When we get
As livestock guardian dogs, they don’t behave like most breeds. They bark, they dig, they roam, and they’re very independent.
I love Great Pyrenees—that’s no secret. But, I don’t promote them
If you want a Great
You don’t like barking—especially at night
When people are interested in a Great Pyrenees and ask me about my experiences, I always start by saying that they bark a lot.
Like all. the. time.
This comment is usually followed by, “Oh, my *insert breed here* barks a lot too. At everything. So barking isn’t a big deal—we’re used to it.”
I can tell you that it’s unlikely that your dog barks as much as a pyr or other livestock guardian dog (LGD). Regardless of how much barking I try and prepare people for, they never believe me—until they add a pyr to their family.
Then I get the email: “Oh my gosh, I had no idea that dogs could bark that much!”
If you think you know
You don’t have a fence
There’s a reason most rescues require a 6 ft fence for Great Pyrenees.
You won’t have much luck with invisible fences either. Pyrs have an incredibly high pain tolerance and won’t think twice about the shock.
If you don’t have a fence and want a Great Pyrenees, you’ll need to be able to commit to leash walking and other safe ways to exercise your dog.
Regardless if you have a sturdy fence or not, I am a big fan of GPS collars to easily track down your floof!
You want an off-leash dog
If you dream of walking along the beach with your pyr trotting along beside you or going to a hike while your dog frolics through the woods, you probably shouldn’t get a Great Pyrenees.
The vast majority of Great Pyrenees cannot be off-leash.
The saying goes: an off-leash pyr is a disapyr.
Atka can be off-leash in certain situations, but it has to be a pretty low key environment. Mauja and Kiska can never be off-leash. There have been several times that I’ve seen their
Everything goes back to this: Great Pyrenees are livestock guardian dogs.
They think their territory is as far as they can roam, and they’ll constantly test the limits. If you keep that in the front of your mind, you’ll never question your pyr’s behavior.
It’s like Mufasa said: “Everything the light touches is our kingdom.”
You want a trick dog
Pyrs are incredibly smart, but they aren’t usually interested in tricks and obedience. This doesn’t mean they can’t be trained—they just typically have better ideas.
“You want me to sit? Okay, I’ll sit, but I’m going to do it 15 feet away.”
“You want me to shake? Ehh… not really in the mood right now. Try again later.”
Shake, come, and down are trivial to them. They have more important things to focus on: protecting you and the rest of their flock.
This doesn’t mean that pyrs can’t be trained. They’re incredibly smart and need to be challenged. Just don’t expect it to be like training a Golden Retriever!
Related: 10 Tips for Training Great Pyrenees
You like a well-manicured lawn
Or at least one without giant craters.
I wish I had pictures of our lawn before we moved in. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a nice-looking yard.
Fast forward two
We tried to fence it off to grow grass, but they would just climb over and lay on the seeds. We eventually gave up.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve twisted my ankle or knee walking through the yard!
There are ways to minimize digging (like by building a digging box), but there’s always going to be a new place they want to dig. Mauja likes to try and remove the grass so she can lay on the cool dirt.
You don’t like brushing—or vacuuming 10 times a day
If I want to do a full grooming session—bath, brush, ears, nails, teeth, and paw trimming—I need to set aside a day to get all three dogs done. Even then, I sometimes have to spread it out over a few days so I don’t completely wear out.
You’ll also need to be prepared to vacuum multiple times per
Everything sticks to their coats and is brought inside. Some days, we have more leaves and small twigs around the house than fur. I’m not sure which I’d prefer!
What are other reasons a Great Pyrenees might not be for someone?