Warning: This is a rant post. I’m sure I’ll get some comments that strongly disagree, but I digress. If you don’t like rants, click away. I’ll see you on another day 🙂
Recently, a story came out about a Great Pyrenees mix that froze to death in the owner’s backyard. I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve seen stating, “See, double coated breeds shouldn’t be left out either!”
Now, I’m not advising to leave your dog outside just because he has a double coat. This story is beyond horrific and I’m heartbroken to see this happen to a dog. I’m saying to look at this story as more than just the dog froze to death.
Look at the picture of the dog. Does he look like he is well-taken care of? Does he look like he had a person that loved him unconditionally?
No. The “owner” has already been charged with animal cruelty twice.
While the article states he’s a Great Pyrenees mix, there’s no way to tell the dog’s actual coat type – especially with all those mats. In order for a double-coated breed’s coat to function effectively, it should be taken care of at mat-free. The insulating undercoat does just that – insulates the dog from the elements. How can it do that if it’s a matted mess?
Great Pyrenees were bred to do a job: guard livestock. The pyr would not be a very good livestock guardian if he came into the house when it got cold. That’s why they have a very thick undercoat.
Once again, I’m not suggesting that a pyr should be left out just because of the double coat. Responsible owners of LGDs ALWAYS have shelter available for their dog. It may be a warm barn outside, but it is a place for the dog to retreat and escape the elements.
For the most part, Great Pyrenees LOVE the cold. Mauja and Atka absolutely, positively will not come inside, regardless of the temperature. We’ve seen temperatures in the negatives with an even colder windchill and I still have to go outside and physically bring them in. They have zero interest in coming into the house. When they are inside, they are pawing at the door asking to go back out.
Many dogs do not have a thick undercoat and should not be left out in these frigid temperatures at all. Their bodies were not meant to handle the weather.
Many double-coated dogs are not “left outside”. After 15 minutes of the owner trying to get the dog’s fluffy butt inside, the owner finally gave up and let the dog do what he wanted. He chose to be outside.
Responsible owners ensure their dog has proper shelter from the elements. Crap owners leave their dog outside without shelter and completely unprotected. Responsible owners allow their dogs to go out if they want but monitor them to ensure safety. Crap owners force their dog outside when he obviously wants to be inside.
Situations like this are horrible and my heart hurts every time I hear about them. However, please stop condemning people that allow their double-coated breed to choose where he wants to be. If the dog is happy and monitored, that’s all that should matter.