Has anyone ever made any of these comments to you about your Great Pyrenees? What did you think?The weather was beautiful for a lot of the weekend, so we spent a lot of time outside with the pups. Being outside in nice weather, you run into a lot of people. I’m always amazed at the people that ask me what breed Mauja and Atka are and then tell me how to care for them. You didn’t know the breed, but you know what’s best for them? Here are some of the things I’ve heard recently while having a conversation about my Great Pyrenees.

You Should Get Them Shaved

This one normally comes with a nice tone to it. Like, how could you possibly let your dog suffer with that huge coat. I could go into a whole rant on people for this one but usually I leave it to, “Their coat actually keeps them cool and protects them from the sun.” I’m still usually given some sort of grief about not shaving my dogs from someone that doesn’t even know what a double coated breed is.

Your dog isn’t listening. Obviously, you aren’t alpha.

Another topic I could talk about for hours as the “alpha theory” has no true basis in science. Once again, do you know anything about pyrs? She’s sitting next to me quietly, but she didn’t “shake” when you asked. This breed is very independent and was bred to work alone without the need for humans. They don’t feel the need to cater to your silly tricks all the time.

You really should have had the dewclaws removed as a puppy.

In some breeds, this is true. For the Great Pyrenees, the double dew claws are essential. It would be basically like cutting off your thumb. Their double dews are attached by a bone and serve a purpose. It is very rare for a pyr to snag their dews.

You shouldn’t tolerate your dogs barking.

Pyrs are livestock guardians. By barking, they are simply alerting us of any potential threats. They’re doing their job! Why would I get mad at my dogs for doing what they were bred to do? If I don’t see a reason for their barking, we quiet them down. There may be one day when I’m grateful for their alert barks.

You need acres of land for such a big dog.

This is such a misconception about giant breeds! Most of them can make amazing apartment dogs. In the house, they are typically couch potatoes. An hour long walk each day is enough to make them happy and sleep the day away. They need a little more exercise during adolescence, but nothing like most medium sized dogs will need.

I’d never own a dog that big. Too expensive.

Yes, giant breeds cost more, but more dog to love and be loved by! Plus, I’d rather have a 100+ pound dog protecting me than a 5-pound snack 😉 (Usually followed by…)

Well, your food bill must be astronomical.

Meh, not really. Pyrs have a slow metabolism so they don’t eat more than your average medium sized dog. On a good day, Mauja eats about 2-3 cups of food and she is a nice, healthy weight.

Now, don’t take this post the wrong way. I LOVE when people ask me questions about my pyrs. I have so much fun educating people about Great Pyrenees because I am so passionate about them. It just drives me insane when people think they know everything about a breed they have never heard of.

Does a similar thing ever happen to you?

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Has anyone ever made any of these comments to you about your Great Pyrenees? What did you think?

38 comments on “Don’t Make These Comments to Great Pyrenees Owners”

  1. Sometimes I’m tired and I don’t have the energy to once again explain that my dogs aren’t minnie Lassies and no their growth wasn’t stunted. However, for the most part I realize if we don’t take the time to speak to people when we get the chance in the best way we can, the ignorance continues.

    I’ll be honest enough to admit I always owned short haired dogs before having a Sheltie. I had to do lots of reading before we got one to really understand how they were going to survive the summer heat. One of the first signs of summer for me as a child was the dog’s summer grooming to help keep him cool in the summer heat. Different breeds, different needs. If I can acknowledge my ignorance when switching breeds it helps me to understand the lack of understanding in others.

    As for the range of questions, I think some of it is just natural awe, some is frankly rude and obxnoxious. People often comment on how hard it is to care for one dog, they couldn’t imagine caring for two. Again if I’m tired I mumur some polite comment and move on. If I’m feeling more patient I will explain that some things are harder and more expensive, but some things are actually easier with two than when we only had one and I will list some of the positive experiences that have come from not having and only dog and why as long as we can handle the financial and physical needs we won’t have an only dog again.

