Many people purchase or 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
However, the Great Pyrenees is not like most other dogs. Many pyrs are surrendered when surprised owners experience these breed-specific traits. Before anyone adds a pyr to their family, I wish they knew these five things.
1. Great Pyrenees bark. A lot.
Pyrs very rarely attack—and typically only as a last resort. They prefer to scare off predators using intimidation by barking and showing off 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 its flock during vulnerable hours. Patience and a proper nighttime routine are critical to working with these traits when kept as companions.
Related: Will My Great Pyrenees Bark All the Time?
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
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
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‚ and typically males mature more slowly than females
Since pyrs mature very slowly and have little interest in obedience, they can be a challenge. It’s not uncommon 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 adolescent 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, a good brush is necessary 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.
Related: Great Pyrenees Tips (from people who know the breed)
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?
Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady says
Great info! Especially for those who are looking into the breed!
ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
ann pederson says
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.
Are they hard to housebreak?
Jan Melnyk says
We are having trouble housebreaking our Yukon! He doesn’t pee a lot in the house but has had almost one accident per day since we adopted him 10 days ago. We had a pyr before, our lovley Shasta, but she didn’t like it in the house much–and so I don’t think she every had a pee incident.
We got Yukon at 21 weeks from a farm–he is quite skinny–the woman said they were feeding him adult alpo–not a puppy chow. We have him on Nutro for puppies with a real meat meal every day and he is growing by leaps and bounds. When he first came here, he ate all the soil from a planter, and the little tree in it! One thing we are struggling with is taking him in the vehicle–he is terrified of it and wants to stay home. The farmers never took him in vehicle except for his first shots when a ball of fluff. We had to take him to the vet yesterday –he is now too big to carry, and he braced his feet like he was on waterskis! “Nope, not going in there!” Hopefully, in a few days when he starts going to the dog park, he will change his mind about SUV.
We got our extremely young at 5 weeks old. She was potty trained very fast and never had an accident in the house
Kim Swaim says
Hi, I am trying to find a home or rescue willing to take a 12 month old part GP, part cattle dog that is DEAF. She is very sweet, spayed, vaccinated, good with dogs and people. Owner wants her gone. Needs training. Full of energy.
I live in Ft. Lauderdale. Will donate toward her care and training. Will arrange transportation.
No. Three redirects was all my girl needed to stop voiding on the floor. She’s rather shy about defecating. She’d rather be out of sight when she does poop… My male also prefers to poop out away from where he can be seen. He was house broke when I got him.
No ours became aware of the need to go outside virtually immediately. Trick is to have them out every 2.5 hrs between 5 am and 11 pm. We have 4 at home so it was easy to schedule. Virtually no accidents and after 2 months he began to require fewer outings and began making his needs known if necessary. Note pay attention if you hear a light whine.
David Cooper says
hello I am in Bulgaria and have a great pyr 6 years old named Daisy we got her from a rescue center where she had been for over a year. when we got her home she was so excited but never left our sides. after a few days i had to go to the shops and went out of the front gate and locked it by the time i got to the car daisy was sitting waiting for me. so i brought her back inside locked the gate and next minute she came flying over our brick fence. it was over 6 feet high so we had to get a builder to increase the hight to 12 feet as you said they are wonderful dogs. regards dave cooper
Richard P. Crowe says
My 14-month old Great Pyr is fast becoming a perfect dog for my family. At first her genes kept her from coming in at night when we called her. The genes told her that it was her job to stay out and guard our property and her family at night.
However, now she will come immediately when called – day or night. It took a lot of patience and a very adaptable Pyr.
Barking? Yes she barks but not as much as I have read most Pyrenees bark, I am thankful for that
However there are several inherent Pyr qualities which I love: she is great with kids and very gentle and protective of our smaller dogs.
This friendly and gentle dog will turn into a Ninja Cujo on Steroids if a coyote comes nosing around our fence line. No coyote has climbed our fence since Serena has been protecting our property…
I just love thiasgirl…
Lorna Guindon says
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.
Debbie Sigmon says
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.
Our Pyr is also very good about staying in the yard – she does occasionally like to wander into the neighbor’s yard but only because my neighbor spoils her! She is 8 and my heart – best dog ever. I will never have anything but a GP!
Sarah Weyenberg says
Thank you for saying you don’t have a fenced in yard and yours stays within your property. We live in the country….might work on getting a privacy fence between us and the one neighbor closest to us but we have over 2 acres that is virtually impossible to fence. I can breathe again after reading your comment.
Rita B says
The key is to NEVER walk them over the boundary line. Walk them up to it and then make them stay while you walk over. If they try to follow, you just say NO and move them back to their safe zone. Walk them all around the perimeter doing this over and over til they get it.
Whenever they are allowed to cross that barrier, you’re just expanding their territory. Once they learn their territory, they will stay in order to do their job – protect it!
Deborah Burdette says
We have a Lab-Pit mix–Phineas, a Gorgeous Rat Terrier–Baxter, an adorable little long-haired Toy Jack Russell-Chihuahua–Cassie, and a Great Pyrenees-German Sheperd–Molly, as house dogs. Phineas would rather get stepped on than move out of the way, Baxter is the oldest and claims all territory as his, but loves his siblings, Cassie is the diva and prefers my lap to any other place, except maybe her fuzzy doll blanket, Molly would rather bark than eat! She is a GORGEOUS tan and champagne color, huge, smart, marches-to-her-own-drum, and extremely vocal, just as Kelsie said. She barks when I neither see nor hear anything! She has all the traits of the Pyr: loving, loyal, determined…to ‘have it her way’, and my side-kick. These are such great dogs there aren’t enough words to say how great. BUT!! I could collect her shedding hair, spin it into yarn, and open a sweater/knitted goods store from her fur alone!! They do shed A LOT. The seasons change to cold or hot and Molly starts shedding. That’s what I wish people understood about Pyr’s. Be prepared with a good vacuum cleaner, a sturdy clothes brush, and a firm dog brush if you are going to have a Great Pyrenees. Don’t forget to clean your dryers lint trap after every load, too! The second thing I wish people would know about Pyr’s is their lifespan, which is only 10-12 years according to Victoria Stilwell and petcarerx.com. Sadly, my Molly is already 10 and having some of the health problems common to her breed and body size. Anyone thinking about getting a Pyr should research this. Attachment is quick, making parting very difficult.
I have a male Great Pyrenees, he’s 3 years old now, a great big lovable dog! He doesn’t like to be surprised, he loves people once he smells them over and up and down. He doesn’t like people grabbing him , I think Greats are very protective of their owner, don’t get too close too fast! I love mine (Atticus) he has learned really fast to go potty, I took him out about every hour when we first got him, now he goes to the door when he needs to go out. He was easy to train. I’ve had many dogs, I think females are easier to train, males always, always want to mark their territory, be it inside or out!
Never fails! Love your pet with all your heart, he/she will give it back in abundance!
I have a Great Pyrenees male who is 1 1/2 trained professionally to be a suburban house dog. He is pure breed from farm stock and he is wonderful. I have a Belgium shepherd female of the same age and they are a perfect yin and yang. Everything you say is true about the Pyrenees and it makes me giggle because we love him so much!!! He is at 120 pounds and we brush him daily and have him groomed every other month. I will always have one until I can’t!!! Huge snuggle buddy!
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.
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?
m west says
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!
Jeannie myers says
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!
We leave our girl who is 2 the rum of the house when we go off and she never chews up anything. Unless you leave paper down. Paper is her thing. Ha ha
My GP labmix LOVES paper and bras?? ( I guess he’s a boob man) We literally have to lock up the TP which is inconvenient for the humans!!
They can not be trained to stay in a fenced area? That is a question I would like to know.
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.
m west says
NANCY BALDWIN says
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.?
I was told that electricity won’t stop them??
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.
richard wizardry says
If there is bitch in heat my pyr will clkimb a 5′ fence or dig under, he can’t go over 6′
Try a fence footer if you have a digger. Basically take wire fencing and bury it along the base of the fence.
m west says
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.
kimberlee white says
Best article I’ve read yet I have a 3 year old male Great Pyrenees mix Mastiff looks like Great Pyrenees all the way through very very intelligent very protective over his Presa Canario and his 6-pound multi-tool he gets along with the other two dogs beautifully guards the house I’m a single woman he knows he is the alpha male in the house and I reinforce this that he is to care for the human and the other dogs we are his flock he is the man of the house and he fulfill that role he never Barks in the house and when people come in that he don’t know he will be vicious and let me know he don’t attack but he looks like he’s going to only been a few I don’t know what he reads about them but I can’t see it very very intelligent dog he has a 4-foot fence yard that he knows is his and it’s a very large yard with trees and bushes he’s never jumped on the fence but he will let people know I own this property do not enter he has never attempted can leave that fenced area even when 2 years ago there was a snow drift in the middle of the yard that that came up 3 feet of the fence was under snow even when in the neighbor’s yard and Becca mean she had men filling her propane tank write 2 feet from my yard bear my Great Pyrenees what stand on that snowdrift and barked and barked at him to let him know this is my yard but never attempted just simply bounce over that one for the fence that he could leap over never some neighbor not being nice I found my fenced yard open one day and I got the Presa Canario and the Great Pyrenees out there I had no idea how long that fence had been open that they can simply just walk out the front door I know they both seen they could walk out the fence both dogs stayed in their territory I put a lock on that fence when the neighbors want to try let my dogs out to get me in trouble haha now you can’t my Great Pyrenees is very content with the property he is protecting and he lets the whole neighborhood know when you say he hears things you don’t you bet he does he’s listening to all the dogs bark in the neighborhood he watches and sees people walk by when something in the neighbor’s yard is added and he can see something new in their yard he barks at back to you want a loyal dog she is one of the most loyal and protective and loving big baby to the owners this is a great dog to have but he is 110 lb and 3 years old big fluff ball he is huge they see my Presa Canario and say that’s a big dog then I say wait a minute and she’s a hundred and 20 lb she’s more the size of a bullmastiff real happy I say let me introduce you to the puppy I got outside bear always have to come in and see who is in the house and check them out and there are two people it’s pack mentality when the Presa Canario didn’t like them the Great Pyrenees what happened ottoman where they’re sitting in the chair and was growling and snapping and Presa Canario jumped up there and did the same thing we don’t like you and I would like wow they know something I don’t they’ve only done it that three people in three years and they’ve been well socialized so loyal they are and they will let you know that there’s something bad about somebody you’re not seeing he is a giant and I love him so much I love all my gosh and yes he goes out and he barks a lot but oh wow the neighbors have to deal with it where are training collars you can use the problems you can have with them are very hurtful and damaging to the dog emotionally and physically they need to be corrected verbally you’ll give the neighbors 10-15 minutes of silence and then back to barking if I can ground out his barking you just get used to it and ignore it and there is a noise ordinance during the day that I made my small town be very aware of because I moved out in the country bought a big house and a big yard for my dogs For My dogs after the sheriff was here every other day so it seemed like two months I finally got tired of it in this little tiny town in the middle of nowhere that I thought we could be happy big yard I finally went up to the woman that calls the sheriff to have them come to my house and talk to me about my dog barking these small towns suck to begin with people are on social and they don’t want you there because you’re from the cities you’re not from around here so they’re going to do anything they can do to mess with you in the first place so I left the city hall woman no there is a noise ordinance from like who knows 6 in the morning till 10 p.m. my dog is covered cuz I knew if the sheriff kept coming they said they were going to have to start giving me tickets soon they’ve been really nice and they just talk to me tickets that cost money and then what’s the next step take my dog I let her know very clearly I moved here for those dogs so they could have that big yard in the back anybody ever comes and tries to take my dog cuz of his barking they better have their guns out because they will have to kill me to get to my dog my dog would die for me I would die for my dog and when I was telling her all this the anger that was emanating from me and a matter of fact what was going to happen if I get more Sheriff’s at my door and if they ever come take my dog that was the last time I had Sheriff at my door about my dog barking and my dog still barks he will that’s his property and he is guarding it like he was trained coming down Generations they just intuitively know how to guard his flock so I think the barking is so let the Predators know this is not a yard you want to come into damn I’m used to is barking just like when you’re drowned out a little tipsy just drowned out the Barking cares it’s not like I’m very appropriate about time out at 9 a.m. and invite 8 p.m. so what’s been here and I’ve had no Sheriff leave my Great Pyrenees alone he just is doing what they do this is his home his flock his property… I love him so much and they are one of the most intelligent breeds. I’ve had a lot of different breeds of dogs he knows what to do when did you do it he loves to spend most of his time outside during the day even at night when I go to the back door they have a porch where their food and their drink of water but I called him back door and I call him it’s time to come in he comes but it’s in a mopey do I have to Buddy, she knows it’s time to stop barking for the night such a good dog I can’t say enough about their beauty I am forced that he is the leader of the flock he is the alpha male in the house he is here to take care of all of us and he walks with pride and when he lays down in the backyard and he looks like a lion laying there all proud the only hard thing about these bigger dogs is how short their life band is they are my family I love them like my children I’m not looking forward to the Heartbreak of saying goodbye to either one of them and then I have a 6 lb Maltipoo that will probably outlive them by years but if I ever get over the Heartbreak of losing the Great Pyrenees or even the Presa Canario I would get them again especially the proud gentle giant the Great Pyrenees all I can say is love love love is all they give and it will always be there it will never walk away love is all they know how to give I know it’s a lot to read this is what I’ve gone through but they are worth fighting for. To your research Great Pyrenees and I did mention Presa Canario before you get either one of these gentle Giants to the family but they are protectors that is what their job is. How do I post
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.
kathy moffitt says
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.
Judy Dole says
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.
Janice Brown says
Ours stay in if we leave the gate open also. No problems with getting out…
My two year old Sasha stays in her fenced in yard, no problem. She loves to get out there and play with her squeaky ball, shaking her head, squeaking it, chasing it, and running like the wind, but never attempts to go over the fence, once the gate was accidentally left open, luckily I got out there in time, I found her in my open garage, she was starting to take off as I got there, I grabbed her up, put her back in the fenced area, she ran for her squeaky ball, and was happy running, and playing with her ball. She is mostly a indoor dog, when she gets hot, she drools a lot, and wants back in the house. She sheds a lot, so vacuuming, and sweeping every day is a must, even though I brush her every week, LOL, she don’t like her tail brushed, so that is a challenge.
They honestly probably could but it takes a lot of patience and supervision. If your dog does get out. Never chase after them because they will think it’s a game. So it being a game, get them to come to you by running the other way once you have their attention. And know that your going to have to a play a game to get your dog back inside. If you are stern and mean, they won’t listen.
They say you can’t have them as off leash dogs, but I’ve been able to train my pyranees puppy to be off leash in parks and open spaces areas. It’s constant training and bonding that will help this kind of dog listen.
My Great stays in the yard everyday when I go to work, I have a five foot cinderblock fence he has never gotten out or tried to, he stands up to look over the fence but never over! It’s his yard, he doesn’t dig, just chews his toys only, keeps him busy. Now he likes to eat alone, he has snapped at others if he’s eating. Stay away while he’s eating! He will run up and down the fence and bark if he knows someone is on the other side.
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.
Milo is my daughters service dog and is a Pyrenees x st Bernard x white lab . Size 65 # ( USA). He does his job well, telling her of a seizure 10 minutes in advance . He helps her reorient afterward. This give her independence. When not in harness he is a friendly buddy to all he meets. Once he went and got a clerk to help her. He put daughters phone in his mouth and handed it to the clerk who called me.
frustrated with grumpy people says
Grace, you could be fortunate enough to have bought into a line of dogs that have certain traits. I’ve had 2 pyrs, one barked all night because the squirrels talked to him, the one i have now was a rescue at age 2 and is indoors and doesn’t bark.
I also once had a border collie that was calm, and if you know anything at all, you know most border collies are far from calm.
Every dog has a personality, and those are passed down with selective breeding, which often is what destroys a breed because people breed for looks.
So be kind.
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.
Laurie Walsh says
Too Funny!!! 🙂
“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.
You forgot one major thing……they druel a lot! The best dog I ever had and can’t wait for my next one
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?
Elisabeth Sloan says
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.
I’ve been using 2 pyr brothers to guard my milk goats for the last 9 years. I have never lost a goat to a predator. I use electric fencing. It took them a while to respect, but they don’t challenge it. I have trained them to sit, wait, open (their mouths), eat (while take post for them, walk (with a leash), and no (stop whatever ur doing right now), but it took time. I dont allow them to play with the goats, although they are amazing babysitters. I
liveTennessee where it is both hot and humid. At some point they give me a look when they are too hot, and I shave them. Their food is grain free, and this has eliminated hot spots. They are amazing animals.
bonnie l meadows says
Chuck Johnson says
Every dog is different, but I have had Pyrs for the past 30 years and never had a yeast problem. Just sayin’.
Shawna L Harless says
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
Yvonne Long says
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.
We are on our fourth GP. We absolutely love this breed! I fully agree with everything in this article. We live in a remote mountain community. We have had live stock killed by bears. I once fought a black bear ripping our female pig to shreds. It is illegal to kill a bear unless personally being threatened in Colorado. While I was busy trying to scare the bear away, my wife let our pyr out. Game over for the bear! Once the dog saw the bear, he went into full action. And chased the bear away. The bear was so scared, it actually jumped over the 5’ wire mesh fence. I couldn’t believe what I saw.
Another time, we had to leave town for a funeral. A neighbor with a mastiff volunteered to watch our dog. When I went to pick him up, we was super excited that I came back for him ( they have horrible separation anxiety once the attach to people). While I talked with the neighbor, pup laid by my feet. Their mastiff got out of the room he was locked up in, and charged me! Before I knew what was happening, our sweet little 90lb 9 month old Pyrenees had the mastiff on its back. We quickly separated the two giant dogs. Once the threat was gone he was back at my feet like nothing ever happened.
While they are wonderful guards, the main reason we have Great Pyrenees for pets, is because we have children. The kids can lay on them, pull their ears, smack them with toys and other thoughtless things that young children do to dogs, and a Pyr will just take it.
After 7 kids and 4 Great Pyrenees, we have never had one so much as growl at a child. They have protected our children as they were their own. I have never seen a more loving and devoted creature. They have guarded stairs with toddlers, they will stay with a young kid walking in the woods and alert us if we can’t see them. They have stood between our children and danger many many times.
These animals are giant white four legged guardian angels.
My husband and I have a 16 month old, male GP. Our kids are grown and he’s become our baby. He spends his days inside and his nights on duty. I have to sweep several times a day due to his shedding, he’s make a snack of every flip flop I own, and is known to take a sock or potholder out of the laundry when we’re not looking. He will also climb the fence like a cat so we have to keep him on a cable when he’s outside. We’re looking into a taller fence or running a hot wire across the top of the existing fence because we hate having up cable him. Beyond that, he’s amazing. He’s so loyal and sweet. He gives the best hugs and loves everyone. He did almost kill one our friend’s dogs though. The dog got close to me and our GP’s instincts kicked in. They’re quite lethal fighters when they think they need to be. He loves car rides and going to my parent’s. They 160 acres that he spends his nights roaming with their hound. The pair have killed a couple coyotes together. Again, a GP is a guardian. However, he’s brilliant with new people and loving to other animals that he doesn’t feel pose a threat. He does take his time with commands and is definitely stubborn, but when he gets into to trouble he looks so sad, and will pyr paw you to pieces trying to make up. You can’t help but hug him. He can also be quite a clown. Our daughter has 2 to protect her goats and they’re just as amazing. You really can’t get a better, more loving and intelligent dog.
They are so great with small dogs!! Mine will lay there with his mouth open play fighting and growling snout to snout with our chihuahua. We’ve seen videos of pyrs laying down allowing goats to jump around them and chicken pecking around. The get so sleepy! It’s comical.
Lara Elizabeth says
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!
You are so right. We don’t all click with every breed and it’s important to know that beforehand!
We are looking to rescue a Pyr. Our past dog was Springer/Pointer/Mastiff that we had for 12+ years. We used a “Gentle Leader” due to her strength and size. Would this work for ok for a male Great Pyr? Thanks!
Absolutely! I highly recommend the Gentle Leader as a training tool with giant breeds 🙂
Where do you live?
Jen Gabbard says
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 😉
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!
Here’s a post I did a long time ago about our digging box 🙂 http://itsdogornothing.com/how-to-stop-your-dog-from-digging/
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.
Tracy Allen says
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!! 🙂
Ethan Evetts says
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
Myra I lived on says
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.
paula sparks says
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….
Yes good point!
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
Ethan Evetts says
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
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.
Haha! Mauja is pretty “clean”, but Atka can create quite the drool strings!
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.
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 🙂
marie johnson says
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.
Mauja and Atka love being outside too, but they are inside dogs. If you have them inside, invest in a good vacuum cleaner! 😉
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!
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.
They do have such unique personalities. My male and my female are completely different and I love it!
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!
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.
You’re absolutely right. They are going to take care of you no matter what!
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”
Great points! I completely agree.
So id a prynees good for our grandchildren and would she be ok to stay in our garage
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? 😉
Brian K Stephens says
Ours even had his own sulking place. When I heard the sound of an antique desk chair rolling across the house, I knew our dog was coiling his body up in the leg room portion of Mom’s antique desk to whine and complain. I used to get down on the ground and take his front paws in my hands and look in his eyes. He would wilt and cry to me but then a few minutes later he would be out of Mom’s desk and attach himself to my hip, feeling better.
Pamela T says
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.
Sue Stanley says
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 🙂
The Daily Pip says
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.
Haha! That is pretty funny. I love the challenge of an independent dog 🙂
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.
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. 😉
Tom Tompkins says
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.
Kim Kiernan Welcome Home Dog Rescue says
Informative post! Great job! I wish more people would do proper research before getting a dog! I loved meeting your pyrs at BlogPaws. They are beautiful and well behaved!
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 😉
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.
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 🙂
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). 🙂
They really do! I have had a lot of people say pyrs are more like cats than dogs 😉
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 😉
Teena Davis says
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.
Groovy Goldendoodles says
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.
Before is key! So many bring home the dog, then research. Usually they find out it wasn’t a good fit.
Lauren Miller (ZoePhee) says
Great post! I wish more people would do their research before bringing the cute fluffy puppy home!
Most people won’t do well with every breed and it’s best we find that out beforehand!
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 🙂
Jeanne Melanson says
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.
They really are the sweetest and such a great breed, but definitely not for everyone.
Melissa Clinton says
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” ☺
Yes! That’s how I’m going to refer to them now 🙂
Edward O'Shea says
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!
You’re definitely going to have a large friend! Good luck with your new puppy and enjoy it while it lasts – they don’t stay little for long! Please feel free to contact me if I can help you in any way at firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂
Edward O'Shea says
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!
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?
I can’t wait to see your post as I literally know nothing about the breed! I really like the Oster undercoat grooming rake. I’m at work and can’t link it (since they block everything on these computers), so I’ll link my post about it instead, haha. http://itsdogornothing.com/grooming-a-double-coated-dog/
Vivian Shatley says
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.
Kay Stuckey says
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 😉
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.
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.
She sounds like such a sweetie. I’m glad she ended up with such a fantastic family 🙂
Joan Onderko says
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 🙂
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.
Kimberly Gauthier says
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 🙂
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.
Dachshund Nola says
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.
You are absolutely right. There are many breeds that I know I wouldn’t mesh with and it’s important to recognize that.
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.
You’re absolutely right – each dog is very different. My male and my female have such different personalities!
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.
They really are such amazing dogs <3
Amanda Yantos says
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.
I hope so too. I’ve seen far too many people get a pyr only to surrender it shortly after.
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.
golden woofs: sugar says
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? 🙂
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!
That’s amazing! You rarely hear that about pyrs 🙂
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.
One thing we learned: a Pyrenees off leash is a “dis-a-pyr”….and they can walk a long way in a short time.
You have it right!
Our German Shepherd was that way. Lisa would wander for miles and chase deer and come hom with worms. When she died, Mom prayed for a dog that would stay home. Our Pyr turned out to be exactly that. He was a house dog who liked the yard and our woods but he didn’t like to leave the property without us. But he had a set time for a daily walk and he could tell what time it was too because he would turn pushy and impatient between 2 and 3 pm when Mom went upstairs to put her walking shoes on until Mom came back downstairs whereupon he would be excited and ecstatic as she put the leash on his collar and head out.
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!
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.
Mauja and Atka are the same! They’re almost offended when people don’t stop to greet them 😉
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.
I completely agree. Some people think any dog can be trained however they want. Unfortunately, that isn’t true.
Laurie Donahou says
My Great Pyrenees is not your typical GP. He does not bark very often. He will eat anything. ..jalapeños even! He is trainable. He sits on command. He is awesome.
That is awesome!
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.
You just mentioned everything I love about pyrs. They are truly an amazing breed 🙂
George Mirones says
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.
You are absolutely right. You have to be strong-willed to have a pyr. They will test you!
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.
That will be such an interesting mix as they grow! With two very different breeds, it will be fun to see which traits emerge 🙂
Susan Hubbard says
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.
Atka has a hole he’s created too. They will certainly make their own rules!
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 🙂
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.
Carol Burgess says
That’s a beautiful breed. I have a German Shepherd. Maybe that will be my next dog. Love your blog
Christine Aiello says
This is all great information and interesting to learn since I don’t know much about these beautiful dogs! Great read!
Margot C says
What great information, I did not know these things but I have before thought that a dog that was called ‘dumb’ was simply misunderstood.
JeanneP of bichonpawz says
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!
Susan P. says
Great article! I wish everyone who adopts a dog would research breeds before they bring them into their house.
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)
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.
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!
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.
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!!!
Oh how I love the pyr paw and hugs <3
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.
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.
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”.
Rhianna Putman says
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.
Dede Warren says
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!
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.
spot on. except you forgot to mention the occasional drool fangs 🙂
Judith Fisch says
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.
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.
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… 🙂
Curtis Willis says
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.
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!
Nancy Hampel says
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.
We already had a young cat (just under a yr old) when we adopted our pyr at 3 months old. She LOVES cats especially kittens. I foster orphan kittens that are very young until they are off the bottle…our pyr Bella thinks she is their mommy. She is SO gentle with them…it is the sweetest thing. We adopted a puppy from stray found on the interstate 3 years ago…some kind of rat terrier mix… Bella enjoyed the puppy for about a week and then was over her. But she is patient and tolerant of the other dogs energy level. Maybe if we had gotten another breed with similar energy level….
But yeah our pyr prefers cats to other dogs.
Candace Gallagher says
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.
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.
Jonathan Thompson says
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
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!
Randy Rhinehart says
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.
Dayna and Bill Yockey says
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.
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.
Dayna and Bill Yockey says
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.
Ashley Hamm says
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
Ashley Hamm says
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
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
Dayna and Bill Yockey says
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
Candace Gallagher says
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.
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
David Duarte says
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.
Candace Gallagher says
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!
Trish Godfrey says
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.
Devan Weber says
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!
If you are looking for a fluffy giant breed try Newfenlands or Leonbergers!
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.
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!
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.
JeanneP of Bichonpawz says
I just LOVE these dogs!!!! SO huggable!!
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 🙂
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.
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..
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!!
Lona Freer says
Many of them drool which makes them less fun as a therapy dog. When they sling their head, the drool flies all over the walls and over you. Our Bear does not like new people and changes like breathing machine noises. It depends on the individual dog. They do go through a stage at about 2 years where they challenge you and you have to establish that you are the alpha …very important.
Bob Kell says
i Have a great Pyrenees and all of that is true
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.
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.
Stacy Earp says
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 🙁
Walter Lashley says
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.
Horse Fencing Australia says
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Walter Lashley says
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.
Ginny B says
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.
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. : )
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!!
The Leather Dog Co says
I love my Great Pryenees and he’s the best behaved boy ever!
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Bryan Daniels says
I read this article when we first got our boy. My daughter found him laying in the road, covered in fleas and filled with worms and at almost a year, only weighed 76 lbs. He was dirty and matted and had to spend the night at the Vet. I’m not sure what idiot spends that much money on a dog and then neglects him.
I used the list, (and other research,) to understand a breed that I cannot recall ever seeing before. It’s funny how he can be out in the yard in the rain and come in muddy and dirty and a couple of hours later be clean!!! Love that self-cleaning coat!!! I wish my carpet would do that!!! As far as barking, he barks when he is outside wanting to come in. That’s when his little lamb, my grand-daughter is here. He’s also barked a single bark when she left and got out of sight of the front window. Aside from that, he does not bark!
The real challenge for us is getting him to eat. He is not a big fan of eating and we have tried very many different kinds of dog food.
As many others have stated, he likes to dig and he likes to chew. Not complaining though. I just try to control what he chews.
Also, in reading the multitude of posts above, I can only wholeheartedly concur that this is the most awesome breed EVER! He is so sweet and gentle, (bull in china shop perhaps, but not malicious!) He gets tons of compliments and people can’t stop petting him!
For those dealing with obedience issues, just consider him part cat. If I can make him think it’s his idea, he is more prone to do it!
I have been so blessed to have this boy in our life. I don’t think I’ll ever have another breed!
Dreaming On Doggie, says
nevertheless but all dogs that are sold today ought to have a scan by a vet for id purposes as there are a lot of beautiful dogs that get stole every year,
its also why I’m saying they should be scanned by a vet and then maybe not so many would disappear so suddenly, maybe people might stop stealing so many pets,
how many agree here for this makes sense to me, as most real good dogs have papers and hopefully not just the fake kind,
least that way who ever stole pets in there life’s would have a lot more to do before a stolen pet is sold,,,
Veda Woo says
Laughed TEARS still rolling down my cheeks! ALL SO TRUE!! All these years I thought I failed as a trainer! Only thing I would add is lock your gate…people can’t Resist them, our boy was stolen out of our yard…but returned by police. But it did not start like any of these stories!
It was in the start of a Blizzard on a ranch road near a country school abandoned for the Holiday. Snowy stood in the middle of the road…like Hit Me or Help Me but YOU ARE NOT GOING BY ME! I stopped…horrified at her great size and opened my little station wagon door. She was slightly thin but she was the Pied Pipper of children…they flocked after her everywhere we went…babies pulling themselves up grabbing her fur, or ears…She Loved them!!!! They must have fed her at the school. My husband was horrified when she filled up our small home. She was an Instant indoor only dog….”You Don’t Expect me to go out in that inclement weather do you! ” not one week later a mile further down the ranch rd…OH NO! Deja Vu….there he stood..Hit Me Or Help Me!…I couldn’t believe my eyes! But he was horribly starved…eyes fallen back into his skull porqupine quills, dehydrated dangerously rushed him to vet. The vet said both dogs were 5 and wouldn’t live much longer….wrong! 15 and 16! Bubbles bloomed into a Gorgeous dog! They would only bark when we played our SW CD that had coyotes in background…..they did Every Time! We Laughed So Hard! They liked to lay in the Middle of doorways! Bubbles would watch my husband and just before he was ready to go to bed, he would rush to the doorway, lie down and be Instantly Asleep! Snoring….no matter how Fast Don tried to get to the door…Bubbles was already there. I’d laugh til I cried…Don would holler at the TOP of his lungs “BUBBLES WAKE UP! MOVE! ” to NO Avail and Snowy would Get the Funniest Expression! Finally Don would have to reach over him and grab the door that bent as if would Surely Break and drag Bubbles body across the wood floor enough to painfully squeeze thru the door. AS SOON as the door latched…Bubbles would move! Do NOT get these dogs if you do not want to laugh til you cry everyday! We put them in the tiny station wagon and opened the back windows. They would put their heads out
Both sides but bodies looked like one…people would almost have accidents….we would laugh til we cried!!! No our house could Not accommodate 2Prs! Nor could they fit in our RV with the chow we already had…..but they DID Fit everything about our life! They did not drool, bark, or dig. They were Wonderful! So if one or even two Hyjacks your life…Know you are Blessed!
Bridget Rangel says
PYRENEES are amazing dogs. Too much furry which gives a dog owner soft feel and rubbing to his body you can get stress free by having such furry dog. As i am a dog breeder and dog specialist, i can say to all dog owners who are planning to go for a breed can easily go for pyrenees.
Andrew main says
Dont forget they jump extremely high, fireworks are going on right now and instead of my female pyrmeese sitting with my golden retriever and my mix tiny pup champ to which we do not know the breed, we rescued from a place at a young age and kept happy and healthy from then on, but my pyrmeese jumped 4 feet over our doggy barricade and came to bug me because she was scared. She doesn’t go near new people and is terrified of everything after her surgery from being born without a knee joint on one of her behind legs costing $5000+ in medical Bill’s, moral is they aren’t cheap and they are hard to keep care of, harder than a child I find.
William Wallace says
I really want it, No matter what, i think great pyrenees are just perfect.
c a lawson says
I have my first Pyr. I got her from a shelter. She is absolutely beautiful, she is very large, tenderhearted, lives in house, very smart and does she bark!! When she is in backyard and wants to come in, if I haven’t already let her in, she goes to my window and somehow knows I am in bedroom and will bark without stopping until I go to back door and let her in. She sleeps with me and loves to cuddle. She wants lots of attention and “winks” her eyes like a flirt when I am “baby talking her”. Never seen a dog do that and I have had wonderful dogs all my life. GoT Biscuit from a shelter. She is approx. 1 11/2 years and is huge. I plan to take her to vet this week. She must weigh 125 lbs. – MY guess. I had an Alaskan Malamute before Biscuit and other large dogs. Biscuit is very smart also. I feed her one cup in morning and one cup in evening. I have had her about 4 months. She has probably gained 30 lbs since she came from shelter. It is my first shelter dog. I hope she does not have a thyroid problem. She is even larger than my Malamute was. What is their life expectancy and how long before she is grown? She loves to play, loves to be petted, is an absolute delight.
hi! i am just finiding this site and loving it so much.
we are looking into adding a GP to our home in the next week or so and so i am reading up on them as much as i can!!
my only concern is that we have a 3 year old yorkie who is VERY spoiled. will our new baby take to him well? also, if you have any tips on bringing her in and introducing them to one another it will be GREATLY appreciated. I am a nervous wreck about both of them getting the attention they need and want to make sure i take the best care of them both!!!
