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Pyrenean Mountain Dog Dog Breed Profile

Pyrenean Mountain Dog

Other Names
Great Pyrenees, Chien de Montagne des Pyrenees, Pyr 
Dog Group Kennel Club
Breed Classification
Pyrenean Mountain Dogs belong to the pastoral group and are today used as companions and sheepdogs, as well as being seen in the show-ring. 
Cost of Ownership
Average Food Cost
>£15 per week
Feeding Requirements
As puppies these dogs are very expensive to keep. You must follow the breeder's recommended diet sheet to ensure healthy growth of their bones. As they become adults, this cost will drop considerably as they are not really big eaters in comparison to their size. 
Other Expenses
The price of a puppy will be around £900 - £1000. 
9 - 15 years
Pyrs normally live 11 or 12 years but it is not unheard of for them to live to 15 years and upwards. 
Average Litter Size
Litters can vary in size from 7 to 14 puppies, 8 to 9 being the average. 
General Physical Description
They look as majestic as the mountains that give them their name - massive, beautiful and with tremendous elegance. With their glorious white coats and regal presence, Pyrs are a distinctive breed. They look immensely strong and yet are well-balanced with unhurried, steady and smooth movement which is driven by powerful hindquarters.

Height Min Max
Bitch 65cm (26") 72cm (28")
Dog 70cm (28") 80cm (32")
Weight Min Max
Bitch 40kg (88lbs) 55kg (121lbs)
Dog 50kg (110lbs) 60kg (132lbs)
Size Category
Weight Height Range
Bitches normally stand between 65 to 72cms tall at the withers and dogs 70 to 80cms. Bitches usually weigh 40kgs plus and dogs between 50 to 60kgs. 
Pyrs are highly resistant to disease. Because of their size, they are, however, susceptible to bone and joint related problems. The puppies must be fed as per the breeder's diet sheet to stop the onset of these complications. Deafness is known in the breed due to the white colouration of their coats. 
Common Ailments

Brittle Bones
Blue Eye  
Susceptibility To Illness
The Pyr originates from the Pyrenees Mountains that separate France from Spain. Their exact history is unknown but they have been guarding the flocks in France for millennia. Fossils predating the Bronze Age (1800-1000BC) of the breed type have been found. Before the French Revolution, the breed could be found guarding the large chateaux in southern France. Exactly what breeds contributed to their make-up are not known but the Kuvasz of Hungary, the Maremma Sheepdog of Italy and Anatolian Sheepdog of Turkey are all likely candidates bearing similar appearances to that of the Great Pyrenees. Dauphin Louis X1V named the breed the Royal Dog of France, though the peasants still used them to watch their flocks. These dogs were also used to smuggle contraband over the border between France and Spain as their sure-footedness enabled them to use passes that were impossible for humans, thereby avoiding detection by custom officials. Early in the 20th century, however, the breed was scarce and Bernard Senac-Langrange and M Dretzen can both be credited for saving the breed. To this day, the breed works in France guarding their flocks of sheep and herds of cattle from bears, wolves and other stock thieves. 
Pyrenean Mountain Dogs are highly intelligent but do have a stubborn streak which can lead to problems if the handler is not consistent and loving. They must be trained from an early age with a firm hand as they are far too strong when fully grown and would, by then, be too independent.< 
Show Characteristics
Great Pyrenees should have profuse undercoat of very fine hair, with a longer, thicker, coarser-textured outer coat. The coat becomes longer towards the tail and should form a mane around the neck and shoulders, bitches having a smoother coat and less mane than the dogs. They should have a strong head without coarseness and no obvious stop. A scissor bite is correct but a pincer bite will be tolerated. All pigmentation should be black. The eyes should be almond-shaped and dark amber-brown in colour, with an intelligent and contemplative expression. The ears should be fairly small and triangular with rounded tips and set on level with the eyes, lying flat against the head apart from when alert when they may be slightly raised. The neck should be fairly short, thick and muscular adjoining powerful shoulders. The chest should be broad and the back a good length, broad, muscular and straight with a topline which curves smoothly into the tail. The forelegs should be heavily-boned, straight and well-muscled, the hindquarters very strong and heavily muscled. Lack of double dewclaws on each hindleg is totally undesirable. The hindfeet may turn out slightly, but the legs must be straight. The feet should be short and compact, with slightly arch 
Country Of Origin
Famous Examples
Records Held
Overall Exercise
80 - 100 minutes per day.
Exercising puppies must be done very gradually to avoid putting excess strain on their growing bones and tender tissues and, even with the adult dog, care must taken to build up exercise gradually. Having said that, for their size they really do not need copious amounts of exercise, but, in time, should be given free running off the lead as well as regular controlled walks. 
Distress if Left Alone
Personal Protection
Guard Dog Suitability
Risk of Sheep Worrying
Tendency to Bark
Level of Aggression
Compatibility With Other Animals
Suitable For Children


General Character And Temperament
Pyrenean Mountain Dogs are now kind-natured and gentle dogs, thanks to generations of selective breeding worldwide. They are brave, intelligent, affectionate dogs who normally mix well with children and other household pets. They are loving and want to be included in all family activities. They can, however, be aggressive towards other dogs of a similar size. Strangers will be mistrusted and you and your family will be protected against any unwelcome strangers. Pyrs are reasonably independent and hardy but can also be stubborn and because of this are not really dogs for novices. They can, especially when disturbed, bark a lot and, as such, are not suitable for built up areas. 
Coat Length
Grooming Requirement
Every Day 
Requires Professional Groomer
It is necessary to brush or comb this breed thoroughly once or even twice a day to remove loose hairs. This becomes even more important during the moulting times. Failure to do this will result in the coat matting and the dog's coat looking dull and unhealthy. They do require regular bathing and this is no easy task! 
Pyrenean Mountain Dogs are plain white with markings in either grey, badger, reddish brown or tan on their heads, ears and root of their tails. 
Suffers From Allergies

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