    I’ve heard similar complaint from human parents about rude comments people make. I think it is an overall statement about the lack of filters in our culture. People will say anything and think little of how it sounds. However, I think we can work on shaping that behavior by how we respond.

    • Many people really do lack a filter. And like I said, I don’t mind questions. I love them! I love talking and educating people about this breed. I also love asking people tons of questions about breeds I’m not very familiar with. People have just had such an attitude about how I should be caring for my dogs. What is interesting is that we never really experienced this when we lived in California. People would ask genuine questions that I loved answering. Since we’ve moved, we have gotten a lot more snarky remarks from people.

      • don’t mind me asking, where are you near now? i’ve been Blessed w/3 Pyrenees, 2 of Those were Rescues, one i raised from a Pup. Loved Them All, and would not hesitate to have another Great Pyrenees…

  2. This was a really great post!!!!!
    I get the same sort of comments with my huskies! It gets really sickening sometimes! My husky knows how to shake a paw or sit down very well, and they do it for me when I ask, but right now, my husky just does not want to sit for you! People just think they can go up to any dog and say a command, and when they don’t listen, the dog must not be trained. It’s silly really!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  3. We have Labs, so we don’t get those kind of comments, but I can understand where you’re coming from. Personally, I love big dogs are yours are beautiful.

  4. I’m not sure why anyone would expect your dog to respond to their commands. Mine are trained to listen to my husband and I. The last thing I want is some stranger calling to them and having them walk off with my dogs. I like a little healthy suspicion.

    The only question I had that I didn’t ask before is about the barking. When are they commenting about the barking. If the dogs are in public hanging around other dogs, yep they are going to bark. If we lived miles from the nearest neighbors, the barking might not be such an issue. However, we don’t and we do have to work on barking out of respect for our neighbors. I firmly believe in the do unto others. If I don’t want their kids screaming constantly day and night outside my window, their dogs howling at the moon in the early hours, than I too have to be respectful and make sure my dogs aren’t barking constantly either. It isn’t always easy for a breed that barks, but it is one of the realities of living with neighbors close to you. If you want good neighbors you have to be one.

    There is a dog down the street from us that barks all hours of the day and night. I wish that family understood the concept of being a good neighbor and why allowing their dog to bark constantly creates a challenge for the rest of us who are trying to teach our dogs there are restrictions to how long you can bark when you live with neighbors.

    • I didn’t even think about another person calling my dog and responding to their commands. Great point! I’m really glad my pyrs don’t listen to other people 🙂 As for the barking, we got those comments at the dog park (we don’t go anymore), but I thought it was relevant to add to the list. We have a strict barking rule at home because we have LOTS of very close neighbors (we live on a military base). If they are outside and they bark, I go and see what they are barking at. More than half the time, it’s something I can’t see or hear. They are then told “quiet”, which they respond to about 50 percent of the time 😉 If they don’t quiet, they have to come inside. Once they settle, we let them back out. It’s really helped control the pyr barking. I could never leave them outside at night or we wouldn’t be friends with our neighbors 😉 Our neighbors have a basset hound and it barks day and night. I know your frustration. Thankfully, Mauja and Atka are used to him and don’t try to talk back!

    • Agree. My guy has won several rally events and picks up new commands very quickly. He’s a one person dog, though, so if anyone else gives him a command, he just looks at me for direction.

      The interesting thing is that the more he’s learned, the less he responds to others. When I first got him, my trainer could show me how to work on new skills by going through the steps with him. Now, she has to use her own dog because mine will pretty much ignore her except for very basic commands.

  5. Nope, those are not good things to say… to any dog owner for that matter. Once in a while I hear things and when it first started happening I really took offense but I’ve since learned that the person either doesn’t know better and I can educate them a bit or they are just being a jerk and I let it slide off.

    • I used to really take offense to it as well. I felt like I was being judged as a dog owner and compared to every other “young 20 something”. Now it is easier to just brush it off, but I can remember being upset about a comment made to me for days.

