The Great Pyrenees, also known as the Pyrenean Mountain dog, boasts an ancient ancestry that dates back to the Bronze Age. Originally used for herding cattle, sheep and reindeer, the breed’s gentle and loyal nature made them a popular choice with French nobles in the 17th century with Louis XIV naming them the ‘Royal Dogs of France’. If you’re interested in learning more about these gentle giants you're in luck. We’ve collected lots of information about them below.
BorrowMyDoggy member Yaska from Cork
What is a Great Pyrenees?
They are a large breed - males usually weigh between 50-54 kg and grow to 72-80 cm in height. This big fluffy dog sheds its double coat throughout the year. They reach their peak of ‘high maintenance’ during the Spring and Autumn when more frequent brushing is needed to prevent any tangles forming. Luckily, these big friendly furballs love a good cuddle so brushing them is super stress-free.
Miska, the Great Pyrenees, enjoying her walk
Pyreneans are one of the oldest breeds on the planet. Originating in France, they’ve been used for a wide variety of roles: from herding and protecting livestock to carrying messages and supplies to French troops in World War II. They were also a popular choice with smugglers who used them to carry forbidden goods from one side of the Pyrenees to the other. Their confident footing in the tricky mountains made them the perfect pooch for the job! Nowadays, they’re more comfortable living in a home environment and are very trustworthy and loving family pets.
How much exercise do they need?
This breed isn’t considered a high energy dog but they do need lots of mental stimulation to keep them happy. Two hours of exercise a day is recommended - ideally on a route with lots of sniffs and smells to keep them interested.
They love nothing more than to roam around a back garden but - being particularly good escape artists - time will need to be taken to make sure all fencing is safe and secure.
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.”
Moon, making friends in the park
“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.”
What about temperament?
Great Pyrenees are big soppy pups and really enjoy being social. They love being around children and other dogs, as member Alice shares about the lovely 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.”
Like other large dog breeds, they mature very slowly and reach full maturity at around 3 to 4 years old. They adore attention and will take as many cuddles as they can get!
Moon’s owner Alexandra, says:
“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.”
Theo taking in the scenery on his walk
Are they easy to train?
Though they are smart dogs, their confidence and exuberance can result in a little stubbornness. This can make it challenging to train them - so training from an early age is recommended. Socialising this breed from a young age is also very important. Puppy training classes are a great way to start! Once trained they make good family dogs and are incredibly loyal and extremely trustworthy.
Miska making friends with a Shiba Inu at training classes
As puppies, these big balls of fluff benefit from learning simple commands as early as possible. The recall command, as well as sit, stay, heel and leave are very important to teach them when they are small. It’s easy to forget they will grow into very large dogs in no time, so consistent, positive training is a must to ensure a well behaved pooch.
“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.”
Check out this lovely testimonial from another large mountain dog - the gorgeous Bernese Mountain Dog, Beezus:
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.