5 Things I Wish People Knew About Great Pyrenees (before bringing one home)

Many people purchase/adopt dogs or puppies without understanding the breed traits and the Great Pyrenees is certainly no exception to this. These irresistible balls of white fluff are stunning, adorable, and are always crowd favorites. Not to mention they are gentle, loving, devoted, and loyal companions. However, the Great Pyrenees is not like most other dogs. Many pyrs are surrendered when surprised owners experience some breed-specific traits. Before anyone adds a pyr to their family, I wish they knew these five things.

1. Great Pyrenees bark. A lot. Usually around 6 months, a Great Pyrenees will find his voice and begin his job of guarding and protecting. Unlike most guard dogs, they are not “attack” dogs. Great Pyrenees will very rarely attack and typically only as a last resort. They prefer to scare off predators by intimidation through barking and their extra large size. Because pyrs have very sensitive hearing, they are able to detect the faintest sounds from miles away. A Great Pyrenees will let you know he has heard something and bark until he feels the threat is gone. A pyr’s guarding instinct does not lessen when the sun goes down. In fact, it increases. The Great Pyrenees is nocturnal by nature in order to safeguard his flock during vulnerable hours. Patience and a proper nighttime routine are critical to overcoming this in house dogs.

2. Obedience is not a priority. I have seen several articles circulate recently stating that the Great Pyrenees is one of the dumbest dog breeds. This couldn’t be further from the truth. As a livestock guardian, a Great Pyrenees had to learn to work independently from humans. An adult, working pyr does not need to be told how to do his job and this translates to house pyrs as well. Pyrs like to do things at their own pace and on their own time. While you may see a Golden Retriever plop into a ‘down’ in half a second, a pyr will take his time to slowly position his body. Being off-leash is typically not an option for this breed as well. Their independence causes them to roam and only a fence can keep them contained. You cannot teach a pyr to stay on your property as he feels his property is as far as he can wander.

3. Maturity doesn’t occur until about 3 years of age. Maturity refers to your dog’s mental capacity, not energy level (an energetic dog is not necessarily an immature dog). Giant breeds take much longer to mature than average sized dogs. For example, a one-year-old medium to large breed and a three-year-old giant breed have very similar levels of mental maturity. A Great Pyrenees can reach a triple-digit weight before even turning a year old; a 100+ pound puppy is not for everyone! Since pyrs mature very slowly and have little interest in obedience, they can be a challenge. It’s not uncommon for me to ask a pyr to sit, only to have the dog look at me, walk five feet away, and then slowly lower himself into a sit. I always tell people that if you don’t have a sense of humor with your young Great Pyrenees, you’ll never survive 😉

4. Grooming is a must. Once a Great Pyrenees gets his adult coat (around 6-8 months), weekly brushings are essential. A pyr’s coat is remarkable in that it keeps him warm in the winter and cool in the summer. However, brushing is essential to pull out the dead undercoat that can prevent proper air circulation. Shaving a Great Pyrenees eliminates his ability to regulate his body temperature and also greatly increases risk of sunburn to their fair skin. It’s also important to remember to trim the double dew claws on a regular basis.

5. Getting a Great Pyrenees does not ensure a great livestock guardian. I have seen many people purchase a pyr puppy only to surrender him a few years later because he was not doing his job properly. While instinct is huge, a pyr must have help learning appropriate behavior in guarding his new flock. Typically, this help comes from an older livestock guardian, but humans can assist as well. Regardless of your pyr’s role, LGD or house dog, socialization and training will mold your pyr into an amazing dog.

The Great Pyrenees is a remarkable dog that will always be a part of our family. I absolutely love the breed and the ‘quirks’ they possess. However, many people fall in love with the breed’s beauty rather than their unique traits. If people knew these five traits before adding a Great Pyrenees to their family, far fewer pyrs would be surrendered.

If you have a Great Pyrenees, what do you wish people knew about them beforehand?


265 comments on “So You Want a Great Pyrenees?”

    • I have a Great Pry female and everything you said is true. These are wonderful dogs. I would not have any other kind of dog.

      • My Great Pry Wendy is almost 6, and I’ll have at least one Pyr, preferably 2–a male and female the rest of my life. I forget how beautiful they are because I’m blown away by their emotion/intuitive intelligence. They are truly happiness therapy in a furry white coat. I always feel safe in my home with her on alert to sounds from the yard or street and her big bark from inside my home is enough to deter intruders. She is so gentle with grandkids, and calm (as in stretched out on the floor) when I have company over. Wendy is also very protective of my smaller rescue dog, and races to the rescue anytime the smaller one barks. They must have a 6-foot or higher fenced in yard.

      • I have a female Pyr almost 4 yrs old she is our best friend she has raised all the puppies on our property(we are on 80 acres) none of the puppies are hers we do not have a fully fenced property she never leaves home she is completely content and does not feel the need to wander she only wore a collar and leash during initial training around her perimeter I love my Sarah and would have another Pyr anytime the most trusted reliable dog ever.

      • My 11yo female Great Pyrenees, JuJu, has never gone beyond our property line which is not fenced. She rarely goes several feet from my side. As my husband says, I am her flock…lol. They are one of the most intelligent breed of dogs I have ever had. They definitely do commands on their own time. They do require lots of grooming, so keep that in mind if you decide to bring one of these majestic dogs into your life.

    • my great man is almost 1 year. my son and I love him to pieces. he is definitely part of the family. he does walk around like he owns the place and has since day 1. he is such a excellent dog. he has had his moments like any other puppy. he does not bark at night. he listens to the word no and becomes quite sad when we tell him no..
      he sleeps right next to us in bed all night.
      when we leave during the day I have to open the front window so he can look out the window all day. he is a inside dog and only goes out when it is necessary.
      I actually want to cry when I leave for work in the morning and see him watch me leave in the window.
      we could not ask for better.

      • Hi,
        My name is Sorin,,
        I am curious how is he behaving while he is home alone? Do you find things destroyed, chewed, scratches on things?
        I want to get one to be an indoor dog but I’m concerned about him destroying the leather couches we have. How do you reconcile this two -having a Great Pyr indoor and not having things damaged?

        • Hello, I’ve just read the responses and find them all accurate to my experience. Let me add…I am now sharing my life with a 6 mo. Pyrenees fur-toddler and I am delighted with her.
          As to the couch problem, my fur-toddler has a penchant for expensive chew toys left by myself in a careless or tired moment on a shelf: one pair of Couch eyeglasses (ouch #1), two pair of driving gloves (ouch #2 and 3), one pair of keen sneakers (ouch #4), many rolls of TP and several oven mitts ( loss of these easier to absorb). As for your leather couches, there is a a high probability for them to become maligned by sharp baby dog teeth.
          (as in “Wow what a huge chew toy!”)

          Also the pyrenees paw issue is something to accept and learn to not take personally, but to adapt to very quickly. It’s just such a big paw they don’t realize.

          My pup is so loyal and sweet and sleeps with me at the end of the bed. She sleeps at my feet wherever I go about the house. She has learned to go to her plush lined kennel when I leave for work; we are both a little sad. BTW: Her kennel has no door, it’s not a cage. Inside is 4 washable blankets to fix into a nest. It’s a safe burrow. Sometimes I throw all her 10 faceless plush toys, and wheezy toys in there and she drags them out. A game we have. There are times I tell her to go to her kennel when I catch her sneaking stealthily away with a no-no item.

          Lastly, really if you are very concerned about your decor, I wouldn’t get a puppy. They don’t mature for 3 years…I’ve covered any rug of value and the bottom part of my bed with utility blankets from Harbor Freight. We’ve gone industrial ! I even wrapped the legs of my mid Century table,etc until we get past the 3 year maturing. Like raising a toddler, it’s a lot easier and provides for more carefree fun, to toddler-proof the house. Why worry be happy. I know…corny!
          Best. myself

        • The love of our life Leo, is the sweetest dog I have ever had. During his first year he ate our couch. He didn’t like being left alone inside. He hasn’t ate anymore furniture but when we leave, he definately stays outside!

      • Yes they can because we have a 11 month old pyr and he stays inside our fenced in back yard just fine. Never tried to escape even if we hold the gate open he won’t come out until he’s hooked to his leash.

      • When I adopted my Pyr I could only have him if I had a high fenced in yard so he would be safe. Mine was perfectly content in the yard, but was also content in the house which is where he stayed most of the time. I don’t think training them to stay in a fenced area is an issue as long as the fence is high enough and strong enough to contain them. Besides, they train you, you don’t train them.

      • They do good with fences. The article said a fence is a must. Some people say a 6 foot fence is required for them but that’s not always true. Mine are introduced to their job young and I have an older girl that teaches them the ropes and that’s it’s not ok to jump on the fences. She will knock them off the fence if they try to stand and put paws on the top. Our fence is only 4 feet. Never had one go over. They know what they are protecting is in that fence and that’s where they want to be.

        • Mine as of late have started digging out under the fencing and escaping. We are. Now looking into an electric wire along the bottom.😕

          • We have 2, Bonnie & Clyde. We’ve had the invisible fence since installed about after we got them at 13 weeks old. It works for us! One or the other have gotten out its very very rare. Bonnie will leave and has traveled a 2 blocks away. Clyde stays very close, stopping at the first person he see’ to make a new friend. We adore them. Years ago we bred both Goldens and Shihtzu’s. Let’s just say we trained well, but by far hands down, the Pyranees were simply easy to train. By far the very best dogs on the planet! But they do love to bark! Lol

          • You can lay plywood or particle board strips inside fence line. Apx. 1 and 1/2 foot wide and A long as you want. If the Pyr is standing on the board they can’t scratch at the fence line.

          • Try a fence footer if you have a digger. Basically take wire fencing and bury it along the base of the fence.

        • on this topic: I was told by rancher to walk them around the perimeter of their territory (if definable) several times as they grow up and they will mind that as their ‘job”.
          Fence? I have her in a 4 ft. fence area which I walk her around on leash time to time. It’s ‘held’ her so far. I m still learning.

      • I have an 8 year old Pyr that does not wander off my property (10 acres in the country with 2 horses and another now 14 years old Pyr mix). We do not have a fence. He will come with me if I walk off the property to hike out from the back of the house in to the woods, but does not follow if I leave in a car down our 800 foot drive. I did train him to stay on the property by not allowing him to go past a certain point in the driveway. I would stop the car and say “go home” for several weeks and one day I no longer had to — he would just go lay at the invisible line. As a rescue in very bad shape, he is very attached to me, so it’s pretty impressive that he stays put. I hike 3 to 6 miles every morning before work (from home) and some days he turns back a couple of miles in and goes home by himself (he can be lazy). As an aside but somewhat related — he never goes off the trail. In fact, if I do he gets worried. I did have to train him to not walk in front of me because he got so far ahead that I couldn’t see him and that worried me. They are indeed trainable! And believe me, I am not a dog trainer by any stretch. And a gratuitous comment — he’s a big (140 pounds) lovable blockheaded, gorgeous dog.

        • So we just adopted a 3 year old who lived in the city with his previous owner. We have 10 acres. Do you have and invisible fence and if so does it work for yours? Read so many times it wont work for a pyr. At this point we are debating weather to try to train him on where his boundry is or install an invisible fence

          • We had an acre with an electric fence, both our pyrs obeyed the fence even with deer, fox, etc just outside it. BUT if their collar wore down they would take off. We have since lost those two, but have one male now who would NOT stay in the yard with the electric fence, we did have to put up physical fence. I think it depends on the dog, and maybe how old they are when trained.

      • If you have a good sturdy fence that is tall enough they cannot climb or jump over. Some Pyrs are total escape artists- they will go over, under or through. Others are fine. I have seen Pyrs go THROUGH a chain link fence in minutes. After they have bonded well to you, your family or flock/herd & understand what their territory is- they usually stick around much better. But this can take some time.

