By Macy Gen Veterinary AssistantMacy Gen Last updated: 17th March 2023

Great Pyrenees


Macy Gen Veterinary Assistant Macy Gen
Last updated: 17th March 2023

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.

Great Pyrenees Pictures

Quick Information

Other NamesPyrenean 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
CoatDouble coat: Flat, long, thick outer coat; and fine, woolly, dense undercoat
ColorWhite, with markings of gray, badger, tan and reddish-brown
Breed typePurebred
GroupLivestock Guardian, Mountain dogs, Working dogs, Molossers
Average life span 10-12 years
Size Big
HeightMale: 27 to 32 inches
Female: 25 to 29 inches
WeightMale: 100 pounds;
Female: 85 pounds
Litter size7 to 10 puppies
Behavioral characteristicsGentle, affectionate, confident, loyal, attentive, calm, and patient
Good with childrenYes
Barking tendencyModerately high
Climate compatibilityAdapts well to cool climate
Competitive Registration Qualification/ InformationNo
Country Spain / France

What Does a Great Pyrenees Look Like

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

Great Pyrenees Puppies Video

History and Origin

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.

Temperament and Personality

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.

Great Pyrenees Attack on Humans

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.

Health Problems

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.

How Much Does a Great Pyrenees Cost

They would cost $600 on an average though the price varies between $1400 and $ 5000 or even higher.

Interesting Facts

  • They have been a part of many films like Finding Neverland (2004), Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines (1965) and Santa Buddies (2009).
  • Duke the Dog, a Great Pyrenees breed had been the mayor of Cormorant, a small town of Minnesota.

2 responses to “Great Pyrenees”

  1. Carole McCulloch says:

    We live in rural setting a mile off main road. We are purchasing a one year old male who has been around horses,goats,& childen

    We have a small lake wirh ducks and one goose & desire him mainly as a guard dog for them & for ourselves,We love animals, especially my husband, who is exrewmwly good with them.

    Since Eskimo is a bit of a pet (owner raises this breed for sale), do you have any suggestions on acclimaring him, or is he still young enough to adjust easily?

    What kind of dog house is best for this dog? He is extra large for this breed.

  2. Lori says:

    Great Pyrenees are considered hypoallergenic per AKC standards. We have a Pyr and can confirm that as one of our children has allergies and has no reactions.

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