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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Great Pyranees

Great Pyranees

Origin: France

AKC Group: Working

Height: Males: 27 - 32 inches; Females: 25 - 29 inches (Male)

Weight: 90 to 125 pounds (Male)

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Great Pyranees are calm, serious and independent dogs that usually becomes strongly attached to one person. Males are often aggressive with other males. Great Pyranees need lots of exercise and they love the cold outdoors.

Great Pyranees are working dogs. Working dogs pull sleds and carts, guard homes and serve in the military. Because these dogs are intelligent and capable of learning almost anything, they make excellent companions. Their very size can make them difficult to control, so they must be trained by a competent professional. Most working dogs are pack dogs, so they're often aggressive with strange dogs and other pets.

Male height: 
Males: 27 - 32 inches; Females: 25 - 29 inches
Male weight: 
90 to 125 pounds
Rough with a dense undercoat. Brush at least twice a week. Tail and ears hang down.
Solid white or mostly white with some grey or tan markings. Eyes are dark brown; nose is black. Must have one dewclaw on each front leg and two dewclaws on each hind leg.
Special considerations: 
This is a short-lived breed; 10 years average. These dogs are very independent, so don't choose the most outgoing puppy in a litter.

The Pyrenees Mountains separate France and Spain, and many who live there earn their living tending flocks of cows, sheep and other livestock. Although the exact origin of the Great Pyrenees isn't known, it is certain that he has been guarding shepherds' flocks there for thousands of years. "Discovered" by the French nobility before the Revolution, Great Pyrenees were brought in to guard the large chateaux in southern France. Dauphin Louis XIV named the breed the Royal Dog of France. Luckily, this didn't affect their talents or their popularity with the shepherds who needed them most. In the early 20th century, Bernard Senac-Lagrange, a French aristocrat and breed expert, took it upon himself to preserve the breed; it was progeny from his lines that made it to United States shores in the early 1900s. Today the Great Pyrenees continues to serve French farmers while enjoying a reputation as a gentle giant and magnificent show dog around the world.

Wise and dependable, the Great Pyrenees would give his life to protect his flock - livestock or human. He is serious about protecting those he loves. He can be wary of strangers (as he should be), especially on "his" territory, but with his family, his devotion knows no bounds. This is a large, imposing dog who, while gentle, can appear foreboding to those who aren't dog savvy.
At home: 
A large breed that enjoys the outdoors, the Great Pyrenees may not be the best choice for an urban environment. But no matter what the living arrangement, be ready for daily vacuuming, as this breed does shed quite a bit. He will also need an owner committed to spending time with him, as his devotion is such that he will become very upset if left alone for too long. In fact, many Great Pyrenees will follow family members from room to room to keep a close eye on them. You will need secure fencing (at least 6 feet [1.8 m] high) to prevent him from running off, which the breed has a penchant to do. Because of its guarding instinct, this is a breed with a tendency to bark.
The Great Pyrenees doesn't need excessive exercise, but he requires regular exercise. Several long walks a day will satisfy him.
The Great Pyrenees needs a high-quality, balanced diet. He has a slower metabolism than some other breeds, so don't overfeed and be sure to keep his weight in check.
The Great Pyrenees takes to herding and guarding like a fish to water: He just knows what to do. He is amenable to instruction about household manners and other aspects of life away from the farm but needs a patient and persistent trainer. He can be stubborn, and he will not respond to harsh methods. Socialize the Great Pyrenees from puppyhood to help him accept all kinds of variables in his world.
Great Pyrenees are extremely tolerant of children. They don't always get along well with other dogs and need some extra socialization in that area, but they tend to do well with other types of family pets.
The average life span of the Great Pyrenees is about 10 years. Breed health concerns include hip dysplasia and skin problems in very hot weather.
Fun fact: 

In France, Great Pyrenees work with Pyrenean Shepherds on farms - the Shepherds herd the livestock, while the Great Pyrenees protect it.

Grooming blurb: 
The Great Pyrenees' dense coat should be brushed at least once a week with a slicker brush and a steel comb. Brush him daily during his twice-yearly heavy shedding periods. His coat should not be shaved because it is meant to protect him in all kinds of weather. Because of his large flews, the Great Pyrenees tends to drool and will need to have his face wiped frequently.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.