‘Big Dog of the Mountain’: Great Pyrenees Breed Info 

great pyrenees running

Don’t be fooled by this mellow giant. While the Great Pyrenees dog breed is quite content to relax indoors or out, the breed can be intimidating when provoked. If you’re looking for a canine companion that is affectionate and protective but low on the neediness scale, this could be the perfect pet for you and your family. They can be shy and cautious around strangers and other pets, so take this into consideration when looking for a dog that fits your lifestyle. Read on for more Great Pyrenees breed info, including their barking tendencies, grooming needs and fun facts.    

Do Great Pyrenees Bark a Lot?

Great Pyrs were originally bred to guard flocks of livestock. Their job was to patrol farms and look out for intruders — both four- and two-legged (poachers). When they sense intruders, they sound their alarms — Great Pyrenees can be very loud and persistent barkers. 

Therefore, Pyrs’ owners need to be patient and train their Pyrs to stop barking on command. You never want to prevent any dog from barking; however, you can use voice commands and positive reinforcement to temper their barking. 

closeup of a great pyrenees
Evidence of the Great Pyrenees has been found in fossil deposits from the Bronze Age, according to the AKC, dating back to 1800-1000 BC!

Facts: Great Pyrenees Breed Info

The AKC describes the Great Pyrenees’ temperament as calm, patient and intelligent. 

The Great Pyrenees is known as le grande chien de montagnes in France (big dog of the mountains) and as the Pyrenean mountain dog in the UK. It’s also referred to as Pyr for short.  

Although their coats appear to be all white, they’re actually white with shades of pale gray and tan.

  • Size: Males can weigh more than 100 pounds and average 27 to 32 inches, while females weigh upwards of 85 pounds and stand 25 to 29 inches tall. 
  • Life expectancy: Great Pyrenees can live 10 to 12 years.
  • Coat: Double coat consists of a coarse outer coat and a wooly undercoat with a thicker mane around the neck.
  • AKC group: Working group

Are Great Pyrenees Easy to Train? Are Great Pyrenees Good Dogs?

The Pyr can be slow to train. It’s not because they lack intelligence. It’s because they’re an independent dog breed, bred to spend a lot of time on their own, patrolling and guarding flocks and crops.

Like many dogs in the AKC working group, the Great Pyrenees was bred as a protector of farm animals, guarding against human and animal intruders. Their guard-dog history can make them relatively difficult to train. The reason? They’re independent thinkers. 

great pyrenees can be difficult to train

The good news is, the Great Pyrenees dog breed tends to be a mellow breed, which means while they may seem slow to train, they’re just good dogs. 

Great Pyrenees are wonderful family pets. They don’t need an excessive amount of exercise — just regular walks daily. 

Pyrs were bred to be guard dogs on farms and of flocks of sheep, so they tend to conserve their energy for fending off threats. So, the Pyr can be pretty relaxed at home; that is, until the UPS truck arrives — then, expect him to show off his guard-dog skills!

The Pyr does well with positive reinforcement training techniques and healthy treats. They do well with moderate exercise, so a good 20- to 30-minute walk in the morning will help them relax while you’re at work. Keep their minds and senses exercised with scent walks and nose-work games.

Are Great Pyrenees good with kids? Yes. Because of their protective nature, they’re naturally good with families.

Do Great Pyrenees Need Grooming?

Surprise, surprise: This breed doesn’t need a lot of grooming, even though it has a lot of fur and a thick double coat. 

Does the Great Pyrenees need to be shampooed regularly? Bathe as needed.

Trim their nails regularly. When you hear their nails on the ground, it may be time to trim. You can do this yourself with scissor-style nail clippers or, even better, by using an electric rotary nail grinder that has a guard to protect the quick.  

great pyrenees is a loyal pet
Pyrs can be loyal pets, and they form deep bonds with their owners.

Do Great Pyrenees Shed?

While the Great Pyrenees doesn’t need a lot of bathing and shampooing, they are higher than average shedders, thanks to their thick double coat. 

Their coat tends to be resistant to tangles and dirt, according to the AKC. That said, they’re seasons shedders, like most double-coated dogs, so expect to do some brushing. During shedding season you’ll brush your Pyr several times a week (daily would be ideal), but between shedding seasons a once-a-week minimum should suffice.

What If My Breed Is a Great Pyrenees Mix?

When breeders mix breeds, they hope to get the best of both breeds — the protection of a Great Pyrenees, for example, mixed with the friendliness of a Lab can potentially result in the perfect pet. Here are some popular mixes of Great Pyrenees and their blended names:

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