Great Pyrenees Description
The coat of the Great Pyrenees allows them to live in extreme weather conditions. The acceptable coat colors for this breed include yellow, gray, and white, and patches of tan are allowed as well. These dogs have eyes that are shaped like almonds, and they should be brown in color. The Great Pyrenees has an appearance that could be likened to a bear. The chest is wide, and the head has the shape of a wedge. The ears are moderate in length. The muzzle should be broad, and the teeth should form a scissors bite.
The Great Pyrenees are related to the St. Bernard. As the name suggests, these dogs originate in France near the Pyrenees mountain range. They have been used as guard dogs for many years, and are one of the oldest breeds in Europe.
The Great Pyrenees is a breed of working dog officially recognized by the AKC in 1933. Fossilized remains date the Great Pyrenees in Europe between 1800 and 1000 B.C., but it is believed that the breed originated in Central Asia or Siberia. The Great Pyrenees even became French royalty's court dog in the 17th Century.
Through the centuries the massive Great Pyrenees were used to guard livestock, a job many still hold today. The Great Pyrenees' keen sense of sight and smell, along with its heavy weather-resistant coat, makes it a worthy opponent against wolves and bears. The Great Pyrenees are also used as pack animals and rescue dogs.
In Southwest Virginia, coyotes present a serious threat to farmers with sheep. Those who've enlisted the aid of Great Pyrenees to guard their flocks find the coyotes are no longer a problem.
The Great Pyrenees reaches maturity at about two years of age. Full grown, the dogs are large and muscular. The average height for males is 27-32 inches; for females, 25-29 inches. Some dogs, however, are as tall as 40 inches. Males' average weight is upwards of 100 pounds, while the females' weight is upwards of 85 pounds.
The Great Pyrenees is either solid white or white with patches of tan, wolf gray or pale yellow. The dog has a broad chest and a wedge-shaped head with a slightly rounded skull. The Great Pyrenees muzzle is wide and gently pointed.
One distinctive characteristic of the Great Pyrenees is that it has double dewclaws on its hind legs. Because of the size of the breed and the rapidity of their growth, they are prone to hip displasia. In most cases, hip displasia is genetic; so if you're buying a puppy, talk with the breeder about whether or not the condition is present in the dam or sire.
Great Pyrenees require a lot of space, and they prefer a cooler climate. They have an independent nature and sometimes require a firm hand in order to make them realize who is the master. The Great Pyrenees are loyal and affectionate with their families. It is noted that their devotion to their family remains true even if self-sacrifice is required.
In my experience, the Great Pyrenees is a loving, woolly giant and one of the best pets you could own.
Also Known As
- Chien de Montagne des Pyrénées
- Chien des Pyrénée
- Montañés del Pirineo
- Pyrenean Mountain Dog
The Great Pyrenees is a reliable dog that has a formidable presence. While it is loyal to those that care for it, it will be cautious around strange humans or animals. Because of their size and protective instincts, these dogs have frequently been used to guard cattle. However, these dogs are calm around those they love. They have been bred to work, and they have a no nonsense demeanor. These dogs are not playful or comical like other breeds. It will function well with children that are introduced to them while they are puppies.
As the Great Pyrenees is a large breed of dog, hip dysplasia is a problem which is frequently seen with this breed. Some may also develop skin disorders if they live in climates that are exceptionally warm. The Great Pyrenees has a maximum life expectancy of 10 years.
It is important for this breed to get exercise on a consistent basis. While the exercises don’t need to be intense, they must be done regularly. These dogs are too large to live in apartments, and were not bred to live in small spaces. Owners will need to give them a large yard. These dogs will perform best in cool environments, and care should be taken to protect them in hot weather.
Special Grooming Needs
These dogs have elaborate coats that owners will want to brush regularly. However, when the Great Pyrenees begins to shed, their coats will need extensive amounts of care. These dogs will shed large amounts of fur.