Great Pyrenees Information

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(Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Chien de Montagne des Pyrénées) The Great Pyrenees is a beautiful, majestic dog with an overall appearance that denotes elegance, grace, and intelligence. The breed’s regal, kindly expression and sound, coordinated movements distinctly show the dog’s capability to be both a companion and a flock guard. While the coat of the Great Pyrenees implies a larger build, these dogs are actually of medium substance. Their body is well-proportioned and balanced, with the height of the withers being somewhat less than the length of the body from the shoulders to the buttocks. The angulations of the front and rear are balanced, and these proportions create the dog’s rectangular shape. Their muscular neck is of medium length and their topline is level. The chest is comparatively broad, and the rib cage is well-sprung, oval-shaped, and long enough to reach the elbows. The loin is strongly coupled and moderately tucked up, and the croup is gently sloping. Tails of this breed are plumed and are carried low when the dog is in repose. Their shoulders are muscular, well laid back, and lie close to the body. The length of the shoulder blades and the length of the upper arm are approximately the same. Their forelegs are well-boned and muscular enough to balance well with the rest of the dog’s frame. When perceived from the side, the forelegs are located directly under the withers. They have round, close-cupped feet that are thickly padded and feature a set of well-arched toes. Thighs of this breed are strong, brawny, and extend from the pelvis at right angles. The head of the Great Pyrenees is not heavy in proportion to the dog’s size. It is wedge-shaped and has a slightly rounded crown. The muzzle is approximately equal in length to the back of the skull. They have flat cheeks and a slight furrow between the eyes. They have medium-sized, almond-shaped eyes that are dark brown in color. Their small ears are V-shaped and have rounded tips, and their teeth close in a scissors or level bite. The weather resistant, double coat of the Great Pyrenees consists of a thick, flat, long outer coat of coarse, straight or slightly wavy hair that lies over a fine, dense, woolly undercoat. The hair is more profuse around the neck and shoulders, where it forms a ruff which is more pronounced in males of this breed. Coat colors for this breed include white or white with markings of badger, gray, reddish brown, or varying shades of tan.

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The Great Pyrenees is devoted, loyal, and even-tempered. They are calm unless provoked. They are natural guardians, and they are often used to guard livestock. This breed is leery of strangers and dogs it does not know. They are courageous, obedient, and affectionate with the people they love. They are very gentle with children. Because they are independent and somewhat stubborn by nature, they require a dominant owner who is self-assured in the dog’s presence. They are independent and hard-working, and they are sometimes difficult to train. Males of this breed are sometimes aggressive towards other dogs. They usually get along well with cats and other types of non-canine pets. This breed tends to drool, slobber, and bark a lot.


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25 – 35 inches

Females: 24-29 inches at the shoulder. Males: 29-32 inches at the shoulder. American dogs have a tendency to be on the smaller end of the standard. Shorter or taller dogs may exist but are considered outside of the standard.
30 in
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85 – 100 pounds

120 pounds
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General Health

Like many other large dog breeds, the Great Pyrenees is prone to hip dysplasia. Some lines can develop skin problems in hot weather conditions. This breed typically lives for about 10 years.

This breed lives up to 12 years on average. They are prone to bloat and may develop eye infections due to their long eyebrows.

Most owners choose to clean this breeds ears regularly to prevent infection.

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The Great Pyrenees is a descendant of the Hungarian Kuvasz and the Maremmano-Abruzzese. The breed is considered to be the aristocratic relative of the Newfoundland and the Saint Bernard. Remains of a dog similar to the Great Pyrenees were discovered in Europe and dated back to the year 1800 BC. It’s highly likely that the breed actually originated much earlier in Siberia or Asia. Throughout its native country of France, the Great Pyrenees has a long history as a guard dog of sheep and chateaux. These dogs were greatly sought after by French nobility throughout the seventeenth century. The AKC officially recognized the breed in 1933.

Great Pyrenees are an ancient breed descended from the sheep guards used by the "Aryans," who migrated across Europe from what is now Persia or Iran. As a result of this westward migration, we now have a cousin flock of guard breeds in the Tatra, the Kuvasz, the Maremma, and Sloserto. The Pyrenean mastiff is on the Spanish side of the mountains while the Pyrenean Mountain dog is on the French side. None of for mentioned breeds actually descended from each other, but are rather offshoots of the same ancient ancestor. Louis XIV of France, as dauphin, brought them to Versailles and they became the dog of France. They continued to guard sheep in the mountains at the Chateau de Foix in medieval times. During the two World Wars, they carried messages between outposts and command posts. In their native mountains, they worked with the small Pyrenean shepherd who did the actual herding while the Pyrenean guarded against predators.

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The double coat of the Great Pyrenees should be brushed on a regular basis. Extra care should be given to the undercoat when the dog is shedding. This breed should be bathed or dry shampooed only as necessary. They shed heavily once per year.

Their coats should never be clipped, sheared or cut as this will damage their coat. It's best to brush them frequently.

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Ideal Environment

The Great Pyrenees is not suited for life in a small household or apartment. They adapt well to a variety of living conditions, but they need plenty of space to stay physically and mentally healthy. They are a comparatively inactive breed indoors, and they are happiest with at least a medium-sized yard. This breed prefers cooler climates. They need a substantial amount of regular exercise to stay in good shape.

They thrive in a large yard with at least a 6 ft fence. They are known to be fence climbers.

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Dog Training!

