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Information About Great Pyrenees: A Majestic and Protective Dog Breed

Consider the Great Pyrenees if you are looking for a large, loyal, and courageous dog breed that can protect your property and family. This is one of the oldest and most primitive dog breeds, dating back to the Bronze Age.

They have a regal and refined appearance, with a thick white coat and a strong physique. In addition to being intelligent, kind, and gentle, they adore their owners and well-behaved children.

But before you decide to acquire a Great Pyrenees, you must be aware of certain essential facts about this breed. BestForPets explains everything you need to know about the Great Pyrenees, from their origin and history to their health and care, in this article.

By the conclusion of this article, you will have a greater understanding of this breed and whether or not they are a good fit for you.

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Deborah R. Fletcher (DVM)

Veterinarian

The information provided is current and up-to-date, in line with the latest research conducted in the field of veterinary medicine.

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Physical Appearance

The Great Pyrenees is a very large dog that can reach a shoulder-height of 32 inches and weigh over 100 pounds. They have a robust and muscular build, with a broad torso and lengthy back.

Their skull is wedge-shaped, and their triangular ears hang downward. They have dark brown irises and a black nose. Their long, plumed tail extends at least to their hocks.

The Great Pyrenees’ most distinguishing characteristic is their long, coarse, straight or slightly undulating fur. The fur is weatherproof, protecting the dog from cold, heat, precipitation, and snow.

Some dogs may have patches of gray, tan, or Badger on their head, ears, or body. The coat must be brushed frequently to prevent matting and flaking. It also requires occasional bathing, nail trimming, ear cleaning, and dental hygiene.

Personality and Temperament

The personality of the Great Pyrenees is composed, well-mannered, solemn, and dignified. They are extremely devoted and loyal to their family, including well-mannered children.

They are also fiercely protective of their territory and will defend it against intruders and predators. They have been observed fighting bears and wolves to defend their flocks, although their protectiveness may extend to their owners as well.

However, they are neither hostile nor aggressive. They are typically cordial and considerate with those they know and trust. They are also intelligent, kind, and fast learners who respond positively to praise. They have a sense of humor and are occasionally mischievous.

Keep in mind that the Great Pyrenees is an independent and obstinate breed of dog. They were bred to operate independently and make decisions in the mountains. This means that they can be challenging to train and may not always comply with your commands.

In addition, they have a strong instinct to howl, particularly when they detect something suspicious at night. When training the Great Pyrenees, patience and consistency will be required.

Health and Lifespan

The average lifespan of the Great Pyrenees is 10 to 12 years, which is typical for large breeds. However, they may also experience health problems that can diminish their quality of life. These are some of the most common health issues affecting this breed:

  • Hip dysplasia: A disorder in which the hip joint is malformed or unstable, resulting in pain and arthritis.
  • Bloat: A life-threatening condition in which the stomach twists or fills with gas, resulting in pressure on adjacent organs.
  • Eye disorders: Cataracts, entropion, ectropion, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) are a few examples.
  • Bone cancer: Also known as osteosarcoma, this is a malignant bone tumor.
  • Skin problems: Such as allergies, infections, and hot spots.

You should take your Great Pyrenees to the veterinarian frequently for checkups and vaccinations in order to prevent or detect these health problems early.

You should also provide them with a nutritious diet of high quality and avoid overfeeding or giving them human food. Additionally, you should engage them in moderate exercise to maintain their health and fitness.

If you plan to buy a Great Pyrenees puppy from a breeder, make sure that both parents have health clearances. This means they have been tested and found to be free of genetic diseases. Also, ask for references from previous buyers and visit the breeder’s facility to observe the living conditions of the puppies.

Exercise and Activity Level

Compared to other breeds, the Great Pyrenees is a relatively inactive dog. They need only 20 to 40 minutes of daily exercise to maintain their health and happiness.

They enjoy activities like walking, hiking, playing fetch, and running in a fenced-in area. Because they are prone to overheating, they are not suitable for jogging or cycling with you.

