What do you get when you cross a Standard Poodle and a Great Pyrenees? You guessed it – a Pyredoodle. As one of the latest in the ever-growing line up of designer crossbreeds, the Pyredoodle is becoming increasingly popular – and for good reason. With their friendly, sociable personalities and cute-as-a-button good looks, they make great family pets. But what exactly are they? And why are they so very, very big? Find out the answers as we take a look at 20 things you didn’t know about the Pyredoodle.
1. They were developed in the early 2000s
As dogtime.com notes, there’s some suggestion that the Pyredoodle may have existed naturally over the years, happening by chance after certain amorous Great Pyrenees made eyes at coquettish Poodles. But the breed began to be formally developed at around the turn of the 21st Century when breeders (mainly in North America) decided the hypoallergenic, sweet-natured love child of the Poodle and Great Pyrenees would make a perfect addition to the growing number of designer purebreds that were just starting to gain a foothold.
2. They’re half Poodle…
Pyredoodles are one-half Poodle, a popular family pet with a long history. Although many people associate the breed with France, the first Poodles actually originated in Germany. Bred to retrieve waterfowl (their tight, curly hair is waterproof for a reason), they were working dogs for many years. Eventually, they made their way to France, where they quickly became popular for their good looks and personable natures. As dogbreedplus.com writes, it was in France that the Poodle was divided into three branches: the standard continued to be used by hunters, the miniature was used to root out truffles, and the toy became the lapdog de jour of the aristocracy. Eventually, the breed ventured further afield, and today, these clever, playful creatures are one of the world’s most popular pets.
3. …And half Great Pyrenees
Like the Poodle, the Great Pyrenees was originally bred as a working dog rather than a family pet – although whereas the Poodle was tasked with retrieving waterfowl for hunters, the Great Pyrenees was expected to guard sheep in the Pyrenees Mountains. Believed to have originated in Asia Minor around 8-11 thousand years ago, they’re an ancient breed that rose to distinction when they were promoted to the status of ‘royal dog of France’. Today, the breed’s loyalty and gentleness make them a universally popular family pet.
4. They’re known by many names
Why have one name when you can have two? Or even three? While most of us know the Poodle/ Great Pyrenees mix by their most common name of Pyredoodle, they also go by the name Pyrepoo, Pyreneespoo, and Pyreneesedoodle.
5. They come in a range of colors
If you like choice, you’re going to love the Pyredoodle. Unlike some dogs that come in just the one shade, the Pyredoodle’s coat covers a much bigger spectrum of the rainbow. Available in shades of gray, white, apricot, cream, and black (and sometimes a mix of them all), they’re nothing if not varied. Their long snouts, meanwhile, are topped with a black nose and their eyes are typically either the darkest shade of brown or a lighter hazel.
6. They’re good for people with allergies
If you’re the type that starts sneezing as soon as you come in sight of a dog, don’t despair – having a pet isn’t completely off the table, providing you choose wisely. Like the Poodle, the Pyredoodle is naturally hypoallergenic, meaning they won’t set your sinuses on fire no matter how much time you spend with them.
7. They make great guard dogs
Considering the Great Pyrenees were used as guard dogs by the French nobility for years, it comes as little surprise to learn their offspring make similarly great watchdogs. With their large, imposing stature and loyal, protective natures, they’ll make short work of any would-be burglars. Naturally wary around strangers (at least at first), they’ll also alert you with their barks if anyone sets foot on your property without your knowledge.
8. They need plenty of exercise
As their imposing bulk suggests, the Pyredoodle needs plenty of exercise to keep them trim and healthy. Moderately active by nature, they benefit from at least an hour of brisk walking per day (although this can be split over a couple of shorter walks if you prefer), while they’ll love you for life if you manage to fit in a few games of frisbee at the park as well.
9. They’re hard to train
The Pyredoodle might be very intelligent, but they’re by no means the easiest breed to train. Blessed with a stubborn, independent streak, they’d far rather be left to figure things out on their own than take direction. But with perseverance and patience, most owners will eventually manage to install a little discipline. It is, however, worth noting that most animal experts recommend the breed is left to people with experience with dogs – newbies might find their belligerent streak a little hard to handle.
10. Early socialization is a must
Pyredoodle’s have inherited the gentle, loyal nature of the Great Pyrenees and the happy, playful personality of the Poodle – but somewhere along the line, a natural wariness of people has crept into the mix. As 101dogbreeds.com notes, early socialization is therefore a must for anyone who wants a dog that doesn’t freak out at the sight of a stranger. New pups should be introduced to as many different people (both adults and children) in a wide variety of social situations as early as possible. Getting them to interact with people as pups will help them overcome any natural inclination towards shyness.
11. They’re big dogs
The Great Pyrenees are big, strong dogs that can grow to around 32 inches at the shoulder and weigh around 100 pounds. The standard Poodle is slightly smaller in girth, but no less striking in height. Little wonder then, that their offspring cuts such an impressive figure. Although sizes can vary, most Pyredoodle’s measure between 22-32 inches at the shoulder and tip the scales at between 85 and 100 pounds.