If you're having problems training your dog or getting control, you should read our review of Adam will do whatever it takes to help you whip your dog into shape. I've used them to help with my Great Dane as well as help friends train their dogs. It's the first place I go to help answer users Questions. Many training issues are too extensive to answer in this forum, which is why I refer a lot of the load to his site. Update: I've been using and recommending DogProblems for three years now. I, as well as my users, value the techniques we've learned. I get weekly emails from users who have become better owners from the information they received.

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Great Pyrenees Q&A

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Are the Pyrenees hypo allergenic dogs?


I have a beautiful 9 month old Great Pyrenees. The bottom part of his eye tends to be red/pink all the time, is this normal?

My Pyr is 10 monthes old, and I have noticed the same red eye problem. It seems to be more pronounced in one eye. It has been this way since he was 6wks old and the vet said he was fine. It must just be a trait of theirs like a St. Bernhard.


is 25 pounds normal for a 25-wk Great pyrenees?

No this should be almost a full grown dog.


This site says not to clip or shear, I need to know why please. I have a 130# house Pyr, Gracie, and it gets so hot for her in the summer. We live in TN, in the city, on a quarter of an acre. I'll like to know what size blade to use.

I live in Florida and never clip mine. Their hair is an insulater. It keeps them cool as well as warm by clipping him, you will actually make him hotter. Have shade for him, or let him in the house when it is hot and put him outside at nigt time or early morning when it isn't so hot. A plastic childs swimming pool will keep him cool too. They don't like to swim, but some like to lay their bellies in it to cool off.


Are the pyrenean mountain dogs(or a mix of a partly pyrenean mountain dog with other breeds) hypo-allergenic?



Has anyone ever heard of short hair great pyrenees?

As far as i know there is not a short haired version.


I am adopting a Pyr that is 4 years old. I have been walking him for about a month so he is familiar with me, but I want to make his adjustment to a new home as comfortable as possible. Any tips?

Do LOTS of research. I adopted my rescue dog Pyrenees when she was 14 months old. So, she was still technically a puppy, but in an adult body. Everything I've read about "dogs" in general doesn't really apply to Pyrs. They are soooo breed-specific. So many people think they were bred to be herding dogs. This is not true. They were bred to GUARD sheep, not herd them. Once you understand this, a lot of their temperment makes more sense. I'd advise you to have a fence in your yard that he can NOT see through. This is because they tend to think everything as far as their eye can see is their property to guard. This causes problems in that it's stressful for both you and the dog if they are barking at things several blocks away :) They do tend to be barkers and a visual block can really help this problem. They are VERY independant, stubborn and tough to train outside. Inside, they are angels. It's not that they don't understand commands (they are very smart) they just have a hard time realizing who's boss. They are extra prone to heat stroke so be careful in the summer months. DO NOT clip or shave their coat. Their double coat protects them from the heat as well as the cold. They aren't big water fans (though I'm sure there are always exceptions), so don't force them or expect them to swim. I'd recommend walking/leashing tips, but since you already walk your soon-to-be guy, then I assume you know how he is! They are very fearless dogs which means that they can run into traffic without being scared of "fighting" with the cars. I wouldn't recommend them as off-leash dogs as they tend to roam because of their instinct to guard vast areas. They are VERY friendly, non-aggressive and don't START fights , but if another dog is testy or picks a fight with a Pyr, be careful. The Pyr has a tendency to go full-force and he WILL win! They were bred to fight to the death if they were forced to. But again, they are NOT aggressors. Only when they are protecting you, your family, or themselves. They are actually super sweet in demeanor. Transition-wise, after you adopt him, I'd advise you to set hierchy standars pretty quickly. I know it's temoting to just love them and cuddle them and treat them as youwould an adopted kid, but they need to know who's boss. The longer you wait, the tougher it gets. Their skin and tummies are sensitive, so buy a good quality food, to avoid problems later (like hotspots, soft stool, etc.). Brush them (they love it!) often, but no need to bathe (their coats repel dirt naturally) unless they get filthy for some reason. Remember, they're not fans of water so bathing is... erm... let's say... "difficult" hahaha. This is a crazy-long answer, and very all-over-the-place, so I'm sorry for that. These are the best tips I can think of right now off the top of my head. Pyrs are AWESOME dogs when in proper care. I wouldn't trade mine for the world and would not hesitate to get another one in the future. They LOVE their owners and are GREAT with kids and even cats. SUper lovey and cuddly, but demanding! So just be sure to get a book on the breed or do a lot of fishing online. Good luck and congrats on your new addition to the family!


do pyrenees like water, or swimming?

In the case of my GP, he does not like to swim. They are not a breed that naturally like the water, but they don't necessarily fear it either.


Any advice on how to get my Pyr into the kiddie pool? She wont go near it! It's SO hot in the summer here and we have no A/C inside. She's suffering and I want to help her cool down :( I do the wet towel thing, and of course she has plenty of shade and water, etc. I'm just curious specifically about the kiddie pool. Thanks in advance!

At this point, you already know that a Pyr doesn't do anything it really doesn't want to do. If she doesn't want to go in the pool, there's really no point in forcing her. If you did get her in, chances are she won't stay anyway. Just keep cooling her like you are and leave the pool nearby, so she can make the decision to go in herself or not to.


What are the best companion breeds for a female great pyrenees? We lost her brother a month ago and were wondering if we should go with another pyr or a different breed, male or female?

We have a rough collie and a great pyrenees mix and they love each other. the collie is a couple of months older and we got her first. They are best friends.

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