Pyrenean mountain dog, the Great Pyrenees is a very old breed, probably descending from the Tibetan mastiff. It may have come to Europe with the Aryans from Central Asia, as well as with Phoenician sea traders. They settled in the Spanish Pyrenees and in various mountain valleys in Europe. It was used from the earliest times to guard flocks. A painting of the times shows a pair of these guards, each wearing a spiked iron collar to protect its throat from animal or human adversaries. , in 1675 the Great Pyrenees was decreed the “Royal Dog of France” by Louis XIV.
Around the same time the Great Pyrenees came to Newfoundland, where it may have played a role in the development of the Newfoundland breed, but it did not itself continue as a pure breed. These dogs bore little resemblance to the magnificent Pyrenees that had once been so admired, however. Interest in the breed declined in England, but fortunately the breed still existed in sufficient numbers and quality in its native mountain land so that later fanciers were able to obtain good breeding stock. These dogs served as the foundation of the modern Pyrenees
Elegant, imposing and majestic, the Great Pyrenees is a large dog of medium substance that is slightly longer than tall. Its thick coat gives the impression of heavier bone and stature. This breed was developed to guard flocks on steep mountain slopes and so must combine strength with agility. It moves smoothly, with good reach and drive. Its weather-resistant double coat consists of a dense, wooly undercoat and a long, flat, coarse outer coat, imparting great insulation from the Pyrenean cold. Its expression is elegant and contemplative.
Great Pyrenees have a deep, impressive bark, which they tend to use freely, especially at night when they are most vigilant. the distinct impression of elegance and unsurpassed beauty combined with great overall size and majesty; possessing a keen intelligence and a kindly, while regal, expression. Exhibiting a unique elegance of bearing and movement, the Great Pyrenees soundness and coordination show unmistakably the purpose for which they were bred, the strenuous work of guarding the flocks in all kinds of weather on the steep mountain slopes of the Pyrenees. the scheme of pastoral life as protector of the shepherd and his flock, the Great Pyrenees has been used for centuries as a guard and watchdog. These animals appear so regal and calm that their very strong protective responses may come as a surprise. Pyrenees are not “attack” dogs, but can be very intimidating to the surprised visitor… Firmly entrenched territorial instincts are the source of their protective behavior. Great Pyrenees require affection, kindness and human companionship. A lonesome Pyrenees is a bored dog, and a bored dog can become destructive. Left outside unsupervised for long periods of time, a lonely Pyrenees will dig under the fence, unravel the fence, jump or climb over the fence, undo any childproof locks, open the gate, and surely bark endlessly.
Great Pyrenees shed non-stop year-round, making a weekly brushing a ritual. You will probably never again wear black. There are white hairs in Pyrenees homes and on Pyrenees people. And you will need a new high-powered vacuum cleaner…dog hair everywhere! The Great Pyrenees dog requires standard care for coat, eyes, ears, pads and nails. Pyrenees should receive a good brushing at least once a week. Nails, including those on the double dewclaws, should be routinely trimmed. A professional grooming is recommended once every three to four months. A Great Pyrenees should not be shaved, unless a medical reason exists for doing so. The skin underneath their coat is pink and susceptible to sun-burn and lesions. Great Pyrenees tend to have little “doggy” odor. As a general rule, Pyrenees will only drool when they are eating, begging, panting excessively, and/or drinking water. Although uncommon in the breed, Pyrenees with a poor bite structure can drool more.
He is quiet indoors and content with long daily walks and regular opportunities to stretch out. He does love to romp in the snow, and pulling a cart or carrying a backpack gives him a purpose in life. It enjoys hiking, especially in cold weather and snow. It does not do well in hot weather. This breed can live outdoors in temperate to cold weather, although it enjoys being with its family indoors. Its coat needs brushing once or twice weekly, daily when shedding. It may drool at times, and it tends to be a messy drinker.