Great Pyrenees Badger Marks

What are badger marks on Great Pyrenees and how do they change?

I often hear people say something like, “I saw a dog that looked like a Great Pyrenees the other day, but it wasn’t pure white. It must have been a mix.” They are then surprised when I tell them that all Great Pyrenees aren’t pure white! Some pyrs have colorations called “badger marks”.

Badger marks come in several variations of badger, gray, or shades of tan. They are most commonly seen on the head and base of the tail. Per the breed standard, badger marks may cover no more than 1/3 of the dog’s body. That means a pyr can have a significant amount of coloration!

The most interesting thing about badger marks is that they change throughout the dog’s life. Dark badger marks on a puppy will gradually lighten over time; tan marks typically fade to white. What some people don’t realize is that badger marks can lighten and darken. Mauja had light tan badger marks that seemingly disappeared only to reappear just recently.

Why do their badger marks change? Honestly, I’m not sure. It’s been hypothesized that the dark marks helped to disguise them among the rocks when they were born in the mountains long ago. The puppies were then less susceptible to predators. However, that’s only a guess!

Since Mauja’s badger marks are extremely faint and Atka doesn’t have any at all, I polled the pyr community to get some pictures. I received so many amazing pictures and it was hard narrowing them down, but here are some great examples of the changes (or lack of changes) in badger marks. Good luck handling the cuteness! 😉

How badger marks change on Great Pyrenees

Wende Beeson’s beautiful Alice

How badger marks change on Great Pyrenees

Carol Masters Beckman’s Roxy. Check them out on Facebook at Beckman’s Great Pyrenees of Vaughn Hill!

How badger marks change on Great Pyrenees

Image credit: Grace Farm

How badger marks change on Great Pyrenees

Shelly Kipp’s stunning Koda

How badger marks change on Great Pyrenees

Shana Mumper’s Princess <3

How badger marks change on Great Pyrenees

Carol Masters Beckman’s Bella. Check them out on Facebook at Beckman’s Great Pyrenees of Vaughn Hill!

How badger marks change on Great Pyrenees

Tanya Michael’s Sampson

How badger marks change on Great Pyrenees

Image credit: Kayte Whitmer. These badger marks barely faded at all!

How badger marks change on Great Pyrenees

Sandy McManus’ Chaos

How badger marks change on Great Pyrenees

Angela Cook Quintana’s Justice

Debby Takacs Woodward's Izabella at 8 weeks and 7 months. When badger marks fade, they typically fade quickly!

Debby Takacs Woodward’s Izabella at 8 weeks and 7 months. When badger marks fade, they typically fade quickly!

Shauna Turnbull's pyrs at approximately 8 weeks, 6 months, and 4 years. They started dark, lightened, and then darkened again.

Shauna Turnbull’s pyrs at approximately 8 weeks, 6 months, and 4 years. They started dark, lightened, and then darkened again.

Cassie Mason Hawkins-Hubbard's Gabriela. On Facebook at White Mountain Pyrenees of Halo Acres!

Cassie Mason Hawkins-Hubbard’s Gabriela. On Facebook at White Mountain Pyrenees of Halo Acres!

Tami Fischer's handsome boy. Mask went from dark, to light, back to dark!

Tami Fischer’s handsome boy. Mask went from dark, to light, back to dark!

Tina Marie Wells' Sophia. On Facebook at Wells' Providence

Tina Marie Wells’ Sophia. On Facebook at Wells’ Providence

Tanja Paasonen's Viljo - One of the coolest changes I've seen so far!

Tanja Paasonen’s Viljo – One of the coolest changes I’ve seen so far!

Alexandra Holmes' Samson

Alexandra Holmes’ Samson

Wendy Freedman Blumberg's Rose

Wendy Freedman Blumberg’s Rose

Wendy Freedman Blumberg's Sebastien

Wendy Freedman Blumberg’s Sebastien

Tara Pollock's Hank

Tara Pollock’s Hank

As you can see, Great Pyrenees are very unique in not only their markings, but how their markings change over time. Many, many thanks to everyone who submitted photos for me to use! The pyr community is truly wonderful 🙂

Do you have or have you seen a pyr with badger marks?

23 Comments on Great Pyrenees Badger Marks

  1. somethingwagging@gmail.com'
    Pamela
    September 1, 2015 at 11:52 am (1 year ago)

    Wow, that’s a whole lotta Pyr beauty.

    I’m not surprised to think of puppies having markings that fade. But I’m surprised to hear about them reappearing in an adult dog.

    Any speculations on why that could be? And do any other Pyr people you know have dogs who have regained their badger spots?

    Reply
    • Kelsie
      September 1, 2015 at 11:59 am (1 year ago)

      Mauja’s badger marks are showing up again recently. She had light tan ears that faded to white by about 4 months of age. In the past few months I’ve noticed them reappearing. They’re much lighter than the ones she was born with, but darker than a year ago!

      I’ve met a couple people with marks to fade and then reappear in adulthood. I have absolutely no idea why! Definitely an interesting topic though.

      Reply
  2. typfast4u@yahoo.com'
    Leslie Topf
    September 1, 2015 at 12:11 pm (1 year ago)

    Officially the Blair markings are referred to as “Blaireau” in French meaning wolf or badger markings. I happen to be partial to the masks of Blairs and find them quite beautiful.
    .