12. They’ve prone to certain health conditions
As petguide.com notes, designer cross-breeds are usually bred in such a way as to bypass any of the health concerns that plague either side of the family tree. That said, certain conditions manage to escape the breeder’s notice and live on in the gene pool. Although Pyredoodle’s are widely considered a healthy and robust breed, it’s worth being aware of the conditions they might have inadvertently inherited. From their Poodle side, this includes hypothyroidism (inadequate levels of thyroid hormone), Addison’s Disease, Atrial Septal Defects, Bloat, Chronic Active Hepatitis, Cushing’s Disease, Epilepsy, Hip Dysplasia, Legg-Calve-Perthes, Neonatal Encephalopathy (NEwS), Patellar Luxation, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, and Sebaceous Adenitis. If that wasn’t enough, they might also be at risk of entropion, osteosarcoma, Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD), skin problems, cataract, chondrodysplasia, panosteitis, canine hip dysplasia (CHD) and patellar luxation from their Great Pyrenees side.
13. They’re low maintenance
If you long for a pet but dread the thought of constant grooming, the low maintenance Pyredoodle could be the answer to your prayers… but only if you choose your pup wisely. The amount of grooming required depends to a large extent on the type of coat they’ve been blessed with. Some Pyredoodle’s have a single layer, short, dense coat, while others have a long, thick, double coat. As wagwalking.com notes, Pyredoodle’s with single coats tend to shed very little, so require little more than a weekly brush to keep them looking pristine. A double-coated Pyredoodle needs a little more maintenance and will need a daily brush to keep their coats in good condition. Regardless of how much brushing their coat needs, other grooming requirements include twice-weekly teeth brushing and bi-weekly claw trimming (if they regularly walk on the kind of hard, rugged surface that’ll naturally file their claws down, this can be reduced to every 3 weeks. If you’re not quite sure when it’s needed, listen out as they walk across a tiled surface – if you hear their claws clicking against the floor, it’s time to get the clippers out). Their floppy ears also warrant regular checkups – inspect them weekly and wipe with a damp cloth to avoid any wax build-up and infections.
14. They’ve been shunned by the American Kennel Club
Considering how exclusive the American Kennel Club is and how they have a history of extending official recognition only to purebreds, it’s probably little surprise to learn they’ve decided against opening their arms to the Pyredoodle. But it’s not all bad news for the breed. The Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA), the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC) and the Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC) have all given the Pyredoodle membership.
15. Pups should avoid the stairs
Large breeds like the Pyredoodle are prone to developing joint and mobility issues as they age, something that can be exasperated if their joints and bones are put under unnecessary stress when they’re young. Puppies should be kept well away from the stairs until they’re at least 8 months old (if they do need to climb between stories, be prepared to carry them), while any over-vigorous activities that involve lots of running and jumping should be similarly avoided.
16. They have a tendency towards obesity
Pyredoodle’s are big by nature, but with too much food and too little exercise, ‘big’ can quickly become ‘obese’. Avoid free feeding them and keep away from cheap kibble that comes packed with fillers and carbs– it won’t sate their appetites in the way high quality, high protein options will, leaving them in danger of overfeeding. If you prefer feeding them dry food to wet, look for options that come with large kibble pieces designed for big breeds – it can stop the gobbling that leads to over-consumption and bloat. As there is a great deal of variation within the breed, speak to your vet about the optimal calorie and food requirements of your own pooch.
17. They love children
Their big stature can look imposing, but the Pyredoodle is the very definition of a gentle giant. Protective, loyal, and unfailingly gentle, they’re great around kids. Providing your children know how to treat a dog with respect, you’ll find the breed an excellent family pet. They also get along pretty well with other pets – although they can be a little wary of new faces at first, introduce them in a calm, patient way and they’ll soon be getting on famously.
18. They’re adaptable
As dogtime.com notes, Pyredoodle’s tend to fare best in houses that have a fenced-in backyard. But that doesn’t mean they’re off-limits if you live in an apartment. The breed is naturally amenable; providing they have a spot to call their own, they’ll settle into most living situations without kicking up a fuss. But just be aware that while they might seem happy never to leave the couch, they do need plenty of exercise – if you can’t let them loose in a yard and there’s not enough space in the house for them to roam around in, be extra vigilant about ensuring they get their daily walks.
19. They’re easy to adopt
A Pyredoodle bought from a dealer can be expensive. But there’s an alternative. Despite starting life as a designer breed, they’ve since become increasingly common, with the result that quite a few have now started turning up in dog shelters and rescue groups. If you’re convinced a Pyredoodle is the pet for you but can’t quite stretch to the price tag, adoption could be a very viable option.
20. They can live for up to 12 years
Large dogs tend to have shorter life spans than smaller ones, and in this, the 100lb Pyredoodle is no exception. Although all dogs are unique, and there can sometimes be as many exceptions to a rule as there are abiders of it, the typical Pyredoodle can expect to live between 10 to 12 years.