Breeds, Working Group

Great Pyrenees

This guide shines a light on the majestic Great Pyrenees, a breed known for its noble demeanor and gentle strength. With a coat as white as snow and a heart full of loyalty, these dogs serve as both protectors and companions. Future owners will gain insights into the unique traits and characteristics that make this breed so special.

From their watchful eyes to their calm temperament, understanding these gentle giants is key to a harmonious life together. This resource offers valuable tips and guidance, ensuring a smooth integration into your home. Embrace the opportunity to learn about the serene and steadfast spirit of the Great Pyrenees.

Great Pyrenees – Size & Life Expectancy

Great Pyrenees Height

27-32 inches (male)
25-29 inches (female)

Great Pyrenees Weight

100-130 pounds (male)
85-105 pounds (female)

Great Pyrenees Life Expectancy
Life Expectancy

10-12 years

About the Great Pyrenees

The Great Pyrenees, a breed with a storied past, originates from the rugged mountain ranges of the Pyrenees that border France and Spain. Esteemed for centuries, these dogs were not merely pets but guardians of the flocks, defenders against predators, and symbols of regal elegance among the French aristocracy. Their history can be traced back over thousands of years, with evidence suggesting that they worked alongside shepherds in the mountains, protecting sheep from wolves and bears with a blend of bravery and intelligence. By the 17th century, the Great Pyrenees had transcended its working-class roots to gain favor in the courts of French nobility, admired for its majestic appearance and dignified demeanor.

This breed’s capability to watch over flocks without human guidance is a testament to its remarkable intuition and independent nature. The Great Pyrenees possesses a calm yet confident composure, never hesitating to stand its ground. Their thick, white coats serve not only as protection against the harsh mountain climate but also as a striking feature that has charmed many over the centuries.

In Modern Times

Today, the Great Pyrenees enjoys a different kind of popularity, far removed from its origins yet still connected by the threads of loyalty and protection. These dogs have found their place in the hearts and homes of many, transcending geographic and cultural boundaries. Their role has shifted from that of a livestock guardian to a family protector and companion, demonstrating versatility and adaptability. Despite their size, they are known to be gentle with children and other animals, embodying the protective spirit with a soft touch.

The breed’s popularity can be attributed to its majestic appearance and gentle temperament, making it a favored choice for families, singles, and especially those with ample living space. Owners of Great Pyrenees often speak of their deep bond with these dogs, emphasizing their intuitive and empathetic nature. The breed requires space to roam and a moderate level of activity to stay healthy and happy, alongside regular grooming to maintain their beautiful coat.

The Ideal Owners

The ideal owners for a Great Pyrenees are those who appreciate the breed’s history and understand its needs. These dogs thrive in environments where they can have both physical and mental stimulation but also the tranquility they were accustomed to in the mountain ranges of their past. They are not suited for apartment living or for owners who are away for long periods. Instead, they flourish in settings that offer them the freedom to explore and the companionship they crave.

Respectful training and socialization from a young age are crucial for integrating these majestic dogs into a modern lifestyle. Their independent nature means they may not always seek approval as other breeds might, but their loyalty and affection for their family are unwavering.

In summary, the Great Pyrenees carries the legacy of its noble past into the present day, offering protection, companionship, and a touch of majesty to those lucky enough to share their lives with one. As guardians of both home and heart, they continue to be revered for their gentle strength and serene confidence, embodying the timeless bond between humans and dogs.

Traits & Characteristics of the Great Pyrenees

  • Majestic appearance with a thick, white coat
  • Gentle and patient, especially with children
  • Independent and confident nature
  • Strong protective instincts, excellent guardian
  • Intelligent and thoughtful, with a calm demeanor
  • Requires regular grooming due to its dense fur
  • Can be reserved with strangers, showing a discerning affection

Owning a Great Pyrenees

Embracing the grandeur of the Great Pyrenees requires understanding and dedication. Known for their serene majesty and gentle strength, these dogs offer a unique companionship experience. However, potential owners must consider their distinctive needs, from health and exercise to grooming and nutrition, ensuring these noble giants lead a fulfilling life. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview for those looking to welcome a Great Pyrenees into their home.


The Great Pyrenees is generally a robust breed, blessed with the resilience needed for its original role as a mountain guardian. However, like many large breeds, they are predisposed to certain health issues. Hip dysplasia, a common condition affecting the hip joint, and bloat, a potentially life-threatening stomach issue, are among these. Regular veterinary check-ups and a watchful eye on their well-being can mitigate these risks. A balanced diet and adequate exercise also play crucial roles in maintaining their health. Prospective owners should prepare for proactive health management to ensure their Great Pyrenees lives a long, happy life.


Despite their calm demeanor, Great Pyrenees dogs require regular exercise to stay healthy and content. Their exercise needs are moderate, aligning with their energy levels. Daily walks are essential, not just for physical health but also for mental stimulation. These dogs also appreciate having a spacious yard to roam. It’s important to note that despite their size, they should not be over-exercised, especially in puppyhood, to avoid stress on developing joints. Engaging in activities like hiking can be a wonderful way to bond with a Great Pyrenees, catering to both their need for exercise and their love for the outdoors.


The luxurious coat of the Great Pyrenees is one of its most striking features, requiring regular grooming to maintain its condition and appearance. Their thick, double coat sheds year-round, with a significant increase during spring and fall. Weekly brushing becomes a necessity to remove loose fur and prevent matting, with more frequent grooming needed during heavy shedding periods. Despite the effort required, grooming can be a bonding experience between the dog and its owner. Attention should also be paid to nail trimming, ear cleaning, and dental care to keep the Great Pyrenees looking and feeling its best.


