Great Pyrenees - Breed Information
Few dog breeds have a rich and noble history as that of the Great Pyrenees. This dog breed is centuries old and has a legendary reputation as stalwart defenders of sheep and other livestock from wolves that stalk the mountaintops. Today, they are known as tender companions and watchful protectors of families and households.
Also called the Pyrenean mountain canine, the Great Pyrenees is one of the biggest of the known dog breeds and can weigh up to 100 pounds or more. Many of these dogs grow to an average height of at least 25 inches from the shoulders.
The Great Pyrenees sport a dense and long fur that comes in various shades of white, spotted tan, pale yellow or reddish brown. Their coat is remarkably thick to help them cope with cold weather. These dogs also have dark brown eyes and black lips and nose. The tail is feathered from the base, and the ears are "V" shaped.
Fossil deposits in Europe from the Bronze Age (1800 - 1000 BC) consist of remains of the Great Pyrenees and confirms the breed's centuries-old lineage.
The dogs were typically viewed as partners to French royals and nobles, and they dealt with the slopes of the Pyrenees mountains guarding flocks. Acting as a protector versus wild animals reinforced the breed's devotion, intelligence, and commitment. These dogs also possess an acute sense of smell and sight.
Even with the fossil remains that hints to the dog breed's origin, many think the form originated from either Central Asia or Siberia. The first Pyrenees canines came to the United States in 1824 as a present from General Lafayette to J.S. Skinner. The American Kennel Club added the type in 1933.
Great Pyrenees dogs are smart, fiercely devoted and courageous to the point of offering their own lives to protect household or property. They are wary of strangers and other pets and can be tough to train because of their independent nature. They are most happy if given a job to do and their habits can be mistaken for stubbornness.
Pyrenees dogs are affectionate and do well with children and non-canine animals with proper socialization, which is recommended to begin during the pup years (the very first one to two years). The non-working Pyrenees require a great deal of socializing to curb harmful habits. They are used to having work to do and will not do well if left idle and alone most of the day.
Any viewed risk to what the pets consider their herd will be challenged, and they cannot be chased away. These dogs have been known to stand their ground until an intruder retreats.
Potential Health Problems
The Great Pyrenees breed is healthy with just a few significant health problems which include the following:
- Hip dysplasia
- Canine bone cancer
- Luxated patella
Care and Grooming
The Great Pyrenees will require daily strolls and play to expel energy. If left without an outlet for discharging energy and mental stimulation, the breed can end up being destructive. Workout must be on a leash or in a fenced area.
It is not recommended that owners keep these dogs indoor unless one can commit to a constant and regular exercise routine.
In addition to maintaining the pet dog's teeth, ears and the toenails, you should brush this routine shedder a couple of times weekly. The entire coat will blow (excessively shed) once per year, and more regular brushing will be needed throughout this time.
The coat does not mat unless with the exception of working dogs that are often exposed to dirt and debris for most of the day.
They are lovely dogs so ever dog lover and dog owner will love to keep a Great Pyrenees calendar.