Pyrenean Mountain Dog (Chien de Montagne des Pyrénées)

Country of origin:
Height (cm):
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
white, white with patches appearing grey (badger or wolf), pale yellow or orange (arrouye) patches
very large
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Pros Cons
  • great family pet
  • wonderful watch and guard dog
  • adaptable
  • sheds a lot
  • independent
  • needs "job" to do

The Great Pyrenees (Pyrenean Mountain Dog)is a beautiful white large breed, known in France as «the king of dogs». It is an intelligent, strong-willed, affectionate, gentle, hard-working dog. The Great Pyrenees makes a great family companion and a flock guardian.

The Pyrenean Mountain Dog originated in the Pyrenees Mountains that form a natural border between France and Spain. It is an ancient breed that served as a livestock guardian and a herder for hundreds, and maybe thousands, of years. It's ancestors may have come to the Pyrenees Mountains around 3000 B.C. The Great Pyrenees may be a descendant of several European breeds: the Italian Maremma Sheepdog, Hungarian Kuvasz, Akbash Dog (Turkey) and Polish Tatra (Polski Owczarek Podhalanski).

At first, the Great Pyrenees was primarily owned by peasants, but in 1675, the Dauphin in the court of King Louis XIV named the Great Pyrenees «the Royal Dog of France». As a result the French nobility began to use the breed as guard estates. During the XIX century some breed members were exported to other countries. In 1870 Queen Victoria acquired the Great Pyrenees and the breed was used to help restore the Saint Bernard.

The Kennel Club (England) registered the first Great Pyrenees in 1885. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the breed in 1933. The United Kennel Club (UKC) followed it in 1949. Today, the Great Pyrenees is used as a property guardian, but most breed members are great family companions as well as search and rescue dogs and therapy dogs.

The Pyrenean Mountain Dog is an affectionate, well-mannered, calm and loyal dog that loves human company and wants to be around its owners as much as possible. It is very gentle with children and will be a great family dog.

This breed is protective by nature and makes a great guard dog. The Pyrenean Mountain Dog is wary of strangers, but will tolerate guests. Although this breed is not particularly aggressive it can be over-protective and can interpret a rough game as an attack to its family. Proper socialisation is a must for this large breed.

The Great Pyrenees is territorial and dominant. In general, your dog will be wary around other dogs and won't be friendly with them. However, those dogs Great Pyrenees have been socialized with from a very young age it will accept and consider as members of the flock.

The Pyrenean Mountain Dog usually gets along well with large animals such as sheep, cattle, and horses, but it will try to drive off or even attack strange animals. Your dog won't accept small animals (cats in particular), but you still can socialize your dog and it will tolerate other animals.

Health Problems
The most common health problems for the breed include:

• cancer;
• osteosarcoma;
• heart problems;
• liver failure;
• canine hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• arthritis;
• eye problems;
• degenerative myopathy;
• allergies;
• gastric torsion.

The Great Pyrenees is easy to groom. It has weather resistant coat that help to avoid dirt and mats. Brush your dog weekly during 30 minutes to remove dead hair. The Pyrenean Mountain Dog is one of the heaviest shedders; so regular brushing will help reduce the shedding. Some owners prefer to shave their dogs for summer season.

Check and clean your dogs’ ears and brush the teeth regularly and trim the nails. This breed needs to be bathed only when dirty.

The Pyrenean Mountain Dog is a very intelligent, but independent breed that can be wilful. Your dog will prefer to make its own decisions. You must be confident, consistent, firm, but calm and patient as training will be challenging. This breed needs a leader that will be able to set rules and control the situation.

Start socialisation from a very your age. If you want a dog that will excel in obedience competitions or perform tricks then the Great Pyrenees is definitely not for you.

The Pyrenean Mountain Dog requires a lot of exercise (at least 2 hours daily). This is a strong dog with a great stamina that can endure hours of hard work. A long daily brisk walk is a must, but you better provide your dog with a job.

Remember that the Great Pyrenees can overheat; so try to reduce the amount of exercises during summer. This is definitely not a good idea to keep this dog in an apartment.