This dog breed is also known as the Pyrenean Mountain dog, Pyrenean dog or Patou and is commonly used as a livestock dog or as guarding dogs. These dogs were initially used as a livestock to protect sheep, goats and other animals and vegetation from predators.
The Great Pyrenees is strong, elegant and very beautiful with an intelligent and steady temperament. This dog was first found at the borders of France and Spain and is a very old breed that perhaps belongs to the 14th century, or even earlier.
In the 19th century, there was a great demand for these dogs and they were finally registered by the American Kennel Club in the late 1870s.
English Bull dog – At a glance
The following list of general and physical characteristics will help you in getting familiarized with your Great Pyrenees dogs: –
• Breed type: Pure breed (belong to the group of working/ pastoral/ utility/ guarding dog breeds). These dogs are recognized and registered by the American Kennel Club, New Zealand Kennel Club, Canadian Kennel Club, Continental Kennel Club, Federation Cynologique Internationale, United Kennel Club, National Kennel Club and many others.
• Height: The males have an average height of 27 to 33 inches whereas the females have an average height of 24 to 30 inches.
• Weight: The males weigh about 90 to 130 pounds whereas the females weigh about 70 to 100 pounds. They have greater body fat ratio compared to other dog breeds.
• Life Span: These dogs have an average life expectancy of 10 to 13 years.
• Available coat colors: Most varieties are white in color. However, many other shades are available such as red/ rust color; tan; combination of tan and black; black, badger (a mixture of black, gray and tan); gray and others.
• They have a flat and thick outer coat with an undulating dense under coat. There is also feathering of the legs, which is often referred as the “pantaloons effect”.
• The dog is medium sized with a round crown and a wedged shaped head and the eyes are almond shaped and dark brown in appearance.
Temperament and Personality traits
These dogs are nocturnal and can be aggressive at various situations. Hence, they are not a preferred choice in a home that contains young children. They will definitely hurt the child if they are teased or irritated. However, if suitable training is provided right from child hood, then the tendency and the amount of aggression can be reduced considerably. You should teach him how to distinguish between behavior towards a stranger and that of a family member. Also, do not forget to provide them with leash training.
The Great Pyrenees dogs drools heavily and bark unnecessarily. You would need to clean their utensils on a daily basis to avoid growth and transfer of infectious pathogens through eating habits.
However, many pet owners have reported that these dogs are very devoted to their family and can risk their lives to protect their masters and the family. Thus, they are efficient guardian dogs.
Obviously, these dogs are never recommended for meek, timid and lame owners. You need sufficient strength to have a control over these dogs. Your dog should know that you are capable enough to overcome his power and strength. Prior knowledge in how to raise such breeds is a mandatory factor before thinking of keeping the Great Pyrenees as pets.
However, make sure you spent sufficient time with your Pyrenees as they tend to develop metal disorders and can actually ruin your house if they are left alone for a very long period.
Feeding habits and Nutrition
These large sized and heavy dogs want good amount of nutrition to keep their metabolism active. They would require at least 4 to 5 ½ cups of premium quality dry canine food given in two equal parts every day. Occasionally, you can even feed him with home cooked dog food (the food should be from salt, sweet and other stuffs that are not recommended for dogs). They will love to cherish raw meat, but make sure you do not make this a regular habit.
Their food should preferably contain 30% Carbohydrate, 22% Protein and 27% Fat content (for an average sized adult Great Pyrenees dog).
Health and Immunization
The Great Pyrenees can be affected by many diseases such as hip and elbow dysplasia, Bloating, Bone Cancer, Luxating Patella, Anesthesia sensitivity, cataracts, Addison’s disease, obesity, hypothyroidism, Willebrand’s disease, thrombopathia and others.
Your Great Pyrenees would require at least 20 to 35 minutes of daily walk along with his regular exercises.
Great Pyrenees dogs should be immunized at regular intervals so that they are protected from various diseases caused by dangerous viruses. Some mandatory vaccines for this breed includes: – Parvovirus, Rabies, Distemper, Coronavirus, Hepatitis A and B, Influenza and Parainfluenza vaccines. Inject annual booster shots from experienced vets.
Care and Grooming
These dogs are sensitive to hot and warm weathers, thus make sure you keep him properly air conditioned during the summer season. However, they would love to spend time in winters and in colder areas.
The Great Pyrenees can be above average shedders (which will actually depend on climatic conditions). However, they are easy to groom. Brush his coat at least once a day to keep his coat free from tangles and bathe him at least once a month. Make sure you dry his coat to avoid growth of pathogens on moist coat. Brush his teeth every day (as they tend to drool rapidly) and clean the area near lips with moist cloth. Cut his toe nails at least once in two months.
Clean their ears at least twice a week with cotton balls soaked in pH neutral ear cleansing solution that is prescribed by an experienced vet.
These dogs can be adopted or rescued from various organizations that give them recognition (as mentioned above). Although popularity of these dogs declined in the year 2000 to 2007, these dogs are again gaining popularity and a large number of rescue societies are available from where you can adopt or rescue these pets.