The Great Pyrenees or the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, as it is alternately called, is a large-sized working breed, having a calm, patient demeanor, alongside a profound guarding instinct.
Head: Wedge-shaped, slightly round and not heavy.
Eyes: Dark brown, medium-sized, almond-shaped, obliquely set.
Ears: Small or medium, v-shaped, with rounded tips carried low close to the head.
Neck: Medium length and strong muscled.
Tail: Low set and well-plumed
|Other Names||Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Montañés del Pirineo, Patou, Perro de Montaña de los Pirineos, Can de Montaña de os Perinés, Chien de Montagne des Pyrénées, Chien des Pyrénées|
|Common Nicknames||Gentle Giant, Pyr, PMD, GP|
|Coat||Double coat: Flat, long, thick outer coat; and fine, woolly, dense undercoat|
|Color||White, with markings of gray, badger, tan and reddish-brown|
|Group||Livestock Guardian, Mountain dogs, Working dogs, Molossers|
|Average life span||10-12 years|
|Height||Male: 27 to 32 inches |
Female: 25 to 29 inches
|Weight||Male: 100 pounds; |
Female: 85 pounds
|Litter size||7 to 10 puppies|
|Behavioral characteristics||Gentle, affectionate, confident, loyal, attentive, calm, and patient|
|Good with children||Yes|
|Barking tendency||Moderately high|
|Climate compatibility||Adapts well to cool climate|
|Competitive Registration Qualification/Information||No|
|Country||Spain / France|
These dogs are known to have an ancient lineage, dating back to about 10-11 thousand years with their ancestors being bred in the Pyrenees Mountain to work as herding dogs and assist shepherds. Initially, his was regarded to be a working dog solely owned by the peasants, but in the year 1675 it had been declared as France’s loyal dog and they were used by the nobility for guarding estates. Besides its place of origin, the popularity of this breed spread elsewhere and in the United States, it attained fame in 1931, with the initiatives of Ms. Mary Cane. The world war took a toll on their numbers and put them close to extinction. The efforts undertaken by breeders helped them restore their glory and popularity. They have also been attributed for developing a host of new breeds like the Leonberger, St.Bernard, and Newfoundland.
The Great Pyrenees is noted for its docile, calm, gentle, patient and loyal demeanor. However, behind the pleasant nature lies a reserved breed that is fearless, independent, and strong-willed, always performing its duties loyally. Its huge size makes it a perfect guardian eager to protect its family and household to the fullest. Having said this, their possessive and protective nature should however not be mistaken for their aggression. They have a deep-rooted mistrust towards strangers and would bark on sensing anything unusual, a trait that excels them to the level of a great watch and guard dog.
The Great Pyrenees is a perfect companion to be with, a trait that makes it a great therapy dog. They are an absolute pleasure with kids and would be their perfect protector always. The Pyr even gets along well with other pets particularly when brought up with them.
Though unlike other mountain dogs, the Great Pyrenees may not have a strong fascination towards water, they would not mind cooling themselves off a bit in a pond or pool during summers.
In 2008, Renee Legro, a resident of Colorado had been mauled by two Pyr dogs when she was taking part in a biking race. They had perceived her as a predator, and she had managed to gain a settlement of $1 million from the owner since she sustained grave injuries.
Belonging to the category of working breeds, they need a moderate amount of exercise for their energies to be channelized in a proper manner. Brisk walks, alongside sufficient playtime in a fenced yard, would keep them in perfect shape and form. Ensure that you do not exercise them when the weather is hot as they are not tolerant during the same. Since they are fond of cold weather particularly snow, you could take them on a skiing or skating spree especially if you live in the cold countries.
They are heavy shedders and would undergo immense hair fall particularly in the shedding season. However, their grooming needs are not too high as they have a dirt and tangle resistant coat which would suffice with a weekly brushing using a pin or slicker comb. Other hygiene needs include bathing when needed using a good quality dog shampoo, cleaning its ears using a cotton ball and vet-approved solution, wiping its eyes well to keep any infections at bay, brushing its teeth twice or thrice a week and also trimming its nails on a routine basis.
The health problems common in the Great Pyrenees include hip and elbow dysplasia, luxating patella, bloating, immune-mediated and neurological disorders, gastric torsion, cataracts, and Addison’s disease.
They are a moderately intelligent breed (ranking 64 of the 131 breeds in Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs) with a strong-willed and independent nature that could at times make them stubborn. Hence the Pyr would require a strong and firm taskmaster who would handle them in a tactful manner.
Socialization: The Great Pyrenees puppies should be given socialization training so that they may not bark at every situation and will eventually learn to distinguish the good from the bad.
Leash training: They have a tendency of wandering on their own for which leash training is essential. Start it from their puppyhood since it could be a little challenging as these huge dogs have a tendency to pull you if they would want to go somewhere.
The National Research Council of the National Academies says that an adult Pyr having a weight of about 100 pounds needs 2200 calories in a day. Good quality dry dog food containing an adequate amount of fat, and protein alongside other essential ingredients is of utmost importance.
They would cost $600 on an average though the price varies between $1400 and $ 5000 or even higher.