Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees Overview

The Great Pyrenees has been the guardian of flocks along the Pyrenees mountains for nearly thousands of years. Later, they were then moved to be a guardian of the homes of nobility. However, to this day, the breed maintains his role as guardian of the flocks, standing stoically among the sheep, and even blending in some with their white colored coats.

Great Pyrenees Characteristics

They almost look like a small polar bear. They feature a massive head and body with long white fur, with or without additional coloring. Their instinctive nature is that of protection rather than herding of flocks, like other breeds such as the Border Collie. Instead, their massive size allows them to intimidate would-be intruders, or if necessary, drive them off.

Great Pyrenees Temperament

Protective of both flock and family, they are loyal to their family unit. However, they can be wary of strangers, a trait bred into them that is useful for protection. With proper socialization, however, they can become more sociable with both people and other animals outside of their family unit. If a Great Pyrenees feels his family is threatened, however, watch out.

Great Pyrenees Care

Like most large breed dogs, the Pyrenees lives on average 10 to 12 years. They have a few genetic health concerns common to large breeds such as hip and elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy and degenerative myelopathy (a muscular disorder). They are also prone to bloat and various cancers such as osteosarcoma (bone cancer).

Great Pyrenees Coat

The long, plush coat of this breed should be brushed regularly, sometimes even daily if the dog is particularly active. The coat should not be shaved or trimmed to keep it effective for protecting the dog. This breed can also be prone to skin and ear issues, so care should be taken to keep skin clear and ears regularly cleaned.

Great Pyrenees Training

Patience is key when training a Pyrenees, as the breed can be stubborn. However, they are intelligent, and if successfully interested, will easily pick up training. They should also be socialized at an early age if not being used for flock guarding or protection, to prevent them from becoming wary of strangers or animals outside their family units.

Great Pyrenees Activity

Regular exercise such as a daily walk is enough for the Great Pyrenees. Although they are large, and were bred to be outdoors, most of their time was spent near a slow grazing flock, rather than chasing and herding. This dog should be kept in shape, but this can be easily done with a regular walk.