  6. A comment i get constantly is Why do they have those silly haircuts? I can’t say much because before I had Poodles I thought they were silly. Now I think it is the height of irresponsibility for a Poodle owner not to have these centuries old classic do’s on them.

  7. I love the Pyrs. I do. I’d love to have one. But Hunny insists on snack sized dogs once our Aussies pass. Or, as I call them, drop kick dogs. And now we have our own drop kick dog. I’m madly in love with him. But no, I don’t understand why people give so much unsolicited advice, except to say that I do it, too, and constantly fight that urge.

  8. This is a good post and I’d agree. I generally think people should, well, keep their mouths shut. I’ve heard plenty of nasty comments regarding my small dogs. I absolutely love large breeds and have one large mutt, but in the future my husbadn and I have decided to stick with small dogs. They fit better into our life style. I’ve had plenty of people comment that small dogs are yappy or annoying. I also own pugs and a bulldog and plenty of people have said ” oh those poor dogs cant breathe”, not true., mine breathe fine, my youngest pug power walks five miles on a cool day with ease. I’ve also had people comment on my dogs not knowing I’m “alpha” because they are tugging on leash or lunging at another dog. Well I admit they are not perfect but I work on both behaviors and I think the whole “alpha” this is malarky! I basically think if you dont have something nice to say, say nothing at all!
    retro rover

    • There is a family I nanny for that has a small dog – maybe ten pounds. I definitely see the appeal to them. I barely notice she’s there sometimes! Some people prefer large dogs, some people prefer small. People just need to let others like what they like!

  9. Mr. N is a mix of two common breeds so I don’t really get many breed-specific questions aside from “do they bark a lot?” But I get all sorts of negative size-based comments (yappy, ankle biter etc.) and many people are just plain rude (yelling, trying to pick him up, barking at him etc).

    • People are so rude. I remember when Mauja was a puppy and a stranger walked right up to her and picked her up! She was even on leash! I can’t imagine having to deal with that all the time. You don’t pet other people’s dogs without permission and you certainly don’t pick them up!

      • Maybe it’s not so much that they are rude but they just feel so comfortable with dogs or like the dog so much. When I see a dog everything leaves my head. I immediately walk up and I’m hugging and kissing. I can’t even help it. Maybe try not being so judgmental.

  10. Well, I do have a pit bull so yes! Lol… We’ve removed some pyrenees dew claws before. But usually only the ones that weren’t attached by bone from what I can remember anyways. I’ve noticed it just varies from dog to dog and breed to breed.

  11. I have a five month old great pyrenees and he’s already 75lbs! He’s the biggest sweetheart and loves for people to come up and pet him when we’re out and about. I’ve had people ask me every single question in this post lol. Sometimes I get annoyed when people tell me how to groom him when they’ve never heard of the breed, but I’ve learned to just deal with it. I love my fluffy baby.

  12. Ah, yes. My mother-in-law really pissed my husband off by telling him that we need to stop our Pyr from barking and insisting that she only barks because we haven’t set limits in place. She told us we need to yell “NO NO!” at her when she barks. Fool proof!

  13. I would be heartbroken if someone came up to my Woofy and asked him to shake their hand and he did so without asking me. That’s MY boy.

  14. training advice from non-pyr owners drives me crazy! Its always ppl with 5 pound dogs too. Like, really is THAT all it takes to get your dog to come to you? I can’t believe I never thought of saying “come” and giving him a treat, wow! *eye roll* The

  15. I understand completely. I have a Great Dane (my third) and I have always had these comments mostly that she is too thin. I could explain that it is dangerous to get a Dane overweight but honestly I can,t be bothered.

  16. We have a Pyr who just turned 5 months old. We LOVE her and my husband can’t wait for her to be big(ger). She still tries to chew everything in sight, but we expected that. I loved everyone’s comments, and can related to people trying to tell you how to “train” your dog. Some of these people don’t even have dogs. I think this breed is unique and fascinating!

