Breed Profile: Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees dog relaxing under a tree.
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The Great Pyrenees likely evolved from mountain sheep dogs from Asia minor that date back many thousands of years. As evidenced by fossil remains from the Bronze Age, the Great Pyrenees (or a close ancestor) was brought to the Pyrenees Mountain Range of southern France sometime between 1800-1000 BC. The breed was developed as a guardian of sheep and the home, and was quite beloved by French royalty and nobles.

The Great Pyrenees was brought to the US in 1824, but was not recognized by the AKC until over 100 years later in 1933. It is known as the Pyrenees Mountain Dog in Europe and is still a keen worker to this day.



Females: 85-110 pounds
Males: 100-150 pounds

Height: 25 to 32 inches at the shoulder


White (may have markings of gray, tan, badger, or reddish-brown)

Health Problems:

Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:


About the Breed:

The Great Pyrenees is a large, majestic dog with a hard-working spirit and a gentle disposition. The breed is intelligent and very loyal to its family.

Pyrs make excellent working dogs, but are also calm and affectionate companions.

The Pyr has a long, thick outer coat that is primarily white and somewhat coarse, with a soft, woolly undercoat of white. This breed has a moderate to high shedding rate and requires routine grooming, especially a thorough brushing once or twice per week.

Special care should be taken to prevent exposure to very hot temperatures, as the breed can easily overheat. Pyrs are also known as dogs that have extra dewclaws on their rear limbs.

Pyrs have a strong drive to work and protect. If not working dogs, they need a fair amount of exercise on a daily basis. Pyrs will benefit from some type of "job," such as guarding the home or obedience competition. In general, these are usually very calm, loyal and loving companions. Pyrs are also intelligent dogs that respond very well to training.

The Great Pyrenees is a gentle giant that is quite versatile. Typically, this breed gets along very well with children with proper training and socialization. This adaptable dog breed can make a very suitable companion for a variety of household types.

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