Melissa renner says
Hi I Luv my Pyrenees oh my gosh we had our female juniper scince like 10 weeks she is part St Bernard and Pyrenese She has more Of a bernard coat kind of wiry her tail curs up she’s beautiful !!! she is 8 now and we rescued our male Bear 4 years ago he is 8 as Well hes full Pyrrenese With the silky coat they r the biggest babies its so funny we have an open 4 acres down a long lane they can be free and go to the creek and swim they Luv it our male was a house dog when we first got him and in telling you all they have to be outside also they love it !!we have alot of snow as of today and my male doesn’t. Want to come in the garage he just rolls around like a little kid its so funny my female goes out but she would rather stay in on her warm blanket for awhile Lol I Luv watching them play even though there getting older they run and wrestle around there totally the best dog for a family there protective and have the fierce bark our female is more protective they defiantly r great with hunting coons and groundhogs we live in an open area in the country and those animals as well as possums and moles r considered pest they take care of the problem all and all they r the greatest, bestest (lol) one of the most loyalist dogs u could have they do well inside and great outside also I do take them running with me they luv exercise and also they do get along with my yorkies inside as well there all of my babies and all get lots of luv and affection!! And oh one more thing u said about nocturnal they definatly r night owls they lounge alot during the day after my family goes to bed i take them all out running they r definatly wound up lol thank u for listening ❤
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We got our boy pyr when he was only a few months. We had some mishaps in training when we first got him but when the way me and my husband trained dogs growing up failed we finally buckled down and went on the research path and since then we have had a lot more success. He is half pyr half shepherd so they say (total pyr through and through) couple months ago when he turned a year old he found his voice, anyone who comes on our property he notifies us immediately (even if it is the scraggly old cat from down the way haha) and that is something we greatly appreciate, We also take him hiking and he loves it even more in the snow and rain. He does have mishaps here and there like chewing something other than his toys but he has come along way. and we still have a way to go. He is a character though, he rounds our cat up from the backyard, loves Loves LOVES children with a passion and when he takes my seat on our couch (me and my husband never minded animals on furniture) i would look at him and say “really” and he’d look at me ears back tail wagging quickly as if he was saying “please dont kick me off” and my husband sits there and laughs at both of us… I wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world….he is every bit of the dog we wanted and more than we could’ve hoped for.
One thing I wish people knew about my Pyr mix. The statement “oh he’s so chill and calm” is subject to change really quickly. His incredibly cool calm nature while insisting on getting petted will turn on a dime when a husky or an un-neutered male enters the picture.
Our very first LGDs were Pyrs and everything you shared is spot on. While they both enjoyed spending ‘some’ time indoors, they would get twitchy if separated too long from their official jobs. Barking was a grand thing at night ranging from ‘boof, boof, boof’ as they wandered the perimeter FENCES, to BOOF BOOF BOOF all the way to “you need to get out here NOW” barking. We now have 3 ASDs and one Pyr. The Pyr does most all the barking- the ASDs sit or lay and watch. Very different breeds in how they approach their jobs, both equally successful. We have had zero predator issues through and including cougar. Long way of saying know the breed no matter what they are, but definitely forget the concept of total blind obedience in most all LGD breeds as the rule. Yes there are exceptions.
I have a Pyr/Anatolian/something smaller with a pointed muzzle, but her personality is all Pyr. She’s a big barker (I call it her hobby), she doesn’t dig under the fence but she does like to dig holes and lie in them. She’s fine with my cats and with my pit bull, although she doesn’t hesitate to put him in his place if he irritates her. She’s a wonderfully affectionate, sweet baby girl. The one thing I wish I could conquer is her Pyr Paw. Her feet are like coarse-grain sand paper! I’ve thought about trying to hobble her front paws while she’s inside.
I am considering getting a Great Pyr pup – how do they do in Doggy Daycare?
Balto's dad says
Enough cannot be said about the Great Pyrenees breed. Everything in here is dead on accurate. We rescued a GP who was a little under 2 years old (named him Balto). Since we had another dog at home, the shelter wanted us to bring him in to make sure they got along. We took the 2 for a walk together, and Balto seemed to immediately pick up that our other dog was deaf and blind, and would heard him back onto the walking trail every time he started to wander off. As for intelligence, it took me 10 minutes to teach him to heal on our walks and on his own he picked up when he hears me say crosswalk, he starts looking for one and crosses the street when he finds it – tell me they are not smart (we usually go for a 1-2 hour walk late every night). As for what people should know about the breed, I would say that they can be the most devoted dog they will ever own if they show the devotion back. They are very low maintenance if you are willing to put in the time that they need from you.
Great article! Everything you said is true and I totally agree with that! Thanks for sharing.
Everything you said is true! I totally agree with this post! Thanks for sharing!
Nancy York says
Our rescue Pyr does not want to potty in her own yard. She prefers to take care of that on walks, but she also suddenly decides to sit or stand and refuse to go any farther, even toward home. At 85 lbs, I cannot pick her up and carry her home, which my husband has done. How do I teach her to use her own yard? How do I teach her to not balk on walks? We had hoped to travel with her, but she tries to bolt if the door is open, or dig under the fence if left alone. She is sweet and very intelligent. And she needs a job.
Mik Jones says
Looking for advice how on how to socialize our rescue Great Pyrenees male ( 16 months)? Especially in these COVID times. Also what are good ways to introduce him to strangers, especially children, so that he does not act aggressive. Much thanks for any advice offerred.