    • We have a Pomeranian that when coming in from outside gets a treat. We trained him to come in and sit by an action we use. When we got Winston(big fat white guy) we did a lot of reading in them first. One thing we read was to not train with treats because if they aren’t in the mood for one they won’t do a command. We got him at 7 weeks and weren’t going to give him treats to go potty. But at 8 weeks he came in one day and sat just like our Pomeranian. It was so cute that he observed that and did it himself without being taught How could I say no after that? We knew from that moment we had a special dog. We wanted a large breed dog that wanted to sit beside me and be a “shadow”, a protective, loyal dog. I am retired so I am home with him all of the time. His first trait was separation anxiety. If I stepped into the garage or went to get the mail he would pee at least 2 puddles. I ended up putting him in his house and going out the front door and back in through the garage to a back room to help break that habit. He just wanted to be beside me is all and always having me there it would scare him. He doesn’t pee anymore but he will punch the glass door saying he wants to come out with me. I wished I could train him into going to the garage with me with the door open while I work on my cars. I have been trying to train him on it by bringing him out with me and keeping an eye and my mouth on him so he can get used to his “area” once he decides to take it passed that area I put him back in the house, so he recognizes what happens if he crosses the boundary. I’m not as much of a fan of letting him out front while I am busy in the garage. I am just trying to train him so if I am sitting out there he can sit out there with me and be content.

    • Never having been a dog person I was at a local pet store buying cat food . They had an adoption day going on. I saw these 2 fluffy little puppies one splashing in the water bowl and the other just kicking back in the pin watching what was going on. I asked if I could hold her and the moment they placed her in my arms it was love at first sight. I was told she was a great pyrenees asked what type of dog that was and told a sort of large dog!!!!! Having had a German shepard growing up I thought that size was ok. Did some research when we arrived home. Never expected her to grow it seemed like an inch a day. She went every where with me and yes she got big 120lbs. Yes she barked alot and dug holes and had her silly lovable quirks. She was my protector. At 8 years old I lost her to congenital heart disease broke myheart. I now have 3 Pyrs. all rescued as pups they are 3 years old and wonderful dogs. A handful at times and they have their own stubborn ways and my yard looks like a mind field. They have never jumped my 4ft fence.I can leave the doors and gates open and they won’t leave the house or yard. I love this breed and will always,always have a pry. as they are like no other.

    • I own three of these beauties. One was purchased as a puppy from a breeder. My two ladies are rescued. They are indoor dogs, for the most part. They are never outside unattended. I love them dearly, I do not trust them to not dig out under the fence. For people who want one, keep in mind they shed a lot. Oh and my male drools like a Saint Bernard. Wouldn’t give them up for anything.

    • To me, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. I’ve had 6 Great Pyrenees dogs in my life and I currently have 2. The only thing I agree with is the grooming but you can do a lot of that by yourself. It’s funny you say this. All mine are abedient, never bark, loving, caring and as cute As a button but I guess how your dog is does reflect the trainer and how you trained them. How many do u have? Are u experienced enough to make this proclamation? How did u train urs?

      • I rescued mine. An ad came up for her pups and stated adults available. I saw my girls eyes and was in love. Her and her mate were abandoned she was pregnant and full of worms. She was fostered by a lady who also had Great Pyrenees so she was experienced in the breed. I have had her for just over a week. She sits stays and comes in the house and in my fenced yard… it is 6 feet privacy came with the house. We have yorkies and I have found they are so much a like other than size and shedding. My big Girl listens better and barks less. But I will be honest although she never leaves me and is pretty good on the leash and I have a tether out front. I decided to try her off of it. She sniffed the yard and even though I was right there she still felt the need to visit my neighbours yard. But I am also still learning. And oh yes grooming a must. My yorkies I can shave down but you can’t do that with the wonderful breed. Lol Fur tumble weeds across the floor and that’s with daily brushing and she already had her blow out this spring.

    • Got our Pyr at 6 mos. Just about everything you said is true of her. She was jealous of our daughter, 8 yrs, and whatever she did our dog would do. Like sitting on our lap. Curling up in a chair. She would nip our kid whenever we played soccer, not hard but only the kid. Faith the pyr would bat the soccer ball around with her big paws, she loved the game until about 3 yrs old. She is now 110 lbs + and not fat at all. I thought I was starving her so I’ve been giving her extra but she still seems thin. She loves to dig, eats dirt, barks at everything. When some one walks down the street she races across the yard and throws herself at the fence hanging from her front paws so she can get her head over the fence. When she was young she could climb a 5 foot fence. She is a garbage hound and if given the chance will tear a bag apart and spread it all over the yard. Strictly an outdoor dog she drools year round. I knew she had excellent hearing but she acts deaf when you call. She might wag her tail a bit. Feeding time I make the dogs sit and wait. The lab is sitting before I get the food out but the pry will stand there for long minutes staring at me then finally sit. Like she thinks it is a stupid ritual and I’ll tire of it. We love her to death. She is pig headed and acts like she is the owner of the property. We have two gates and the only time she moves faster than a snail is when people walk by. She’ll race from gate to gate barking like mad. After a day working in the yard I’d sit on a swing chair with a beer and sometimes fall asleep. Something would wake me up and I’d see Faith slowly walking away with my beer out the side of her mouth.

    • “You cannot teach a pyr to stay on your property as he feels his property is as far as he can wander”

      although i somewhat agree with this, our pyrenees was able to learn the territory of our house. we had several acres of land growing up, but compared to the black lab and our 2nd adopted mutt, he was the most obedient.
      later on, we had to move to a much smaller home with a more standard sized yard, and although it took him awhile to figure out where our neighbor’s yard met ours, he did eventually learn it and stay within our bounds.

    • We own a 3 year old great Pyrenees’s . Yeti . He is a lot of work but would not trade him for Any other dog. He gives so much love . He was a 2 year old rescue . He loves attention .

    • I own a 8 Month Pyr but he is already massive, due to his 18% Boxer tho he is slightly smaller then what he could be, and Unlike most pyr’s he loves to play with us in the yard and stays within our large yet not enclosed yard. I would claim that most of these traits would be contributed to his 18% Boxer.

      He is also very friendly with the other neighborhood dogs! He is already almost as large as out neighbors full grown black dog.

    • Hi Great Pyrenees owners.
      I just adopted a female Great Pyrenees from the shelter. She is beautiful but has lots of health issues which I was told by the shelter some quality food and weight gain would restore her to health. Turns out she has Yeast and Bacteria infection of her skin and yeast in her ears and on top of that has giardia! First vet appointment and meds costs me $210 and I have to go back for more test in 10 days and a 50% chance of another round of meds! I am a little overwhelmed at this point and am hoping yeast infections are not a common issue with Great Pyrenees. I feel so bad for her and know that she is very lucky I adopted her, I am one of those who do what is needed regardless of cost, husband not so much. I live in the country and have goats, chickens, horses, cats and 2 other dogs. I am hoping she will have a good life once I get her back to health. She is at least 20lbs underweight as well. Anyone know of Great Pyrenees being predisposed to yeast?

      • Our rescued Pyr had similar issues. They cleared up when we found the correct food. He had food allergies. For him the right food was a dry organic kibble of venison and sweet potatoe, with no grains. Now, that he has been on this for years he can eat other foods and be fine, It took about six months for his ears to clear up.

    • All very true! My sister heard a man say that pyrs are dumb dogs because his would not fetch. I laughed and said, my pup is no simple pup, she needs something that takes some brain activity! I’m very saddened by how many of these sweet babies are abandoned! People definitely need to read up before getting one. Great advice

    • We have a Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Sheppard mix. He is beautiful. He is about 100 lbs and 10 months old tomorrow. He has access to the house but only comes in to eat, then back out. He has over 11 acres to roam and a river that he absolutely loves when we go. We get the golf cart or four wheeler and he knows it’s time to open the gate to go to the river to fish with my husband. Twice he did not come when my husband called but he was waiting at the gate when we went back about 20 minutes later. My husband was not happy and he tied him up to our fence by the house for about an hour. He never spanked him or anything. Just gave him the silent treatment. Our dog didn’t like being ignored at all and hasn’t done it sense. He runs around down by the river, but always is checking back in and always comes when called now. Great dog! Sits, shakes and lays down on command. Loves playing fetch and tug of war with his toys. Very smart. Very gentle with all ages. Instinctively started guarding our goats at about 3 months old. Only barks if he hears/feels a threat. Doesn’t jump on you either but does lean on you to “herd” you where he would like you to go. You tell him no and he stops. We did use a push button shock collar early on but only had to use it once after giving him the warning sound. We tested on ourselves first. It was on low and only got your attention. Then only used warning sounds after vocal commands for about a week and then he was good. But only leave on them for a few hours at a time. They are the most loving and incredible dogs ever.

    • She drools, she sheds all over the place, she tracks in dirt, leaves, and twigs, she barks and barks and barks. She doesnt listens to me unless it suits her. But i wouldnt trade her for the world because my Máire is the sweetest most worderful dog in the world.

  1. It’s so important for people to do their research before deciding on any breed of dogs, and I think even more so when it comes to working breeds. Great information, Kelsie!

  2. I hope people read this before deciding to get a Pyr; I couldn’t imagine most people would be the “right” fit for them. You do an amazing job at telling it like it is and I certainly admire your dedication to such a wonderful breed that I myself would be scared to own 🙂 They’re truly remarkable but definitely not for everyone.

    • So often people ask me if their pyr puppy will grow out of a few habits and they’re baffled when I say it’s just the beginning. I always want people to realize there’s more to them than their good looks 😉

  3. Our family includes two Pyrs – and your article is right on point. I would only add that they also love to dig!!! The section of our property that is fenced in for our Pyrs has many holes, both large and small. I have owned dogs all my life and have never had a dog as smart and as independent as a Great Pyrenees. I would also add that they are probably not a good choice as a first dog or for a family that lives in a close suburban/urban neighborhood where barking could be a problem.

    • Agreed! I contemplated adding digging, but decided I would include that in another post 🙂 We put a digging box in our backyard that has greatly reduced our craters. I always cringe when I hear that someone’s first dog is a pyr. Most giant breeds, especially pyrs, are not good for first-time owners.

      • How do you build a digging box? My girls love to dig. They have finally stopped digging under the fence, but I would love to give them a place that it is OK for them to dig. We live in the south and they seem to dig mostly to reach cooler earth toe lie in. They have access to water and shade, but they also like the cool earth. Thanks!

      • Seriously? You had a Pyr that would sit (at all) on command? lol Our beloved Pyr would walk away, turn around to let us know that yes, she heard the command, and then slowly amble away to lie down in the shade. She’d look at as if to say “You’re kidding, right?”

        • we have s 6 month old pyr and she will sit and lay down on command. she also does what is called bang “pretend to be shot” i can post if anyone doesn’t believe it. we got her saying it was a golden retriever mix, but vet said its a great Pyrenees. she is so lovable, but wants to rule the house with a 12 yr old golden retriever that wont give in. in other words we still have more to learn about our surprise.

          • Hey Chez! I would love to hear more about your experience. We also thought we were getting a golden retriever. We purchased an English Cream Golden Retriever from the breeder and later learned it was a scam. The vet told us that our guy is a Great Pyr. as well. Would love any info you can share! Our puppy is just 10 weeks, but growing like crazy. We are trying to quickly decide what to do since this is not what we intended to have. Thanks in advance!! 🙂

          • At 6 months old i had only heard my GP bark twice for very good reasons. When he barked i had never been standing next to him, he was outside and i was inside. As soon as he reached 7 month’s he barked while i was standing next to him while i was letting him outside at night and he barked at some people that were in my yard i hadn’t noticed yet. It was so loud it felt like someone had hit me in the chest. It scared me pretty bad since i wasnt expecting it and as i looked up i noticed what was going on. Since that he has started barking a lot more at people so I’d say this article is pretty accurate. He is by far the BEST dog I’ve EVER OWNED. This article couldn’t be more true

        • I lived on a dirt road with very little traffic. I could have my door opened and and Chica would sit, down and stay, with the door opened. The moment I released her from the stay she ran out the door and all bets were off. She liked going up a steep driveway to the christmas tree farm and I would end up visiting them, Then she would follow my car down to my house. She follows commands sometimes.

