The Great Pyrenees, or Pyrenean Mountain Dog, is an ancient guardian breed that originates from the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain, although many believe they can be traced even further back to Siberia. These dogs were bred to handle the dangerous task of guarding flocks of sheep and other livestock on the steep mountains from predators, all without human intervention.
Paintings and literature depict Great Pyrenees at least 2,000 years ago, however often under a different name. In 1675, the Great Pyrenees became a royal court dog due to their beauty, elegance, and majestic appearance by King Louis XIV.
The Great Pyrenees is a regal dog who is predominately white, although some have coloring on their bodies. Per the breed standard, Great Pyrenees may have badger marks in various shades gray, brown, and tan on their face and covering up to 1/3 of their body. The double dew claws on the hind legs are also a classic breed characteristic.
Height at the withers is 27-32 inches for males and 25-29 inches for females. Weight should be proportionate to the size and structure of the dog. Typically, Great Pyrenees will range from 90-150 pounds at a healthy weight.
The Great Pyrenees is considered a medium boned breed (for reference, a Newfoundland is well boned and a Mastiff is heavy boned). This means that a 120-pound pyr could appear to be the same size as a 150-pound Newfoundland. A Great Pyrenees should not be overly lumbering or light—the dog’s proportions are most important.