A Great Pyrenees is a large dog with a thick long coat which was mainly developed as a livestock guard dog. This was its original purpose at first but they have delved to be quite good family dogs and guard dogs. They are very protective of their property and their family and they will do anything to protect them. But they are faithful and very loyal and are quite good with children in fact.
The will form a great attachment to their owners and their family and will do anything to protect them according to their natural instinct. They are actually nocturnal dogs so their aggressiveness rises during the night. The Great Pyrenees was standardized as a breed in 1874, as before that there were many groups and sub-types which were related to them, mainly the Western and Eastern European one. This dog is also known under the name Pyrenean Mountain Dog.
Great Pyrenees History & Origins
The Great Pyrenees breed dates back hundreds of years ago. The breed originates from the region around the Pyrenees Mountains somewhere around southern France and northern Spain. This breed came to be used by many sheepherders in the Basque country and it is their original purpose which instinctively they still retain even today. These type of dogs appeared in many historic documents and they are mentioned as early as 1st century BC as they were described in a poem of a Roman author Varro.
Then there are records from Spain which describes these dogs and watchful and prospective animals and they later appear as part of the French aristocracy. They were in fact the favorite breed of the Grand Dauphin back in 1675. Back then there were also many kinds of Mountain Dogs from the area and it was established that there are two kinds which are divided into the Eastern and Western kind. Today the dog is mainly used as a pet and a family dog and due to its lovable nature and loyalty is perfect for that sort of use.
Characteristics & Temperament
A Great Pyrenees is by many standards a perfect pet. It is an intelligent, obedient, loyal, affectionate and gentle dog. These characteristics allow it to bond with the owner and the entire family and give them unconditional love and protection. It is also fearful and patient, which makes it a great protector. Originally a livestock guard dog, these characteristic are still inbreed in its DNA so the dog will tirelessly protect its perimeter and guard the household it is associated with. But it is very good with children and together animals as well.
Although they do tend to bark at night due to their nocturnal nature. They can be trained to stop doing that. But these dogs are also stubborn, reserved, strong willed and independent, making them a handful to train. You have to be stubborn yourself to train a Great Pyrenees and you have to have experience to do so. But even with these characteristics, the animal will not turn to its master and will not get aggressive with them.
Great Pyrenees Appearance, Colors, Size
Looking at the Great Pyrenees you will notice that it is a large type of a dog. It can grow up to 27–32 inches in height and 110–130 pounds for males and 26–31 inches and 90–115 pounds for females.
Their appearance is characterized with a weather resistant double coat which consists of a coarse, long, flat, thick, outer coat which lies over a dense, fine, woolly undercoat. You will notice that their coats form a sort of a mane around the neck and shoulders, which is actually a lot more pronounced with male dogs. They may also have some featherings on their backs and legs. The main coat color is white, and most of Great Pyrenees dogs have this color, but there are certain exceptions. The coat color may vary towards gray, rust, or tan especially around the face. As they grow, the coat will get thicker and longer but the color will also fade away with age. The Great Pyrenees has a single individual characteristic compared to other dogs and that are double dew claws on each of their hind legs.
There are a set of diseases which affect most of the Great Pyrenees dogs. For the most part these conditions do not affect all dogs of these breeds but there is a high possibility in some situation. Thus the Great Pyrenees breed is susceptible to Gastric Torsion, Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Patellar Luxation, Addison’s disease, Cataracts. Entropion and Anesthesia Sensitivity. The average lifespan of a Great Pyrenees is about 10 to 11 years. But this is a generally healthy breed and as long as you do not get one form an irresponsible breeder you will enjoy a great companion in this type of a dog.
Great Pyrenees Grooming & Shedding
Generally speaking, a Great Pyrenees is somewhere between an average and a heavy shedder. This actually depends on the climate they live in, but you may end up having more white hair on your clothes and stuff than expected. They have at least one period of heavy shedding during the year. But looking on the bright side, these dogs only require some 30 minutes per week to groom. They do require frequent bruising but not excessively. Bathing is not so much important and you can do it from time to time or when the dog is extremely dirty. Either way, the dot is fairly easy to take care of.
Price and Breeders
The Great Pyrenees breed is fairly easy to find and buy. Breeders are found in various places in the world and probably the most are in America. Although the origin of this breed is still in Spain and also France, there are not so many breeders found there as you would expect. Even the price is not as high as you may think as it ranges between 400 USD and 900 USD for a puppy.
Great Pyrenees Rescue
But if the price for a Great Pyrenees puppy happens to be too high for you, there are other ways for you to get one. Of course we are talking about rescue groups which have a ton of options available for you that may be of interest. You can visit the pages of National Pyr Rescue, Great Pyrenees Connection, Great Pyrenees Club of America Rescue or Great Pyrenees Association of Southern California Rescue as these are the most probably places where you can find a dog to adopt.