Great Pyrenees: Dog Breed Profile and Information

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The Great Pyrenees is also popularly called the Pyrenean Mountain Dog outside North America. This dog breed is a large one that is commonly used as a livestock or sheep guardian dog.

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This dog is not to be mistaken for the Pyrenean Mastiff.

  • Hypoallergenic: Negative
  • Life expectancy: 10 – 12 years
  • Weight: Female: 36–41 kg, Male: 50–54 kg
  • Height: Female: 65–74 cm, Male: 70–82 cm
  • Temperament: Fearless, strong-willed, Affectionate, Patient, Gentle, and Confident.
  • Colors: White, Red, Tan, and Grey

Elegant, majestic, and imposing, the Great Pyrenees is a large-sized dog of medium substance that is just a little bit longer than tall.

This dogs thick coat gives an impression of an animal with denser bone and stature. This breed was initially developed to guard sheep on steep mountain slopes, so it must combine agility with strength.

The dog moves with so much ease, and has good reach and drive. The body is shielded with a weather-resistant double coat that consists of an undercoat that is dense and wooly undercoat and an outer coat that is long, coarse, and flat, imparting the right insulation from the Pyrenean cold.

You can feel nothing but elegance from the contemplating expression of a Great Pyrenees dog.

History of The Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees

The Great Pyrenees dog is a very old dog breed that most likely descended from the first flock of guardian dogs, which were large-sized white dogs that lived in Asia Minor around 10,000 b.c.

Around 3000 b.c When nomadic shepherds brought their goats and sheep to the Pyrenees Mountains, they brought their flock guarding dogs with them, creating the basis of the now popular Great Pyrenees breed.

These dogs did great as livestock guardians for many centuries. In medieval France, they were quick to become a formidable fortress guard, and great bands of these handsome, imposing dogs became the wealth of many large chateaus. In the late 1600s, this dog breed caught the attention of the French nobility.


For a rather short time, they were in high demand in the court of Louis XIV. This dog breed gained so much attention that in 1675, Louis XIV officially decreed the Great Pyrenees, the “Royal Dog of France.” Around that same time, the Great Pyrenees found its way to Newfoundland, where they likely played a role in the creation of the Newfoundland breed.

Also worthy of note is that the first documented Pyrenees was brought to America by General Lafayette in 1824. At the dawn of the 1900s, the breed had utterly vanished from French court life, and the dogs that remained were those that were found working in the quiet and isolated countryside.

Puppies of the white dog were sold to tourists who transported them back to England and other parts of the world. These dogs bore minimal resemblance to the great Pyrenees that was once so admired, however. With time, interest in the breed of dogs began to decline in England.

Fortunately, the dog breed still existed in high numbers and quality in the native mountain land that made it possible for later fanciers to get good breeding stock. These dogs were the foundation of the Pyrenees available in today’s world.

Serious importation of the dog breed to America happened in the 1930s, and as soon as it was 1933, the Great Pyrenees was given AKC recognition. The breed got great attention and also got new owners, and today the breed enjoys moderate fame as a family pet.

Great Pyrenees dog breed has also earned a reputation as a trustworthy livestock guardian in service in most parts of the United States


Great Pyrenees is a very loving dog that serves as a capable and imposing guardian. This dog breed is devoted to its owners and family, but somewhat wary of both human or canine strangers.

When not provoked by anyone or animal, the breed is calm, somewhat serious, and well-mannered. While it is much praised for being very gentle with children and family, the Great Pyrenees is a dog that has an independent, sometimes stubborn nature.

Unlike some other dog breeds, these are natural wanderers, and should mostly be kept on-leash. If you don’t want a noisy dog, then you much know that as a guardian dog, the Great Pyrenees dog breed is a natural barker.


Great Pyrenees must stay active, so it requires daily exercise to keep in good shape. If you have the time, a moderate walk is usually good enough.


This breed enjoys hiking, mostly in snow and cold weather, but it does not thrive in hot weather, hence its lack of fame in Africa and other sub-Saharan regions. This dog’s coat will need to be brushed once or twice weekly, and daily when it is shedding.

Though very beautiful to the eyes, some dogs of this breed will likely drool at times and can be very messy drinkers also.

The health of Great Pyrenees

  • Major health concerns: CHD and patellar luxation
  • Minor health concerns: entropion, skin problems, OCD, osteosarcoma, chondrodysplasia (dwarfism), cataract, panosteitis
  • Occasionally seen health concerns: otitis externa, gastric torsion, spinal muscular atrophy
  • Suggested tests: knee, hip, eye
  • Average Life span: 10–12 years

This breed of dog is one that will show life-long loyalty to its owner and protect them at every given opportunity.

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