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Great Pyrenees

 

If you ever wanted to take a polar bear home from the zoo with you, the Great Pyrenees might be the next best thing. However, this big furball is a climber, not a swimmer —named for the Pyrenees Mountains on the Spanish/French border, this high-endurance breed once guarded flocks of sheep on the mountainside. During World War II, they were used to smuggle contraband through mountains.

Eye-catching and elegant, Great Pyrenees aren't just soft on the outside, either. They have an instinctual drive to nurture wounded or young animals. These dogs also have something of a posh past: King Louis XIV named the Great Pyrenees France's royal dog.

This large-sized and medium-energy breed can grow upwards of 85 pounds and lives an average of 10-12 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Working group.

 

AKC RecognizedY
Breed's original pastimeHunting
OriginFrance/spain
Breed groupWorking
Average lifespan10-12 years
SizeExtra Large
Bark factorI love to talk!
AKC Ranking52
FamilyLivestock Dog,
Date of originAncient times
Original function Sheep guardian
Today's functionCompanion
Average size of maleHeight: 25-28 Weight: 85-130
Average size of femaleHeight: 23-26 Weight: 65-110

 

Other nameNone
Energy level Medium energy
Exercise needs Medium
Playfullness Moderately playful
Affection level Moderately affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Shy
Friendliness toward other pets Friendly
Friendliness toward strangersShy
Ease of training Easy to train
Watchdog ability High
Protection ability Very protective
Grooming needs Moderate maintenance
Cold tolerance High tolerance
Heat tolerance Low tolerance

BEHAVIOR & TRAINING

WHAT IS A GREAT PYRENEES' PERSONALITY LIKE?

These dogs are just big softies, literally. They're sweet-natured, mellow, affectionate, and patient with children, though their size means you should watch them when they play with little ones. Protective and loyal, Great Pyrenees make wonderful family dogs. Early and consistent socialization will help curb their natural suspicion of strangers — they were bred as guard dogs, after all!

WHAT IS GREAT PYRENEES BEHAVIOR LIKE?

Great Pyrenees are not especially active, as a rule, but they do need consistent daily exercise. They also need a secure area to play in, since they tend to roam. This means they're not great candidates for off-leash play outside a well-fenced yard or park.

These natural guard dogs are very protective and can be barky. Let's just say the pizza guy will never surprise you at the front door if one of these dogs lives at your house.

HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A GREAT PYRENEES?

The Great Pyrenees has an independent streak: this laid-back breed definitely knows its own mind. They're not the easiest dogs to train, so it's important to start early and be patient and consistent with your furry friend. They respond well to play, praise, and treats as rewards for good behavior. Great Pyrenees are smart and lose interest quickly, so vary up your training exercises and keep them short.

CARE & HEALTH

HOW MUCH DO GREAT PYRENEES SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?

These dogs are heavy shedders who require weekly grooming. Their thick double coats are weather resistant, and will need weekly brushing.

WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO GREAT PYRENEES HAVE?

Great Pyrenees are generally healthy dogs. This breed is prone to late-life cancer, particularly bone cancer. Like many large dogs, slipping kneecaps and hip dysplasia may also be an issue.

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