        • I had a pyr for 11 years. She was the smartest. I got her at 3 mos. from a no kill shelter. Who ever had her trained her to sit on command or before she would be pet, stay, lay down and how to walk on a leash. She also sat and waited to be told it was okay to eat her dinner. I never had to train her at all. She walked without a leash and stayed no more than 5 feet in front of me. We lived in a very rural area. As far as a fence, 6 foot and she never dug or tried to get out. She was awesome around kids and the Chihuahua was the boss of the house and the my pry was her couch! I am looking for a pyr now as mine passed 2 years ago. They are the smartest affectionate dog and I will only own pyrs from now on. I also had a Doberman that was awesome as well with all the same capabilities mentioned above..but after having my pyr, there is not other

          • I would like to add that they are definitely guards of the pack. Mine would deliberately stand between her pack humans and anyone! Literally, especially with kids. She would be there by their side and have none of anyone getting to close to the kids. She would plant herself in between any one that was not the family and one of us. She was always alert to everyone. She obeyed the command that it was ok, but not for one minute would she take her eyes off what was going on or come over and make her presence known. With that said, she was very approachable, friendly, good with other dogs, but very protective. I was very happy having her around and felt very safe with her. I miss her so much.

          • i have a young male looking for a home has some training…….i was asked to take him in by the breeder he was a preemie…..now he’s about 3 months healthy and looking for a pyr home…..he is a very special boy….

    • I have a rescue pyr and don’t know how I did without her before. The most intelligent, emotionally intuitive dog ever, calm and gentle. At times goofy and playful, and yes they bark to protect their property and people and other house pets.
      Night barking is the biggest problem, and a good neighbor always considers others in the neighborhood and keeps “curfew” time for when dogs have to be inside for the night. I do not worry about intruders with a pyr around–the bad guys will go somewhere else for sure.

      • I agree about the curfew completely! When it gets dark outside they go into hyper mode and are just so much more aware of every little thing. I bring them in about 10:00. They do bark a little in the house but they settle down. I love knowing that they will make noise if anyone tried to break in. I love my 2 girls, they have stolen my heart.

    • Yes, we discovered that no matter how big a water bowl we put our for our pyrs, they prefer ground water to tap water and will dig holes in the yard so that the ground water will fill in the hole and give them plenty to drink despite my offering! We just refill any holes as we clean up after the dogs to prevent “ankle breakers.” They don’t dig all the time, just occasionally. Love our pyrs gentleness!

    • I was scrolling through these replies looking for a comment on digging oh my gosh do they dig. My First pyr was a retired show dog he was eight years old when I got him. Unbelievably well trained and good manners except for fences and digging so this is such a great article

    • At 6 months old i had only heard my GP bark twice for very good reasons. When he barked i had never been standing next to him, he was outside and i was inside. As soon as he reached 7 month’s he barked while i was standing next to him while i was letting him outside at night and he barked at some people that were in my yard i hadn’t noticed yet. It was so loud it felt like someone had hit me in the chest. It scared me pretty bad since i wasnt expecting it and as i looked up i noticed what was going on. Since that he has started barking a lot more at people so I’d say this article is pretty accurate. He is by far the BEST dog I’ve EVER OWNED. This article couldn’t be more true

  4. Keep a drool towel handy. Not a drool RAG. A towel.
    The inside of a Pyr’s head is about 10% brain and 90% drool gland. They are really sweet, and one of the best dogs on earth…but they slobber. A lot.

    • I was going to mention the drool issue also. My 18 month old is a constant slobber and since he is so tall we are constantly wearing drool too :). The one year old does not drool anywhere near as much.

  5. Love the article. As someone has already said it is very important to research the breed of any dog before bringing it home. I got mine because someone didn’t do that and he was on his way to the pound.
    One thing I would add is to remember their size. The bottom jaw of my dog reaches the top of my kitchen table. Combine that with independent nature and I have on occasion ended up with missing food. Additionally he needs a wide radius to turn around and when he goes to sit by me he ends up sitting on me (which may be on purpose). To get him to move can be a chore in itself. Even with all that he is a great companion and very devoted to all members of his “pack”; human and animal alike.

    • Atka likes to set his chin on the counter right next to the food. So far nothing has been stolen, but it’s definitely something to pay attention to! I don’t think you can find a breed more devoted than a Great Pyrenees 🙂

  6. I would like to remind people that they get very big and slobbering A LOT. They also shed ALOT too. Its best to have them outside. They are wonderful dogs and very loyal. Our duke is 10 years old and still going strong. He loves the outside and has no interest in coming in. Believe me I’ve tried when its so hot outside. We wouldn’t trade him for the world.

      • OR, the route we took: NO carpeting. At all. Daily sweeping is easier. Also, a dedicated ‘dog car’, separate from the ‘go to work car’, to minimize the dog hair as an accessory.

        • Very smart! We currently live in military housing so we didn’t get to choose flooring, but we probably won’t have much carpet in the future!

  7. I would also add that, every one of these big pups are very different. I thought, after our beloved Pyr went to heaven that, another puppy from the same stock would have the same personality, bot was that wrong. I love our 2 yr old even though she is far more dominate and requires more of an alpha out of me.

  8. Wonderful post, Kelsie! Good to know info for anyone that loves the way Pyrs look but haven’t yet investigated what they’re really like to have in your home. Your blog is such a valuable resource for anyone that owns these gorgeous dogs. 🙂

    • Thank you so much 🙂 I’m really trying to narrow my focus and help educate people about this wonderful breed. They’ve captured my heart, but they are definitely not for everyone!

  9. Just a thought for people who have never been owned by a Pyr.
    If they believe you need guarding, they will do so, like it or not! Our 3rd Pyr, Mac, guards us from the front as we go down the hallway. There’s no rushing him, and he’s constantly looking over his shoulder to make sure we’re ok.

  10. DIET is so so important for them right from the beginning.
    Yes they do need supervision
    NO you cant raise them inside then toss them outside and expect them to “work”

  11. Pyrs can be very sensitive, and moody when they feel they have been “wronged”. We have fostered 3 pyrs who have not exhibited this trait, though that may just be because they are not as attached to us.

    Our boy, however, will sulk and pout when disciplined. It’s actually somewhat adorable, though that’s probably not the effect he’s going for.

    • Oh, they are SO sensitive! My male is a big, sensitive baby. I always have to be careful that I don’t upset him accidentally. One day I tripped over him (because he was taking up the entire walkway!) and he looked at me with the saddest face. My female is more moody, but isn’t that the way it tends to be? 😉

  12. We have 3 Pyrs, all rescues. Our two girls don’t drool as much as our male. You do need a towel near you all of the time, or you’ll have that gluey, sticky drool all over you, and you’re home. Think of Hooch, in Turner & Hooch! Our male will shake his head and the drool goes everywhere. However, it’s simple to clean and now I can’t imagine my life without it, or them. A great family dog, we have 3 special needs children.

    • My female is much “cleaner” than my male as well, but drool still happens! Last night, our male shook his head and got slobber on me, our TV, and the board game we were playing, haha. I couldn’t imagine my life without pyrs either 🙂

      Atka is working on his therapy dog certification where I hope to work with military members with PTSD and individuals with special needs. I used to work with kiddos with autism so that area is near to my heart. Both of my pyrs are absolutely amazing with people, especially children. Definitely an amazing family dog!

      • A story about my formerly LGD Pyr: My autistic grandson ‘wandered’ into the goat pen (all of which have horns, and included the bucks). I’m frantic looking for him. Rosie (Kuvasz) is sitting on top of the hill in her usual spot looking for trouble with Ezme (Pyr) walking alongside the boy.

        • I also have a Kuvasz and a pyr… puppies at this point in time, but will be my property and home guardians as they mature. Do you find your Kuvasz has more energy than the Pyr, Jan?

          • Hi Teresa. Buck and Alom? There is a 2 year difference between my youngest Kuvasz and my Pyr, who is still in that puppy stage at 1 year. They play together nicely. I’ll let you know when they are both adults, but from what I was told by someone I trust with experience with both is that what you suspect is true.

  13. I thought the article was wonderful. We live on a large farm with goats, chickens, sheep and geese. We have 8 pyrs. Everything you said was on point. I am amazed when people have them for only pets. They enjoy working, running, barking and being just a little hardheaded. hehehehe

    • A little? 😉 Mine are pets, but they definitely still do their job! We’re working on therapy certifications for them as they are just amazing with people. Essentially, they will still work, just in a different way 🙂

  14. Great post! Actually, if you take away the size and color difference, many of these things sound like a Yorkie, especially the obedience not being a priority thing. LOL.

  15. The strength in my Pyr is incredible and can be dangerous. Never expected how strong he would be. When he gets in the mood on our walks to check out every mailbox it means I may be lifted off my feet as he lunges for the post. He also gets playful and runs at me and drops and rolls right before my feet. If his timing is off and he hits me it can be quite painful. Definitely not the best dog for everyone but I do love him dearly!!

    • They are quite strong! My male is typically very well-behaved, but he will do a similar thing on walks. Sometimes he smells something that he must get to RIGHT NOW. It could really injure someone if they’re not prepared for it.

  16. Great points for anyone thinking about owning a Great Pyrenees! While I’ve read that they can be barkers, mine rarely barked. I would add that they need a yard and family to patrol. Like all working dogs, they need a job and love being outside. Pyrs are not apartment dogs, or dogs that you can crate all day while you are at work. They will suffer ongoing anxiety without the proper environment… Also, as mentioned, they can never be off leash. Many people blamed me for not training my pyr to “come,” but it truly is a breed-specific behavior! They are fantastic, gentle dogs but people should definitely do their research before scooping up that fluffy little puppy.

    • I have heard a very few people (probably four including yourself) say their pyr rarely barked. It can definitely happen, but certainly isn’t the majority. I wonder what it would be like to have a pyr that doesn’t bark? 😉 You’re absolutely right about “come’ as it is definitely the most difficult command for a pyr. “Because I said so” doesn’t cut it with this breed!

      • My pyr also does not bark, in fact I’ve only ever actually heard her bark a few times and it was just a split second. I always find it crazy to hear they usually do. She does drool and dig however. 😉

      • We got a 3 year old rescued pry, we have had him only 8 days, I have always had black labs, Marley is our pry and he is very protective and a very loving dog. How is the best way to introduce Marley to strangers? He is not happy when a stranger comes into our house. I am very concerned as we have 4 grandchildren and I would hate for something bad to happen when they come to visit. Thank you for your advice.

    • Thank you so much! I was a bit nervous since they are still so young, but I was very proud of them 🙂 You’re absolutely right that research is essential before getting any dog. I know there are many breeds that I would not be equipped to handle 😉

  17. One of the best pieces I’ve seen on these wonderful dogs. Every single thing is so true. If you need a livestock guardian, be sure to get your dog from a working farm where they’ve grown up with parents who guard. Especially if you have chickens. Puppies who have lived around chickens or baby Alpacas will likely be good at guarding any species.

    • Thank you so much for the kind words 🙂 I wasn’t aware of the benefits of puppies being raised around chickens, but that makes perfect sense. Thanks for the insight!

    • What I liked about your post and made sense, a born into working dog-line versus a born into house-pet. I believe the one will have strong desire to go to work independantly watching livestock, while the other will want to watch the kids and keep them from harm.

  18. Pyrs MUST be socialized with other dogs and humans, and they MUST not be allowed to be the Alpha….a properly raised Pyr will never attack another human or dog unless there is real danger. One of my favorite memories is enjoying a picnic with other Pyr owners and everyone, human and dog alike, sat peacefully and quietly enjoying the day…no growling, no yelling to get down, etc. They are wonderful family members!

    • They really are great family members. I have seen so many pictures of these amazing picnics where pyr owners can get together. Unfortunately, that doesn’t exist in our area so I am very jealous! You are absolutely right that proper socialization and boundaries are essential. If you do both of those things, you will have a truly amazing companion 🙂

  19. This is a great article! These are the types of things I wish people would learn about any animal they are considering bringing into their home. I didn’t know any of this! It sounds like they have a few cat-like qualities (which is a good thing in my book). 🙂

  20. Mine was very independent t ~ she gave me the outside signal and cried until she could take her gaurd post outside the front door rain or snow. This was breed specific and I was not able to train her out of it. She told me she was an outdoor dog and would be out in the rain gaurding under a tree or the front door instead of the open garage or open barn where it was dry and I made bedding for her.

