If you’re considering adopting a puppy from a Great Pyrenees rescue organization, it’s important to first learn some key facts about the breed. The Great Pyrenees is an independent, protective, and imposing dog. It has been used as a guard dog for centuries, but it is also well-suited to being a family companion.
Great Pyrenees History
The Great Pyrenees is a large, white, fluffy dog with a calm and confident demeanor. The Great Pyrenees is also known as the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, due to its origins in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain. It is one of the oldest dog breeds in existence, dating back over 2000 years!
This breed was originally used as a livestock guardian dog to protect sheep from wolves and other predators. They would stand between their flock and any predators that came near them, putting their lives on the line to save their master’s livestock.
They were also used as sled dogs in colder climates because they were so big and strong. Today they are still used as livestock guardians but they also make great family pets!
The Great Pyrenees has a heavy body with well-developed muscles. Its head is somewhat rectangular with a broad forehead. Ears are generally long and triangular in shape, but may be cropped short by some breeders to prevent them from being torn by brambles while guarding livestock.
Eyes are deep set and have a dark brown coloration. The nose is black in coloration with large nostrils, giving it an overall imposing appearance. The tail is long, thick at the base and tapering towards the tip. It hangs down when relaxed but stands upwards when alerting its owner of danger or as an invitation for attention.
The coat of this breed should be white in coloration along with dense undercoat which provides protection against cold climates where they are typically found grazing their flocks of sheep and goats high up in the mountains of southern France near Spain or Italy borders where temperatures can drop below freezing during winter months resulting in heavy snowfalls especially during January through March.
The Great Pyrenees has a gentle personality that makes them an excellent choice for families with children or other pets. They are loyal and protective of their owners but tend to be wary of strangers until properly introduced.
The Great Pyrenees tends to bond strongly with its family members and can be reserved around new people at first; however, once they learn to trust you they will become very affectionate towards others as well.
Lifespan and Health Concerns
Great Pyrenees have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. However, there are some health concerns that can shorten this time span.
- Gastric torsion: Gastric torsion is a serious condition in dogs that occurs when the stomach twists. The twisted stomach is unable to empty its contents into the small intestine, so it begins to fill with food and gastric acid. If left untreated, the dog could develop shock and die within 24 hours.
- Hip dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a common condition in dogs. It occurs when the hip joints are malformed or damaged, causing pain and impaired mobility. Hip dysplasia is most common in large-breed dogs, especially those with deep chests and narrow pelvises
- Patellar Luxation: Patellar Luxation in dogs occurs when the patella, or kneecap, slips out of its normal position and becomes subluxed or dislocated.
- Cataracts: Cataracts in dogs are a common condition for senior dogs, and can cause vision loss if left untreated.
- Entropion: Entropion is a condition where the eyelids turn inward and rub against the surface of the eye. This causes irritation and redness. The condition can be uncomfortable for your dog, and it may lead to ulceration or scarring of the cornea (the clear covering of the front of the eye) if left untreated.
Finding a Great Pyrenees Rescue
Before you run to the breeder, you may want to take a look at a Great Pyrenees rescue organization. The following organizations can be helpful in your search:
You can also take a look on PetFinder to locate shelters near your location.
Is the Great Pyrenees Right for You?
The Great Pyrenees is an excellent family dog, but they do need plenty of interaction and exercise to remain happy and healthy. If you work long hours or don’t plan to be home more than a few minutes at a time, you may want to consider another breed. But, if you’re looking for a loyal dog and don’t mind some fur around the house, take a deeper look at this loving breed.