Great Pyrenees: Everything You Need to Know

The Great Pyrenees is a lovely dog

Perhaps you are more familiar with the Great Pyrenees when it’s referred to as a Pyrenean Mountain Dog; many people are more familiar with the breed in this light. This beautiful dog is a little bit longer than it is tall, it has a long, lovely coat and it’s a wonderful dog with a wonderful temperament. Those who bring home this breed are sold on its lovely personality and its many wonderful qualities. Many never want another breed after experiencing just how great life is with this breed in the house. This dog is very devoted, love its family to no end and will do whatever is necessary to protect them.

The Great Pyrenees is a hard working dog with a wonderful personality, but they do not reach their full level of maturity until they are around two years of age. What this means is that they tend to wander off, want to explore and don’t really do well when not on a leash outside of the home unless you have a fence. They shed all year, and they have wonderful personalities with children, though they’re not fond of other animals and strangers with whom they are not familiar. The Great Pyrenees needs a family that has a natural leader. Someone with a dominant personality, a firm tone and attention to respect.

When raised properly, the Great Pyrenees makes a wonderful pet. Before you choose to bring home this breed, however, do your research and learn whether or not this is the breed for you. Not all dogs are made for all living conditions, for all locations and for all families at certain points in their lives. Educating yourself increases your ability to choose the right dog for you so that you and your new canine companion live happily ever after.

Great Pyrenees Temperament

The temperament of the Great Pyrenees is wonderful. This dog is very stable, very calm and very protective. It is not known for its wonderful or welcoming reception of strangers, it is a dog that can be taught to get along well with others. The simple act of merely socializing this breed will do wonders when it comes to ensuring that this dog is more receptive of both animals and humans it is not familiar with. Very obedient and loyal, this dog is very well-mannered and calm. However, if you provoke a Great Pyrenees, be prepared to see its less than ideal side.

Family Orientation

This is a breed that does love humans. However, the Great Pyrenees is more comfortable with those he or she knows more so than people it is not familiar with. Additionally, it’s a breed that is very good with children. However, according to the American Kennel Club, this breed is better with children when it is raised with them its whole life more so than when a child is introduced into a family in which the Great Pyrenees already lives. When he is around children, the breed is very affectionate and very gentle. That’s what people are looking for, too, when they choose a dog to bring home to a family.

Size Expectations

The size of a Great Pyrenees is very specific. They are most commonly anywhere from 25 to 32 inches tall, with males typically standing a bit taller than females, although some can get as tall as 40 inches. They can weigh anywhere from 85 to 100 pounds give or take a few pounds – and all dependent on the gender of the dog. Dogs much larger than this could indicate one of two things, the first being that the breeder might not have been completely honest about the dog’s actual breed or that the dog is not healthy. Dogs not the correct size should be evaluated by a vet.

Living Conditions and Exercise

It’s not recommended by the AKC, breeders or anyone that’s ever had a Great Pyrenees that you keep this dog in an apartment, small home or home without a yard. These dogs need more space and they require a yard to keep them active and out of trouble. It might not seem like they need much space inside since they are not known for their activity indoors, but they do need space outside so that they can exercise, run around and be active. Additionally, a fence is a good idea for this dog since they do have a tendency to wander and potentially get lost – particularly as puppies with a curious personality and no limits.

As it pertains to exercise, the Great Pyrenees needs plenty of it. It’s an active dog with a desire to work. It’s used as a herding dog in many instances, and it’s in the dog’s bones to want to be active and working as often as possible. Dogs without enough exercise or stimulation are known to go off and find it on their own, which might not mean amazing things for your family and your belongings.

Care and Life Expectancy

The Great Pyrenees is a dog you can expect to have for a long time. This lovely breed is known to live around 10-12 years, though there is no promise that your dog will live this long – just as there is no guarantee your dog won’t live longer than the average lifespan known for this particular breed.

This is a breed with a long coat, and it does require ample care. Regularly brushing this breed’s coat is going to ensure that it is kept clean and in good condition, and that means that it’s going to look better, longer. When shedding, however, the dog is also going to require more attention in terms of its undercoat. It’s true that many people choose to shave or closely cut the hair of the Great Pyrenees during the summer to prevent working dogs outside from acquiring burrs and other objects becoming caught in the undercoat to cause matting. If you choose to do this, it’s fine; but do be aware of the fact that this can cause sunburn and you must keep your dog from burning in the sun.

Photo by Getty Images

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One Comment

  1. This is not a herding breed, as it is stated in this article. It is a livestock guardian or guard breed. They are not very active, they are nocturnal and sleep most of their days away, with one ear open at all times. This breed needs to have a purpose and something to guard, like family, home or property. Guarding is their “work”.

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