Due to their heritage in herding, you should be wary of their propensity to roam and wander. They have a strong curiosity and love of adventure and may be inclined to chase after anything that moves.

If they are bored or lonely, they may also attempt to escape from your yard or home. When outside, they should always be on a leash or confined to an area from which they cannot escape.

Diet and Nutrition

Diet and Nutrition

The Great Pyrenees requires a premium dog food that is tailored to their age, size, and activity level and meets their nutritional requirements.

You should seek out foods that contain a healthy proportion of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Look for foods that are free from artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and additives.

Their daily caloric requirements are determined by their weight and metabolic rate. Follow the feeding instructions on the food package or consult your veterinarian for guidance. To prevent bloat, divide their food into two or three portions per day. You must consistently provide them with clean water.

You should be cautious of the possibility of obesity and overfeeding. The Great Pyrenees has a slow metabolism and can easily gain weight if they overeat or don’t get enough exercise.

Obesity can result in numerous health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, and joint issues. Regularly monitor their weight and physical condition and adjust their diet accordingly.

If you’re interested in learning more about the best food options for your Great Pyrenees, check out BestForPets article on the Best Dog Foods for Great Pyrenees.

Training and Socialization

The Great Pyrenees is a fast-learning dog that is intelligent, kind, and responds positively to praise. However, due to their independence and stubbornness, they can be difficult to train and may not always follow your commands. Patience and consistency are required when training this breed.

You should begin training your Great Pyrenees as early as possible, preferably as a puppy. To encourage and reward good behavior, use positive reinforcement techniques such as praise, treats, and toys. Avoid harsh or negative methods, such as yelling, hitting, or scolding, as they can cause fear or aggression.

Teach them basic commands and skills such as sit, stay, come, and heel. Additionally, train them to walk on a leash without tugging or lunging. Teach them to control excessive or unnecessary barking as well.

Socialization is crucial for this breed, especially when they are young. Expose them to as many new people, locations, and situations as possible to help them become more self-assured and sociable while preventing aggression and fear.

Socialize them from a young age with other dogs and animals to prevent territorial behavior and jealousy.

Living Conditions and Suitability

The Great Pyrenees is appropriate for a variety of environments, including rural and suburban areas. They are not suitable for apartments or small spaces because they require space to exercise and roam around. They prefer cooler climates due to their susceptibility to overheating in warm conditions.

They crave companionship and affection from their family. They appreciate having peaceful time at home and a predictable routine. They are not particularly demanding and do not require a great deal of attention or stimulation.

However, they are unhappy when isolated from their owners or left alone for extended periods of time.

Because of their guardian temperament, they have a tendency to bark loudly. They will notify you of any intruders or suspicious activity in the vicinity of your property.

Additionally, they may howl at other animals or sounds they hear outside. If you live in a noisy area, their barking may be bothersome to you and your neighbors.

You should provide them with sufficient space, comfort, and care to make them feel happy and safe in your household. Additionally, you should respect their independence and dignity and refrain from treating them like tools or accessories.

Conclusion

Conclusion Great Pyrenees 1

Originating in the Pyrenees Mountains, the Great Pyrenees is a majestic and protective canine breed. They have a placid, well-mannered, and serious personality that is also vigilant, making them excellent companions and family protectors.

However, they are also independent and stubborn dogs that require patience and consistency during socialization and training. Additionally, they require regular veterinary care and preventative measures for their health issues and grooming needs.

If you’re looking for a dog that can protect your home and family while being affectionate and devoted, consider the Great Pyrenees. However, be prepared for the challenges and responsibilities that come with owning this breed.

BestForPets hopes that you found this article on the Great Pyrenees breed informative and useful. We appreciate you taking the time to read it.

Author Image

Dr. Heidi Bigham

Dr. Heidi H. Bigham, DVM is an expert in small animal veterinary care, specializing in emergency medicine, geriatric pet health, and internal medicine. She has five years of expertise as a general practitioner of small animal medicine in facilities that provide preventative care, surgery, and 24-hour emergency treatment. 

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Heidi Bigham

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