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Great Pyrenees

The Great Pyrenees initially draws attention for its elegant demeanor and dramatic coat.  For those who are drawn close enough for a more careful assessment, it is a noble, yet soft expression that captures us.  From there, if we are fortunate enough to share an afternoon or a year with the Great Pyr, it is their immense heart that pulls us closer.  As large as the Great Pyrenees is, it seems unlikely that their heart could be contained in that body.  No other dog seems more calm and willing in each second to give up everything for the ones they love, no other dog is more adamant in every glance and movement of the immensity of their responsibility in caring for those in their charge.  Do not be mistaken, this is a Guardian.  In recent times, its focus has been livestock but even if your Pyr has never met a goat or a sheep, he/she is still a guardian and likely views you and your family as their primary concern.  This means you will take special care so that your dog doesn't view regular day to day events as suspicious and that you will respect the regal seriousness they bring to their "job".  It's an awesome responsibility to share your life with a Pyr, but nothing in comparison to the responsibility they feel they have to your family.

By Breed Name
By Breed Name
General Information
Group(s): WorkingGuardian Height: 25-32 inches
Weight: 90-125 pounds Longevity: Generally less than 10 years
Colors: solid white, or white with some badger, gray or shades of tan Coat type: soft and very thick white undercoat covered with a long, straight (minimal wave acceptable), relatively harsh outercoat
Recognized Registries: FCI, UKC, AKC, NCA and others
Overall Appearance: Impressive, large and heavily coated white dog with a clearly powerful build.
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: moderate to relatively low
General Nature: Ideal protector, gentle and docile with family, intense and alert to intruders
  with Children: Excellent if properly raised with well behaved children
  with other pets: Generally good but can bear close supervision when in the presence of others it wasn't raised with
  with dogs: Varies
Socialization requirements: Mandatory! As a livestock guardian, socialization is overlooked to create a dog that is suspicious of everything except the ones they protect. To nurture a dog with a better outlook for todays world requires heavy socializing.
Ideal home characteristics: One that is willing to keep the dog comfortable on hot days, provide him with mental and physical stimulation and recognize the importance of developing a dog with a good nature. The Pyr is just too powerful to have any other way.
Temperament Notes: Bonds to whomever it is raised with, gentle, serious about work and play, intelligent and noble, courageous and devoted
Training requirement: Moderate to high: Heavy socialization, basic manners and some ongoing activity whether it be hiking, dog sport, etc.
Trainer notes: The Great Pyrenees is developed and intended for independent work meaning that it doesn't look to a human partner for its next move.  In this regard, the breed can be a bit independent for many training endeavors.  However, since the breed is so devoted and serious about working, the savvy trainer can overcome any independent streak with a clear understanding of how to motivate the Pyr.  Training as a battle of wills will ALWAYS result in a loss for the trainer.  Even if it were a case of winning the "battle" it would be a case of losing the war as the Great Pyr is not one to forget or tolerate mistreatment.  Losing the trust of your Pyr would be a greater loss than any win might hope to compensate.  Keeping training fun and interesting for both trainer and canine will result in an exceptional relationship that will last the lifetime.
Background Information
Year range of first recognition: Possibly as much as 8-10,000 years ago
Country of Origin: France
Original Function: Flock Guardian
History: Natural development as the Livestock Guardian Dog for the Shepherds of the Basque region.
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard:
Health Notes: hip dysplasia, eye problems, heart problems, elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation, degenerative myleopathy, hypothyroidism, deafness
Health Testing: CERF, OFA (hips, heart and elbows), Thyroid Panel, BAER,
Questions to ask Breeder:  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for!
  • How long have you had Great Pyrenees?
  • Why do you have Great Pyrenees  (show, performance, hunting, etc.)?
  • What do you consider to be the most important single characteristic of a Great Pyrenees?
  • What health issues have you seen in the breed?
  • What criteria do you set for your breeding stock?
  • Do you plan to keep a puppy from this litter?
  • How often do you have puppies?
  • Do you have a written contract and puppy guarantee?
  • At what age do you sent your pups to their homes?
  • How would you describe the ideal Great Pyrenees?
  • How would you describe the ideal Great Pyrenees home?
  • Are your puppies whelped in your home?
  • What advice would you offer someone in raising and training an Great Pyrenees?
  • How do you assist or help Great Pyrenees in need of rescue?
  • Web Sites: - Great Pyrenees Club of America Rescue Contacts and Information

    Other Resources
    Breed standard: - UKC Standard of the Great Pyrenees Standard of the Great Pyrenees Club of America

    Breeder Ethics: - Code of Ethics as per the Great Pyrenees Club of America


  - Penn-Dutch Great Pyrenees Club Code of Ethics - Great Pyrenees Club of Puget Sound Code of Ethics

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