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?

28 comments on “Great Pyrenees Badger Marks”

  1. 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?

    • 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.

    • We adopted our 3-year-old Great Pyr gal on 1/1/17. She is pretty much pure white, a little bit of pale gray and tan on her ears. We’ve noticed lately that she is starting to show more very faint color: tan on her rump above her tail, more tan on her head between her ears, and even a big, very light tan spot on her side! She has been starting to blow her coat – wondering if that’s making the color show more.

      Whatever colors she decides to wear, we adore our sweet girl. 🙂

  2. 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.
    .

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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?

  14. 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.

  15. I always thought Prys were pure white too. These photos are so adorable! I love these puppies with their cute little badger marks. Thanks for sharing.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

Leave a Reply to Jazzy Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *