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! 😉
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?