I am so excited to kick off our new series, “Meet the Giants”. Each week we will share information about a giant breed from someone very familiar with the breed. I wanted to start this because I felt a lot of information online about Great Pyrenees was a bit off. The Meet the Giants posts will come from the minds of breed enthusiasts to try and share the most accurate information possible.
So, let’s kick it off with the Great Pyrenees! I’ll be handling this post 🙂
Yes! I have two amazing Great Pyrenees – Mauja, our female who just turned 3, and Atka, our male who just turned 2. If we didn’t live on a military base, we’d have many more fluffies!
Are there any other names/nicknames for Great Pyrenees?
The Great Pyrenees is known by this name mostly in North America. In most of Europe, he is known as the Pyrenean Mountain Dog or Chien de Montagne des Pyrénées in France. For those of us that find “Great Pyrenees” too long to say all the time, “pyr” works just perfectly.
What are 3 words you would use to describe Great Pyrenees?
Protective, loyal, and gentle.
What is the average size of a Great Pyrenees?
Height at the withers is 27-32 inches for males and 25-29 inches for females. Weight should be proportionate to the size and structure of the dog. Typically, pyrs will range from 90-150 pounds at a healthy weight. The Great Pyrenees is considered a medium boned breed (for reference, a Newfoundland is well boned and a Mastiff is heavy boned). That means that a 120 pound pyr could appear to be the same size as a 150 pound Newfoundland. Many people are often surprised at Mauja and Atka’s weights thinking they should be much higher. The lack of density accounts for the difference. To sum it up, a Great Pyrenees should not be overly lumbering or light. The dog’s proportions are most important.
What are the acceptable colors of a Great Pyrenees?
The Great Pyrenees is predominately white, but various shades gray, tan, and brown can cover up to 1/3 of the body. Most people refer to these markings as “badger marks“. The face can be slightly colored or fully masked and the body can have a few spots. Typically the undercoat is white, but it can be shaded or marked as well.
What is the average lifespan?
Pyrs typically live for 10-12 years, but I have seen several reach 15 or beyond.
What was the Great Pyrenees bred to do?
The Great Pyrenees is a livestock guardian dog. They protect livestock from predators such as coyotes, wolves, and bears. I have heard of several fending off mountain lions and moose as well; they’re tough dogs! Pyrs are still widely used as LGDs today, but are becoming an increasingly popular house dog. It is also common to see pyrs as therapy dogs due to their gentle nature. All Great Pyrenees need a job and many will be happy protecting you and your family.
How much exercise do Great Pyrenees need?
They tend to do well with a brisk 30-60 minute walk each day. They are not particularly active dogs, so you won’t spend time running with them for hours on end 😉 Great Pyrenees are also fairly inactive indoors, but most prefer to spend their time outside patrolling their territory.
What are some common health problems?
Great Pyrenees are one of the healthiest giant breeds, but they do still suffer from issues such as hip displasia, bloat, patellar luxation, and osteosarcoma. Minor issues can include skin problems, entropion, and ear issues.
How much grooming do Great Pyrenees require?
Brushing will be the most important thing for maintaining your pyr’s coat. Ideally, brushing should occur at least 2-3 days per week. The outer coat of a Great Pyrenees is mostly mat resistant and self-cleaning, so baths are only needed a few times a year. The double dew claws should be trimmed regularly.
What do you wish people knew about Great Pyrenees before bringing one home?
Well, I wrote an entire post with my top 5 things I wish people knew about them. To sum it up – they bark a ton (like, endlessly), they shed, they dig, they’re independent thinkers so training isn’t a priority for them, and their guard dog nature needs to be seriously considered. Another big consideration is fencing. The territory of a Great Pyrenees is as far as he can wander and a small fence won’t stop that. Most pyrs will need a minimum of a 6′ fence.
Why do you love Great Pyrenees?
Oh my, I could go on and on here. I think that, for me, their devotion to their family is the most wonderful thing. They are incredibly loyal and would fend off a grizzly without thinking twice. The bond between a person and her Great Pyrenees is unsurmountable. I also love their independence. There’s something fun about the challenge of training a Great Pyrenees when they have little to no interest. It forces you to think outside the box and get creative. I absolutely love pyrs and will always have them in my life. While they’re not the perfect breed for everyone, they’re the perfect breed for me <3
Anything else you want to say?
Please don’t go home with the adorable, fluffy puppy without doing research and talking to individuals knowledgable with the breed. Their quirks can be unacceptable to many people who aren’t prepared.
So there you have it! Our first Meet the Giants post featuring the Great Pyrenees. Stay tuned for next week when we’ll introduce our next giant!