    • They definitely love to be outside. I have to force mine in a lot – especially when we have negative temperatures in the winter! Mauja likes to bat the door with her paw when she wants outside. I have nice scratches on the wall next to it 😉

      • You must also be in physical shape. When your GP is done walking, they will plop down and you must carry them back home. Also, you will learn to NEVER leave anything on the counter…NEVER. They like to surf. Amazing breeds but it is a full-time job to own one. Worth every second

        • Haha! I have definitely had a done walking plop. Surprisingly, we haven’t had any counter surfing. I know I’m lucky in that department though 😉

          • We have two, Rufus and Maggie Mae. Rufus decided this week to surf the counter and decided I didn’t need my Animal Crackers…yummy! They are so sweet, unique, beautiful and we’re always laughing at their antics. Maggie though…if you need a hole dug, I’ll lend her out.

  21. Very well said. I love the Pyrenees but they are a little more dog than I believe I could handle. People have got to invest more time in researching BEFORE they bring a dog home. This was good, very good.

  22. We lost our big guy in Feb, he was almost 12 years old, he matured around 2 years almost over night. He was over sized for the breed about 34″ at the shoulders and 175lbs. He was a rescue and the owner come and checked out the house and property, gave us a book to read and made sure we understood what we were getting into, with Peyton. He was wonderful companion and it is sad that people don’t check out the breed before they get one, love the breed and would get another if I could.

    • Wow – you definitely had a big guy! I’m so glad to hear the rescue took the time to make sure he would be a good fit and that he ended up being a wonderful companion 🙂

  23. What a great article. I’ve never personally known a Great Pyrenees, but I have seen one. It was a coffee house. Someone had brought their dog in and someone else said, “There’s a Great Pyrenees.” Not having heard of that type of dog before, I thought he was admiring some woman’s “great pair o’ knees.” Some people have their vices, you know? Lol. Anyway, I’ve learned a lot from you today. They sound like a big, sweet kid. 🙂 All the best to you.

  24. This is a great article and it is so important to know a breed before you invest your time and love into them. Most people think Basset Hounds are dumb and the Hushpuppy ads never help. I prefer to think of our breeds are “deep-thinkers” ☺

  25. I have raised and trained my share of dogs, but I could not help getting my first Pyr, 7 weeks old from a Amish farmer who had a few. I am reading all of these comments with fascination of this unique breed and I look forward to having a large friend in the house!

      • Thank you! I am glad I found a site like this with like-minded people who are glad to help. My last big dog was a Newfie/Giant Schnauzer mix, what a handful, but would not trade away a day I spent with him!

  26. Love this post. I get so many people who ask me about the Dogo, and a handful of times I can tell they have no researched the breed. So I have been putting together a similar post about the Dogo, as well as compiling info from the owners on the Dogo Argentino USA Facebook page.

    I just love those fluffies. I can’t remember, which brush do you use to groom them again?

  27. Please don’t yell at your Pyr to stop barking because you don’t see or hear something OR when “strangers” are around – like the meter reader. You may think the pyr is being overly protective but they are doing their job.

    • Fantastic point. Yelling never works and it really harms their sensitive personalities. I always go over to them, thank them for doing their job, give them a quick pet, and tell them everything is fine. That method has worked best for me 🙂

      • I agree with you about – not yelling at the doggie to shut up, that’s rude! They surely need to know that everything is ok. After all – they are just doing their job! They are precious and need to be treated that way!

      • I clap my hands loudly and shout “Hush”, which may or may not stop the barking. Mostly I just pause the TV until whoever is on the street is past the driveway.

  28. My Karma got out of the fence in January, and it took three months to find her. As to their sensitivity, it took her a couple of weeks to be “at home” again. I’m afraid to think of what she went through. She had lost 30 lbs. when we found her but she knew me, and was so ready to go home. During our search for her, I saw a very sad, frightened girl in a shelter. Someone thought it was Karma, so I went to investigate. No one was claiming this poor baby, so I adopted her to prevent her from being killed. Now, the two girls are inseparable. They can show their feelings so well in their expressions, grinning when they know that they are going to be bad, pouting when they are reprimanded, and smiling when I tell them that I love them. They are like working with a very large strong-willed child and you HAVE to win!

    • Oh my gosh, I’m so glad you were able to find her and thank you for opening your home to another baby. Two pyrs are better than one 😉

  29. I loved your post and agree wholeheartedly with your advice and perspective on the Great Pyrenees breed! I grew up with the breed (we had 4 living in our home at one time) and although my dad got them with the intention that they would be guard dogs for our goats and other livestock, my mom pretty much immediately brought them into the house and they never went back out “into the field” after that. We became their “herd” and I can’t imagine my childhood without them! Our male was definitely the most obedient of the group and I can’t imagine a more loyal, protective but extraordinarily gentle dog. One of our females, however, was not quite as subtle in her guarding tactics which is why my mom replaced all bottom windows in the house with Plexiglass in order to prevent her from jumping through another window to get to whatever perceived threat she saw, heard, or sensed! When I met my husband (years after the last of my childhood Great Pyrenees had passed on), I was beyond surprised and overjoyed to find out that he was the proud dad of one of the most beautiful Great Pyrenees I had ever laid eyes on! I always tell people that I fell in love with his dog before I feel in love with my husband ! However I quickly found out that my husband was (according to Jackson, the GP) the only human he felt the need to obey! I have no doubt that Jackson would have risked his own life to save mine if necessary but he “tolerated” me while he adored and followed my husband’s commands without question! He was a certified therapy dog and always turned heads when in public! The Great Pyrenees breed will always hold a large place in my heart and the shared reverence and love that my husband and I have for them is a unique, special bond that we hold dear. As a side note, I wanted to add that another thing potential and current owners of the breed should be aware of is the potential for cartilage defects such as osteochondrosis, dyschondroplasia, osteochondritis, or osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) especially in the shoulder which is usually seen in 4-10 month-old, rapidly growing, large to giant breeds. The cause is unknown but genetics, mineral imbalances, and trauma are some of the suspected culprits. Both my childhood male GP and my husband’s GP had shoulder OCD (more common in males) and had surgery performed at Texas A&M University’s veterinary teaching hospital. Just an FYI for anyone with a young Great Pyrenees that has variable lameness and/or stiffness after long periods of rest +/- swelling of the joint.

    • How lucky to have grown up with the breed! I can see a little of mine in your descriptions 🙂 Great thing to note about the potential health problems. People often want their giant breed to become large as quick as possible, but that definitely has consequences for the dog. Thank you for the great tip for people to be aware of and pay attention to.

  30. My parents have a Pyr named Maggie. They got her at a yard sale an elderly lady was having. They had no intention of getting another dog after our Collie/Shepard mix died. Maggie rarely barks, loves to roam and she will even knock you over when she wants attention. I love her so much. I enjoy coming home and seeing her every few months. She does drool! This is the only dog my parents have ever let inside the house. She loves it when my dad rubs his feet all over her.

  31. a couple of other things I want people to know about a Great Pyreness is they love to dig. They can be great fence climbers and should they get loose they will run. So by knowing this inadvance you should make sure you have a good fence and you have your dog tagged and micro chipped.

    • Ah, yes. Digging is a big one! We built a digging box which has greatly minimized the damage to our yard. Microchipping is also a must – especially for this roaming breed 🙂

  32. We adopted our Pyr after she was surrendered to a local Pyr rescue at 9 months old because she was afraid of the sheep she was supposed to be guarding. She is now a beautiful 3 year old who excels at her ‘job’ of being a Love Bug Couch Potato. She is an indoor dog – loves her daily walks and being in the fenced yard for playtime with her fur brothers, but she would rather be inside with us (all of our dogs are). Yes, she sheds (a lot), loves to be brushed though, which is a nice bonding time for us. She is very comical, makes us laugh every day, especially as she thinks she’s a 10 pound dog rather than 110 pounds! She is our first Pyr, and we’re completely in love w/ her – and hooked on the breed. Love them, but you’re wise to point things out. If you know what you’re in for and can work with your dog’s idiosyncrasies (any breed), you’ll have a happy family member for sure.

    • Is there any better job than being a Love Bug Couch Potato? 🙂 How awesome that she loves to be brushed! Mine tolerate it, but look at me like I’m torturing them. Your absolutely right that every breed has traits that need to be known beforehand. I hope people will research rather than make impulse decisions.

  33. This is truly a stupendous article and I hope that breeders and rescues pick it up and circulate it. Thankfully I’m a nerd and did a lot of research on the breeds we were considering, however, if someone handed me a Pyr puppy, I would be in heaven, because they’re gorgeous. I would have been completely unprepared.

    Thank you for taking the time to write this piece.

    • It has quickly become my number 1 post and I’m extremely ecstatic about it. I just hope it reaches the people it needs to. Unfortunately, most people are very unprepared when bringing home a pyr. The surrender rate during adolescence is astronomical and almost always refers to typical pyr traits. They’re gorgeous and absolutely amazing dogs, but they do require a lot of work 🙂

  34. Ever thing is more expensive for giant breeds. Make sure you have a giant budget to take care of them.

    • Such a great point! From food, to beds, to vet medications/treatments, everything is definitely more expensive. Anyone wanting a giant breed definitely needs to be prepared for the extra expense.

  35. I wished more people researched their breed! It infuriates me when people get Dachshunds and expect them to be a lazy, content lapdog. They’re hunters, and are essentially both a hound and a terrier.
    LGDs, while undeniably beautiful, have never been for me because I know we wouldn’t be a good fit! People need to be more honest with themselves and their expectations when they look into breeds.

  36. We have our second Great Pyrenees. Although each dog is different in certain ways, you are right in the major characteristics you listed. You have to be ok with vacuuming all the time but everything is so worth it. They are the most amazing, loving breed.

  37. We have an almost 6 year old male pyr. He has so many things about him that we love!! He has these human traits that crack me up. These dogs can be stubborn and do things on their own time. Our pyr thinks he is a lap dog and is always wanting to lay in our lap. He also drools a lot! He does have major separation anxiety too! When he gets lonely in the house, he will take things off the kitchen counter and put them on his bed. He love play time and actually will play fetch. He is also amazing with our two cats. That is one reason we got a pyr was because of how good their demeanor is with cats. Our Persian loves him!! They are a handful as puppies and we had to break some habits by crate training our boy (after he peed and pooped all over the house and tore the linoleum up in the kitchen). I wouldn’t trade him for anything though! He is the sweetest baby and truly a member of our family.

  38. So glad that you wrote this, and I hope it gets around! It makes me so mad that people get puppies without understanding the breed and commitment. I sure hope that someone who was considering a Pyr reads this and realizes it may not be the breed for them.

      • The lady who founded Fuzzy Friends Rescue here said so many people adopt cute puppies, only to surrender them a few months later with the comment “it’s just so big”. People have to have room for the dog, but must also remember that big is relative to temperament, energy level, destructive tendencies, etc. I’ll take a calm, gentle giant over a small, high-strung, nervous snapper/yapper 24/7/365.

  39. Just like Goldens, there are lots of Pyreness in my town. Unfortunately, their owners are very protective of them. We’ve seen them have a mini gathering by the dog beach park. They are very mellow and love their fur.
    We missed seeing you at BP. We had to cancel last minute. For sure you guys had a great time (except for the tick, no hope you guy got some ONP Spray) Golden Woofs

    • I’ve heard of the pyr rescue in the Chicago area being very active together. I was definitely bummed that we didn’t get to meet you. Next year? 🙂

  40. I love my Pyrenees !!! I inherited her when she was 8 months- I had always had German shepherds!! Very different breeds!! However I did my research – and I agree with you- people need to know these things about the breed, my girl is so awesome and sweet and I am so stinking proud of her!!! It took work but I can leave her off the leash! She is 6 now, but this was a must with me- and I can and do let her go without the leash!! Awesome breed!!! Love my girl!

