Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees, also known as Pyrenean Mountain Dogs, are magnificent and noble creatures. With their majestic appearance and loyal nature, they have captivated the hearts of many dog lovers. Originating from the Pyrenees Mountains in France and Spain, these dogs have a rich history and unique characteristics that make them stand out among other breeds.

Great Pyrenees are gentle giants that possess a calm and patient temperament. They are known for their protective nature, making them excellent family companions and guardians. In this blog post, we will explore the various aspects of the Great Pyrenees breed, including their personality, size, history, health, care, lifespan, feeding, coat color, and their relationship with children and other pets.

Fast Facts

  • Origin: Pyrenees Mountains, France and Spain
  • Breed Group: Working Dogs
  • Size: 25-32 inches (at shoulder height)
  • Weight: 85-115 pounds (males), 75-90 pounds (females)
  • Lifespan: 10-12 years
  • Temperament: Calm, Patient, Protective
  • Exercise Needs: Moderate
  • Other Names: Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Patou

Great Pyrenees Personality

The Great Pyrenees has a gentle and affectionate nature. They are known for their loyalty and devotion to their families. Here are some key aspects of their personality:

  • Protective: Great Pyrenees are natural protectors and excel as guard dogs. They have a strong instinct to protect their family and territory.
  • Independent: They have an independent streak and may not always be obedient. Early and consistent training is essential to establish boundaries.
  • Gentle: Despite their large size, they are gentle and patient with children and other pets.
  • Watchful: Great Pyrenees are vigilant and observant. They are always on the lookout for any potential threats.
  • Laid-back: These dogs have a calm and laid-back personality. They are not overly energetic and are content with moderate exercise.

Physical Characteristics

  • Large and muscular build
  • Double coat with a weather-resistant outer layer
  • Colors include white, cream, or white with patches of gray, tan, or badger
  • Distinctive facial features with dark, expressive eyes
  • Feathered tail that hangs low when at rest and curls up when alert

Great Pyrenees Size

The Great Pyrenees is a large breed, known for its impressive size. Adult males typically stand between 25-32 inches at the shoulder, while females are slightly smaller, ranging from 25-29 inches. In terms of weight, males weigh between 85-115 pounds, while females weigh between 75-90 pounds. Their size and stature contribute to their commanding presence and make them an ideal choice for guarding and protecting.

It is important to note that due to their large size, Great Pyrenees require sufficient space to move around comfortably. They may not be suitable for apartment living unless they have access to regular exercise and outdoor activities.

Great Pyrenees History

The history of the Great Pyrenees dates back centuries. These dogs were originally bred to guard livestock, particularly sheep, in the Pyrenees Mountains. Their origins can be traced to the Basque region of France and Spain. The Great Pyrenees played a vital role in protecting flocks from predators, such as wolves and bears.

Over time, these guardian dogs gained recognition for their exceptional skills and were eventually discovered by the nobility. They became popular among French and Spanish royalty and were often seen in the courts of Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette. The breed’s popularity spread, and they eventually made their way to other parts of Europe and North America.

Great Pyrenees Health

Like any other breed, Great Pyrenees can be prone to certain health issues. It is important for potential owners to be aware of these conditions and take necessary precautions. Here are some common health concerns associated with the breed:

  • Hip Dysplasia: This is a genetic condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to discomfort and mobility issues.
  • Elbow Dysplasia: Similar to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia can cause lameness and pain in the front legs.
  • Bloat: Great Pyrenees, like many large breeds, can be prone to bloat, a life-threatening condition where the stomach twists and causes a blockage.
  • Eye Issues: Some Great Pyrenees may develop eye problems, including cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy.
  • Heart Conditions: Dilated cardiomyopathy and mitral valve disease can affect the heart health of Great Pyrenees.

Regular vet check-ups, a balanced diet, and proper exercise can help maintain the overall health and well-being of Great Pyrenees. It is also important to choose a reputable breeder who conducts health screenings on their breeding dogs to minimize the risk of hereditary diseases.

