(aka: Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Chien des Pyrenees, Chien de Montagne des Pyrenees, Montanes del Pirineo, Gos de muntanya dels Pirineus)
The coat of the Great Pyrenees is long and coarse, and has a dense but fine undercoat. The coloring of the Great Pyrenees is white, although some may have markings in gray, reddish brown, or tan. This giant dog looks cuddly because of his long coat, but actually has a sturdy build and carries himself with elegance and dignity. He has a sweet and gentle expression. The weight of the Great Pyrenees is around 85-130 pounds, and the height is 25-29 inches for females and 27-32 inches for males.
Great Pyrenees Temperament
A gentle, friendly, and affectionate breed, the Great Pyrenees loves the companionship of humans, and is a great choice for a family pet for those that have adequate space for this giant dog to get some exercise. The Great Pyrenees is very intelligent and quick to learn, and is a courageous and protective dog that makes for a good watchdog. These dogs can be stubborn and very independent, which makes them more suited to those with some experience of dog ownership. Although generally quiet and inactive indoors, these dogs love to release some of their pent up energy when outdoors, and love to play and enjoy a range of outdoor activities.
The Great Pyrenees gets on well with children when raised with them, but their size can prove a problem when it comes to very small children. He is gentle and protective with children. He will usually be protective of other animals in the household too, but may chase strange animals away. It is important to be assertive and confident with the Great Pyrenees, as he can otherwise assume leadership and become bossy. Early obedience training and socialization are important for this breed. The Great Pyrenees is a dog that likes to wander off and explore, so you should ensure that he is always in a secured area with appropriate fencing or on a leash.
When it comes to grooming you will need to brush the coat of the Great Pyrenees on a weekly basis, and you will need to keep the eyebrows trimmed so that the dog can see properly. You will need to step up the grooming when he is shedding more heavily, which is twice yearly. The Great Pyrenees is a very heavy shedder, and is therefore not suited to those with allergies.
The dogs that are known throughout Europe as mountain dogs seem to all be descended from a single breed that is first recorded in Eastern Europe and Western Asia as long as 12,000 years ago.
The Great Pyrenees as its own distinct breed is known to go back to at least 5,000 years in the area of the Pyrenees Mountains in what is today Southern France and Northern Spain. They were little known outside the region until people began visiting the mountain countries in the late 19th century. At that time many dogs of ill breeding were sold to tourists and bought all over Europe to limited success.
With the decline of major predators in Europe, the need for the Pyr declined greatly as did the breed's numbers until they were first established at kennels in the US, England and Belgium.
Due to their massive size and strength, they have been used for various wartime purposes, most recently in World War II when they were harnessed with artillery-laden sleds and sent over the mountains. Not only were they capable of making the journey without supplies and guidance, but they were also able to guard their loads.
Today they are most commonly farm or ranch dogs, although some live in suburban or urban environments with very good quality fences.
They key to training the Great Pyrenees is to take his or her temperament into consideration before you do anything. These dogs are intelligent - so much so that they prefer to make their own decisions about most things. This means that the most important thing you can do to gain your dog's trust is to be fair. They have a highly developed sense of personal justice that develops with age.
However, it is vitally important, for your dog's well being and your own sanity, that a few basic commands be obeyed with as little questioning as possible. It is also a good idea to prove to the dog that even if they don't ever quite get the idea of commands that you're capable of being even more stubborn than they are and command some respect.
Because they are so resistant to taking commands, owners have found that they easily adapt to crate training when it comes to housebreaking. Since the puddles are tremendous, it is good to get this out of the way as soon as possible. It should prove far easier than getting the dog to reliably come when called.
It is, however, of the utmost importance that you train the dog to be touched and handled when young. They should also be able to meet new people while on a lead without being aggressive in any way. Since they are so large, any such behavior problems has to be taken care of while the dog is quite young, otherwise they'll be far to old to correct and the habit will be long engrained and impossible to change.
The life expectancy of the Great Pyrenees is around 8-12 years, and there are a number of health problems that are associated with the breed. This includes elbow dysplasia and HD, luxating patella, entropion, cataracts, bleeding problems, and spinal problems. The parents of the Great Pyrenees puppy should have OFA and CERF certificates.