Country of Origin: Central Asia, Siberia
Weight: 36-54kg (80-120 lbs.)
Height: 70-80cm (25-31 in.) at the withers
Grooming Requirements: High Maintenance
Exercise Requirements: Moderate
Popularity in Australia: Moderately popular for ranchers
Dog Type: Working
Most suited As: Herding, guarding livestock, and companion animals
Also known As: Chien des Pyrenees, Montanes del Pirineo, Pyrenees
Expected Life Span: 9-15 years
This beautiful dog was originally used to tend sheep, and seems to be a distant cousin of the sheepdog. It is believed to have migrated with the Aryans from Asia or Siberia into Europe. In the 1600s the Great Pyrenees was declared the Royal Dog of France. It is believed that the breed arrived in America in 1824. Their popularity and numbers increased by the 1930s, and in 1933 they were accepted into the AKC registry.
Considered by many to be a gentle giant, this canine is affectionate, loyal, and protective. However, he will defend his property, be it livestock or family members. This dog needs to be socialized early with other dogs, though he may become fast friends with a cat at any point. With his independent nature he may be a challenge to train. The owner needs to be confidant, firm, and consistent, but always kind.
The Great Pyrenees is always alert and watchful, and will bark whenever he perceives a threat. This can be a problem in a close neighborhood where there are a lot of people walking by. But it is an excellent quality in a dog for a family that lives in a more rural area.
Moderate exercise is all this dog needs. Hard runs or long hiking trails is not best for his health; as a matter of fact it can be hard on his knees and hips. A good walk on a leash at least 3 times a week would be great if your yard is small and he doesn’t have a lot of opportunity for exercise.
Size/weight and Colour
This large breed dog is mostly white, but may have some light colouration around the face and tail. Some puppies that have colour around their face and ears are really cute, but many owners are disappointed as the dog ages and the colour fades. Older dogs sometimes develop light yellow or tan on their mane, ears and tail.
This breed can stand from 70-80cm (25-31 inches) at the withers (shoulder). The weight range is 36-54kg (or 80-120 pounds). The females run at the lower end of the scale, the males are at the higher end. Owners must take care that the dog gets enough exercise to maintain a healthy weight or they can develop knee problems if they become obese.
This dogs coat is heavy and weather resistant. It has two layers: a coarse outer coat, and a soft, thick, warm and wooly undercoat. They require frequent brushing to remove loose hair and keep their coat in prime condition.
The Great Pyrenees is more suited to cool weather, but with proper care can thrive in any climate. They can develop skin problems if their coat is not cared for properly, especially in hot weather. Their most common health problems are patella subluxation (knee movement), and hip dysplasia.
This dogs sporting activities range from pulling carts in competitions to herding shows at rural fairs.
The Great Pyrenees has been herding and protecting livestock for centuries. They have a quiet demeanor, but can be ferocious if their charges are in danger. They take very little training to take over your herd of sheep, cattle, or goats, and make them their own responsibility.
Litters of this breed are fairly large with whelping of up to 10 healthy puppies being common.
Pyrenean Mountain Dog – Great Pyrenees Organisations in Australia
Pyrenean Mountain Dog Club of New Zealand
Pyrenean Mountain Dog – Great Pyrenees Organisations in the UK
Pyrenean Mountain Dog Club of Great Britain
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