Caitlin UltimoBehavior / Breed Lists

Great Pyrenees Dog Breed

It’s probably no surprise that the Great Pyrenees dog breed comes from the Pyrenees Mountains in France. These dogs have been used as the primary protectors for flocks of sheep since the early 17th century. In more recent times they have become popular companion dogs.

Great Pyrenees Physical Characteristics

The Great Pyrenees are large dogs with a heavy build. The head is a wedge shape with drop ears. The eyes are almond shaped and dark brown or black. The nose and mouth are black.


Most commonly seen in white with light brown or tan markings.


Very heavy and thick. The outercoat is long and thick, while the undercoat is extremely dens and is ideal protection for severely cold weather, which they prefer over warm weather.

Great Pyrenees Personality and Temperament

Activity Level

Moderate. The breed is known to be nocturnal, as they are used to being up through the night standing guard. It is quite common to notice the Great Pyrenees sleeping or slow moving during the day and more active in the evenings.


The Great Pyrenees are gentle and patient dogs. They are extremely loyal and affectionate toward their families, and protective and fearless as well. They are very good guard dogs. They are also great with children and generally good with cats and other dogs.

Things to Consider

The Great Pyrenees can be a bit wary of strangers as their number one priority is to protect the family and the surroundings. This breed needs to be groomed often, at least once a week. Like other large dogs, this breed tends to drool a lot.

Great Pyrenees Care

Ideal Living Conditions

The Great Pyrenees would do well in the country and is best suited for cool to cold climates.

Special Requirements

The breed needs to have a regular schedule for grooming.

Great Pyrenees Health

The following conditions are commonly seen in Great Pyrenees:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Bloat
  • Skin problems during hotter months of the year, if not groomed properly.

Great Pyrenees History and Background

Dating back to nearly 10,000 B.C., the Great Pyrenees breed originated from the enormous white dogs that were used as guardian dogs in Asia Minor. Around 3000 B.C., when nomadic shepherds took their sheep to the Pyrenees Mountains, they also brought the flock-guarding dogs – the ancestors of the modern Great Pyrenees breed. Over the centuries, these dogs proved their inborn talent as livestock guardians.

This breed became a brave fortress guard in medieval France, and gradually many big chateaux took pride in owning this imposing dog. The French nobility found the dog attractive in the late 17th century and for a short time the Great Pyrenees’ demand grew in the Royal Court of Louis XIV. The king decreed the breed as “Royal Dog of France” in 1675. During the same period, the dog found a place in Newfoundland, probably leading to the growth of the Newfoundland dog breed.

The migration of breed continued to England and to other European nations. However, these dogs hardly resembled the royal and admirable Pyrenees. Although the English eventually lost interest in the Pyrenees, there were sufficient numbers of the breed in the native mountain regions, which were used later by dog lovers to retain the original stock. These native dogs were successfully bred to produce the modern Pyrenees.

The Great Pyrenees was imported to the United States in the 1930s, later being recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1933. Americans then and now admire the breed for their devotion, fidelity, intelligence and sense of guardianship. The dog is still reputed as a dependable livestock guardian in the U.S. today and is moderately popular as a companion pet.

By: Chewy Editorial