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Great Pyrenees

Also known as the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, itís thought that the Great Pyrenees originated in either Central Asia or Siberia. Despite this, it seems to have more history in Europe and is in fact named after the European mountain range having acted as a flock guardian there at one point. In France especially they became extremely popular and were appointed as the French court dog towards the end of the 17th Century. While they were used primarily to guard flock, they also worked in a number of other roles including a cart puller, sled dog, rescue dog and also as a dog of war. Nowadays however they are quite often acquired as a family pet, although some owners still tend to use them as a guard dog as well.

The Great Pyrenees is a large dog, with some standing up to forty inches tall, weighing anywhere from one hundred pounds. This is a breed which oozes elegance and beauty, with its large size adding to the image. Their broad chest and level backline add to the look of sophistication, while the feathered tail is also very striking. They possess a wedge shaped head, with v-shaped ears drooping low beside the skull. The Great Pyrenees has a double coat with the undercoat being dense, fine and woolly while the overcoat carries the opposite traits and is long, flat, thick and course. The breed is renowned for having a pure white coat, although grey, badger, tan or brown markings are also quite common.

Some quarters tend to describe the Great Pyrenees as something of a fierce breed, but with their family they are a very loving and devoting dog. They generally get on very well with children although itís recommended to bring them up with them from a young age. As for other pets, they are again generally very good and owners shouldnít even have any problems with non-canine animals. With strangers they can be very wary though and their loyalty means that should they feel their family is under threat, they wonít hesitate in defending them at any cost. One issue that could be an annoyance for an owner is their barking, which can be very frequent. Whatís more, the Great Pyrenees ideally needs space and a yard, but due to their tendency to wander off, the yard must be secure.

The Great Pyrenees can be affected by a substantial number of health problems and these include hip dysplasia, bloat, bone cancer, cataracts and also skin complaints. Itís probably due to these problems that the breed holds a relatively short average life span, with most living around ten years.


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Penny Mouradian
I adopted a Great Pyrenees two years ago when he was six weeks old. After doing research on this breed I was concerned that there would be issues with training. Most research said that this breed had a mind of their own and learned very few commands. I found this to be untrue. I named him Ben for his gentle demeanour. I can say he is one of the smartest dogs I have ever owned. As a puppy he learned how to open the microwave and help himself to whatever was cooking. He can open drawers and cupboards. I cannot tell you how many cooking utensils I went through during the teething process. While training him with simple commands (sit, stay, fetch) he only required a few times of being told and he had it. He is great with kids and is an awesome family dog. Our family absolutely loves him and I would recommend this breed to anyone looking for a loving LARGE breed to add to their family.

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