Frequently described as “majestic,” Great Pyrenees are big, immensely strong mountain dogs standing as high as 32 inches at the shoulder and often tipping the scales at more than 100 pounds. These steadfast guardians usually exhibit a Zen-like calm, but they can quickly spring into action and move with grace and speed to meet a threat. The lush weatherproof coat is all white, or white with markings of beautiful shades of gray, tan, reddish-brown, or badger.
Great Pyrenees were bred centuries ago to work with peasant shepherds and herding dogs in the Pyrenees Mountains, the natural border between France and Spain. The dog’s job was to watch the flock and deter predators, whether wolves, bears, or livestock rustlers. The breed’s innate patience came in handy when sitting atop a freezing-cold mountain for days on end with nothing to do but look at sheep. Their courage when defending the flock was legendary.
In the 17th century, 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.
This imposing and efficient guardian breed shows extreme devotion to its family and is mistrustful of strangers, whether canine or human. It remains well-mannered, somber, and placid, when not incited in any way. The Great Pyrenees dog is also very gentle towards children and its family. Having a stubborn and independent nature, the dog tends to bark and can try to dominate a less-experienced owner. It is not a good idea to let the dog off the leash as it can wander away.
The Great Pyrenees can survive outdoors in cold and temperate weather, but it also enjoys living indoors with its family. It is not suited for hot weather, and requires regular daily exercise to remain fit, but its needs are moderate. A walk is good enough. The dog is fond of hiking, mainly in snow and cold weather. At times, it can drool and it is also a messy drinker. The coat requires occasional weekly brushing, but daily during the time of shedding.