    Reply
  3. jody@barkandswagger.com'
    Jody Miller-Young
    September 2, 2015 at 10:31 am (1 year ago)

    Really interesting, Kelsie! And so much cuteness, yes! I had no idea Great Pyrenees were anything but white and you can see from the first set of pics, that sometimes those puppy badger marks do get darker with age. Wow!

    Reply
  4. april@gogodogo.ca'
    April
    September 2, 2015 at 3:26 pm (1 year ago)

    I’ve never met a Pyr yet, but I did see a Leonberger recently. I’ve never seen such a tall dog.

    Dogo’s can have interesting markings and pigmentation as well. I love all of the Pyr pictures, such a gorgeous, loving breed.

    Reply
  5. mydoglikes@gmail.com'
    MyDogLikes
    September 2, 2015 at 6:28 pm (1 year ago)

    These pictures are ridiculously cute. I didn’t know that Great Pyrenees can have these markings or that they are called badger marks! It reminds me of our kitten Lucas who was nearly all white when he came home with us and later developed various markings of tan and brown.

    Reply
  6. tenaciouslittleterrier@gmail.com'
    Tenacious Little Terrier
    September 2, 2015 at 10:16 pm (1 year ago)

    I thought they were all white too. A little bit like Yorkies, they’re super dark as puppies and get lighter.

    Reply
  7. hi@kamalovesagility.com'
    Kama
    September 3, 2015 at 7:59 am (1 year ago)

    Wow, that’s so interesting! I never knew Pyrs had coloration called Badger Marks. I would have been that person assuming the dog was a mix. I love to learn new things. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  8. psander@zoominternet.net'
    Paula
    September 11, 2015 at 7:33 am (1 year ago)

    My Sheena stayed all white until she passed at 14. I love the Badger marked babies. Sorta reminds me of the Corgi breed. You can pick a puppy for color, but that doesn’t mean that they will still be the same color when they are 2 years old. My son picked a corgi that was basically black and tan. Pippa is basically white and tan with one small black spot now at 2 years.

    Reply
  9. olgak@latnet.lv'
    Olga
    September 21, 2015 at 8:56 am (1 year ago)

    Around one year ago happened very interesting story. I has two Great Pyrs almost white, but anyway they have some light brown marks. During our walking with my husband and our dogs we met one grand mistress with two
    teenagers. And she asked us – what kind of breed this dogs…. Our conversation:
    – they are great pyr dogs
    – ok! I know this breed, my friend has the same, only his dog is black and without tail…
    Another without comment

    Reply
  10. rebbetzin@bac2torah.com'
    glenncottage
    November 9, 2015 at 7:20 am (1 year ago)

    Great article! Cherokee had badger markings. At one year old they are much lighter now. I do hope he keep his dark grey ear tips. The tan near his eyes and at the base of his tail get lighter and lighter as time goes by.

    Reply
  11. dduarte527@gmail.com'
    David Duarte
    November 20, 2015 at 8:11 am (1 year ago)

    The badger marks on Snowy’s head are very faint and easy to miss unless you look closely. He also has a big brown spot on his back close to his tail.

    Reply
  12. clowie@3142.xyz'
    Clowie
    December 23, 2015 at 9:37 am (1 year ago)

    My markings covered most of my face when I was small, but they ended up looking like I’m wearing some eye shadow.

    Reply
  13. geahanel@gmail.com'
    Liz
    February 9, 2016 at 5:04 am (1 year ago)

    Our Huey was born brown with black on his face and on most of his tail. He will be 1 in a few days and he’s more of a cream color with no black rather than the usual bright white.

    Reply
  14. rkwatson123@aol.com'
    R Watson
    February 21, 2016 at 6:29 pm (1 year ago)

    Just had our first (and most likely only) litter. 4 white/4 badger. Absolutely GORGEOUS markings.

    Reply
  15. melindastrain23@gmail.com'
    Kylie
    April 26, 2016 at 9:10 am (10 months ago)

    Love the pictures of the pups! So adorable, thanks for the post!

    Reply
  16. karmab1971@gmail.com'
    Karma
    May 25, 2016 at 9:42 pm (9 months ago)

    I hear this all the time. My girl, Maggie May, is a badger marked gal with brown tipped ears and a brown patch over one eye. Most people will ask me if what she is, or if she is a Great Pyrenees mix. But she is pure GP. And beautiful. I try to briefly and kindly educate them that, no, she is full great pyr and it is called badger markings. Some of them just look at me with skepticism. But, oh well.

    Reply
  17. gkell1971@gmail.com'
    Glen
    June 9, 2016 at 12:15 pm (9 months ago)

    My Bella has the badger markings and people are always asking what she is mixed with. She has a blond spot on her tail and freckles on her back. Her ears are smokey blond. And her nose has a blond bridge.

    Reply
  18. cocomuttspaw@gmail.com'
    Sommer
    September 22, 2016 at 10:10 pm (5 months ago)

    I adopted a 4mo old pup from a shelter that looks 100% Pyr except one thing; coat. He does have coloring on his head and tail which is normal. BUT his whole body appears to be a cream color and you can faintly see pure white socks. Can this be normal or does it suggest a mix?

    Reply
  19. lashakker@gmail.com'
    Kim
    October 19, 2016 at 9:42 am (4 months ago)

    So adorable, thanks for the share! Love this breed of dog!

    Reply
  20. skmcdon@hotmail.com'
    shelby mcdonald
    December 12, 2016 at 7:22 pm (2 months ago)

    I just had a coworker tell me that the local vet said that if a pyr dog had any color on it that it was not a pure breed.

    Reply

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