Great Pyrenees: Large And Calm Dog

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Did you know the Great Pyrenees can fight wolves? This powerful working dog is calm when with his family members but can turn into a real guardian when needed. Read on to learn more about the breed.
Dog Breed Group:
Working Dogs
25 to 32 inches tall at the shoulder
85 to 160 pounds
Life Span:
10 to 12 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

The Great Pyrenees is a white dog with a strong heritage as a flock guardian.

Today, this large dog is primarily a pet and spends his days as a loving family companion.

The Great Pyrenees is a big and smart dog with a strong will, who needs an experienced dog owner to guide him. Read on to learn more about this magnificent breed.

Quick Facts

Real name: Great Pyrenees
Other names: Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Patou, Montañés del Pirineo, Perro de Montaña de los Pirineos, Can de Montaña de os Perinés, Chien des Pyrénées, Chien de Montagne des Pyrénées
Common nicknames: Pyr, GP, PMD, Gentle Giant
Origin: France
Breed type: Working Dogs
Weight: 100 pounds & up (male), 85 pounds & up (female)
Height: 27-32 inches (male), 25-29 inches (female)
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Litter Size: 8 – 10 puppies
Color: White, although may have shades of gray, red, or tan
Coat: Long, flat, thick

Great Pyrenees Introduction

The Great Pyrenees is a large dog breed with a thick coat and powerful working force. They aren’t afraid to stand against wolves and other predators that they may encounter in the wild.

Today, they are mostly devoted and loved pets, and they do not need to run through the wild searching for food and water.

You can find them mostly enjoying family activities and serving as a leg heater on a cold winter day.

This breed is often described as ‘majestic,’ since they are big and extremely strong mountain dogs.

They stand up to 32 inches at shoulders and usually have around 100 pounds, with females being smaller.

They always look calm and peaceful with the gentle moves, and thats is true until they feel threatened or in fear of any of their family members.

Their coat is all waterproof, which means that they love spending a fair share of their time in the water.

Great Pyrenees History

​The Great Pyrenees is an old breed, and they were bred centuries ago.

Initially, this large breed was bred to work with peasant shepherds and herding dogs in the Pyrenees Mountains, which serve as a natural border between Spain and France.

​Great Pyrenees’ job was to watch the flock, locate the predators, and fight them off – these predators were other large and dangerous animals, that were no domesticated, such as bears, wolves, or livestock rustlers.

Fun fact: Did you know that ​Great Pyrenees is a breed that many describe as a bear looking dog?

This breed is extremely calm and that treat served them great when they were in a freezing-cold mountain for days on end with nothing to do but look at sheep.

It takes a lot of discipline for such action, and not every breed can do it, nor is capable.

Could you imagine a Pomeranian watchign the flock alone for days in the windy and cold mountains? Probably not, because they were not bred to do this kind of job like Great Pyrenees was.

Their discipline and courage were so unique and fascinating that they grew to a level of legend.

The 17th century was a big milestone for this breed because the Great Pyrenees was adopted as the Royal Dog of France in the court of King Louis XIV after they proved useful as guardians of the chateaux.

Great Pyrenees Physical Appearance

The Great Pyrenees dog demonstrates a great impression of elegance and strength. This is also a very beautiful breed by various standards, thanks to its posture, size, and posture.

The Great Pyrenees will always have a white or mostly white coat that may occasionally contain markings of gray, badger, or various shades of tan.

This breed is highly intelligent and capable of making its own decisions. This breed was designed to feel comfortable outside which is why they have a thick, strong, and waterproof coat.

The whole body is well-proportioned, with an overall gentle expression. The head is not heavy in proportion to the size of the dog, but it’s wedge-shaped with a slightly rounded crown.

Eyes are medium-sized, and dark brown in color. Ears are small to medium in size. The neck is strongly muscled and of medium length, while the chest is moderately broad.

The tail is well plumed and carried low, and may be carried either over the back or low.

The shoulders are well laid and elbows are close to the body and point directly to the rear when standing, while forelegs are located directly under the withers.

The coat is waterproof, straight, and thick. The outer coat lies over a dense and woolly undercoat. The coat is richer around the neck and shoulders. The hair on the face and ears is shorter and of silkier texture.

