If Louis XIV decided to decree that the Great Pyrenees should be considered the “Royal Dog of France,” chances are they’re a pretty good dog to make your own! But just because the King of France thought they were pretty great in the late 1600s doesn’t mean they are still among the “best” dog breeds today!
Which is why…
We wanted to take a moment and write 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 will be a good choice. We’ll tell you right now that we here at IndulgeYourPet are huge fans of these guys but understand that their stubborn streak and grooming requirements can sometimes be a handful.
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 dates back to at least the early 1400s due to their mention by a French historian named Bourdet. Back then, Bourdet described a dog in glowing terms, describing his looks and bravery, so we can rest assured that little has changed with this breed over the centuries.
The Great Pyrenees original purpose of guarding sheep within the Pyrenes Mountains in Northern France may have changed over the years. Still, his unconditional love and loyalty to his family 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 he was protecting from wolves anymore, that white coat is sure to be a show stopper at your local dog park.
When the Great Pyrenees or Pyrenean Shepherd were brought to America by the French nobleman Marquis de Lafayette, they soon became all the rage among wealthy Americans coast to coast. This is also one of the main reasons why the American Kennel Club (AKC) was so quick to “officially” recognize the breed back in 1933.
If you have seen the Great Pyrenees Pictures online, you’ll notice how big this breed is. It’s enormous, almost like a giant white ball of fluff. He weighs 85 to 115 pounds. Even the Pyrenees puppies are pretty significant. But more than size, what’s most striking about this dog breed is how he combines beauty with incredible power. And yes, he is a big white dog with a long, thick coat. He has very noticeable dark brown eyes that accentuate a lovely expression. And word that seems to let all those around him know that he is a significant, 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…
Due to his size and pure white coloring, the Great Pyrenees has features that will help you identify these guys immediately. The first is his plumed tail that bends into a curve, forming a shepherd’s arc – which you see with most herding or shepherd dogs. The second is his big wedge-shaped head and rounded feet.
Personality and Temperament
By temperament, the Great Pyrenees is a protective dog loyal to his human family. He is a perfect guard dog and has a very watchful nature. These guys are always on the lookout for danger. 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. At the same time, he’ll also be okay with going on a short walk once a day.
That said, however…
It should be noted that the Great Pyrenees don’t like strangers. 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. Early training and socialization are essential when owning a Great Pyrenees dog. Your training should begin immediately 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. For example, he is not as easy to train as a German Shepherd. But with the right training approach, you can make him more responsive to your commands. For this reason, we generally only recommend this breed to those experienced in 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 a poorly trained Great Pyrenees is a whole “lotta dog” that can become a significantly sizeable wrecking ball when excited.
Potential Health Concerns
Unfortunately, the Great Pyrenees dog breed isn’t the healthiest in the world. That said, however, by working with a reputable Pyre breeder, it is possible to minimize one’s risks. But if you choose to adopt a Great Pyrenees puppy, be sure to prepare yourself for any medical issues that could arise during your lifetime topics, such as:
- Hip dysplasia,
- Elbow dysplasia,
- Osteochondrosis of the shoulder,
- Subaortic stenosis,
- Tricuspid valve dysplasia,
- Patellar luxation,
While many of these conditions may not be life-threatening, it is essential to understand that they can get expensive to treat, mainly if they are chronic or reoccurring. This is why we recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.
Now, will a pet insurance policy be suitable 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.