AKC Group: Working
The Great Pyrenees dates back 5,000 years from the area of the Pyrenees Mountains (today that is southern France and northern Spain). They weren’t seen outside the area until people began venturing to mountainous regions in the late 19th century. A large breed, they were used during wartime pursuits (harnessed with artillery-laden sleds that they pulled across the mountains). They were not only adept at being able to make the journey but guarding the lot as well. Today, they are found on farms or ranches. They can live in the urban/suburban world, but they require a yard with a good quality/secure fence. (Sorry, apartment dwellers.)
Size: 25 to 30 inches tall; 85 to 150 pounds.
Color: White; white with markings or gray, badger, reddish brown or tan. They are born dark (gray with white spots) and grow into their adult color by the age of 2.
Life span: 9 to 12 years.
Health problems: Elbow or hip dysplasia, luxating patella, entropion, cataracts, spinal problems or bleeding difficulties.
Even though they’re huge, the Great Pyrenees are gentle, friendly and affectionate. A people lover, a Great Pyrenees is a great choice if you have adequate space for him. (He requires a lot!) Intelligent and a quick learner, a Great Pyrenees is also courageous and protective. They can be stubborn and too independent. (It will be easier for you both if you have previous experience with canines.) Indoors they are quiet and lazy, but open the door and you’ll see a much different dog! He loves to run, play and release all that pent up energy. They also love to wander and explore. (That’s why you need that good quality/secure fencing.) They do great with kids that they’ve been raised with. He is a protector of his whole family — adults, children, even other companion animals. With wild animals, he may try to chase. Always be assertive with a Great Pyrenees otherwise he may try to assume leadership. Obedience and early socialization are definitely needed.
The Great Pyrenees coat is long and coarse atop a dense but fine undercoat. They look cuddly thanks to that coat, but underneath is a sturdy dog that carries himself with dignity. Brush him weekly. Keep his eyebrows trimmed so he can see. He sheds seasonally twice a year and will need more attention. He is normally a heavy shedder. Training a Great Pyrenees is a challenge. They prefer to make their own decisions. You will have to gain his trust before he will listen. How? Always be fair. A Great Pyrenees has an innate sense of justice that develops as they age. Obviously there are basic commands that need to be established to make life harmonious that shouldn’t be questioned. To gain cooperation, prove to him that you can be more stubborn. Housebreaking is made easier when using crate training. As always, socialize as early as possible.