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Meet the breed: Great Pyrenees

Choosing to add a furry friend to your growing household is a long-term commitment, and picking a breed that fits your lifestyle is the key to a happy home. With over 160 American Kennel Club-recognized breeds, that decision can seem overwhelming. We’re here to help you meet the breed that’s right for you. If you’re looking for a kind, family guard dog, learn everything you need to know about the Great Pyrenees.

  • Gentle
  • Affectionate
  • Quiet
  • Great with children
  • Excellent guard dog


Originating in Central Asia or Siberia, the Great Pyrenees was bred to guard flocks on steep mountainsides, hence the nickname the Pyrenees Mountain Dog. Very smart with a keen sense of smell and excellent eyesight, it still makes a wonderful herding dog. A docile and affectionate breed, the Great Pyrenees prefers to guard its territory with a strong demeanor rather than violence. Very loving toward children, it makes for an amazing family guard dog.

Breed standards

  • AKC group: Working Group
  • UKC group: Guardian Dog Group
  • Average lifespan: 10 – 12 years
  • Average size: 85 – 100 pounds
  • Coat appearance: Dense, double coat that is weatherproof
  • Coloration: White with grey, yellow, orange or tan markings
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Other identifiers: Lengthier than it is tall; wedge-shaped head; V-shaped ears; dark-brown, almond-shaped eyes; broad chest and feathered tail
  • Possible alterations: May have other colored markings.

Is this breed right for you?

A kind and gentle temperament, the loving Great Pyrenees is completely devoted to its family, especially children. Although calm indoors, this dog needs a yard to roam in and is not suited for apartment life. Regardless of which home setting, it is recommended that the breed receive regular exercise and has a fence to avoid running off. The Great Pyrenees has a bit of an independent nature, which demands for an assertive owner and serious training. If thought to be in charge, it may become stubborn and problematic. With a thick coat, this breed has a lot of grooming requirements and prefers colder climates, as it is prone to sunburn. A natural guard dog, the Great Pyrenees will need to be socialized young to avoid being timid around strangers, although it is a true-blue lover of cats and other non-canine animals.

breed characteristics

A dream day-in-the-life

Enjoying being put to work, the Great Pyrenees would be happy shepherding and spending the day with its family. If not an option, let it out in the morning to roam a large backyard, and greet it with a lot of affection and love. A bit of play and a nice, long walk, this pup will be filled with bliss when it goes off to dreamland surrounded by kid giggles and lots of love.

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