What is a Great Pyrenees?
A dog of immense size and great majesty, keen intelligence, and kindly expression; of unsurpassed beauty and a certain elegance, all white or principally white with markings of badger, gray, or varying shades of tan. In the rolling, ambling gait it shows unmistakably the purpose for which it has been bred, the strenuous work of guarding the flocks in all kinds of weather on the steep slopes of the Pyrenees Mountains.
The average height at the shoulder is 27 – 32 inches for dogs, and 25 – 29 inches for bitches. The average weight runs 100 – 125 lbs for dogs, and 90 – 115 lbs for bitches. They are heavily boned; with close cupped feed; double dew claws behind and single dew claws in front.
Note: The dew claws are in integral part of the breed and should NOT be removed.
Designed to withstand severe weather, with heavy fine white undercoat and long flat thick outer coat of coarse hair, straight or slightly undulating.
There is perhaps no other dog quite like the Great Pyrenees when it comes to character. He has been used for centuries as a guard and watchdog on the large estates of his native France, and in keeping with his age-old position as protector of the shepherd and his flock, the Great Pyrenees is being used in increasing numbers today to control coyotes and other predators on Wisconsin sheep ranches. He is as serious in play as he is in work, adapting himself to the moods and desires of his human companions. He is the exemplification of gentleness and docility with those he knows, of faithfulness and devotion to his master even to the point of self-sacrifice; and of courage in the protection of the flock placed in his care and the ones he loves. His keen intelligence, reflected in his innate ability to discriminate between friend and enemy, can be described in one word – dependability.
Owning a Great Pyrenees:
It is the special qualities of the Great Pyrenees that make him a rewarding companion and an excellent family pet. Despite his great size, the Pyrenees easily adapts to the life of a house pet, preferring to lie in an open corner where he can watch over several rooms at once or in front of an inward opening door. They are excellent with children.
The Pyrenees is most at home, however, in the out of doors. When provided with an adequate shelter he is perfectly content to be out in all kinds of weather, sometimes even preferring a snow bank to the doghouse during the worst of storms.
A fenced run of moderate size is recommended to protect your Pyrenees from the hazards of urban life. His natural curiosity drives him to investigate any movement in his surroundings, which includes the neighbors, their pets… and moving vehicles.
Care and Feeding:
A Great Pyrenees does not require a lot of special care. Brushing once a week using a wire slicker or pin brush is adequate for most of the year except in late spring when they shed their winter coat – AND BOY DO THEY SHED! Even so, with a little dedication most of the loose fur can be brushed out in a few weeks. Nails, particularly on the dewclaws, should be trimmed regularly. It is recommended to occasionally trim the dog’s eyebrows (which can grow long and cause irritation) and also the hair between the pads of his feet which could cause a dog to lose its footing on slippery surfaces such as stairs or tile floors.
A mature Great Pyrenees eats less than one would expect for a dog of this size. They have a lower metabolism than many other breeds which reduces their food consumption and contributes to their easy going manner. They should be given shade from the sun and plenty of fresh water.
There is perhaps no creature on earth cuter than a Great Pyrenees puppy. These charming little balls of fluff grow to adult size at an amazing rate and are, to say the least, exuberant. Children should be carefully supervised so that they are not accidentally bowled over by a playful puppy who doesn’t yet realize his own size.