Canine Breed Menu



Breed Organization
Great Pyrenees Club of America
Native Country
Other Names
Great Pyrenees, Montagne des Pyrenees, Chien de Montagne des Pyrenees, Pyrenean Dog, Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Chien des Pyr, Chien des Pyrenees
Life Expectancy
Approximately 10-12 Years
Litter Size
Average 6-10 Puppies
Breed Group
AKC Working
Breed Appearance
The Great Pyrenees give the distinct impression of elegance and unsurpassed beauty combined with great overall size and majesty. They are large dogs with very woolly and long coats. It is also weather resistant and allows them to withstand intense cold temperatures. They have large paws, bred for have a steady foot on dangerous mountain paths. They also have drop ears, a bushy tail and an evenly muscled body. Their fur almost resembles a white mane

Breed Description
Head: Size in proportion to body. Slightly domed skull. Stop not pronounced. Broad muzzle tapering toward the nose. Black, very slightly drooping lips.
Ears: Small and triangular with rounded tips, hanging flat against the head.
Eyes: Fairly small. Dark amber color. Black rims.
Body: Powerful. Strong, moderately short neck. Deep, broad brisket. Ribs slightly sprung. Belly slightly tucked up. Croup slightly sloped. Broad, straight, level back.
Tail: Fairly long and bushy (plume). Carried low at rest and carried over the back making a wheel when alert.
Hair: Long, flat, resistant, and thick. Longer on the tail, thighs, and neck where it may be slightly wavy. Thick, wooly undercoat.
Coat: White with or without gray spots (badger coat) or pale yellow or orange on the head, ears, and root of the tail. Badger coat is preferred. A few body spots are permissible.
Size: Dog: 70 to 80 cm (27.5-31.5 in).Bitch: 65 to 72 cm (25.5-28 in).
Weight: Dog: approx. 60 kg (132.5 lb).Bitch: approx. 45 kg (99 lb).

Like many Molossians, the Great Pyrenees’ distant ancestor may be Tibetan Mastiff, which was introduced in Europe during Asian invasions. Identified as early as the 12th century, the Great Pyrenees protected the shepherd and his flock from wolves and bears, guarded homes and castles, and even sat in the royal court of Louis XIV. The Argeles and Cauterets clubs, founded in 1907, established the first standard for this breed. This standard was officially accepted in the 1960s. The Great Pyrenees is one of the few French breeds that is common outside of France. The breed is particularly popular in the United States and Japan.

In nature, the Great Pyrenees is confident, gentle (especially with children), and affectionate. While territorial and protective of its flock or family when necessary, its general demeanor is of composure and patience and loyalty. It is a strong willed, independent and reserved breed. It is also attentive, quite fearless and loyal to its duties. The Great Pyrenees' size makes it an imposing guardian. A dog of this breed will patrol its perimeter and may wander away if left off its leash in an unenclosed space. The Great Pyrenees protects its flock by barking, and being nocturnal, tends to bark at night unless trained against such behavior.

The Great Pyrenees can be slow to learn new commands, slow to obey, and somewhat stubborn to train. Despite this relative stubbornness, it is quite unusual for the Great Pyrenees to become aggressive or turn on its master. It is wary of strangers if the person is not allowed in the house, but will settle down if the owner of the dog seems comfortable with the stranger. This dog was originally bred to be a livestock guard dog, and can still be found doing that job on farms and ranches.

Great Pyrenees are usually very healthy, but may suffer from hip dysplasia, hot spot skin conditions, and epilepsy. Other health concerns include entropion (inverted eyelids), luxating patellas, and bloat (gastric torsion; twisted stomach). Bloat is a health issue to most dogs, being the second largest killer of dogs other than cancer, but Great Pyrenees can be particularly susceptible to it because of their deep chests.

This dog is not suited to city living. He needs exercise and room to run, or he will develop behavioral problems. He does not like to be shut in. Brushing three times per week and bathing several times per year is required.

Herder, Guard Dog, Pet.

Horse Herd