  41. We have a GP and a Husky…I must be a glutton for punishment 🙂 I learned about GP’s about 10 years ago, studied the breed before we rescued her at 4 months old and have never had a better dog. She is literally my shadow, if I get up she follows me, she guards my daughter when I say, “Go watch the baby” and is my husband’s buddy (she feels safe rough housing with him). I highly recommend this breed and thoroughly back-up what you say in regard to the work involved. They are a bit of a challenge, but it’s one of those situations where you know the pay off WILL be worth every second.

    Sidenote: Since we are her herd she wanted to be inside. So I trained her on boundaries by using baby gates in the house (doing the same with our Husky now) and it worked perfectly. We have 3 cats and we wanted her to respect that the basement is their place and off-limits.

    Interesting note: Since GP’s are herd dogs and Husky’s are prey dogs you can imagine the comedy that takes place in our home. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

    • Haha you certainly have two strong-willed breeds! We had a lab/husky mix beforehand and he was a piece of work (but a fantastic dog!). Baby gates work great in teaching boundaries. Both of mine are terrified of them, so if there’s a baby gate in the vicinity, they won’t be going there 😉

      • Hi, I have a husky lab mix 2 year old female and was looking at this beautiful Giant as a companion. We do have 2 Acres with about 1/2 being fenced in 4 ft strong fencing, but now after reading your wonderful comments am thinking this will not do. The digging and getting out worries me as we live by a busy road in the front, woods in the back. I think the traits of family protective devotion and getting along well with other dogs and cats, we have 4, drew me to the GP. I have requested more information on a rescue that I was considering and will ask more specific information since I read these great comments.

  42. One thing we learned: a Pyrenees off leash is a “dis-a-pyr”….and they can walk a long way in a short time.

  43. Finally! An article that gets it right! We like to say that Pyrs only bark at things that disturb them… Like passing satellites and butterflies at 10,000feet! Another one we use is ” You call a Golden and it will come to you. You call a Pyr and it will take a message and get back to you later!”

    Unfortunately I’m working right now with someone who didn’t do their homework and is needing to figure out what to do about a barking Pyr in the city…

    • Oh my gosh, I completely forgot about that quote and I absolutely love it! A pyr and city living isn’t always the best combination… Hopefully it will all work out!

  44. I have to say we are very blessed with our Samson, or else we are just biased LOL. He is very intelligent and one of the best dogs we have ever owned. Housebroken at 11 weeks and constantly by our side. He loves the grand children and even the cats. I am a travel nurse and we stay in a 5th wheel while working out my contract. Samson is always the center of attention where ever we go and he will sit, shake and give high fives when asked. I think HE likes the attention he receives because he will look at people funny when they DON’T stop and admire him LOL.

  45. Being a volunteer for many years now with a Great Pyrenees rescue org. we’ve seen these bears surrendered for every reason under the sun, many could have been avoided if folks would research the breed beforehand. The most common issue that causes this breed to be given up by their owner is their roaming tendancy. This is NOT a breed you should have without secure fencing as a companion pet. I think folks think because this breed will stay in patures and such without secure fencing that a Pyr will do so in any enviroment and they do not. I would also add that Pyrs make wonderful indoor family pets, but they do require off lead outdoor time.

  46. If you want a dog that catches Frisbee’s and fetches balls….DON’T GET A PYR!
    But if you want a dog that silently sneak up behind you when you get up in the middle of the night, or scopes out which of your guests is the most vulnerable, like a 18 month old or a 93 year old and will stay right by that person and go wherever they go to guide and protect them….get a Pyr. We love our ‘Stinkin Lincoln….he’s not a big drooler, he will sit for us if we insist upon it, and barks at all intruders…even at us when we get home!! 130 pounds of fur and fluff balls we rescued from a shelter and so very glad we did.

  47. As a volunteer with a Pyr Rescue Group one of the biggest challenge’s in Placing a Pyr is to find a home where the owner is smarter than the PYR. They are just wonderful family members but will test the owner. Without breed knowledge by the owner the Pyr will take over.

  48. We have two 13 week old Pyr/Border Collie mix sisters. They are getting much better on the leash and with the “sit” command. But I had to smile when I read -” It’s not uncommon for me to ask a pyr to sit, only to have the dog look at me, walk five feet away, and then slowly lower himself into a sit. I always tell people that if you don’t have a sense of humor with your young Great Pyrenees, you’ll never survive.” I see this in both of them, but in Faith more than Hope. Thanks for the info.

  49. Ours insists on digging a hole in the back yard to rest in and stay cool. She is also stubborn, so it has taken a long time to keep the holes in unused flower beds instead of my yard. Can’t tell you how many squares of sod I’ve had to get over the years to patch the lawn.

  50. I have a Pyr/BC cross, a foster I kept because he has separation anxiety and bonded so intensely to me. As a herding dog person I have found it fascinating to see the LGD traits emerge. It’s like the part of my deck with the best view out is a giant magnet for him! I enjoyed your blog. It’s a very sensible set of information.

    • Thank you so much for the kind words. That has to be an interesting mix! Such different breeds coming together can make for a very unique dog 🙂

  51. I’m amazed that so little has been said concerning hair shedding! These dogs shed the whole year round and quadruply so when losing their winter coat. Our dog was rejected by its first keeper because of this. I comb the dog every day and my wife vacuums inside the house on a daily basis. Inspite of this the air is full of fine hairs as are the corners of rooms. This also accounts for the breed’s habit of sneezing. The other aspect of the dog’s coat is that it picks up large quantities of dirt. Dirt that is quickly shed when it lays down on the floor. We live near a river and after our daily walk he comes back laden with sand which gets deposited wherever he puts himself.

    Of course, none of the known ‘problems’ change the fact that these are adorable, calm additions to any family. However, they are not to be adopted into the home on a whim.

  52. This is all great information and interesting to learn since I don’t know much about these beautiful dogs! Great read!

  53. What great information, I did not know these things but I have before thought that a dog that was called ‘dumb’ was simply misunderstood.

  54. Excellent post!! I learned a LOT! I actually thought they pyrs were similar to Newfies. I was not aware of some of the things that you mention here…like the barking!! We had a Newfie Mix and he was just the best dog!! I adopted him from the shelter at 12 weeks and he lived to be 11. Oh, how I loved that Big Guy. Thanks for sharing all of this info with us!

  55. Great article! I wish everyone who adopts a dog would research breeds before they bring them into their house.

  56. This is a very informative article! I bet you could stuff a mattress full of all that fur after brushing just one Great Pyrenees! (ha)

  57. We just got our fourth GP pup. They are amazing dogs…so smart and so sweet. I’m not a dog person, but I love the Pyrs. Ours are farm dogs, and have the run of about 80 acres.
    I would mention that if you want a LGD that is a Great Pyr, they are very difficult to rehome as adults for farm work. I know many people who’ve tried to adopt older dogs for their farm, and the GP just won’t stay home.

  58. We adopted our Pyr, Missy, and the owner didn’t tell me the extent of her horrible allergies. I think she gave her up for that reason. Doesn’t matter, the money I spend on her for excellent food and medications, she is the BEST dog I have ever owned and the Love of my two sons’s lives. She is a growler first, then a barker till the threat is gone. Missy also paws her us when she wants our attention! It’s the cutest thing! She grips you with her big paw and pulls your arm to touch her. My son has told me he will only have Pyrs when he grows up (he is 12); and so will I. They have the sweetest smiles and I have never seen her snap at the boys, no matter how much they love on her. I’ll stop now, I love this breed!

  59. Very accurate points that many who get pyrs don’t know. I’ve had people tell me they were going to have to find a different home for theirs if the barking, guarding, independence etc… couldn’t be stopped, my reaction is always pretty much the same, pure disgust and a comment about they should have researched the breed. While you can train the barking out of them it is extremely difficult and NOTHING will break the instinct for them to guard and protect and the independence goes with that. It’s what they as a breed do and so few get just what that can mean. They can also be some of the most stubborn dogs in the world if they think what they are doing has to be done, and nothing you say is going to change their mind. All of the ones I have had LOVE to give hugs, which if a person is not prepared for can be a little surprising to have a 120 lb dog wrap you in a bear hug, lol.

  60. All of these things are soooo true! I’ve had pyrs in my life for the last 10 to 15 years. Also don’t forget to mention that they love to dig to cool themselves on warm days, the “pyr paw” and that they love to give bear hugs!!!

  61. We currently have three Pyrenees and had as ,any 7. They are great LGDS but you have to make sure that if you are getting them for this purpose that they have been out in the pasture . We picked ours up straight from mom in the pasture and they were the best ones we ever had for our sheep. We still have 2 with the sheep, but are downsizing as we lose the dogs. They are both 11 now. We have one that was in the pasture, but he got into it with a bobcat. Did his job though but he got pretty tore up. He is now I goes between the pasture and the house. Love these dogs. Everything you said is right on point.

  62. Hi, Kelsie. I am really grateful for this post. I’ve gleaned a great deal not only from the post but from the comments, too!

    I’m currently trying to figure out what kind of dog my family and I will need. We are in the process of planning/building our dream homestead. We want a guard dog at our new place, but one that’s affectionate to us.

    I have never owned a dog as an adult. Quite frankly, Until we moved to the country a few years ago, I’ve never had the time and space to devote to a dog and the last thing I wanted to do was to get a pet that I couldn’t care for. In recent years, we’ve had the space, but we had really small children and I didn’t want to introduce a dog into a family until our kids were a little older. (Maybe that’s weird, but I’ve seen SO many really small kids get bowled over by large puppies and almost as many get nipped for grabbing on to a scared dog. I just didn’t think that for our family, we were ready.)

    I recently stumbled upon the Great Pyrenees and I think it might be the perfect fit for our family. I’m a little afraid, though, from what I’ve been reading as far as their stubbornness. Is it going to be too much dog for a new dog owner like me? Will it be completely impossible for me to teach the dog to guard our chickens, rabbits, and goats from the predators in our area?

    Really, I’m not looking for a dog who will sit on command or anything mentioned above. I just need a breed which will guard our livestock, keep from knocking over my young kids when excited, and, above all, never ever become aggressive with us. Do you have any advice on where to read more in depth on the breed? Should I just buy a book on them?

    I’ve read that they are nocturnal. I expect the dog (hope) it will bark if there are any coyotes or anything sniffing around the hutches and coops, but will their barking make it difficult to sleep usually? Or do you just get used to the barking? I honestly have NO idea if it would bother me. I wish I knew someone who had one that would let me spend the night at their place!

    I’m really nervous about making the wrong choice! I am completely clueless. Sorry for the deluge of questions. This is the first breed that I’ve finally thought “Bingo! You’re what we want!” but I still am hesitant.

    • For your situation, I’d recommend getting a 3 to 4 yr old fullblood rescue pyr. Contact your nearest Great Pyrenees rescue and they can help. A 90lb puppy can accidentally bump into a 3/4 yr old and push them over, but once they mature, they are more aware of their size and do all their bouncing, jumping and dancing far enough away to not bump you.

      most Pyrs do not need training to guard livestock. At most, they just need to be introduced so they know everything that is family and wont see any of your critters as outsiders. There are always exceptions, but your rescue group can help assure you don’t get the very rare pyr that has a problem.

      I rally believe that a Pyr is the perfect dog for a homestead. Ours keeps the cyotes far away, all stray, loose dogs, possums, coons etc, keep a very wide berth and don’t come within 50 yards of our fenced in 1 acre. Your concerns I strongly feel would be totally eliminated after a Pyr is out of it’s puppy stage.

  63. Love my rescue Pyr mix – have studied the breed and so thrilled to have taken the plunge – 3 months now. Does anyone else find their dog is a “one person” dog – mine hasn’t bonded with my husband – maybe had a tough experience with a man? Such a love, doing well with commands like sit and down. Forget “stay”.

