Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees At-a-Glance

The Great Pyrenees is a beautiful dog with a white fluffy coat. They originated around the Pyrenees Mountains, between Spain and France, and were bred to protect livestock from predators.

For hundreds of years, they were used as guard dogs for sheep and fortresses and chateaus in medieval France. They also played major roles in assisting the French in both world wars. As such, their strength and bravery were legendary.

Weight (pounds)
Male: 100-120
Female: 85-95
Height (inches)
Male: 27-32
Female: 25-29
Lifespan (years)

Dog Breed Group

Characteristics Ratings

We rate 19 characteristics for each breed, divided into three categories:
Highest Rated – Characteristics for which this breed is rated 4 or 5 stars (on a 5 star scale).
Neutral Rated – Characteristics that rated 3 stars.
Lowest Rated – Characteristics that rated only 1 or 2 stars.

Highest Rated

  • Good Family Dog
  • Kid Friendly
  • Good With Other Dogs
  • Protective Nature
  • High Energy Level
  • Tolerates Cold Climate
  • High Intelligence

Neutral Rated

  • Low Shedding
  • Low Drooling
  • Friendly to Strangers
  • Likes to Play
  • Handles Change Easily
  • Easy to Train
  • Low Amount of Barking
  • Tolerates Being Left Alone
  • Tolerates Hot Climate

Lowest Rated

  • Suitable for Small Yards/Apartments
  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Good General Health

General Overview

Despite their somewhat intimidating size and appearance, Great Pyrenees are one of the “Gentle Giants”. They are excellent family pets and are wonderful with both children and other animals.

Great Pyrenees are one of the most devoted, loyal, and protective dog breeds. While they are gentle with people, these powerful dogs will protect their family and every living being in it – including the family cat – from any perceived threats.

Their protective nature means they are somewhat reserved with strangers, but once they know you’re a friend you are also under their protection.

Interestingly, Great Pyrenees were bred to guard flocks at night, so they are nocturnal by nature. It’s common for them to patrol their surroundings at night and they will bark – a lot – if they sense anything suspicious. And any intruder will run when they see the large and powerful Great Pyrenees is on guard.

The family can sleep well when a Great Pyrenees is in the house!

From a maintenance standpoint, Great Pyrenees can take a bit of work to clean up after. They are moderate droolers and their coats tend to shed quite a bit.

That said, their thick coats actually need little grooming, as they are dirt and tangle resistant. A regular weekly brushing is sufficient.

They don’t need a tremendous amount of exercise, but they do require a lot of mental stimulation. A half-hour a day at least of exercise and games is enough to keep them happy. Walks on leash and some play time with games and toys are ideal.

They will also enjoy a long hike with you so long as the temperature isn’t too high. They can overheat easily with their long coats.

They can adapt to apartment living if given enough exercise and mental stimulation, but a large yard is preferred so they can play and patrol.

This is a highly intelligent breed that was bred to work alone and figure things out for themselves.  As a result, they can be stubborn and easily bored with training.

This independent streak in their personality makes them harder to train than many other breeds. This requires a great deal of patience and experience on the part of the owner or trainer. For this reason, they are a poor choice for first-time dog owners.

Great Pyrenees are moderately healthy dogs. They are prone to several health conditions common to large breeds, such as elbow and hip dysplasia, eye diseases, some neurological disorders, and gastric dilation volvulus – also known as bloat.

At 10-12 years, their life expectancy is average for a large breed.

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