The Great Pyrenees is a large, hardworking dog breed that has a gentle disposition. Its goal in life is to protect sheep, goats, livestock, people, and flowers from any real or imaginary predators that may intrude on your personal space. And of course, to give lots of unconditional love. It is a gentle giant that gets along very well with children. If you want to know more about the Great Pyrenees breed, then read on to find out about its history and characteristics.
The Great Pyrenees breed originated in the Pyrenees Mountains which are natural borders between France and Spain. The breed is also known as the Pyrenean Mountain Dog in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe. The ancestors of the Great Pyrenees are dogs who originated in Asia Minor which are believed to date back ten to eleven thousand years ago. They are thought to have come to the Pyrenees Mountains sometime around 3000 BC and was developed to create a dog who would aid shepherds.
The Great Pyrenees was first considered to be a dog owned by peasants. However, in 1675, it was declared as the Royal Dog of France by the Dauphin in the court of King Louis XIV. They were acquired by the French nobility and were used to guard estates.
The first ever Great Pyrenees to be imported to North America was brought to Newfoundland, Canada. It gained popularity throughout the 1800s in England, Europe, and the United States. However, in its homeland, the breed began to deteriorate because of immoral breeding practices.
The World Wars took a toll on breeding dogs but luckily, there were several Great Pyrenees dogs that were imported to the United States because the European continent closed due to the Second World War. After the war, breeders started restoring the breed to its former glory and in the present time, the Great Pyrenees is a much-loved and admired household pet dog.
Characteristics and Personality of a Great Pyrenees
The Great Pyrenees is a giant dog and it can grow from 25 to 32 inches tall. It belongs to the working dog breed and it can live from 10 to 12 years. It has a dense, double coat which is very easy to care for. They are also moderate shedders but they blow their coats twice a year which results in massive hair loss. It usually comes in color white or white with markings that can be tan, badger, reddish-brown, or gray in color. Its undercoat can be shaded or in color white as well.
The Great Pyrenees used to be a flock guardian, which means they are naturally very protective and are excellent watchdogs. They will only bark to alert you when there are strangers around. Aside from that, they are also very smart, highly social, and loyal to their families. This breed is also independent because as flock guardians, they are bred to think and act to protect the sheep.
It is a gentle dog that can be somewhat serious as well. It is also a warm blanket and a comforting soul in the night. In fact, Great Pyrenees loves to be a therapy dog. It is a great pet for families with children. Even though they are large in size, they can be very playful and love to romp with the kids. This dog breed really enjoys the company of other dog breeds that are not aggressive and may even do very well with cats in the family.
Caring for the Great Pyrenees
To keep the Great Pyrenees safe, a good fence around your yard is needed and it should be at least four to six feet high. It’s because this dog breed is used to roaming the Pyrenees Mountains while it protects its flocks, meaning, it will keep on running to grasp territory if you do not have a fence to corral it. It also needs about 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day to keep it in its best condition.
It is also an intelligent breed and might get bored easily. To prevent this from happening, you can provide it with proper stimulation toys which can also prevent any destructive behavior. It should also not be left alone for long periods of time because it enjoys being with its family and might ruin your household if it felt alone.
In terms of grooming, the Great Pyrenees’ coat is very easy to maintain. It will only require you about 30 minutes of work per week. Brushing its silk-like hair can help remove the dirt. But do not try to clip its hair during hot weather because its coat keeps it cool and when removed, it will compromise its natural protection from the sun.
Aside from brushing and maintaining its coat, this dog breed requires very little care. Try to have its ears checked once a week for dirt, redness, or bad odor. Brush its teeth at least two to three times every day to prevent bad breath and gum disease. Make sure to trim its nails regularly to keep your arms from getting scratched when it becomes enthusiastic.
The Great Pyrenees should be fed two meals per day of up to three cups of dry dog food per meal. The amount of food you should give depends on its age, size, and activity level. It’s better to discuss your pet’s diet and nutrition to your local vet so you can monitor its weight and prevent overfeeding as well.
The Great Pyrenees is indeed a gentle giant. It is a giant dog both in size and heart. If you’re looking for an affectionate pet that your whole family will love and will love you back at the same time, then the Great Pyrenees might be the perfect pet for you.