Let's talk Great Pyrenees

A huge fluffy bundle of loveliness, with thick snow-white fur and an affable expression, the Great Pyrenees was originally developed to guard flocks alongside shepherds in the French mountains. Thousands of years later, that ancient bond with humans shines through in their affectionate and protective nature. These family favourites get on well with other animals and children, once trained, and they have largely left their mountaineering days behind them: They don’t need huge amounts of exercise—they’re content to just be near their human flock.

Official name: Great Pyrenees

Other names: Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Chien de Montagne des Pyrénées

Origins: France

 Drooling tendencies

 Warm weather? Medium
 Shedding level Very high  Suited to apartment living? Very low
 Energy level (high, low, medium) *: Medium  Family pet? *
 Compatibility with other pets: High  Can stay alone?* Medium

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed’s specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy, healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socialising your pet as well as covering their basic welfare, social and behavioural needs.

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

70 - 80 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
56 - 64 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight
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50 - 59 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight


 Baby age:  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age:  2 to 8 months
 Adult age:  8 months to 2 years
 Mature age:  2 years to 5 years
 Senior age:  From 5 years


Origins of the breed

For many enthusiasts, the Labrador Retriever remains one of the most popular all-round dogs worldwide. It’s thought that Labrador Retrievers originated from the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, where fishermen used dogs of this appearance to retrieve fish. The breed as we know it today, however, was established by the British in the early 1800’s.

The Labrador Retriever Club was founded in 1916 and the first standard followed soon after, predominantly tailored to working Labrador Retrievers who found early fame, having been originally introduced to the U.K. in the late 1800’s by Col Peter Hawker and the Earl of Malmesbury.


2 facts about Great Pyrenees

1. Belle and Sebastian

It’s no surprise that this lovely breed has inspired art of all kinds. The 1965 novel Belle et Sébastien by Cécile Aubry tells the story of an orphan boy, Sébastien, living in the French alps and his Great Pyrenees friend, the appropriately named Belle (French for beautiful). The book inspired a Japanese cartoon version in the early 1980s, in which Belle was renamed Jolie. It was later adapted into a trilogy of films released between 2013 and 2017. And Scottish indie band Belle and Sebastian formed in the 1990s and are still going.

2. Staying on top of things 

The Great Pyrenees may have started out as a dog of the people, guarding the livestock of peasant farmers, but the breed got a promotion during the Renaissance, when they came to the attention of French nobility and royals, swapping smallholdings for castles. In 1675, King Louis XIV’s royal court declared the Great Pyrenees to be the Royal Dog of France. Across the channel and a couple of centuries later, a Great Pyrenees featured among the canine companions of Queen Victoria, a well-known dog lover.


History of the breed

The Great Pyrenees is a truly ancient breed: These hard-working dogs have been helping their human companions in the rugged mountain terrain, guarding their flocks against predators such as wolves and bears, for thousands of years. Fossilised skeletons show they were present in the Pyrénées mountain region between 1800 and 1000 BC, but experts believe they may have been there as early as 3000 BC.

Great Pyrenees’ exact ancestry is not clear, though they may be descended from breeds including the Maremma Sheepdog and the Anatolian Shepherd Dog. Their taste of the high life in the 17th century, when Louis XIV declared them the Royal Dog of France, did not prevent a decline in numbers but luckily, a later concerted effort to revive the Great Pyrenees breed was successful, and the first breed standard was established in 1927.

Great Pyrenees dogs swapped their guardian duties for an even more physical role during World War II, hauling supplies of artillery over the Pyrénées between Spain and France.


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Great Pyrenees

1. Head

Broad head with relatively small hanging ears.

2. Fur

Generally white coat, although there can be grey, pale yellow or tan patches.

3. Body

Tall, with a large, solid and muscular body.

4. Coat

Extremely thick flat, fairly long coat with some feathering.

5. Tail

Bushy tail forming a plume, carried low.


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Great Pyrenees


Caring for your Great Pyrenees

Grooming, training and exercise tips

The Great Pyrenees’ abundant double-layer, weatherproof coat is perhaps the breed’s defining feature. You might think that level of fluffiness means intensive grooming, but in fact they only really need a weekly brush … or perhaps more during their annual shedding season when they will decorate your home with generous clumps of their woolly undercoat. ​​It’s a good idea to check their coats regularly for any grass seeds, twigs or other debris that might have got caught and can cause skin lesions if not removed. Though strong and sturdy, Great Pyrenees only need a moderate amount of exercise. Any off-the-lead time needs to be in a securely enclosed space, with a high fence: These mountain dogs can jump!
Early socialisation and kind, patient training from a young age for these independent-minded and sensitive dogs (with any food treats coming out of daily rations, of course!) will help ensure your Great Pyrenees grows up well-adjusted and content, fitting in perfectly with their human family.


All about Great Pyrenees

In short, yes. Life is full of sacrifices, but this one is well worth it: You may have to vacuum more (particularly during the annual shedding season) and no longer be able to wear black clothing (free of white hair at least) but in return you gain a faithful and adorably fluffy canine companion. A fair deal.

Yes, Great Pyrenees make lovely family pets, gentle, protective and affectionate by nature, they are devoted to their human companions. Once trained, Great Pyrenees get on well with other animals and also with children, although they shouldn’t be left alone with little ones.


1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/