Great Pyrenees Care

Caring for a Great Pyrenees requires dedication and commitment. Here are some essential aspects of their care:

  • Grooming: Great Pyrenees have a thick double coat that requires regular brushing to prevent matting and remove loose hair.
  • Exercise: While Great Pyrenees are not overly energetic, they do require daily exercise to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. Regular walks and playtime in a secure, fenced yard are essential.
  • Training: Early socialization and obedience training are crucial for Great Pyrenees. Their independent nature can make training a bit challenging, but with patience and positive reinforcement, they can become well-behaved companions.
  • Feeding: A balanced and nutritious diet is important for the overall health of Great Pyrenees. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate diet and portion sizes based on their age, weight, and activity level.
  • Living Environment: Great Pyrenees thrive in spacious environments with access to a securely fenced yard. They are not well-suited for apartment living due to their size and exercise needs.

Great Pyrenees Lifespan

The average lifespan of a Great Pyrenees is around 10-12 years. However, with proper care, some individuals have been known to live even longer. Providing a well-balanced diet, regular exercise, routine vet check-ups, and a loving environment can contribute to their overall health and longevity.

It is important to note that large breeds tend to have shorter lifespans compared to smaller breeds. Great Pyrenees owners should be prepared for the commitment and responsibility that comes with caring for a dog throughout its life.

Great Pyrenees Feeding

Feeding a Great Pyrenees should be done with careful consideration of their size and nutritional needs. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Choose high-quality dog food that is specifically formulated for large breeds.
  • Follow the recommended feeding guidelines provided by the manufacturer and adjust portion sizes based on your dog’s age, weight, and activity level.
  • Avoid overfeeding to prevent obesity, which can put additional strain on their joints and overall health.
  • Divide their daily food intake into two or three meals to prevent bloating and aid digestion.
  • Always provide fresh water and ensure it is easily accessible throughout the day.

It is important to consult with your veterinarian to determine the most appropriate diet and feeding regimen for your Great Pyrenees.

Great Pyrenees Coat Color

Great Pyrenees have a variety of coat colors, although the most common is solid white or white with patches of gray, tan, or badger. The coloration and patterns on their coat can vary, with no specific markings required for breed standard. Their dense double coat provides insulation and protection from the elements, making them well-suited for colder climates.

Regular grooming is necessary to keep their coat healthy and free from mats. Brushing their fur at least once a week and more frequently during shedding seasons will help maintain their coat’s beauty and prevent tangles.

Relationship with Children And Other Pets

Great Pyrenees are known for their gentle and patient nature, making them excellent companions for children. They have a natural instinct to protect and care for their family, including the little ones. However, due to their large size, supervision is always necessary when they interact with young children to prevent accidental knocking or injuries.

When properly socialized, Great Pyrenees can also get along well with other pets, including dogs and cats. Early introduction and positive experiences can help foster a harmonious relationship between them.

Is the Great Pyrenees Suitable for Home as a Pet?

The Great Pyrenees breed can be a wonderful addition to the right home. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Space: Great Pyrenees require ample space to move around comfortably. A spacious, securely fenced yard is ideal for them to roam and play.
  • Exercise: While not overly active, Great Pyrenees still require regular exercise to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. Daily walks and playtime are important to prevent boredom and promote a healthy lifestyle.
  • Time and Commitment: Great Pyrenees thrive on human companionship and require a significant amount of attention and interaction. They are not suitable for individuals or families who are away from home for long periods or unable to provide the necessary care and socialization.
  • Grooming: Their thick double coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting and keep their fur healthy. If you are not willing to devote time to grooming, this breed may not be the best choice for you.
  • Training: Great Pyrenees are intelligent but can be independent and strong-willed. Consistent and patient training is necessary to establish boundaries and ensure they become well-behaved companions.
  • Children and Other Pets: Great Pyrenees can get along well with children and other pets when properly socialized. However, supervision is always recommended, especially with younger children, due to their size.

If you have the time, space, and commitment to meet their needs, a Great Pyrenees can bring immense joy and loyalty to your home.


Great Pyrenees are majestic, loyal, and protective companions. Their gentle nature, coupled with their impressive size and strength, make them an ideal choice for families seeking a loving and dedicated pet. From their origins as livestock guardians in the Pyrenees Mountains to their esteemed status in courts and households, these dogs have left an indelible mark in history.

As with any breed, it is important to understand their unique needs and characteristics before welcoming a Great Pyrenees into your home. Proper care, training, and socialization are essential to ensure a happy and fulfilling life for both you and your furry friend.

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