  64. Love the info, iv been seaching for when my boys coat will grown in. At 14weeks, our GP coat is pretty amusing! He has a layer of super long sparse hairs all over him with his under coat still short so he looks scraggly XD I did A LOT of research before getting Bear, and couldnt be happier with him. But even now i still find myself researching the breed! He is my first dog so i constantly have unexpected questions pop up! Hes a stuborn one, but also so loving and smart 🙂 He paws and sits on us, and loves our four cats (loves playing with them 😉 its adorable when you walk in on moments of truce when they are sleeping together or the cats grooming him). I know people say not to have them as your first dog, but honestly i couldnt have found a better match for me (im 20, female, 5’2, and Bear will weigh more than me!) . If you do your research and you click with the breed, posotives AND NEGATIVES, get one 🙂 you wont be disappointed.

  65. We’ve had our Pyr for 1 1/2 years, and got him as a four year old rescue. He is the best dog we’ve ever had!
    Bo isn’t a barker, unless of course your the mailman and even then he only barks because the mail slot in the door jingles as the mail comes through.
    We are also able to keep him off leash on walks as well as at home with an open door. Once he acclimated to his new surrounds, he doesn’t wander at all. He loves a good roll in the grass but that’s about as far as he goes.
    I think one of the most important things for prospective Pyr owners is to know that there WILL be white hair everywhere. I vacuum or swiffer daily!

  66. I have 4 pyrs; 3 are rescues–3 girls and 1 boy. My boy was pulled out of a high-kill shelter–no tags or chip, so no known history. Not surprisingly, he is the most problematic of all–turned out to be dog aggressive, but doesn’t bite, just requires on-the-ground submission–and it is scary for all concerned. I have to be hyper vigilant with him at all times. I found a trainer who has really helped, and am seeing improvement. The almost bigger problem is barking while I’m not home! Any suggestions? I leave radio/tv on for noise so he can’t hear everything, but he still barks. However, for as challenging as he has been, I love him so much; giving up on him is not an option. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  67. Thank you for this site, I have read all the comments and agree with much that has been written by owners and admirers. We brought our forever family friend Shiloh home at 9 weeks from finding him on a puppy search. There is nothing more adorable than a Pyr puppy. He is now a year and a half old and full of character, love, and imbedded into our lives and hearts. Before searching and bringing him home I researched and read everything I could get my hands on to know this breed. They are very much unique and even different from siblings in the same litter. Shiloh hates to get into water and comes right in when it starts to rain. He pouts when the Grandkids leave and rejoices when they come. He adopted a tiny black feral kitten and they are constantly together. He loves outings and goes with us most always unless its to hot for him in the car. He keeps raccoons and possums away. One could not ask for a better family pet. Took him to training and found that they become easily bored with often repeated tasks . So you have to change it up and so they will continue to learn and stay interested. They are so observant in class of the other dogs and owners they will learn from just watching a great deal. We have field fence 5+ feet high on two and a half acres with hot wire but he has never challenged it. We also keep the gate locked so that someone walking by doesn’t think it fun to let him out. When out anywhere these dogs are people magnets. And love the attention they draw, are very gentle with small children. We will be getting a girl if one in the next litter from his mother. Best farm family ever to adopt a pup from as they start to socialize them the instant they are born. Something to know is they are very sensitive to medications needed at the vets for surgeries and such, so be sure and let the vet know if not familiar with this breed. They need space and if a city dog a fenced yard and lots of walks for a healthy life. Shiloh also loves his morning body massages, they cannot get enough closeness and attention. He also hits the jingle bell on the ribbon on the door when wants to go out. They want to be where you are constantly and often lay in the path. His latest is when someone is leaving he will block the driveway and not want them to leave. He rarely drools and loves to chew up towels, never a table surfer but will sit while we eat and then finally will go eat his food. Always entertaining.

  68. Well, I wish I had known beforehand that, in the first year/2yrs they are “Intelligent chewers”

    Yes, all puppies love to chew, but these guys seem to know how much things cost, how much things are needed, and which ones are your favorite.

    When he was thirsty, he’d chew holes in the water hose. But the brand new hose had hundreds of holes overnight, while the old hose may only have a dozen or so.

    I could give him a pair of old worn out gloves, and he’d ignore them, but EVERY TIME i’d buy a nice new pair, he’d find the hiding place and chew them to shreds. Or if I took them off just for a moment, he would sneak them away within seconds. $80 extension cord? Chewed up into scrap wire. $2 yardsale cord? just a bite or two.

    Take him to the vet, he ignores the 3 chew toys he’s given, and chews the nearest seatbelt in half…… on a ten min ride.

    Antique chair? Yep, teeth marks all in the chair legs, not a scratch on ANY of the other furniture.

    He has been far more than worth it, and if I ever have another breed of dog, it will be in addition to, not in replacement of, a Great Pyrenees, but boy oh boy, new pyr owners need to know about their selective chewing habits!

    • Nanook is 3yrs and 4 months now. The chewing stopped at about 1.5 yrs although if I left a good glove unattended for a while, he’d still sneak off with it until he was about 2.5yrs. But the pyr personality, intelligence, sense of duty, devotion to guard and protect the family etc. makes him worth every glove, water hose, frustration and headache his silly goofytard puppy self ever brought.

      He even lets the chicken eat his dogfood, and guards her like she’s his own. And in reality, I guess she is.

  69. I am a first time pry owner. I fell in love with my dog immediately. He looked like a little polar bear, and since his nick-name has become “bear”. He is now a year and a half old, and is small for the breed, but is SUCH an excellent dog!!! I will never own another type of dog – he is fantastic with the kids, SO gentle, and is an excellent “guard dog” as stated in the article here.

    One thing I think that people need to know before getting a pyr is that they shed…. a LOT. Even with regular brushing, our fellow sheds constantly. This is particularly important if you have your pyr as a house dog as we do. For me, this is NOT a deal breaker – because what we get in the form of companionship, loyalty, and love from him is WAY more important to us.

    I believe this is a FANTASTIC breed, but they are NOT your typical dogs. I believe that you MUST start with training them as early as possible because they get SO big so fast! Invest time in your pyr, and you will be rewarded with one of the best dogs you’ll ever own!

    • My Mayo is now 3 he is wonderful!! He is an inside dog so grooming is a must!! Barking is a nuisance but he really only barks barks when he is outside.. I do trim his coat tho and he loves it ..can’t imagine life without him… 🙂

  70. I have adopted two Prys one is a 10 month old puppy, Minty and the other is 2 yrs old Sam. Sam is great and loves to take long walks, the only problem is when we encounter other dogs, he goes crazy and tried to get to them. As he already weighs 100lbs i need to get this under control. Any suggestions?

    • Use a strong 6 ft. leather leash you keep a firm grip on and get a prong collar. We use it only for walks, at the advice of our vet. It looks scary & mean, but is much kinder than a choke collar and more effective than a harness. The prongs help guide the dog and they respond very quickly. We keep the leash folded up when we see dogs around, so she only has about 18 inches of slack. I keep one hand near the collar, and one hand about 18 inches up.

  71. I would add a warning about their sheer strength. Our pyr has taken out several screen doors and window screens when she spots a “threat” (such as a squirrel or coyote) out in our yard. Initially, she also hated to be crated when we left home and broke two steel crates using brute strength.

    The exercise needed is critical as well. We walk or run our Pyr several miles a day, and she definitely digs and gets into more mischief on days when we miss her walk.

    Drooling and digging were also good additions by the other commentators. My children have a weekly chore of cleaning drool off the walls and cabinets. It flies everywhere when she shakes her head.

    We fostered Pyrenees rescue pups and were so brutally honest with people about the good and the bad. This breed is not for the inexperienced!

  72. I love reading this thread! So helpful!

    My question: I have just adopted an 11 week old male after much research. Had him 5 days. I am a single woman looking for gentle companion animal. I have a house and large fenced yard and walk a lot in a small town.

    However, I wonder two things: 1. Does he need a companion…cat? backyard chickens? he lacks puppy joy much of the time and is very mellow with me…not wagging a lot, but following a lot. I usually have to instigate play. He gets really happy when he sees young women (I live near a college) and really happy with my friend’s cat. He really really wants to roughhouse with me, but I don’t allow it as it would make me no longer alpha and he started chewing my clothes the one time I did it.

    2. He doesn’t seem to ask for attention or affection much, or wag much when I see him, so I feel a little disconnect. He was very affectionate when I first met him. Anyone here have a Pyr as a companion for a single person with no other pets? I don’t know if both of our needs will get me. The breeder will take him back. I have not given up yet..Will talk to breeder soon. Any thoughts very much appreciated! he is gentle and can be very sweet.

    • Our pyr rarely wagged her tail when we first adopted her. She was animated and excited when we viewed her at the shelter, but at home, just didn’t wag that tail. It was so noticeable that I also worried she wasn’t happy/comfortable with us.

      This breed doesn’t move a lot unless there is a purpose, so keep that in mind. As our pyr has grown older, she wags her tail more when she sees me or we speak to her. But she literally lies on the ground and gives me a few wags. She is not going to expend the energy to get up and come greet me. It’s a big body to move.

      I do think this breed enjoys companionship… either another dog or a cat. We have had both. Out pyr does try to play with our cat and has “caught” and picked up the cat several times. The cat did not appreciate it, so they have not formed a super close relationship. I think if you can handle another smaller dog, that would work wonders.

  73. We rescued an adult female three months ago. She is heartworm positive so she is undergoing treatment for that condition. Compared to our prior rescue, a Neopolitan Mastiff who died last year, the Great Pyr is a model canine citizen! She is gentle and sweet. She does grab food off the counter or table unlike the mastiff but she gets along with cats, unlike the mastiff who wanted to eat them! Also unless you’ve owned a neo, you really don’t know about drool. Seriously, ours will be an indoor girl (she adores the air conditioning) and loves to visit our office. We expect to take long walks with her once she’s able to exercise but if we have trouble we will use a harness with a ring attached to the chest strap–that prevents a large dog from pulling you off your feet. We always found that delicious treats taken along on walks kept our neo moving (sitting down in the middle of a street or refusing to walk is not an option!)

    This article is very informative and a good resource for people who are thinking about getting this dog breed.

  74. We got our first Pyr in June. I haven’t seen anywhere on here how much they love to play in water, and then use their person for a napkin. We got Roscoe at 8 weeks, and started with a regular size dog water dish. Two days later it was a large dog water dish. After five days of filling the water dish every 25 minutes, we got a 1-1/2 foot by 2-1/2 foot x 6 inch deep “under bed” bin. Roscoe does not “drink” water, he experiences it! We couldn’t let him loose alone in our fenced in yard until we were sure he could get himself out of our decorative, fish pond! We got him to guard our chickens, and he is still a little too playful with them, but he is not chasing them down, so we are hopeful.

  75. Seven years ago I was going to offer my dog walking service to the Langley Animal Protection Society, BC, Canada. Tundra was one of their residence. I saw her once when a walker was taking her out and she paid me no interest. my wife had been looking on their website and Tundra was in the adoption list. She couldn’t stop thinking about her. At this point we were not looking at getting a dog, although I missed having them in my life so much. We said if Tundra was still on her mind and wasn’t adopted we would pay a visit. The next week wasn’t any different so we paid her a visit. At first all Tundra was interested in was the trainer, Gwen. Once we were in a training room for us to have some training time with Tundra, just to see how it we would get on with her, Tundra turned on the charm. While my wife gave her the down command and I was sitting off to the side, Tundra does her big hip wiggle/sway and lays down, right infant of me, looking right at me. I was done!.
    She has been our angel ever since. She was very reactive with dogs, still has her moments, but her protectiveness is very tuned in. I had plenty of experience with dogs of all kinds and issues before. I’ve learnt so much more since having Tundra in our lives. Couldn’t imagine not having her and I think she’s spoilt us for any other dog. Big and white is where it is for us. You’ll see a few photos in amongst lots of yummy food on my Instagram if you’re kind of interested to see, who we call, “The Boo Faced Monster” amongst a multitude of other names. https://instagram.com/jonathanthompsonphotography/
    BTW I found you on Pinterest where there are so many Pyr pics. Can’t think I’ll ever have another breed even though I love Leonbergers, Newfoundlands etc etc.
    Nice smart website too. Thanks for sharing

    All the very best of fluffy snuggles


  76. Have to say, my pyr must not be typical. We rescued her at 3 months (someone finally managed to capture her and bring her to the pound after seeing her eating roadkill on the side of the highway for a week). She is the sweetest, most gentle creature. She walks left, sits, lays down, stays, climbs up (on vet and groomers tables) on command. When my son was young we would bring her to the elementary school for the students to meet a big dog. She would lie on her back, in 7th heaven, as 30 kids rubbed her belly. She does not bark much but does bay during the “all dog alerts” as sirens go by. When I put down the food for her and the beagle, they both wait until the “ok” command is given, then Misha comes over and leans on me, gazing up at me to thank me for the food before she goes and eats it. (by the time she is done with this the beagle has devoured her own food). Misha is close to 9 now and has dealt with cancer of the mouth and kidney failure, having rebounded amazingly from both. I will be completely devastated when she finally passes. She is the most wonderful dog ever!