  17. We have a Pyr who just turned 5 months old. We LOVE her and my husband can’t wait for her to be big(ger). She still tries to chew everything in sight, but we expected that. I loved everyone’s comments, and can relate to people trying to tell you how to “train” your dog. Some of these people don’t even have dogs. I think this breed is unique and fascinating! She is so sweet.

  18. I laugh when people ask how often do you bathe your dog to keep him so white! I say seldom and they never believe me. I still cringe though when they start with the shaving routine. I’ve never been able to let that one go.

  19. You’ve definitely hit on all the big ones! Very annoying. Once I understood that they were bred to be independent thinkers, protecting sheep up in the Pyrenees mountains, I understood. They actually do stop and consider the command. But people don’t understand that independent thinking in a dog. When people comment about shaving a dog, I usually tell them that shaving a dog only makes the hair grow in thicker. Their coats are just amazing and cover all aspects of their needs. We live in the country with lots of room. I’d love to have another Pyr but I’m worried that they might not get along. I have a 3 year old female and just don’t want a male. I should’ve gotten 2 puppies so they grew up together. Any suggestions or comments on this?

    • We have two Great Prys// Ellie Mae a 2 year old female we raised from birth (we had mama at that time too). Two weeks ago we brought home Dash a 7 week old male. Ellie is a great protector and a well behaved outdoor dog. We are introducing them to each other in little spirts. She had the normal curious reaction when we first brought him home. But He stays indoors with us most of the time so he can bond with us and she gets time to herself outdoors. I let him outside three or four times a day to interact with her and they do great. I monitor them by being there. Then If she is being a really good girl I go inside and leave them alone for a about 15 minutes. Watching their every move (mostly hers) to make sure being alone with him isn’t stressing her to much. It is working great and as he gets older and older his time outside with her will increase. She is very protective of him even now, but the stress of watching over a pup that isn’t hers could be to much so we don’t push her. I do plan to make him an outside dog as well. So together they can watch over our farm. My advice. Have a plan, if you purchase a new family member and it just does not work out between the two dogs. How will you deal with it? Know what you will do in case it doesn’t/before you do it.

  20. My least favorite comment, at the vet’s office, from a person with a popular breed dog, “That’s just a mutt, right”, said about my Quibbletown pyr.

  21. Our pyr, Bailey, is 7 now & we love all 135 lbs of her! We have gotten all of these same comments along with another common one “Does she shed a lot?”. I’m also usually correcting people on her gender. People assume she’s a boy due to her size since you can’t see her pink collar in all that neck fur! Ha! But I don’t mind all the questions as I feel here’s a chance to educate someone on this beautiful breed. But I’d have to say we get more “Your dog is beautiful” than anything and even had a runner pass by & say “Wow, seeing your dog made my day”!

  22. We have 2 Great Pyrs that are out with our sheep. The sheep are their lives. They will do everything within their power to protect them, and they are miserable to be removed from them. A neighbor thought we were so cruel to leave them outside in the elements and tried to call the authorities about animal neglect. When the ASPCA person showed up and spent a few minutes with the animals, she was very happy to see how well the dogs were being taken care of and how totally happy they were do be doing the job they were bread to do. For them it is all instinct, and they are in their element. She said that she was sorry more people didn’t get to see the dogs in a natural environment. They have shelter, food, water, love, grooming, and a job to do that they do perfectly. I truly love the breed

  23. What I dislike the most is people who say “they have to be so cold, bring them inside” when it is winter and snowing. Ours love the snow and they go into our barn if they want to but usually they would rather lay in the snow. Also, we lost 1 of ours a few years ago and had to find another one quickly because we couldn’t sleep without the all night barking. Since we have animals, we know the dogs are keeping all other animals away.

  24. Oh god yes, and the “need to put a saddle on that” I have recently lost my lovely little girl, (Pyr’s don’t seem big to their owners). I got her as she was taken back by her previous owners as they didn’t know she would be that fluffy or big?? very intelligent, will jump through hoops for food and willingly put their lives at risk to protect there flock, human or animals but the things people try and tell you about them, even when they don’t own a dog!

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