22 Questions То Consider Before Getting A Great Pyrenees
By Sviat Oleksiv | Updated on November 24, 2021
The Great Pyrenees is a special breed for special people – in a very good way. These dogs have quite a few care requirements circling their gorgeous coats and large size. However, for those willing to go through the trouble, the Great Pyrenees breed can make a fantastic pet.
Naturally, this breed comes from the Great Pyrenees mountains that border France and Spain. The beautiful white coat of this dog is not accidental as it was bred and used to guard sheep and goats on the often snowy slopes of the Pyrenees.
So, does this sheep herding dog make for a good family pet like so many other shepherd breeds? Or should you look elsewhere for your next canine pet? Let’s go over the main 22 questions to consider before getting a Great Pyrenees dog?
1. Are Great Pyrenees good pets?
They are exceptionally good family pets, yes. These dogs are very lovable and loyal, smart and obedient – great for families of all sizes and types.
2. Are Great Pyrenees aggressive?
Not unless they are provoked. Great Pyrenees dogs do have guarding tendencies so they can react if they perceive danger. However, when they are calm and, especially if they are well-trained, these dogs are very calm and even-tempered. Naturally, as with any other large and powerful breed, obedience training is an absolute must here.
3. Are Great Pyrenees smart dogs?
Quite so. As virtually any other shepherd breed, the Great Pyrenees has been bred to work with and cooperate with people. This means following commands, remembering flock trails, understanding patterns, and more.
4. Do Great Pyrenees like to cuddle?
This breed fits our “Three G” criterion – they are Gorgeous and Gentle Giants. These dogs love to cuddle with their human pack members and will love nothing more than sleeping on your feet or right next to you on the couch.
5. Are Great Pyrenees easy to train?
While smart and obedient, the Pyr also has a bit of an independence streak. This doesn’t mean that they are bad pets, however – it just means that they need dedicated training.
6. Do Great Pyrenees like people?
While these dogs do have some guard dog tendencies, they are generally good with strangers and guests. It all comes down to how you socialize your Pyr. If you raise an asocial puppy, it will grow into a guard dog that distrusts strangers. However, with good socialization, your Pyr will become perfectly friendly and well-meaning toward everyone it meets.
7. Are Great Pyrenees good with other dogs?
Yes, overall. As with socialization with people, your Pyr will need to be properly socialized with other canines. Domineering tendencies can come up if you’ve accidentally (or intentionally) taught your dog to be competitive with other dogs. However, if you’ve raised a social and friendly dog, it will easily get along with other dogs.
8. Do Great Pyrenees dogs get along with cats?
Shepherd breeds typically do well with non-canine animals and the Great Pyr is no exception. These are dogs meant to herd, guard, and live with their flocks. So, if you introduce your Pyr to your cat properly, there’s no reason the dog won’t view it as a friendly animal to herd and protect. The calm and gentle nature of the Great Pyrenees also helps with cats.
9. Do Great Pyrenees dogs bark a lot?
Barking is common for the Pyr as these dogs need to communicate with their mates and their shepherd when they spotted danger. Pyrs will also often bark out of sheer excitement too. This can be problematic if you have neighbors so some no-bark training might be a good idea.
10. How tall does a Great Pyrenees get?
Great Pyrs have a very impressive size and often reach and surpass 25 to 32 inches at the shoulder (63.5 to 81 cm). As for weight, that’s usually between 85 and 100 pounds (39 to 45.5 kg). Larger dogs can get even heavier than that but just make sure that you’re not getting your dog overweight.
11. How much exercise does a Great Pyrenees need?
Great Pyrs are quite calm and collected dogs. This means that, despite their size, they don’t need an awful lot of exercise. A couple of 45-minute walks a day are usually enough to keep this breed healthy and happy.
12. Are Great Pyrenees good indoor dogs or do they need a yard?
This can feel counter-intuitive, but Great Pyrenees dogs actually do well in homes without yards and even in apartments. Their size can be a problem in small homes but as long as your place is spacious enough, your Pyr will be happy in it. Just remember to go out for a walk often enough. From there, the only other problem with apartments can be the barking. But, some good training can mostly fix that.
