All about the Great Pyrenees


Great PyreneesSome pet parents like little dogs, which you can carry around in your purse, or medium sized dogs just right for cuddling on the sofa for movie night (probably Underdog or Canine Cops).  But some dog fanciers prefer a really big dog.  If that’s you, then maybe the Great Pyrenees is a good choice.

The Great Pyrenees makes a great family dog, but not every family will be suited to a Great Pyrenees or vice versa.  Let’s dig into this dog’s history and personality and see if you might be the right mommy or daddy for him.

Where did The Great Pyrenees come from?

For centuries the Great Pyrenees has been used for herding sheep in the region of the Pyrenees Mountains.  The breed is first mentioned in literature about 1407, and by the 1600s came into favor with the French aristocracy.  In later years, these dogs were in high demand in the mountain towns for their sure footedness and used for herding sheep.

great pryenees

The Personality of the Great Pyrenees

Possessing a strong intellect, the Pyr, as affectionately called by aficionados, they are highly trainable, but used to figuring things out on their own.  This means they can be a challenge if not properly trained, and training takes persistence and patience, so prospective parents must be willing and able to put in the necessary time needed to accomplish the needed training.

The Pyr also needs early and thorough socialization.  Otherwise, they can become fearful and aggressive towards strangers.  They also make great family dogs and are good with children, but again, early exposure is a must and the more, the better.

Although bred to have high protective instinct, these dogs tend to have a calm, tolerant and patient demeanor.  He is also very loyal and fearless.  He is very affectionate and watchful over their family.  They are prone to night barking – they were bred to bark in order to scare off predators and warn of danger.  But with proper training and socialization this behavior can be modified.

Physical Attributes

The Great Pyrenees is a large dog, with a white, weather-resistant double coat, which is thicker around the neck in males.  The longer hair on the tail forms a plume, and the Pyr has a feathering along the legs.  Males can reach a maximum weight of 160 pounds, with the females topping out at about 115 pounds.  He prefers cooler climates, but the wooly undercoat protects from the sun also.

Grooming Your Great Pyrenees

Although the Pyr has a heavy coat, grooming is fairly simple, requiring brushing once a week in most cases, but can be stretched to two if necessary.  The Great Pyrenees has two dew-claws instead of the usual one, which require trimming to prevent snagging the nails and tearing, which can be painful.

Upkeep is minimal when it comes to bathing also, requiring baths every other month, but be careful to use shampoo that does not strip the natural oils from the coat.  Ears should be cleaned weekly to prevent infection and eyes watched for drainage.  The teeth should be brushed twice a week to prevent tartar buildup and claws should be trimmed to prevent overgrowth regularly.

In The Family Way

Since the Great Pyrenees requires consistent and regular training and socialization, he needs parents who are able to commit to the time it takes to accomplish this.  He is also very family oriented, needing and wanting to be with his human family a lot, so homes where the dog would be alone a lot are not ideal.

They love children and, like their ancestors who protected sheep with their lives when necessary, will protect them to the death.  While they can do well in an apartment setting, a good sized back yard for romping is better.  Due to their barking habits, homes where he won’t disturb the neighbors are best.

The Great Pyrenees is a great dog, large and loving, but not for everyone.  Sometimes we allow our emotions to get the best of us when confronted with that adorable puppy, but in the long run an educated choice is best for all involved.  There is definitely a dog for most everyone. Choosing wisely is always the best choice.

Adopt A Purebred Great Pyrenees

Please consider adopting before purchasing through a breeder. Please avoid purchasing a animal from a pet store. There are plenty of pure bred Great Pyrenees dogs in need of good homes. Click here to search for you a Great Pyrenees in need of adoption near you: <Petfinder>

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WagBrag’s co-founder, Russ Boles, has a deep history in animal rescue and welfare. For the past 12 years, Russ has served in various roles with Atlanta-based animal advocacy organizations focused on rescue, training and education. In addition, Russ led a local rescue volunteer team into New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina, assisting in efforts to rescue and care for stranded animals. This experience changed his life, and animal rescue and advocacy will always be a part of everything he does.