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Pyrenean Mountain Dog

 Photo of Pyrenean Mountain Dog

Pyrenean Mountain Dog Books

Group: Pastoral - Breed Standard


The Pyrenean Mountain Dog, known as the Great Pyrenees in the United States, is a large, majestic breed of dog that was used traditionally for protecting livestock (especially sheep) in pasture.

It is a very old breed, and has been used for millennia by the Basque people, who inhabit parts of the region in and around the Pyrenees Mountains of southern France. More recently, it served as the official dog of the royal French court (whose prominence began circa the Middle Ages, and lasted until the middle of the nineteenth century).


Minimum shoulder height: dogs: 70 cms (27½ ins); bitches: 65 cms (25½ ins).

Most will considerably exceed this, great size is essential provided type and character are retained. Minimum weight: dogs: 50 kgs (110 lbs); bitches: 40 kgs (88 lbs); these weights apply only to specimens of minimum height, taller ones should be heavier. Weight always in proportion to height, giving a powerful dog of great strength, but excess weight due to fat undesirable.

Pyrenean Mountain Dog's fur is often white with shades of grey or tan around the face, ears and sometimes on the body; these dogs are called "blaireau". Only one in four will have a pure white coat.

The Great Pyrenees is readily identifiable by a double dewclaw on each of its hind legs. These are considered breed standard, more than two dewclaws is not a fault just undesirable and should not be removed by veterinarians.


Loyal and protective of its territory, the Great Pyrenees makes for a great family dog. A mature Great Pyrenees may be somewhat standoffish and wary of strangers. They are extremely protective of their family members - human or animal - and will never trust or like anyone who they think is a potential danger or threat to their family. That said, they do warm up to friendly and kind people, especially children and women, fairly quickly. Best suited for those living on property with a large yard, as it enjoys walks and attention — especially from children and other animals.

Breed Health

Owners can expect copious amounts of white fur, down hair and coat, in their homes and on their dark clothing. Seasonal "blowing of coat", in which the Pyr sheds vast amount of undercoat, occur at least twice a year. Weekly grooming is a must to avoid mats, and nails, particularly the dewclaws, must be regularly trimmed. Actual bathing is seldom needed because the undercoat sheads out when dirty so all that is needed is a quick weekly brushing.


Obedience training and socialization at a young age are a must, as this breed grows large and strong very quickly and is best suited for someone capable of handling a large dog. Bad habits, such as jumping, pulling on lead and table surfing should be nipped in the bud - any bad puppy habits will be ten times worse when the dog weighs 100 pounds! See our books on training

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Last link added: 12 Mar, 2008