  77. Article is spot on. Mine has all these traits including digging giant holes. They are definitely more active in cooler weather. During the hot Georgia summers he lays under the building most of the day but when the sun goes down or its raining that’s when the party begins.

  78. My wife and I sustained the terrible loss of our beloved collie/retriever mix, HARRY this past September. Harry was 9 + years of great companionship love and learning. He is not replaceable. However, we wanted to try and fill that hole. We adopted an 8 week puppy Pyr and are now just a 3 weeks into the adventure. I must sayI am a bit intimidated by the various comments we have read but are finding this pup delightful. He has learned to lead on a leash,comes to us on command (sorta) and loves our cats. He still is learning not to teeth on our hands but is learning quickly. We do live on a farm with several animals, cows, poultry,donkeys and pigs. We have lots of room and are glad to have found this web blog for advice. So many on here are just refreshingly positive and encouraging. I am a bit disappointed that we may need to always leash our new boy since Harry was such a great freelance companion and loved to ride in the truck. Thank you all for the comments and thanks Kelsie for the website. My wife has a face book account and may join you there.

  79. I have a 11 month old Pry/Aussie mix but defintely has more Pry traits. I did not research the GP prior to getting him and I high suggest people do.He is very strong willed. Has his own agenda but will eventually gets to yours, at the same time he is very loyal and loving and protective . I am finding consistency in train is the key keeping his alpha male in check.

    • Janice thanks for your post. Rookies here as well with Pyrs. The “CONSISTANCY” you speak of is essential. We are discovering this with our young one. We do not feel so alone with his strong will knowing others have encountered this challange.

  80. I must’ve lucked out with my pry….he only drools for treats and it’s really not that bad! I think my labranees / pyrador ( Labrador Pyrenees mix) drools more than my Pyrenees. Ours is also on guard at all hours and we too have to enforce the outside curfew so our neighbors don’t hate us, lol.

    He is the sweetest dog I’ve ever owned. He is also always the center of attention. We will be on a walk with our kids (they’re extremely adorable btw) and people will stop driving just to tell us how beautiful our dog is….forget the kids, lol

  81. Oh… Worth mentioning. They drink A LOT!! I have switched out his water dish which was the biggest I could find for a stainless soup stock pot and still have to fill it several times a day. When he goes and get a drink he drinks about half of it at one time. He takes like a 5 minute water break, lol. Seriously never seen a dog drink as much as he does, it’s amazing.

    • AGREED! My pyr drinks water like crazy! She also plays alot too though. I have found her blowing bubbles in the water bowl on more than one occasion! lol

  82. I rescued a GP on 11/1/14, my daughter saw him on the spca Halloween float in the town where she lives, he was shipped from Philly shelter as an abandoned pet and sent to Danville, I was told he was 3 but after vet visits found he was closer to 4 or 5. Fozzy was definitely a gentle giant, very friendly with visitors after establishing that they were welcomed in our home, he was great with the grandchildren and also with other animals,Fozzy was the first dog that I ever saw gallop, hardwood floors in a house could create quite the laugh when you have a 140 lb dog playing with children inside. I had him for 5 months when I found out he had Ostersarcoma,a cancer that is more common in the larger breed dogs. I started him on a diet of organic meats, veggies and vitamins etc. to try to fight the disease, the lump in his left front paw eventually started to disappear but the cancer then became evident in the right hind leg, Fozzy passed away on 8/31/15, he had captured my heart and I miss him much. I will definitely look for another GP rescue, best dog ever. Marilyn

    • Marylyn, Know your Loss is shared and understood. We lost our Harry Dog September 17, 2015. After 9 wonderful years. He was a collie husky retreiver mix, but all love. Same disease as your Fozzy. We now have a pyr pup… and he is a delightful challange. W forgot about the pup stage a bit……Bill and Dayna Yockey

  83. It’s so hard to lose a beloved pet, dogs are such a big part of our lives and when we lose them it’s so very hard. We rescued Maggie 5 months ago and now that she has gone through her heartworm treatments, she is able to go walking. It’s so nice to have a gentle dog who loves to be petted and will take pictures with strangers that we meet on our way. She goes to the office each day and doesn’t bother anyone except for treats and to be petted. I haven’t noticed any guarding at all–what a difference from our Neapolitan mastiff and my German Shepherds! She’s so laid back–she even lets the cats eat a bit of her dry food.

  84. i always thought the fences were to keep the herd in, not the dogs. shows you what i know. anyways i recently got a 2 month old pitanees or pyrapit and within the few days ive had him hes already learned to scooch over when i get back in truck. id like to see a 2 month old human do that without assistance or diapers

  85. I have 2 pyrs, and they are just like you said. They are very protective, but very sweet and affectionate, and they’re saints for putting up with so much nonsense from my kids! My female loves to climb up on my couch and my bed. They’re both very cuddly.

  86. Our rescued gp is terrified of stairs–she must have had a horrible experience with prior owners, etc . We’ve tried food, treats etc. nothing will move her up our stairs. She even balked when we brought her home and she had to go up on the stoop and then up to the door. She finally got over problems going into the house and we got her to go up 3 steps into a gazebo at the park, but our home stairs are a major issue. Any ideas?

    • I would recommend trying a pheromone collar. We have a large dog that was terrified of going up the stairs and walking on hardwood floors. I tried treats, exercise, calm energy, etc. you name it! Then I tried this collar with pheromones in it that give them soothing comfort like the scent of their mother. It is replaced every month and available at most pet stores or vets. Since we’ve used it, roscoe goes up the stairs and on the hardwood floors. Really helped!

    • my lab pit mix had a lot of trouble with stairs i ended up figuring out that his hips were actually in bad shape just a gentic thing so he wasn’t actually scared of them as much as it physically was painful for him to go up and down the stiars. I began giving him a glucosamine and chondroiton supplement daily and it helped a ton! he was still however nervous about trying the stairs again eventually i picked him up and took him to the middle of the stairs he had to go up or down at some point! We sat there for a few hours but he finally did it! he does not have any trouble now!

  87. Thanks so much for your post! Like others here, I couldn’t agree more. My Pyr, Wynne, is just over 2 years old now, and I couldn’t imagine life without her. Like others, I researched the breed like mad before finally deciding. I have had dogs most of my life, but they were all small to medium breeds. Now that I have my Wynne, I couldn’t imagine a better dog for us. My daughter has autism, and seemed to have developed a fear of dogs, so I got Wynne when she was a pup so that she could be raised with my daughter and not become distressed by some of my daughters behaviours. I am very happy to say that they are a great match! Whenever I would notice my daughter becoming anxious around other dogs when we were out, I would just remind her that the dog in question was way smaller than her dog, and nothing to be afraid of. Then, my daughter would laugh, and walk on by with confidence, as indeed no dog in the neighborhood was as big as our Wynne.

    I would also just like to add for those considering getting a Pyr, that like with most breeds, if getting as puppy, pick the one out of the litter best suited to your family. For instance, I was looking for the calmest, so needless to say Wynne was the one out of the litter that didn’t approach first, but was lying about with her other litter mates. The calmest puppy that I have ever had, to say nothing about the cuddliest. No need to get a body pillow, just get a Pyr.

  88. I am really glad i stumbled upon this entry! I have never owned a dog before and I plan to get one in the future! I was thinking of getting this breed but I think i would need more experience as im currently a cat owner! I was wondering would you know any good first time dogs? I really really like fluffy dogs so i hope theres a good match out there!

  89. We have a 5yr old pyr aussie/border mix that is amazing. Sits, down, shakes, high 5s high 10s and rolls over. When he wants is great with us in yard off leash. But for walks the best $20.00 I ever spent was for a gentle leader, he does amazing on it take off and use a leash and he is running you. Just got a 7wk pyr puppy female, already can the deference between full breed and mix, have a to establish that I Am the Alpha. The are amazing breeds. Barney is 5 yrs and 100lbs, but thinks he is 5lb lap puppy. And Daisy is now 12 wks and decided this is her house.

  90. Our Hugo was a rescue courtesy of my youngest daughter. She could not handle him even as a puppy so we took him. That was over 6 years ago. Had I known what these dogs were like, there would have been one in our house always. He’s the best dog we ever had, and we all know I’m not referring to his obedience levels! We love him dearly!

  91. Hello. Thank-you for your article. We just got our first Pyr. We named him King. We did all kinds of research on quite a few breeds to choose on that is right for our family. This last year our 13 year old lab went to chase endless birds lol. He was a stubborn boy that did what he wanted when he wanted. After weade the decision to get King I kept on doing more research as I want to train him properly and started getting worried because. Most of what I ran across seemed very negative. I started feeling like we made the wrong decision. But After reading your article and all of these wonderful posts I am feeling much more better. We have had him for three days now. He is very smart and absolutely loves my daughter’s and all the neighbor kids. We plan on alot of socialization with other dogs and other people. Our 6 year corgi is not to impressed with us but he plays with a Pyr at work and knows what he is in for lol. Any suggestive help would be appreciated as we want to raise him right. When I make a commitment to a pet it is for their whole life. I know we have a tough job ahead of us but I really looking forward to it.

  92. Bang to the point there in the article! I own a 2 and half year old Pyr and he displays all qualities mentioned here! The only exception here is that he’s been trained as a guard dog rather than anything else and performs really well as a guard dog too. He’s wary of other dogs and cattle anywhere in sight and charges to scare them away but doesn’t attack. A few exceptions happened when we happened to be inside and he was barking outside at a neighbor’s German Shepherd because that dog came too close to the fence. The result-Mine broke through the reinforced steel fence and almost killed the poor shepherd! First time I ever felt scared and realized the strength of this dog! But as usual he follows most orders, unless they are against his wishes like asking him to sit.. lol. A very social, loving and devoted breed who simply lives to widen his circle of human friends only in my case because of the training he has been given for specific reasons. Very Very happy and go lucky guy who loves and is loved more 🙂

  93. While I know every dog is different but I would have to disagree on a few points, my pyr has never been on a leash and while we have a huge yard it is not fenced! She does not wander off of our property ever. She also does not bark……at all! Not even to alert of someone at the door instead she will position herself between you and the door or person but never barks. While she is protective of myself and my family she is not at all an unfriendly dog and is always excited to meet new people, pets, and go new places! Maybe we just got lucky but I definitely haven’t experienced some of the trials others have with their pyr.

  94. I have had two Akbash hounds and would love a Pyr, they make the best guard dogs and they will protect an entire neighborhood. I like the ones that won’t stay with the herd because they protect me and my family and those they have been socialized with. I live rurally where coyotes and mountain lions are a problem….barking is not a problem at all when mr Mountain Lion comes through at 4 am..

  95. I LOVE this!! Am going to get a Pyr soon; I plan on raising him as a Therapy dog. I’m used to the ‘strong willed’ animal, so I should be good. But I am wondering about the neutering – so much is written about waiting until at LEAST a year, for their hormones to be established, for the best health of their bones. But with this large of a breed, and a male, I am very concerned about marking territory in the house, and humping our female Goldendoodle (who has been spayed). What are your suggestions? Thanks for any and all input!!

