Great Pyrenees FAQ
What is a "Great Pyrenees"?
Do I need a fenced yard?
This is a roaming breed so a fenced yard is most necessary. Your neighbors won't appreciate your dog in their yard when it makes its rounds. Also for obvious safety reasons: vehicle traffic etc., a fenced is mandatory.
Do Pyrs make good therapy dogs?
The temperament of calmness, gentleness, patience and intelligence combine to bring comfort to those in need. There are endless opportunities for these dogs and their owners to find real happiness in giving to others. The studies show that when animals are used with people who have physical or emotional pain, there are actual, measurable, improvements physically, and a reaching out for the peace and love they bring. There is an immediate connection made between the dogs and children and when adults are involved the hesitancy felt at first soon gives way as they feel the peace and gentleness of the dog. The dogs bring smiles to the faces of the institutionalized and lonely. They help improve the quality of life for those in need.
Are they good livestock guardian dogs?
The temperament of the Great Pyrenees is ideally suited to the work of LGD's. They do not have a "rush to judgement"attitude when danger threatens. To do their work they do not have to be "aggressive" but they do have to be stable and self-confident. Temperament is as important to the LGD as it is to the city dweller. Great Pyrenees needs to be confident in their relations to man and to predator. If they are stable they will not see everything as a threat but will assess the situation and devise an appropriate plan for protection. If they are frightened of humans, they tend to run inside the herd and back away. The owners must run them into sheep pens or tranquilize them in order for shots or medical aid to be given. The Pyr that is confident in his ability to deal with man and beast can be approached and handled and given medical treatment when needed. "Gimlet's" littermate is a livestock guardian dog along with a champion! This shows the versatility of the Great Pyrenees.
Do they shed?
Great Pyrenees are a heavily coated breed and they do shed. A thorough brushing once a week will help with the problem of hair all over the house, but when a Pyr "blows" coat look out. Once your pet is spayed or neutered there tends to be less fur around - but more on the dog which requires a more regular grooming schedule. If hair around the house bothers you, then a Pyr is not for you.
Do they need a lot of room?
Pyrs are a large dog and need space - both indoors and out. They are also guard dogs and they bark to protect their domain. Although they have a low metabolism, Pyrs do need regular exercise to stay healthy and fit. Long walks and a large play area are both highly recommended.
Can I afford a Great Pyrenees?
There is a wide range of prices for Great Pyrenees across the country. However, the initial purchase price is only the beginning of the expenses for a dog. Pyrs are large and fast growing till they reach maturity. Can you afford to feed a high quality food in large quantities? There are also the expenses of veterinary bills, shots, grooming supplies, etc. All this must be taken into account before purchasing your puppy.
What is better - male or female?
This is a personal choice. The male is larger, showier and inclined to be more boisterous. The bitch is usually more maternal, somewhat smaller and much more inclined to be a homebody. My experience - and this is my opinion only - is that the females tend to be more affectionate and "in your lap" while you will find the males off sleeping somewhere. In my house, the females tend to do most of the "guarding" work while the males just watch and react only when they absolutely have to.
Can I "tie" my dog out in the backyard?
Don't chain a dog outside for extended periods. It promotes viciousness, suspicion of what is beyond his reach and susceptibility to being teased or frustrated. It can also be dangerous because the dog may wrap himself in the chain, or even hang himself. Particularly, never allow your dog to wear a choke collar unattended. A roaming Pyr can catch a choke collar on a root or bush and eventually the dog could die of strangulation. A choke collar should be regarded as a training or show collar only.
Should I shave my Pyr in the summer?
Never clip a Pyrenees in the summer. The world's most beautiful dog requires a minimum of grooming care to stay beautiful. The coat provides an insulation and can actually help keep the dog cool in the summer heat. A Pyr's skin is very fair and therefore sensitive to the sun and if the coat is gone there will be nothing to protect it.