Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees

5 May 2023

Let’s talk about… Great Pyrenees: what are they?

  • Great Pyrenees, also known as the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, boasts an ancient ancestry that dates back to the Bronze Age. They were then described as the “Royal Dogs of France” in the 17th century by Louis XIV, due to their popularity with the French nobility.
  • They were originally used to herd cattle, sheep and reindeer, but are also known for carrying messages and supplies to French troops in the Second World War. They even helped smugglers to carry illegal goods from one side of the Pyrenees to the other!
  • Although originally a working dog, they are mostly pets now, who enjoy a home environment and being part of a loving family.
  • Great Pyreneess are a large breed, usually between 64 and 80 cm tall and weighing between 38 and 54kg.
  • Their average life expectancy is between 10 and 12 years.

Theo, the great Pyrenees
Theo, the great Pyrenees

What is the temperament of Great Pyrenees like?

  • Great Pyrenees are generally friendly, well-mannered dogs that enjoy human company.
  • They are also usually trustworthy, calm and gentle.
  • They like well-mannered children if they are well-socialised with them.
  • Great pyrenees can get on well with other animals, but they need to be socialised with them at a young age.
  • They tend to like to bark, playing their role of protector and guardian dog, and if they think their family is in danger they may  try to protect them.

What kind of exercise do Great Pyrenees need?

  • On average an adult Great Pyrenees needs around 1 hour of exercise per day, depending on age and health status.
  • Puppies should not be over-exercised and should not have full exercise levels until they are fully grown, which can take up to 18-24 months.
  • As well as physical exercise, mental stimulation is very important for these pooches, so a walk with lots of opportunities for sniffs and investigation is a must!
  • Mentally stimulating games at home and/or in a well-enclosed garden (they are known for fence jumping and going on solo adventures!) are also ideal.

Great Pyrenees: exercise 3/5; grooming 2/5; trainability 2/5

Do Great Pyrenees need a lot of grooming?

  • The most common colours of Great Pyrenees is white, or white with patches of for example grey, lemon or tan.
  • They have thick, fluffy, double coats, which can help to keep them cool in summer and warm in winter, but they can overheat in particularly warm weather.
  • They need to be groomed 1-2 times a week, more often when they are shedding heavily, which is most commonly seen in the springtime.
  • You can bathe them every 1-2 months or if they roll in something dirty and need a good wash!
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.

Are Great Pyrenees easy to train?

  • Great Pyrenees are known to be quite stubborn, so are often not recommended for inexperienced to-be dog owners.
  • They can learn and be well-trained dogs though, they just need patience, consistency and kindness.
  • As such a smart breed, they can get bored with training, so keeping it engaging is really important.
  • With lots of positive praise and time spent on good training methods, they can make excellent pets.

Perry, the Pyrenean mountain dog
Perry, the Pyrenean mountain dog

What do Great Pyrenees eat?

  • Adult Great Pyrenees should eat a complete, balanced dog food, specific for large or giant breeds if possible, twice daily. They can also have occasional treats, but like any dog, watch out for the extra calories. Puppies should initially eat four times a day, then down to three, then to two at six months old.
  • For most Great Pyrenees you can make the change from puppy to adult food gradually at between 18 and 24 months old. Your pet food supplier and/or vet can advise on individual cases, and the differences between individual food brands.
  • Great Pyreneess can be a little prone to getting overweight, so make sure to not overfeed them. If they are an ok body weight, you should be able to comfortably feel your pooch’s ribs, but not count them, when they are standing normally. They should also have a nice neat waist when you look from the top (if they’re quite floofy, then you might have to get your hands on to check that bit), and they should have a good tuck from their chest up to their tummy.  If you are worried your pooch could be a bit overweight or underweight then contact your vet practice for advice.
  • Great Pyreneess love a good treat as a reward, but like any dog, this should only make up a maximum of 10% of their daily calorie intake.

Are Great Pyrenees healthy?

Like any breed of dog, there are health conditions that Great Pyrenees dogs are more prone to than others.

These can include problems with:

Bones and Joints -

  • Elbow Dysplasia - this condition is where there is an issue with how the bones fit together at the elbow joint
  • Hip Dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint
  • Luxating patella - this is when a dog’s kneecap moves out of where it should normally be

Eyes -

  • Cataracts - a common cause of blindness due to a clouding of the lens of the eye
  • Entropion - this is where the eyelids roll in, causing eyelashes to rub onto the surface of the eye

Gastrointestinal -

  • Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) - this occurs when the stomach twists and gas and contents get trapped inside. It is a very serious condition and a vet should be contacted immediately!

Hormonal -

  • Addison’s Disease (hypoadrenocorticism) - a condition where your dog’s body doesn’t produce enough of a couple of necessary hormones from their adrenal glands

Neurological -

  • Neuronal Degeneration - A condition that progresses leading to the nervous system including the brain, spinal cord and nerves not working properly

This list is by no means comprehensive, if you have any concerns about the health of your dog, or if you want to discuss further if a Great Pyrenees is right for you, consult with your vet.

Duper, the great Pyrenees
Duper, the great Pyrenees

Our vet top tip

Great Pyrenees can be wonderful family pets, but they can be a bit challenging as a first dog, so are better suited to more experienced dog owners

BorrowMyDoggy loves Pyrenees Mountain Dogs

BorrowMyDoggy has 75 Pyrenees Mountain Dog owning members.

What do BorrowMyDoggy owners say about their Pyrenees Mountain Dogs?

Owner, Martin, shares some lovely comments about his dog, Honey:

[Honey is] a very docile large lady; loves people & children! She doesn't need too much exercise. They are a "patrolling" breed so an enclosed garden is essential.

Alice told us more about her Pyr Miska,

Miska is a really friendly giant breed puppy. He loves other dogs (whether they love him or not!) and gets lots of fuss from passers by on his walks.
He is an absolute lad, and has so much character! He's not the most obedient dog you will meet but all he wants is love and attention to keep him happy.

And Moon’s owner Alexandra, told us,

“We like to make sure Moon is kept exercised and happy (she doesn't need huge amounts of exercise, about an hour a day, but she loves social time out and about, so we always try and get her out at least twice a day for a nosey round).”

She loves chasing her ball and a game of tug. When she is out she has her nose permanently stuck to the ground sniffing all the good things.

“Moon makes friends wherever she goes, people often want to come over and have a cuddle with her - which she loves. We encourage this wholeheartedly, as a cuddled Pyrenean is a happy Pyrenean.”

Check out this lovely testimonial from another large mountain dog - the gorgeous Bernese Mountain Dog, Beezus:

Great Pyrenees Names

The most popular name for a Great Pyrenees on BorrowMyDoggy is

3 most pupular Great Pyrenees names on BorrowMyDoggy

  1. Aspen
  2. Hinata
  3. Max

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian.  Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive.  If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health contact your local vet.

Want to borrow a Great Pyrenees in your area? Register for free to discover Great Pyreneess searching for new friends in your neighbourhood!

Thanks to the Pyrenean Mountain dogs (and owners) from the BorrowMyDoggy community for sharing their wooftastic photos and quotes.

  • Could your Great Pyrenees benefit from more walks, cuddles and play time?
  • Would you like to spend some time with a Great Pyrenees and get to know their fun, playful personalities?

Why not join the BorrowMyDoggy community today? With members who genuinely want to spend time with your pooch for love and not money you could find your pawfect match today.

Read more about BorrowMyDoggy membership and cost.

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Great Pyrenees


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