Breed of the Month–Great Pyrenees

1November 2013

Great Pyrenees
Color:  White, white with gray, reddish-brown, badger, tan markings.
Height:  Males:  27-32 inches/  Females: 25-29.5 inches
Weight:  Males:  110 lbs minimum/ Females:  88 lbs minimum
Life Span:  10-12 years
Breed Health Concerns:  Bloat, hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, elbow dysplasia, osteosarcoma, factor XI deficiency, progressive retinal atrophy, and skin problems.
Coat:  Double coat, weather-resistant.  Dense, woolly, ding undercoat.  Long, thick, flat outercoat.
Country of Origin:  France
Visit the American Kennel Club for breed standards or more information.
Separating Spain and France, the Pyrenees mountain inhabitants earn their living by tending flocks of sheep, cows, and other livestock.  Although the exact origin of the breed is unknown, the Great Pyrenees dogs have worked protecting livestock in this area for centuries.  This gentle giant is completely reliable with his flock or herd, and is ever sure-footed in the mountains.  Many Great Pyrenees pups are raised within their flock or herd from puppyhood.
The Great Pyrenees is devoted to his family, gentle, and trustworthy.  Bred to be suspicious of strangers, it is vitally important that this breed is properly socialized at a young age and throughout his life.
I had the pleasure of having a Great Pyrenees neighbor.  She was one of the most gentle and loving dogs I have ever met and got along well with everyone, from adults to children, and other animals.  I feel blessed having known such a fabulous dog.
The breed’s desire to patrol his territory may sometimes get the best of him; it is therefore important that the breed be kept on leash or in a fenced area during exercise.  Although the Great Pyrenees is a very large breed, he does not require excessive exercise.  Two to three good walks per day will satisfy his exercise needs.  It is most helpful to find some sort of “job” for this breed to do.  He will be well satisfied to guard the property or family.
The Great Pyrenees’s coat will require almost daily brushing.  The coat was designed to protect this breed in all types of weather, and should never be shaved.  The hair around the toes should be occasionally trimmed and extra care must be taken to keep his face clean and wiped free of drool.
If training the Great Pyrenees for guarding or herding, training will be easy.  In other aspects of training, the Great Pyrenees can be stubborn and requires a persistent and patient trainer.  This breed will not respond to harsh training methods.  Positive reinforcement training is best.