This large breed with a full
coat, the Great Pyrenees, is also known by other
names, including Pyrenean Mountain Dog. Used as a
sheep guard dog in France, the Pyrenees can also be
an excellent watchdog and guard dog for the home.
Some believe the Great Pyrenees ancestors came from
Asia or Siberia and there is evidence of the breed
in Europe thousands of years ago.
Its coarse coat is weather resistant, enabling the
Pyrenees to be outside in all sorts of weather. The
male Great Pyrenees can stand up to 32 inches and
weigh 100 pounds or more, so this is a very large
animal that needs a lot of space to live
comfortably. However, with the proper training and a
good family atmosphere, the Great Pyrenees can be a
This breed has a majestic appearance because of its
size and full coat. Additionally, the breed can be
extremely protective of family members, leading some
people to think of the dog as being an aggressive
dog. In reality, the Pyrenees is quite often warm
and friendly to people who treat him well. Starting
with a puppy that is well socialized to be
comfortable with people and other dogs is essential.
The Great Pyrenees has a natural tendency to guard
and protect so they do not do well off the leash. In
fact, this breed does best with a large yard and
regular, long walks with its owner. The Great
Pyrenees gets along very well with other animals
belonging to the owner’s family. You will also find
that the dog has a wonderful ability to sense
intruders or strangers posing threats. The breed is
accustomed to hard work, working successfully as a
rescue dog. Additionally, this dog is great in
therapy and other activities that require a
companion for humans.
Size and Color
The Pyrenees has the word “great” in its name for a
reason. The male of the breed grows to about 32
inches, nearly three feet tall at the shoulder. In
addition, males often weigh 100 pounds up to 130
pounds. Females typically reach a weight of 80 or 85
pounds while the average height for the female is
about three inches shorter than the male, or about
Most Great Pyrenees are white, though some have
patches of tan, gray, or pale yellow. The coat is
full and coarse, with a soft, thick undercoat. A
black nose and dark brown eyes are the common colors
for the Great Pyrenees.
Feeding and Grooming Requirements
With larger dogs such as the Great Pyrenees, it is
always good to pay special attention to the diet,
both what you feed your dog and how much you feed
your dog. In fact, we suggest you use fresh meats
and some vegetables, always avoiding feeding
low-priced commercial food that has high grain
content. The reason is that many dog breeds are
allergic to the excess amounts of corn, wheat, and
soy found in cheaper foods.
In addition, large dogs are prone to bloat or
stomach distortion, which can be a serious, even
deadly, condition. This happens when the stomach
twists and blocks the contents from passing through
the intestines. Stomach gases and other
complications can also be a real problem. Therefore,
we recommend feeding smaller amounts of food
multiple times during the day. This way, the dog
does not gulp large amounts of food and water, which
contributes to the bloat problem.
Grooming can be accomplished with a regular brushing
to keep the coat in condition, but owners should pay
attention to the undercoat when the dog is shedding.
Bathing and dry shampoo is recommended only when
necessary. Keep in mind that the Great Pyrenees shed
heavily once a year so you want to be prepared to
vacuum and brush more frequently.
With dogs as large and active as the Great Pyrenees,
it is best to have a large yard for them to run in.
You should also keep this breed on a leash when
exercising away from home. The Pyrenees was bred as
a working dog, guarding sheep and even pulling
carts, because of its size and strength. Due to the
need for space, this breed does not do very well in
an apartment or small home.
Finally, this breed can be a bit aggressive toward
other dogs and strangers if it feels you, your
family, or even it is threatened so you want to make
sure you have a tight hold on the leash. The Great
Pyrenees should not be tied outside and should not
be left for long periods, as it tends to get bored
and frustrated, resulting in mischievous and