My Great Pyrenees have taught me many life lessons over the past few years.

Only practice obedience when it’s in your best interest.

Because the Great Pyrenees was bred to work independently without the need for human direction, they typically aren’t the most obedient dog. Don’t get me wrong; they are extremely smart, but they will determine if something is worth their time. I have learned to look at tasks from their perspective. Is what I’m being asked to do really in my best interest?

Take your time when forming new relationships.

Pyrs tend to be slightly aloof when meeting new people. They are taking a moment to examine your intentions and determine if you are friend or foe. Instead of jumping into a new relationship without hesitation, I take the extra time to ensure it will be a positive experience.

A little exploration is okay as long as you don’t worry the ones that love you.

Great Pyrenees roam. In their mind, their territory is as far as they can see. A common saying in the pyr world is, “a Great Pyrenees off leash is a disapyr”. Mauja and Atka have never shown any interest in roaming from the yard and they are never off leash, but they love to explore with me at their sides.

Be tolerant of others.

There aren’t many breeds that are more tolerant than the Great Pyrenees. As livestock guardians, they spend much of their time with baby animals of many species. This trait typically translates to interactions with human of all ages. It’s important for me to slow down and take the time to understand others’ needs.

Only eat when hungry.

Great Pyrenees have a slow metabolism, which allows them to eat much less than other giant breeds of a similar size. It also leads many pyrs to self-regulate their food consumption and keep themselves at an ideal weight. Of course, there are many pyrs that have the eating habits of a Labrador Retriever, but many simply eat what they need and leave the rest. I remember food is to keep my body healthy and enjoy treats in moderation 😉

Work hard, but don’t forget to play.

Pyrs can switch from guard dog mode to play mode in a matter of seconds. They dedicate their lives to keeping their flock (human or animal) safe, but they remember to take breaks for play. Many of us are so overworked and breaks will surely make us more efficient workers.

Naps are good for the soul.

Guarding and playing all day is truly exhausting, so pyrs remember to take plenty of naps to keep their energy levels up. If I’m feeling worn down after a long day, I remember there’s no shame in revitalizing myself with a nap.

Let those you care about know they are loved.

The Great Pyrenees bonds very strongly to those it loves. They are never shy in showing their love each and every day, regardless of their mood. It’s so easy to get caught up in my daily tasks and forget to express my love to those in my life. Love truly makes all things better.

41 comments on “What I’ve Learned from My Great Pyrenees”

  1. Aw, I’ve always wondered about breeds like Pyrs – and how much nature vs nurture could make a difference. It sounds like you do an excellent job with them, and they are so well adjusted and cared for. They’re certainly not for everyone but you’re helping to show what awesome, intelligent, and loving dogs they are. I always giggle when I think about a friends Pyr she got for her livestock. He was meant to protect all of her goats but instead he bonded with one specific pig – and they’re always together, rain or shine. They make the cutest pair, playing and cuddling together.

    • In my opinion, nature and nurture both play huge roles in their development. Mauja and Atka are much more social than your typical LGD because we focused a lot on socialization. Pyrs definitely aren’t for everyone as they have a lot of “undesirable” qualities, but if you can handle them they are truly amazing dogs. In my opinion, some of the most tender-hearted dogs there are.

      That’s absolutely hysterical about your friend’s pyr. They do what they want! 😉

  2. Love this post, it’s amazing what pets can teach us. Bain reminds me a lot like myself, he likes a lot of physical play, is extremely goofy and can be aloof with strangers.

  3. I just LOVE the photo of you in your beautiful wedding gown with your dog right there next to you, it really shows how much a part of your life the dogs are. Not everyone would let their dogs near them in a wedding gown! I never realized how alike Pyrs and Huskies are; both tend to disappear if let off leash and both eat as needed, conserving their energy.

    • The real show of love was Nick snuggling up with the dogs in his dark gray suit! At least the fur blended into my dress 😉 We couldn’t have imagined our special day without Mauja and Atka. A piece of our hearts would have been missing.

      Pyrs and huskies do have a lot of similar qualities!

  4. There was a Great P in our neighborhood that used to come “visit”. It was a small town so I would just hang on to her until her owner came looking 🙂 She was such a sweetie and liked to go on walkabout often

  5. I have two…Maya and Cherokee. Love them and the breed. They found me. Best day of my life. Great article.

  6. I’ve had 3 and this sums them up perfectly! The only difference is that my current baby girl is a “piggy hog dog” and eats everything in sight! Loved this!

  7. I have a great pyr named Sasha she is 90 pounds and is almost 4 years old. She is scared of almost everything. Do you know if there is anyway of getting her un afraid of things.

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