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Great Pyrenees Dog Breed… Everything That You Need to Know at a Glance!

You sort of have to figure that if Louis XIV decided to decree that the Great Pyrenees ought to be considered the “Royal Dog of France” that chances they’re a pretty good dog to make your own!

But just because…

The King of France thought they were pretty great back in the late 1600’s doesn’t mean that they are still one of the “best” dog breeds out there today!

Which is why…

We wanted to take a moment and write all about what it might be like to own one of these magnificent creatures so that if you ever get an opportunity to get your hands on one, you’ll know if it’s going to be a good choice for you.


We’ll tell you right now that, we here at IndulgeYourPet are huge fans of these guys but understand that they’re stubborn streak and grooming requirements can be a handful at times.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Great Pyrenees Dog Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin: France

Original Purpose:  Sheep guardian

Height: 25 to 32 inches tall

Weight: 85 to 115 pounds

Lifespan: 10 to 15 years

Dog Breed Classification:  Working group

Origin of the Great Pyrenees dog breed

While we may not know the exact date of when the Great Pyrenees first came into existence, we do know that the dog does date back to at least the early 1400’s due to their mention by a French historian by the name of Bourdet.

Back then…

Bourdet describes a dog in glowing terms describing both his looks as well as his bravery so we can rest assured that little has changed with this breed over the centuries.

And while…

The Great Pyrenees original purpose of guarding sheep within the Pyrenes Mountains in Northern France may have changed over the years, his unconditional love and loyalty to his family and ensured his place in today’s modern world.

And even though…

His pure white coat may not be required to blend in with the sheep that he was protecting from wolves any more, that same white coat is sure to be a show stopper at your local dog park.

Which is why…

When the Great Pyreness or Pyrenean Shepherd was brought to America by the French nobleman Marquis de Lafayette, they soon became all the rage among wealth Americans coast to coast.  This is also one of the main reasons why the American Kennel Club (AKC) was so quick to “officially” recognized the breed back in 1933.

Physical Characteristics of the Great Pyrenees

If you have seen the Great Pyrenees Pictures online, you’ll notice how big this breed is. It’s very large, almost like a giant white ball of fluff. He weighs 85 to 115 pounds. Even the Pyrenees puppies are fairly big.

But more than size…

What’s most striking about this dog breed is how he combines beauty with awesome power. And yes, he is a big white dog, with a long and thick coat.


Very noticeable dark brown eyes, that seem to accentuate a lovely expression on his face.  And expression that seems to let all those around him know that he is a big and kind gentle giant.  That is of course unless you’re a wolf!

In that case…

A Great Pyrenees dog is a formidable adversary!

Now in addition…

To his size and pure white coloring, the Great Pyreness has a few other features that will help you identify these guys right away.  The first of which is his plumed tail that bends into a curve, forming a shepherd’s curve – which is something you see with most herding dogs or shepherd dogs.

The second is…

His big wedge-shaped head and rounded feet.

Great Pyrenees personality and temperament  

By temperament, the Great Pyrenees is a very protective dog, who is very loyal to his human family. He is a very good guard dog and has a very watchful nature.   These guys are always on the lookout for danger.

And at his core…

The Great Pyrenees is a big strong dog that loves the great outdoors.  These are the kinds of dogs that will love to go out hiking with you regardless of how far or challenging the hike may be.  While at the same time, he’ll also be just fine with going on a short walk once a day.

That said however…

It should be noted that the Great Pyrenees doesn’t like strangers. In fact, he is very suspicious of them. Now he will be very good with your friends, or people you invite to your home once he has been given a proper introduction.  But there is a risk that he could get aggressive with a postman or a pizza delivery guy.

 That’s why…

Early training and socialization is very important when owning a Great Pyrenees dog.  In fact, your training should begin right away and only include positive reinforcement techniques as they will typically obtain the best results.

But be warned…

The Great Pyrenees is a very stubborn dog with a mind of his own. He is not as easy to train as a German Shepherd, for example. But with the right training approach, you can certainly make him more responsive to your commands.

This is why…

We generally only like to recommend this breed to those who are experienced training animals and who don’t have small children around the home.

Now do we…

Believe a Great Pyrenees might intentionally harm a child?  No, we don’t.  But we do believe that a poorly trained Great Pyrenees is a whole “lotta dog” that can become a significantly large wrecking ball when excited.

Great Pyrenees dog breed health concerns

Unfortunately, the Great Pyrenees dog breed isn’t the healtiest dog breed in the world.  That said however, by working with a reputable Pyre breeder, it is possible to minimize ones risks.


If you do choose to adopt a Great Pyrenees puppy, be sure to prepare yourself for any number of medical issues that could arise during his or her life time.

Medical issues such as:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Osteochondrosis of the Shoulder
  • Subaortic Stenosis
  • Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia
  • Panosteitis
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Entropion

And while…

Many of these conditions may not be life threatening, it is important to understand that many of these medical conditions can get rather expensive to treat particularly if they are chronic or reoccurring.

This is why…

We here at also like to recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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