I posted someplace on here about our experience with “the big white dog” that wandered into our space. (100 acres). For 6 months we “shared” him with a neighbor about 2 miles away. He would spend a couple of days with us then off to the neighbors, spend a few days with them and I suspect he had one or two other stops from time to time. Then one week he never showed up. I checked with the neighbor and he wasn’t there either. He was gone. I looked for him and the neighbor looked for him to no avail. Eventually, after about a week or so we got a phone call. Someone had befriended him and traced down the rabies tag and found the “owner”. The neighbor had the tag put on him from a local vet. After some discussion we elected to keep him at our place. He is now under strict leash control. We have no effective fence and I am not confident the electric fence we used for our lab will work. It is a Petsmart “stubborn dog” setup but based on his temperament I doubt it will do much. He’ll just blow through it I am sure. Stops my lab cold and now we don’t even use the collar on him any more because he still stops 20′ from the perimeter. I am NOT convinced it will do the same for this guy. I believe he ran off and got “lost” during a severe thunder storm. He shakes and is insanely petrified of thunder or loud sounds like gun shots. When it storms he runs around the house looking for a place to hide. Usually he ends up in the basement. I think that is what caused him to venture off his normal course when he was found 10 miles from our place lost and wandering. Anyway – strict leash enforcement now. It doesn’t seem to bother him. He is perfectly happy to be walked or be inside or tied up. He’ll sit without running off and wait for you to get the lead for his run. ( I built him a 250′ run with steel cable and a pully for the lead) He makes no effort to take off at all. Strange dog but we have fallen in love with him. With good care and feeding he has put on about 30 lbs or more from his original sickly 80lb skin & bones weight when we found him. (well when he found us is more like it) The story has a happy ending but I think we were just very lucky. Anyway I am sure feeling lucky to have him as a friend. Training? Well.. I am not much of a trainer but then he doesn’t seem to need much. Under normal conditions if I call him it is purely at his decision whether or not he responds. I do notice however than if the tone in my call is urgent or alarmed he perks right up and comes over. It seems to depend on the tone. I suspect this is the emergency recall I see mentioned on here. I don’t have a special word but I do have a special tone and that seems to make a difference. My wife on the other hand can’t seem to muster the same intensity of my urgent call. It is a combination of depth and forcefulness that she can’t seem to replicate. We’ll have to work on that. The specific word idea has promise. I fully expect that sooner or later he’ll be out off leash for some reason. It happened once already but we had company coming in when the drove up and he was more interested in making new friends than running off. : ) So that worked out. I guess we are on board now owning (or maybe being owned) by a great pry – I hope we can live up to what is expected of us. He seems to be perfectly happy but I have no doubt that wandering urge will hit him if he manages to get out on his own. Time will tell. For now, he is on loan to us. Ha. We’ll do the best we can to make it a long term relationship.
Gregory Rogers says
I rescued Max when he was one—–he is now going on eleven. The pound was going to put him down because he was a 3-time loser at one. Been in 3 homes and tore them all up—turned over a frig ate legs off a coffee table tore panel off the wall and ate a sofa(LOL typical pup)! He was a challenge at first But my father who raised hunting dogs told me you have to be smarter than the dog to train him! Max at 3 was a 110pound muscle—-and I found out the hard way—2 cracked ribs a broken finger a broken toe and pulled into a patch of poison ivy and oak! (MY FAULT FOR TRYING TO WRESTLE A 110LB MUSCLE!) but he ended up being a god-sent! He helped take care of and loved my 93 year old mother and would help her het into her walker so she could go to the bathroom—wait for her—-help her back in the walker—and make sure she got back to her bedroom—just kind of like sheep herding. Then he found a stray kitten—brought it home—adopted it and let it sleep on his king size bed! He mothers it like the kitten was his! I am on the rescue list for another PYR when God Forbids it is his time! I hope to get another PYR pup to train and be apart of the family! MAX HAS BEEN GREAT AND GOD BLESS ALL PYR OWNERS!
Thank you so much for writing & posting this!! I’m doing a little research before I go have a (hopefully) friendly chat with my neighbor. Their GP barks all day long. Every weekday. All day. The bark is loud enough to wake me from a nap inside my house, 3 doors down and across the street. I was feeling bad for the dog, since I thought dogs only barked non-stop from boredom or anxiety, but it seems like maybe the GPs are perfectly content having something to protect and defend… Maybe his neighbors are the only unhappy ones!
Thank you so much for writing this article. I have what I thought was a purebred Golden Retriever puppy -now about 6 months old. I have had him for about 3 months. I have only had Golden Retrievers and Black German Shepherds, which of course are super loyal and totally easy to train. When my puppy, Riff, wouldn’t retrieve the Chuck it ball, wouldn’t sit, wouldn’t come, wouldn’t do what all my other goldens did from the past- I was frustrated. Then as he was growing – his ears didn’t. He holds his tail up over his back and his eyes are definitely not golden eyes. His head is boxier, squared more. He is soo sensitive noises even though I rescued him from the Bay Area and we live in the CA foothills of the Sierras. My neighbors have Pyr for their sheep so I am pretty familiar with the breed. My gut instinct was I am an owner of a Great Retriever or a Golden Pyrenees! Your article confirms it. He is the cutest Fozzy Bear and so much a cuddle bug now. I have no idea what my life will be like with this goofball – but here we go! His big sis, my black shepherd Attie, tries to keep him in line but she is learning that he is going to do it his way.
Thank you all for all your stories to help us new Pyr owners out. Great stories and information.
If you don’t want a huge hairy, soulful, lovable dog, then don’t get a Great Pyr. Our little man was a 12 month old chicken guarding reject, meaning he was purchased to guard chickens and he preferred “playing” with them. He was given back to the breeder and then put into foster care. After visiting with several shelter dogs, our neighbor encouraged us to meet Bailey. Bailey chose my husband and that was all it took. At 1 year, he was already huge (104 pounds) but not fully grown. He was not house trained but that only took a day or 2. We didn’t know how he would behave in the house so we kenneled him at night. He HATED the kennel and broke the welds on a kennel big enough for 2 people to sit in. Kenneling distressed him so much that he would get diarrhea, back up to one of the kennel walls and release. The solution was to not kennel him, give him a Kong treat ball and let him sleep in our room. Incidentally, he likes to sleep upside down. We shut our bedroom door so he doesn’t have full roam of the house and we are all happy with that arrangement. We have never had an issue with him destroying things, although he did bring in a bag of egg noodles from the garage once and will occasionally more shoes to different places (no chewing, he just moves them). BBoy is now 3, weighs 122 pounds and resembles a polar bear (from a distance). He sometimes stops every 20 or 30 feet when going for a walk to survey the area. He will not budge until he is done surveying. He notices and wants to inspect anything that is out of place in the neighborhood, every different car, new things in peoples yards…… He sometimes sniffs more blades of grass than you thought were possible. He waits at the end of the driveway where children live to see if they will come out and visit. So in a nutshell, these dogs are super observant, super loving, super hairy, really independent and just a heck of a lot of fun. PS. Our big guy can’t tolerate beef and he is barking right now….I think a squirrel passed gas!