  96. I am so grateful for this site and this wonderful advice. I am considering adopting a 12 week old pyr/collie mix from a local rescue and I’m so disappointed, but may have to re-think my decision. I live in the suburbs near a busy road and have no fence. I haven’t owned a dog in many years and then it was Shelties. My husband and I are active and physically fit, but I’m afraid this might be too much dog for a small home. Of course, I fell in love with this puppy, but I’m so glad that I found this site with such valuable information from everyone. This is why so many dogs end up in shelters; because people don’t do their homework. I simply adore this breed and I wish I could make it work.

  97. Your comment about not shaving a dog in summer is important. I think people shave as a way to help their dog feel cooler. It’s hard for them to understand that the dog’s coat already does that. Brushing is also key!
    I have two rescue Prys.

  98. HELP!!! I LOVE my Prys but she is aggressive. She doesn’t like people other than her family and she HATES kids. She is in a very good home with my own kids and she loves all of us but other people, NOPE, she freaks out 🙁

    • I have a Pyr that is 8 months old. She has a habit of barking and growling at everybody ELSE in our house. And she scares everyone, but will play with them by the next minuet. I myself have no problem with her at all. She plays with one of our 3 Chiuiahas, but the other 2 don’t like her. I know that those little gremlins aren’t scared of big ones, and have bad atitudes, but I really don’t understand why she jumps at everyone in our house except me. I thank God that she hasn’t have bitten anyone yet. I need help badly because it gets any worse. And I DEFINETLY DONT WANT TO HAVE TO GET RID OF MY BABY. Her name is Yetta.

  99. Really enjoyed reading the comments! I have a 1/2 Great Pyrenees, who was born in the Nevada desert, mother Great Pyrenees, father unknown, looks like a sort of Antolian shepherd, and tall, over 100 lbs. and has the traits of barking (esp at night), takes his border patrol seriously, never tries to get out of fenced yard, but can dig (bones and etc.), is rortective, wary of others, loves to walk and take a ride (with head WAY out the window). Some Bas2ue sheepherders found young (about 5-6 mo.) puppies in the desert and couild not catch the mother, but did the “puppies.” He will be 7 this fall, (gave him a birthday of 9-11). The Basques know their dogs, so take theri word for it, but did a DNA test and yes, he is half Gr. Pyreenes, and then retriever and get this, Shar-Pei! No wonder the siblings looked all different! If that wasn’t enough that he needed a home (the ad said Great Pyrenees) I am a softy so took him. Then, decided I could not run every am in yard to accommodate him to like humans, etc., so drove to Wyoming to get a Leonberger. She is a diva and they get along great (same age). But, do they want attention. Thought it was just me trying so hard (didn ‘t seem to have same situations with my other dogs over the years), but after reading the comments, guess it’s traits. Love them and they are spoiled, but do their “jobs” guarding. As a widow, that is a plus. Thanks for the entertainment tonight!

  100. I’m thinking about getting a Great Pyrenees and I live in an apartment because I read these can be great apartment dogs as long as you take it on a daily walk to 30 min to an hour. but I’m just worried about the barking at night, is there anyway to train the dog not to bark at night? and yes I have thought about getting a smaller dog but I just don’t want a small dog. I’ve had them in the past and I’ve had my eye out on a Pryrenees.

  101. I have a male and female. She is 4 years old and the boy is 12 months. she is around 100lbs he is already 110 lbs and will end up somewhere near 150lbs or more. I lost a male last January aged 12, he was an amazing dog assertive not aggressive, protective in a firm but gentle way and he did what he was told even if he was a tad stubborn. he made me decide that no other breed was for me.
    My girl Abby is very athletic and very clever and also a good guardian and Hugo my puppy is a chip of the old fellow in that he has been a very good puppy.
    All did well at obedience training and are fantastic with children.
    They are very big so are not for everyone but if you want a dog that is loyal, loving, gentle but protective get one they are great friends. They also attract attention when out and about

  102. It’s just so good to see how different every one’s experience is but we should admit that every dog breed have unique traits that we all can’t help but love.

  103. I’ve had huskies for a number of years after growing up with Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. I was looking to adopt a dog to train as a service animal and my friend’s LGD had more puppies than she expected, 2 of which were more suited for service work than farm work. I love my pyr girl. I’m training her as my service dog and she’s intelligent and engaging and so aware of what goes on around her. She goes to work with me every day and at 7 months old, my boss loves how well-behaved she is. She’s been super easy for me to train, but I think after dealing with huskies for years, any other breed is easy to train, lol. She’s learned both hand and verbal signals for her commands; now we’re working on proper behavior for grooming, cause she doesn’t like to stand still for bathing or brushing, lol.

  104. Lots of great information here! A friend of mine was thinking about getting one of these beautiful dogs, but she wasn’t sure how to handle such a big breed. This is a great piece to show her- thanks!

  105. I definitely did NOT do my research before getting a Great Pyrenees! 🙁 A few sites gave me some misleading advice. But I do have an older dog that my little guy adores and tries to copy. After having had a highly sensitive/hard to train border collie– All other breeds feel like a walk in the park now though. I really work on bonding in the first few months. I think a huge part of getting a dog who does what you command is getting a dog who actually wants to do what you command. My older dog is half Akbash (Turkish cousin to the Italian Maremma and the French Pyrenees). She never obeys immediately but she also doesn’t act out. If I tell her to come she will walk to within a few feet of me and just hang out, never runs when I need to leash her. Awesome off leash! I selected the Pyr based on the low energy- my older dog has a short leg and she tires easily. A Pyr seemed like a good match for her and hopefully he will learn from her.

  106. We have three Great Pyr. One is named Grouchy, after Groucho Marx. One day I had to fix an area of their pen by putting stuff into a tunnel hole under the fence. Grouchy had taken the role of escaped convict and dug out.

    I’m standing and looking everything over in contemplation. “I’ll need a big block of wood,” I had said then sighed and started to go look for said block of wood. I find what I think is suitable and turn around to head back to repair site. Here’s Grouch carrying a very big block of wood to me. *shaking my head*

    Yes, you have to have a sense of humor for these guys. They will not let you get into a deadly serious mood at all. As well, they are great for helping deescalating stress, anxiety. Grouch’s brother Sherlock who has a bit more Golden Ret in him will go into his guru state and sit beside me. All the while Grouch sits a little bit away to watch ‘Lock get me calmed down. ‘Lock though also has a touch of shell shock. Good medicine for us both.

  107. My little “Yetta is 8 months old. Everyone at home spend time with her. Feeding her, and playing with her. We also have 3 Chiuaiuas. 1 of the 3 play with Yetta. The other 2 don’t like her. To be honest, my 2 grumpy gremlins don’t seem to like anyone. But for some weird reason Yetta barks, growls, and almost make attempt to bite everyone in the house except me. When they try to walk by her, she barks and tries to make everyone think that she’s going to bite them. We give her everything that she needs. And she’ll give that same love back. But once she lays down or sets herself somewhere, she flip’s. I cant take her to training classes, so if anyone can give me any kind of information about to deal with this type of problem, It would be strongly appreciated. Thank goodness for this group.

  108. Great article! It should be posted at every adoption facility.

    We adopted our first Pyr, Drake, because we were having trouble with bears and mountain lions at our home in the mountains. It was a perfect fit! We never saw another bear or lion, but the deer and elk were not bothered by him. Drake never had a confrontation with the bears or lions, his bravado was enough to keep them away.

    After Drake died, we decided to not get another dog. Well, that soon changed when the lions became a problem again, so we adopted our second Pyr and we still have him. Both dogs are/were very intelligent but independent.

    Our first Pyr was a fence climber. He was so attached to me, we had to put him in a more secure enclosure when I went to work even though my husband was home. Our current Pyr stays inside our 4 foot fence with no trouble.

    I would add a few things to the article for those who are not familiar with Pyrs. They love their people. You are their “flock” and they want to be with you. Please think twice before getting a Pyr if the dog is going to be alone a lot.

    Pyrs, are very stoic. Be aware that they can be injured and act like everything in fine. And, like other large breeds, they do not live a long time, usually ten to twelve years. Be sure to have your dog microchipped and have ID tags. Socialize your dog well when young. It is absolutely mandatory to have a fence.

  109. I love your article and have a great site. I have a wonderful 105lb Great Pyrenees, clown/angel and her name is ‘Maggie’.

    This is in response to your 2nd point – On obedience and intelligence. You’re spot on. If a dog can be intelligent yet take their time to follow a command it’s a Great Pyrenees. Also, I’ve noticed that breed information sites have started giving Pyrs a ‘high intelligence rating’, which is reassuring and it’s important for anyone considering a Pry. I am Maggie’s 3rd owner. She went for almost a year without being adopted. I think if people had better knowledge of what they were getting into then situations like Maggie’s would be less common.

    Our family has always had German Sheps which are known for their intelligence and I can say without any hesitation Pyrs are also v intelligent. Maggie adoption agency babbled on about her intelligence, I wrote them off as ‘over-zealous dog people’. Well, they were right. I adopted Maggie when she was 3 and from the onset it was evident she was a ‘thinker’, very much a Pry trait. In short you can teach your Pry to do pretty much anything and they’ll do it in their own time. But what I noticed w Maggie is perhaps the real intelligence of a Pry….the ability to figure things out on their own as well as capitalize on what you teach teach them (I’ve had conversations with other Pry owners and they’ve all said the same):

    We moved into a new apartment. It took her all of 6-7 days to figure out how to unlock and open the sliding glass door to the balcony. We had to put a stop to it when she started barking at people from the balcony at 3am.

    When I first got her, by the end of the 2nd week, when nudging my head or the mattress didn’t work she figured out how to get me out of bed for her 6am walk….on weekends. I had a slay bed; she would slam into the foot board, rub along the width of the bed, get to the other end, turn around and repeat. She was relentless and had a ball doing it.

    One of her BFF’s is my GF’s cat, a lean 24lb tabby. They love to chase each other. One year just before Christmas she was chasing the kitty, the kitty ran behind the tree and before I could grab Maggie she dove in and knocked it over. She was elated, she stopped chasing the kitty and gleefully inspected the chaos. After that we were subjected to a window whereby anytime Maggie got excited, she would knock over the tree. So we had to put a stop that too.

    Maggie’s other BFF was my GF’s Golden Retriever; ‘Bear’….We’d routinely order treats/toys from Amazon. Hence, when a package arrived we’d tell them “it’s for you’ and they’d get excited about what was in the box. Every so often there’d be just a brush or a pet shampoo….priceless….their faces would be so unimpressed. Anyway, that same Christmas, when we started opening presents, we did the ‘it’s for you’ and we showed the pups how to open a present. Maggie got it right away. She got it to the point whereby she started all the presents under the tree. She did this 2 years in a row.

    Off the leash, during walks I would call her and she would never come directly back to me (unless we were playing) instead she would walk to where we would intersect. If she got there before my GF or I, she would wait. But if we took too long then she’d go off and do her own thing, which was usually something less than ideal, such as run into the nasty silty flats during low tide. This is life with a Pry and it’s hilarious.

    To teach her not to open the sliding glass door, not to crash into my bed, not to knock over the tree, not to open everyone’s presents, stay within a respectable distance when off the leash and much, much more was easy. The essentials such as ‘sit, wait, gently take food’ etc.. also easy, although I think that was more of a refresher….But there is a twist, Maggie doesn’t share the same level of satisfaction from following commands as say a German Shep. Instead, teaching a command is not an owner/dog scenario but something more akin to ‘we all do together’ and has to be accompanied with a healthy dollop of happiness.

    I think the latter is a concept most people aren’t ready for and requires a little more ‘diligence’ on the owners behalf.

    I’ll add this about Maggie: We all love our pets/babies equally…but every once in a while one comes along that’s special, a stand out and it’s unavoidable. This is one of those moments…what a joy. : )

  110. Hello! I enjoy reading your posts! I have a 1 1/2 year old Great Pyrenees whom I adopted when he was 6 months old. The funny thing about him is that he doesn’t bark at all! I will hear a a one time bark maybe once every 2 weeks! Do you think he will eventually develop a bigger voice? Even when dogs are barking around him he usually doesn’t bark back! I also have a question about grooming. Rugers butt fur so easily gets tangled and frizzy it’s tough to keep up with! Do you recommend anything to help tame the fur?! Thanks!!

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