Nutrition plays a pivotal role in the health and well-being of a Great Pyrenees. High-quality, age-appropriate dog food is recommended, tailored to their specific energy requirements. Given their size, it’s crucial to monitor their food intake to prevent obesity, a common health concern that can exacerbate joint issues. Foods rich in nutrients that support joint health are beneficial. Owners should avoid foods that are high in fillers and artificial additives. Consulting with a veterinarian can provide personalized dietary advice, ensuring the nutritional needs of a Great Pyrenees are met effectively.


Training a Great Pyrenees presents unique challenges due to their independent nature. While intelligent, they may not always be eager to please, making patience and consistency key in their training. Early puppy training and socialization are critical to developing a well-behaved dog. Positive reinforcement techniques work best, rewarding desired behaviors with treats or praise. Socialization introduces the dog to various people, animals, and environments, promoting a well-adjusted temperament. Training a Great Pyrenees requires an understanding of their personality, utilizing firm but gentle guidance to foster a respectful and loving relationship.

The Great Pyrenees Standard

The breed standard of the Great Pyrenees encapsulates the quintessence of this noble breed, defining the ideal characteristics against which these dogs are judged at shows. This standard not only emphasizes the physical attributes that make the Great Pyrenees a majestic presence but also underscores the temperament that complements its stately appearance.

Majestic Appearance

At the heart of the breed standard lies the Great Pyrenees’ majestic appearance. A harmonious blend of strength, elegance, and functionality, this dog possesses a powerful build that exudes a sense of calm authority without any sign of clumsiness. The breed’s most striking feature is its beautiful white coat, which can also have shades of gray, red, or tan around the face and ears. The coat is dense and weather-resistant, designed to protect against the harsh mountain climate. The dog’s overall appearance is one of balance and proportion, with a slightly longer body than tall, giving it a robust yet graceful outline.

Distinguished Features

The head of the Great Pyrenees is a defining characteristic, with a wedge shape when viewed from above, and a slightly rounded crown. Dark, almond-shaped eyes offer a gaze that is both gentle and alert, reflecting the breed’s discerning and composed nature. The ears are V-shaped, set at eye level, and droop slightly, enhancing the dog’s dignified expression. A strong, muscular neck leads to well-laid-back shoulders, and the tail is plumed, carried low in repose but may be raised when the dog is alert.

Stalwart Guardian

A cornerstone of the breed standard is the Great Pyrenees’ temperament. Known for its watchful and protective nature, the Great Pyrenees is confident, gentle, and affectionate with its family. Despite its size, it moves with elegance and is always aware of its surroundings, ready to protect its charge. This breed is characterized by a calm yet firm presence, demonstrating patience and intelligence. The ideal Great Pyrenees exhibits a reserved attitude towards strangers while showing unwavering loyalty and love to its family.

Physical and Mental Balance

The breed standard emphasizes not only physical attributes but also the importance of mental and emotional balance. The Great Pyrenees should display a harmonious blend of physical strength and a serene demeanor. This balance is crucial for a dog that was bred to work independently, making decisions to protect and shepherd without direct human intervention.

In conclusion, the breed standard for the Great Pyrenees paints a picture of a dog that is as beautiful in temperament as it is in appearance. The ideal Great Pyrenees is a study in contrasts: powerful yet elegant, vigilant yet calm, and imposing yet gentle. These dogs are judged not only for their majestic appearance but also for their ability to embody the noble spirit and functional attributes that have made them cherished companions through the ages.

Great Pyrenees – FAQ

Welcome to the comprehensive FAQ section dedicated to the Great Pyrenees. Here, we delve into the most commonly asked questions about these noble giants, from their care requirements to their temperament. Whether you’re a current owner or considering adding one to your family, find the answers to all your queries and more.

Alternatives to a Great Pyrenees

When considering the noble Great Pyrenees, several breeds share its grandeur in size, traits, and characteristics, capturing the hearts of dog lovers worldwide. The Saint Bernard, with its equally imposing stature and gentle temperament, mirrors the Great Pyrenees’ protective nature and affection for families. Known for their rescue work in the Swiss Alps, Saint Bernards are not just large; they’re heroic, showcasing a blend of strength and kindness.

Similarly, the Bernese Mountain Dog stands out with its striking tricolor coat and robust build. Originating from Switzerland, these dogs are as versatile as they are friendly, adept at work and play. Their calm demeanor and loyalty make them excellent companions, akin to the Great Pyrenees.

Another breed that echoes the qualities of the Great Pyrenees is the Newfoundland. Known for their swimming abilities and water rescues, Newfoundlands possess a sweet disposition that belies their size. They are gentle giants who adore children, making them perfect family pets.

The Anatolian Shepherd also shares similarities, with a background of guarding flocks against predators. Their vigilant nature and independent thinking align with the Great Pyrenees, although they are known for being more reserved and protective.

Lastly, the Leonberger, with its lion-like mane and gentle spirit, embodies the essence of a family guardian. These dogs are known for their balanced temperament, blending seamlessly into homes as both companions and watchful guardians.

Each of these breeds, while unique in their origins and histories, shares the noble spirit, protective instincts, and loving nature that make the Great Pyrenees a beloved giant among dogs.