|Sensitivity to strangers|
|Affection for family|
|Suitable for first-time owners|
|Ease of grooming|
The Great Pyrenees is one of the oldest and noblest breeds in history: Let’s talk about it.
The Great Pyrenees (Pyrenean mountain dog) – that plays the role of Belle in the movie “Belle et Sébastien” – is a golden-hearted giant. Its name is not related at all to its place of origin; in fact, it is related to many other European white dogs, like the Italian Maremma Sheepdog and the Saint Bernard, that come from very distant regions.
All these dogs came from Eastern Europe, where they guarded flocks. The Great Pyrenean, in particular, has been a companion dog over the centuries for Basque shepherds living near the French and Spanish Pyrenees, more precisely in Navarre and Aragon.
In his book “De re rustica”, the Roman author Varrone had already described this breed by writing about its large head, soft and long years, short and wide neck, and its white coat, a particular feature since it made the animal easy to spot even during nighttime.
We could say that the Great Pyrenees is a guard dog which is aggressive only towards predators that threaten its family.
Great Pyrenees: Origins
The Pyrs (Pyrenean mountain dogs) have always been very successful since their arrival in Europe. Among its ancestors, there is also the Tibetan Mastiff, one of the “great fathers” of the Old Continent dogs.
The first record of the Great Pyrenees in Europe dates back to the mid-14th century, a dog that, apart from guarding cattle, was also in charge of the protection of French castles.
The moment of greatest popularity of the Great Pyrenees might be at the end of the 17th century, when the Duke of Maine, son of the “Sun King” Louis XIV, fell in love with this breed on a trip to the Pyrenees and wanted to take it with him to Versailles. From then on, it began to be a sought-after dog, becoming a true breed.
Great Pyrenees: Temperament
The Great Pyrenees is self-confident but sociable. It is also very affectionate, in particular with children. Although when there is no threat ahead, it is a calm and loving dog, it is actually a territorial breed that knows how to protect its family and group very well if needed.
The Pyrs are a determined, independent, attentive and bold breed that is always committed to its duties. The Great Pyrenees is a guardian by nature, partly due to its considerable size. Since it is used for exploring in order to control its territory, it is best to keep it on leash if its space is not fenced.
When protecting cattle, the Great Pyrenees tends to bark. It is also a nocturnal animal, so if it has not been trained in time, it may bark a lot, especially in the middle of the night.
Great Pyrenees: Use
It is clear that given its considerable size, the Great Pyrenees is certainly not a houseplant. It needs plenty of space, and due to its rural origins, it is one of the dog breeds that loves large extensions of grass.
Thus, it is impossible to force it to live in a tiny space. It is important to have a beautiful backyard, and to insist immediately on a calm and reasoned, but also firm and determined training as it is a breed that can be a little stubborn.
The Pyrs, like many other dogs of their type, could escape if left free, so we advise you to be careful in this sense. Concerning the use of this breed, due to its temperament, weight, and tradition, it is an excellent shepherd dog that knows how to be affectionate, friendly, and calm in a relaxed situation. However, it becomes an attentive and relentless guardian when its territory or family is threatened.
As we said, it is an outstanding guard dog, but it has always been used for different tasks in history. For instance it has been an excellent companion dog for French nobles. In the past, the Great Pyrenees was also used to control all kinds of animals, including other dogs, which is not hard to believe due to its tendency to prevail over other breeds. In the mountainous and rural areas where they have always worked, the Pyrs were also used to prevent attacks from dangerous animals such as wolves and bears who found in the Great Pyrenees a worthy opponent.
Great Pyrenees: Relationship with other Dogs
In general, Pyrs are quite reserved with strangers, whether they are humans or other dogs. This is why it is very unlikely that it will start a fight, unless provoked. As many similar-sized dogs, the Great Pyrenees knows its strength perfectly well and it will not show it unless absolutely necessary.
Calm and affectionate, the Great Pyrenees loves playing with its fellow dogs if they are not too aggressive; of course, if necessary, it knows how to command respect. However, it will always be ready if its owner calls him.
Great Pyrenees: Feeding
As for food, this breed needs to eat according to its size: it may est almost 2,20 lbs per day (more precisely between 1,76 to 2 lbs) of food, depending on its metabolism. During its growing stages, it is essential to take good care of the right intake of main nutrients.
Great Pyrenees: Health and Diseases
The Great Pyrenees are generally healthy dogs. If they are well cared for and respected in their space and movement needs, it can live up to 12-13 years, which is the average for dogs of its size.
The most dangerous diseases that it may suffer are mainly related to its digestive tract, such as Gastric Torsion, a highly dangerous pathology that requires immediate surgery.
To prevent this condition from occurring to your dog, it is recommended to ration its food in two meals a day, control the amount of food given to it, and avoid post-meal exercise.
Great Pyrenees: Relationship with its Owner
The ideal owner for this breed should, first of all, appreciate the special qualities of his friend’s temperament. They are loyalty, faithfulness, the ability to be an excellent guardian and to protect things it considers valuable (like its owner, family, and cattle) with determination and great courage.
It is a good choice if you are already familiar with handling dogs of giant and powerful sizes since it is strong, robust and prone to run away. It is also a little stubborn. The proper owner should be able to train it firmly without being rude and be attentive to his daily needs.
Great Pyrenees: Relationship with Children
The Great Pyrenees have always been great with children. Therefore, if you have enough space for such a dog, this breed is an excellent choice if you have a large family.
The little ones in the house get attached very quickly to this giant that knows how to be sweet when it comes to “puppies” and, in general, to any vulnerable and defenseless creature. Apart from children, the Great Pyrenees also knows how to relate to other pets like cats, with which it seems to have an exceptional relationship.
Great Pyrenees: Breeders, Puppies For Sale, and Price
The Great Pyrenees must be purchased from authorized establishments, and their price typically ranges from 1000 to 1400 dollars, about 900-1300 English pounds, depending on the pedigree.
It is advisable not to rely on certain internet sales that offer this animal at excessively low prices. You can consult the website of the associations in your country, on which you can find further information about the Great Pyrenees.
Now that we have clarified all the most important aspects, you can go in search of your new 4-legged friend, who is surely waiting for you.
You may be interested in reading another article related to other dog breeds such as:
- English Pointer
- Chow Chow
- American Bulldog
- Spanish Mastiff
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Spanish Water Dog