Dog Health & More
The Great Pyrenees dog breed's goal in life is to protect sheep, goats, livestock, people, children, grass, flowers, the moon, the lawn furniture, bird feeders, and any real or imaginary predators that may intrude on your personal space. Oh yeah, and to give, give, and give unconditional love. Anyone who has seen this stunning white dog becomes enamored. What's not to like? He has a strong build, a beautiful, thick coat, and he exudes elegance and majesty. One look and you can see the intelligence and steady temperament that many seek in a family dog.
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The Great Pyrenees was originally developed to guard flocks alongside shepherds. These days he usually works with people, often in therapy and rescue work. This is a dog who loves the sport of carting.
The Great Pyrenees is an intelligent dog who is used to working on his own and figuring things out for himself. This can be a wonderful trait, but having a mind of his own can also create some training challenges.
And you have to train this dog. If not, he will become completely uncontrollable — and at his full size of up to 160 pounds, you don't want that. Since training takes lots of consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement, the Great Pyrenees is not suitable for an owner who's reluctant to put in the necessary team.
He's worth the work, though. Calm inside the house, he somehow manages not to get underfoot, and has an amazing ability to determine friend from foe. A Pyr is courageous and devoted to his family, protecting those he loves with his life if needed.
Many folks feel safer with a Great Pyrenees in their home, but it's worth reemphasizing that he's a dog who requires lots of socialization, starting as early as possible. If he doesn't receive it, he can become aggressive or fearful, and he may not allow nonfamily members into your yard without (or even with) your permission. That may sound kind of cool until you stop receiving mail and your friends refuse to come over.
When brought up right, he's a social guy, and he likes to be active and to play with other dogs of any breed. He loves children, and it's best to give him as much exposure to them as you can. Once he's trained, you can take him to nursing homes as his size is perfect for those confined to wheelchairs. He loves going for rides in the car, but make sure the air-conditioner is on high. He's a big fan of cool weather.
Everyone who lives with a Pyr should have a set of ear plugs. He barks a lot, because that's his job. He'll vocalize — loudly — to ward off pesky intruders, and he's got a broad definition of intruders. He will bark even more at night because of his extraordinary senses of sight and sound, which enable him to detect coyotes, deer, wolves, raccoons, bear, and possum (all of which must be protected against). His vocal styling will definitely scare them away and keep the family and property safe.
A Pyr's hearing is so sensitive he can detect intruders even with all the windows closed in the house; the air-conditioner, TV, and dehumidifier running on high; and the iPod playing AC/DC at full blast. He really can hear that well, and he'll definitely let you know all about what he hears.
He'll let you know his emotions, too. Almost all Pyrs use a paw to let their people know how much they are loved. He'll paw on your shoulder while you're driving, on your lap while you're eating, on your leg when a yummy treat is near (even a not-so-yummy treat).
He has double dewclaws — not one dewclaw like most dogs, but two that are near each other. Don't even think of removing them, because he uses them to climb (part of your protection services). Keep the double dews trimmed, as they can easily get caught on fences and tear easily.
He'll make himself at home on any type of furniture, including couches, beds, and chairs, even if there's no chance he'll fit. Never mind that detail; he'll squeeze himself in one way or the other, even if it seems physically impossible. A Great Pyr will remind you that his comfort should be of the utmost importance to you. Who the heck do you think king-size beds are made for?
The Great Pyrenees is a wonderful breed who is affectionate and gentle, hardworking and independent. He can be a devoted family companion or a conscientious career dog. His pride is evident in the regal way he carries himself. Make no mistake — he has a job to do, and he loves to do it.