Great Pyrenees 18 Facts New Owners: Welcoming the Great Pyrenees into your life is an exciting and rewarding experience. These majestic, fluffy giants are known for their gentle temperament and incredible loyalty. If you’re considering adding a Great Pyrenees to your family or have recently become a proud owner, this article is your ultimate guide. We’ll provide you with 15 essential facts every new Great Pyrenees owner should know, along with answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs).
Great Pyrenees 18 Facts
1. The Pyrenees Mountains: The Origin of the Breed
The Great Pyrenees, often called “Pyrs,” have a rich history as livestock guardian dogs. The French-Spanish Pyrenees are their origin. Ever wondered how old the Great Pyrenees are? Archaeologists say these dogs are nearly 3,000 years old.
The Great Pyrenees may have arrived in the Pyrenees approximately 3,000 BC. However, 1800 BC dog fossils were found in those mountains. Bronze age, if you were wondering. And if that’s not stunning enough, historians think the Great Pyrenees descended from a white mountain dog 11,000 years ago. This makes the Great Pyrenees one of the oldest canines still alive. These dogs were bred to protect sheep from predators and have been doing so for centuries.
2. Size and Appearance
A single glance at a Great Pyrenees is all it takes to appreciate their commanding presence. Standing as tall as 32 inches at the shoulder and boasting a weight that can reach up to a formidable 110 pounds, these gentle giants make a lasting impression. Their imposing size and protective demeanor are often enough to deter potential intruders.
Great Pyrenees are unequivocally among the largest of dog breeds, known for their robust, muscular build that exudes strength and confidence. Their most distinctive feature is their magnificent white coat, which enhances their regal appearance. Adding to their allure, a fluffy tail and a dignified expression complete their striking look, making them a breed that truly stands out.
3. Gentle Giants
Despite their size, Great Pyrenees are renowned for their gentle and affectionate nature. They make exceptional family pets, especially if you’re seeking a furry companion with a sweet and patient temperament.
4. Independent Thinkers
Great Pyrenees, or Pyrs, are known for their intelligence and independent nature. While they have the capacity to grasp commands, they can be discerning about when to comply. In other words, if they don’t perceive a compelling rationale, they may choose not to obey. Consequently, training Great Pyrenees demands a great deal of patience and consistency.
These dogs can easily become distracted and lose focus, so it’s imperative to establish a training routine, starting when they are still puppies. Early and consistent training can greatly facilitate the process, ensuring that they grow into well-behaved and obedient companions.
5. The Protector’s Heart
Great Pyrenees are renowned for their remarkable protective instinct, which ranks among their most distinctive traits. Anecdotal evidence suggests that female Pyrs, in particular, often display robust maternal instincts, even when they aren’t raising puppies of their own. This protective drive can extend beyond their immediate family to safeguard other animals, such as livestock, from perceived threats.
Their innate desire to protect goes even further. Great Pyrenees can be steadfast guardians of children and other household pets, treating them with the same protective care they provide to their livestock charges. This unwavering commitment to safeguarding their family and territory makes them exceptional protectors and loyal companions.
6. Socialization is Key
To ensure that your Great Pyrenees grows up to be a well-adjusted adult, it’s crucial to focus on socialization from a young age. Introduce them to various people, animals, and situations to foster a friendly and confident demeanor.
7. Exercise Needs
While they might appear quite laid-back at times, Great Pyrenees do require regular exercise. Daily walks and playtime are essential for their physical and mental well-being.
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8. Grooming Requirements
The beautiful white coat of the Great Pyrenees necessitates regular grooming to prevent matting. Weekly brushing is recommended, with increased attention during shedding seasons.
9. Health Considerations
Generally, Great Pyrenees are robust dogs, but like any breed, they can be prone to certain health conditions such as hip dysplasia and bloat. Regular veterinarian check-ups are essential to ensure their well-being.
Great Pyrenees typically have a lifespan of around 10 to 12 years. With proper care, you can enjoy their loyal companionship for a long time.
11. The Weather-Resistant Coat of Great Pyrenees
The Great Pyrenees boasts a double coat that serves as a natural shield against various weather conditions, ensuring their comfort and well-being. This double coat proves invaluable, offering protection from both the frigid cold of winter and the scorching heat of summer.
The inner layer, or the dense undercoat, acts as insulation, trapping warmth during chilly weather, and keeping them cozy. Meanwhile, the outer coat serves as an effective barrier, repelling dirt and water. This dual-layered defense system helps keep Great Pyrenees comfortable and dry, regardless of the weather conditions they encounter.
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12. Slow Maturation
Compared to many other dog breeds, the Great Pyrenees has a relatively slow maturation rate. Physically, these dogs may not reach full maturity until they are approximately 2 years old. However, when it comes to mental maturity, Great Pyrenees may take even longer, potentially up to 4 years. This extended maturation period is a unique aspect of this breed and should be taken into account when raising and training them.
13. Loud Barkers
Before deciding to bring a Great Pyrenees into your life, it’s essential to consider one of their distinctive characteristics: their powerful and often loud bark. This robust vocal ability can easily disturb nearby neighbors, and in the confines of an apartment building, it might prove to be excessively noisy. It’s crucial to be mindful of this aspect, especially if you live in close proximity to others, to ensure a harmonious living environment for both you and your neighbors.
14.The Great Pyrenees: A War Dog in Both World Wars
The Great Pyrenees, a large and powerful war dog, served in both World Wars. They were used by the French as messengers, ambulance facilitators, and artillery transporters. By 1918, France, Belgium, and Britain employed around 20,000 military dogs, mostly of large breeds like the Newfoundland and Great Pyrenees. They were also believed to double as night watch dogs due to their past guardian roles. Soldiers relied on these dogs to keep watch as they slept, making them an exceptional military dog.
15. The Great Pyrenees: The Royal Dog of France in King Louis XIV’s Court
Dogs, including the Great Pyrenees, are often associated with royalty. During Louis the 14th’s reign, the dog was named the “Royal Dog of France.” The Great Pyrenees were not only beautiful with their stunning coat but also natural guard dogs, protecting the elite’s large estates. This makes them a dignified choice among the French nobility.
16. The Great Pyrenees: Not a Molosser Dog or Mastiff
The Molossus dog, an ancient breed from Greece, has significantly influenced modern dog breeds. Molosser dogs are a group of mastiff-type dogs with similar physical and temperamental traits. The Pyrenees, often mistaken for molossers, are luppo-molossoid dogs, descended from different animals or species.
Historians believe they likely descended from the Asian white wolf, not the distinct path that mastiffs followed. The Great Pyrenees are luppo-molossoid dogs, with heavier bones, pendant ears, and a short muzzle.
17. The Incredible Story of a Great Pyrenees Who Saved His Goats in California’s Deadliest Wildfire
The Great Pyrenees is a natural guardian and even dies for their flock. Odin, a stubborn but faithful Pyrenees, believed this. Odin’s farm was threatened by the 2017 Napa wildfires. The owners had to leave quickly to survive.
According to the owner, Odin never leaves his goats at night. Despite their threats, he won’t quit his job. After vital minutes of attempting to get Odin in the car, the owner reluctantly left.
After the fire, the owner returned home. The fire damaged the home, but the owner saw a miracle. “I saw Odin’s Tail in the distance,” she remarked. Odin wagged his tail. Odin arrived with all his goats.” Odin survived and led his goats away from the inferno. Odin’s heroics mirror the Pyrenees’ loyalty, stubbornness, and fearlessness.
18. They are nocturnal by nature
The Great Pyrenees, being night owls, are known for their active behavior during nighttime due to their natural instinct to protect sheep flocks during graveyard shifts. However, not all Great Pyrenees are nocturnal, especially if trained to sleep at normal hours. Some owners report that their puppies struggle to sleep during nighttime, highlighting the need for proper training and ensuring their well-being.
Q1: Are Great Pyrenees good with children?
A1: Yes, they are known for their gentle and protective nature, making them excellent with kids.
Q2: Do they get along with other pets?
A2: With proper socialization, Great Pyrenees can coexist peacefully with other pets.
Q3: Are they easy to train?
A3: They are intelligent but can be stubborn. Patient, positive reinforcement-based training works best.
Q4: Do Great Pyrenees bark a lot?
A4: Yes, they are vocal dogs and will bark to alert you to any potential threats.
Q5: Are they good in hot climates?
A5: Their thick coats make them better suited to cooler environments, so they may struggle in very hot weather.
Q6: How often should they be groomed?
A6: Weekly grooming is recommended, with more frequent brushing during shedding seasons.
Q7: Are they prone to health issues?
A7: Like all breeds, they can have health problems. Regular vet check-ups are important.
Q8: What is their exercise requirement?
A8: They need daily exercise, including walks and playtime.
Q9: Do they shed a lot?
A9: Yes, they shed seasonally, so be prepared for some fur around your home.
Q10: Can Great Pyrenees live in apartments?
A10: They are large dogs and are more suited to homes with a yard, but it’s possible with proper exercise.
Q11:How Much Do Great Pyrenees Puppies Cost?
The cost of Great Pyrenees puppies can vary significantly, influenced by several factors including pedigree, breeder reputation, and location. On average, you should anticipate a price range of approximately $800 to $2200 or even more for a puppy.
When you’re considering bringing a Great Pyrenees into your home, it’s crucial to prioritize the welfare of the dog. Always ensure that you purchase from a reputable breeder or a recognized rescue center. Additionally, confirm that the puppy has received appropriate vaccinations and health testing.
To make an informed decision and guarantee the well-being of your future pet, it’s advisable to visit the breeder in person. Meeting the puppy, its littermates, and ideally both parents can provide valuable insights into the dog’s lineage and behavior.
Be cautious if you encounter a “breeder” who appears to be pushing for a quick or inexpensive sale. This could be a red flag, indicating potential issues such as puppy farming, stolen dogs, or the sale of unwell puppies. Prioritizing responsible breeding and the health of the dog should be your utmost concern.