13. Where should a Great Pyrenees sleep at night?
In its bed, like a normal person. If you’re wondering whether Great Pyrs need to sleep outside, that’s a No-No in our book. These dogs are highly social and want to be near their people. Additionally, their gorgeous white coats can be turned into a brown mess if you force the dog to sleep outside every night.
14. How long do Great Pyrenees dogs live?
The standard expected lifespan of this breed is 10 to 12 years. With good care, however, a healthy Pyr pup can live beyond that too. This is pretty phenomenal for such a large dog as the Pyr’s lifespan is essentially identical to that of the much-smaller Labrador, for example.
15. Are Great Pyrenees healthy dogs?
The health of your Pyr will largely depend on who you’ve got the pup from. Reputable Pyr breeders make sure to only breed healthy stocks and they offer health certificates for their pups. If you’re adopting, make sure to at least get a detailed vet check-up. If you get your dog from a puppy mill or a pet store, however, you’re at risk of encountering any of the following problems:
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
- Bloating (Gastric Dilatation Volvulus)
- Eye disorders
- Luxating Patellas
- Neurological and immune-mediated disorders
16. What type of coat do Great Pyrenees dogs have?
The best type. But also – a very time-consuming type of coat. Pyrs have a long and dense double-layered coat that’s meant to protect them from the elements. It does that very successfully but it also requires quite a bit of care.
17. Do Great Pyrenees shed a lot?
Great Pyrs look like insane shedders but they actually shed pretty moderately. They are nowhere near the shedding potential of a Lab, a Husky, or a German Shepherd, for example. However, the simple fact that their hair is long and white can make their shedding seem much worse than it actually is.
18. Are Great Pyrenees hypoallergenic?
Do they look hypoallergenic? No, and indeed they are not. No dog really is but some are at least “mildly allergenic”. The Pyr doesn’t even tick that category, however.
19. Do Great Pyrenees dogs need a lot of grooming?
The sheer volume of this dog’s hair requires quite a bit of brushing, combing, and grooming, yes. Trimming the Pyr’s hair can help a bit but it won’t spare you all the brushing. Never shave this dog, however – double-coated dogs’ hair can start growing in different directions if it’s shaven. So, especially if you want to keep the glowing white color of your Pyr, you should just get ready for quite a bit of grooming.
20. What colors do Great Pyrenees dogs come in?
Most people know this breed as full-white and that’s indeed the trademark color of the Pyr. These dogs can also come in tan, badger, grey, and reddish-brown, however, and you’d be a fool to ignore these colors. Not only are they also gorgeous but they also don’t look as immediately dirty as the white coat the moment your dog steps outside.
21. How much does a Great Pyrenees dog cost?
This breed can cost up to $800 to $1,500 in the US, depending on the breeder you’re visiting. Adopting is also an option as you can occasionally find a Pyr in shelters and rescues. Do not shop from pet stores or puppy mills, however – dogs there are almost always riddled with hereditary health conditions.
22. Are Great Pyrenees OK in hot weather?
Despite being a mountain dog with a thick coat, Great Pyrs fair moderately well in warm climates. Much more so than many northern breeds, at the very least. Remember that their thick double-coat is meant to isolate them from the heat and not just from the cold. This is yet another reason never to shave a double-coated dog. Still, do be careful in extra hot weather and keep your dog well-hydrated and in a ventilated environment.
Evidently, the Great Pyrenees is much more than just a guard dog and a sheep dog. These gorgeous and gentle giants have majestic white coats, lovable and loyal personalities, and very impressive size. Their social skills are also up to par, especially for a guard dog.
These are high-maintenance dogs, however. That much is clear from their captivating looks. If you want to get such a special dog, you’d better be ready to give it some special care. Do that, and your Great Pyrenees pet will make you very happy for years to come.