Great Pyrenees Personality

The Great Pyrenees is a fearless breed, heavily confident, and gentle. Although he is big in size, the Great Pyrenees is extremely gentle and tolerant with children.

Still, you should educate your children on how to behave around dogs, and not disturb them when eating from their bowl or chilling in their crate.

Since this breed was bred to guard the flock, he has a strong heritage as a flock guardian and is highly territorial and protective. They are reserved toward strangers and often suspicious.

This is the main reason why early socialization should be conducted properly and why this breed isn’t for first time dog owners.

As puppies, they are like any other puppy, heavy chewers, and more prone to destroying things since they are larger in size.

Don’t let them run around the house before they have reached full maturity. Like any other large breed, they need more time to mature.

Good to know: Have you heard about Pyredoodle, one of the most recent dog breeds, a mix between a Standard Poodle and Great Pyrenees?

Great Pyrenees Training

Begin training as soon as you bring your Pyr puppy home, while he is still young and small in size. Dogs can learn basic commands with eight weeks.

Use only positive reinforcement training techniques such as praise, play, and food rewards, and be patient.

Never use any kind of harsh and negative techniques, because they may harm the dog and lead to destructive behavior.

When it comes to training, this breed will try to have it his own way. He has strong instincts of thinking on his own, which is why patience is so important.

Make training short, fun, and interactive. Don’t force him to repeat the same command over and over again, because he will get bored.

They do bark, and they will bark at anything that might be a threat. This is one of many treats which makes this breed a great guarding dog.

Get your Great Pyrenees into puppy kindergarten class by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks old, and socialize, socialize, socialize.

Make sure that you go through with vaccines and follow veterinarian guidelines on recommended socialization steps.

If you are getting a dog from a breeder, make sure that you share what kind of dog do you need, what are desirable traits, and what are your obligations, so the breeder can recommend you the specific dog.

After an honest talk, maybe you will realize that you need another breed, a better fit for you, or maybe even two dogs – you can’t know until you share your thoughts.

Great Pyrenees Exercise

The Great Pyrenees is not a highly active breed, but they will need a fair amount of outdoor time.

The breed was developed more to monitor than to run. Learn how often you should take your dog out and try to meet those recommendations.

Moderator exercise should be fine for this breed, such as longer walks.

This breed also exercises mind and body by participating in various canine activities such as cart-pulling, obedience trials, and agility.

Great Pyrenees Grooming

Does a large dog demand more grooming? In this case, you won’t have to spend too much time grooming your Pyrs, although you will have to provide consistency.

Their coat is longer and as such can collect dirt and the coat may tangle. Therefore, regular brushing should be of big help.

Make sure that you have the right brushing tools on hand.

If you don’t have time to brush your Pyrs, think about a professional groomer, but know that it will cost you.

The rest is regular grooming:

  • Check gums on a weekly level
  • Search for any sign of fleas or skin infection
  • Brush weekly
  • Provide foods that promote teeth health
  • Trim or grind nails regularly
  • Bath only when needed, because dogs dont have the same skin as humans do, and dont need frequent bathing

Great Pyrenees Health

If you are dealing with responsible breeders, you will get a healthy dog.

Plus, responsible breeders will always present you medical documentation on the dog, his parents, and even show you the facilities.

If you’re not given signed medical documentation, you are dealing with puppy mills – in that case, turn around and walk away.

The Great Pyrenees Club of America continually communicates that all dogs should be tested for more common condition that may affect the breed, including:

Some concern is often linked to bloat, a life-threatening condition which is common in large breeds.

This is why you should know how much you should feed your dog, and why the dog bowl is such an important tool.

Education is the key, so educate yourself to know the signs of bloat, what can happen, and what you can do to save your dog’s life.

The Bottom Line

The Great Pyrenees is a large dog that can be a perfect home pet, as long as you train him and socialize right. This breed isn’t for anyone and primarily does better with experienced dog owners.

If you want a dog who is large and rugged, and kind of has that white bear look, and you can deal with his independence, then the Great Pyrenees might be for you.

Bear in mind that a larger breed needs more food and stronger finances for diet and veterinarian/medical costs.

Make sure that you always calculate every aspect of getting a dog before you get one.

Popular Great Pyrenees Comparisons

Compare Dog Breeds: