim” Haircut
We’ve seen that you shouldn’t shave your Great Pyrenees. However, if you want to help them stay a bit cooler during warm months and reduce the amount of fur shed around your home, the “thin and trim” haircut is a good choice.
You or your groomer can use a large, snap-on comb to perform this haircut and grooming shears to follow the natural outline of their body. The result will make your Great Pyrenees appear thinner but not gaunt. Less fur also means your dog will be cooler, but their skin will still be protected.
5. Remember to Trim Your Great Pyr’s Dewclaws Regularly
One of the interesting traits of the Great Pyrenees is that, on their rear legs, they have a double dewclaw. They also, like most dogs, have a single dewclaw up front. The Great Pyrenees standard now includes the double dewclaw at the rear.
It’s essential to trim your Great Pyr’s dewclaws regularly. If you don’t, the nail will curl as it grows, become overgrown, and start poking and putting pressure on their delicate footpads. As you might imagine, this can cause your pup a lot of pain. Also, a dog’s dewclaws tend to grow even faster than their regular claws.
6. Don’t Go Overboard with Baths
While they may occasionally get a little dusty or dirty, a unique feature of their fur is that it repels dirt, grime, and dust. Plus, regular brushing will remove most dirt or debris that gets on their coat, making regular baths almost unnecessary. Groomers and veterinarians recommend bathing the Great Pyrenees every 3 to 4 months. In the meantime, you can use a damp cloth to spot-clean your furry friend.
7. Make Checking Your Pyr’s Eyes and Ears Part of Your Grooming Habit
With all that fur around their eyes and especially their ears, it’s essential you check both regularly to ensure your Pyr’s eyes and ears stay clean and healthy. Because they’re large, floppy, and furry, ear infections can occur easily. By checking your dog’s ears every time you groom them, however, not only will your pet have fewer ear problems, but you’ll be able to prevent them from occurring.
Cleaning the gunk from around your Pyr’s eyes is essential. Doing so will prevent eye infections and distichiasis, which is a condition that occurs when hair grows inside your Pyr’s eyelid and rubs on the eye, which can be annoying and sometimes painful.
8. The “Show” Haircut for Great Pyrenees
Only the Great Pyrenees’ face (eyebrows & whiskers), ears, legs, and feet are trimmed with this haircut. After trimming, the next step is to thoroughly and deeply comb out and brush the dog’s coat so that it looks smooth, soft, and shiny. Once that’s done, your Great Pyrenees will look amazing and be ready to rock any competition they’re entered in!
9. Keep All Your Great Pyrenees Grooming Tools Together and Ready
Veterinarians and grooming experts, as we’ve seen, recommend 30 minutes of grooming per week for your Great Pyrenees. Of course, if you have to run and grab a comb or brush, don’t have cotton balls handy, or misplaced their nail clippers, it could take a tad longer to accomplish all your grooming tasks. That’s why it’s best to gather and keep all your grooming tools in one place.
10. Be Mindful of Dry Cleaning Your Great Pyrenees Before a Show
Many Great Pyrenees owners dry clean their dogs using baby powder, cornstarch, and products like Kote-Glo. The problem is that the American Kennel Club (AKC) has rules prohibiting any type of product or powder on your dog during competition.
For that reason, dry cleaning should be done at least a day, if not 2, before a show or competition. That will give the products time to dissipate and also give you time to use a vacuum to remove any powder or product still left behind. The last thing you want is for your beautiful canine to be disqualified for something as silly as having baby powder on their fur.
11. Don’t Forget to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
Brushing a dog’s teeth isn’t a task most dog parents enjoy. It’s messy, time-consuming, and somewhat infuriating, depending on the dog. However, dental health is almost as important for your dog as it is for you.
This might surprise you, but most vets recommend brushing your dog’s teeth every day.
To make brushing your Pyr’s teeth easier, vets recommend starting them as early as possible. This will make your pup accustomed to the look, feel, taste, and other sensations associated with brushing their teeth. In turn, brushing your Pyr’s teeth will become an acceptable (and possibly enjoyable) part of their life as an adult dog.
The Great Pyrenees doesn’t need intensive grooming, but some tasks, such as daily tooth brushing, are vital for their health. There aren’t many “haircuts” you can give a Great Pyrenees, but shaving their fur is not recommended (and can be very unhealthy).
Regular brushing aside, checking your Great Pyr’s ears and eyes, trimming their dewclaws, and brushing their teeth is essential. Dog groomers recommend establishing a schedule to get your dog used to the process. With regular and consistent grooming, your Great Pyrenees will live a longer, healthier life, and the bond you form will be unbreakable!