Great Pyrenees

A strong bond, with a great coat which gives constant kisses to their owners, is the definition of a Great Pyrenees. When it comes to their appearance, it can even put most of the humans to shame. They are large dogs who are very fond of playing and other physical activities. Being classified into the working dog breeds by the American Kennel Dogs, these dogs are majorly used as a guardian dog in North America. This race has tons of formal names including Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Patou, and Pirineos. People have also given them several nicknames like Pyr, GP, and PMD which are basically just the abbreviations of its original name.

History

The humans have used the Great Pyrenees as a companion as well as a guard dog from hundreds of years. The breed has its roots in as late as 14th century where this breed has been described as one of the best guard dogs available to the humans. When this breed came into popularity, people found that they also had two different types; one was called as the Dog of the Western Pyrenees while the other one was referred as the Dog of the Eastern Pyrenees.

The Dog of the Western Pyrenees had a bigger nose, curly white and black coat and was most commonly found in France. On the other hand, the Dog of the Easter Pyrenees was a large, had a pointed nose, silky coat which was completely white and was found in the Republic of Andorra and some parts of Spain.

At that time, the world was still unaware of this beautiful-looking breed. It was the 19th century when this breed became popular in Europe. The reason behind its popularity was its alluring looks and the excellent qualities it possessed.

America got to know about this breed because of the General Lafayette in 1824 who took this breed from Europe to America. The American Kennel Club recognized this race in 1933 as the Great Pyrenees.

 

Size

This canine has been categorized as a large breed dog as a male could stand as high as thirty-two inches tall while a female could go up to twenty-nine inches. The average weight of a male GP is near to hundred pounds whereas a female’s weight will vary around eighty-five pounds.

A white great pyreness dog running. By Jctabb/Shutterstock

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A white great pyreness dog running. By Jctabb/Shutterstock

Personality and Temperament

Most of the Great Pyrenees are confident and fearless. As they have the natural instincts of a guardian dog, expect your canine to be a little possessive about the home and the other family members. Never misunderstand its cute looks as this breed is known to protect its home from strangers. In short, they are not good with unknown humans and could cause harm to them.

Talking about its noise, whether it is a puppy or a grown up adult, Pyrs love to barks so makes sure to teach your dog about its barking habits. They will bark whenever they are bored, or just when they are excited. The most common time when they love to show their true vocals is the night time when everyone is peacefully sleeping. If you do not want complaints from your neighbors, then get ready to train your dog.

With children, this dog breed is extremely patient and will not cause any harm to them. However, it is advised that you keep supervision when your pet is with children. Make sure that you never ignore any mistake of your dog when it is with a child and teach them about their size and activities that they should avoid.

Introducing your Pyr to other pets might cause you some troubles. They are overprotective about their place and their family and will treat every other human or pet as a potential threat. This action can trigger their aggressive side and could result in damage to the opposition or the property.

Without a doubt, they were used as a guard dog, but keeping it in a lawn alone is brutality. They love to be with their family and loneliness could cause anxiety among them. Much like other dog breeds, they also chew to get rid of their anxiety issues and might damage the property.

Socializing your dog is necessary for most of the dog breeds and should be done when your canine is still a pup. Be it humans or other pets, make sure to introduce your Pyr with them at an early age or get ready to witness their aggression. However, they are incredibly loyal to their master, and if they believe that their master is comfortable with the stranger, then they will most probably let go of their violent behavior.

Health

One of the best things about this breed is that they are one of those breeds who have a few number of hereditary diseases. A healthy Great Pyrenees will have a lifespan of ten to twelve years.

The most common illness among large breed is bone pains. A Pyr will continue to grow until the age of two years, so it is best that you take care of its bones from the day you bring it home. They are far-famed to grow much faster than other dog breeds which can result in bone pain. In some rare cases, this deformity could stay with the dog till their life.

Bloat is the disease that has taken the life of innumerable dogs, and the risk of this disease is certainly present in this dog breed as well. Bloating is common in large breed dogs as they have a bigger stomach that increases the chances of storage of excess air. To avoid bloating, it is best that you avoid giving your dog water just after the meal. In addition to that, you should never take your pet for exercise after the meal.

Bone diseases including hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and patellar luxation are also common in this breed. Addison’s disease is another severe illness in Great Pyrenees. Other common illnesses that are not lethal to the dog’s life are cataracts, entropion, and anesthesia sensitivity.

However, the commonest thing for a Great Pyrenees is obesity. Their large size makes people think that they should be fed until their dog declines to eat further. This will make the dog obese and will increase the chances of any potential heart disease.

Care

Taking care of a Pyr is somewhat a daunting task because it not only includes physical efforts but mental attentiveness as well. The foremost thing that you need to provide to your pet is tons of exercises. You surely do not want your adorable dog to look fat. Make sure to provide sufficient exercise and take it to regular walks to keep it fit.

Weather condition is another thing that you should be aware of. They are mountain dogs, so they like to hike and play in the snow. However, keeping them in hot weather might degrade their health. Before adopting a Great Pyrenees, make sure that you are able to provide your dog with the suitable weather conditions.

Keeping this dog confined in a small apartment is surely not the best idea. They are very less likely to be fond of small spaces and will show its anger by chewing your things up. Keep in mind that you have sufficient space that can contain this beast. It is best that you have a big lawn where this dog can run and play with the family. Moreover, when you have a Great Pyrenees lying on your lawn, it is best that you increase the fence height to at least five feet so that it does not start to wander on its own.

With their large size, it is not wrong to say that they are not energetic. As much as they love hiking, they also like to lie down in the home right next to its family. Sometimes it might deny for exercise, but that is completely fine as long as you do not make it a habit.

Training this canine will not be challenging as they are born learners. The great thing about this breed is that they will never forget anything that you teach. With this thing in mind, you need to make sure that you teach them the right things at an early age. Sometimes they may act like a stubborn child, but treat them like a child, and they will listen to your commands as well.

Leash training is a must for this race as they are big dogs and will become a hundred pounds pet that can drag you on the street. Begin the training as soon as you bring it home, and it will learn just fine. If you are not ready to train this breed on your own, then you should send your pup to training classes. Off-leash training is a big no for this breed. No matter how much you have trained your dog, taking your GP for a walk without its leash it never good. There are chances that it will start to roam on its own and might ignore all your commands.

Apart from training, you should keep your pet clean and tidy and should clean its ears and mouth to prevent infections. The best you can do is get a good quality cleaning solution and wipe the inner parts of ears with a damp cloth. If you found any redness around the eyes, or any pungent smell coming from the ears, then you should connect with the vet as it could be because of the eye or ear infection.

In addition to that, you should also make a habit of brushing the teeth of your dog. Never use the human toothpaste on a dog as it includes some of the elements that are not good for the health of your pet.

Feeding

As a large dog breed, expect to provide it with a high nutritional food every time. However, do not compare their food with other large dog breeds. The Pyrenees have a slow metabolism as compared to other dog breeds so may not require as much food as other large dogs.

Skipping meals is typical for this breed especially in summers as it is not their favorite time of the year. If your dog also wants to skip meals in summers, then do not panic and leave it as it is. However, if your dog has not taken its meal for more than forty-eight hours, then you should contact your vet as it could be because of an upset stomach.

Coat

Great Pyrenees are heavy shedders which mean that you need to brush their coat daily. They have double-coat which is thick and curly. It has silky white colored hairs which look appealing to most of the people. Apart from white color, this breed also comes in tan, grey, and red color.

If you have a white colored Pyrenees, then get ready to clean it frequently. Spots on white color are more evident, but you do not have to worry about the dirt. As they are heavy shedders, it is more likely that they will shed the dirt on their own.

When it comes to bathing, then you can give a bath to your Great Pyrenees twice a month. Make sure to use a good quality shampoo that will maintain the pH levels of the skin and will not wash away all the natural oils of your dog.

Most of the dogs’ coat helps them in keeping them warm in the cold weather. In summer, their owners might take their dogs for grooming and hair cut so that they could eradicate heat. However, you should never do this with a Great Pyrenees. Unlike other dog breeds, the Pyr’s coat helps them in staying cool in the hot weather.

Conclusion

A Great Pyrenees will be a perfect protector for your house and will also act as a fluffy guarding to your children as well. With all the information mentioned above, you know all about this breed that will help you in talking an adoption decision.

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