The Great Pyrenees developed in the Pyrenees Mountains, natural border of Spain and France. Its ancestors are believed to originate in Asia Minor eleven thousand years ago and came to these mountains around 3000 B.C. It was developed to aid shepherds. Firstly, they were kept by peasants, but the breed got recognition as a royal dog of France in 1675 by Dauphin in King Louis XIV’s court. It made the breed popular, and people started using it for work purposes.
It was exported to North America, where it was crossed with Newfoundland and created Landseer Newfoundlands. During the 1800s it gained popularity in some countries like the US, England, and Europe. In its homeland, the original species deteriorated due to ill-breeding practices. But it was introduced in St. Bernard’s in Switzerland to reestablish the number of dogs.
Two World Wars had an adverse effect on the breed, luckily some of them were imported to the US before the European continent was closed. After the war, some breeders restored the breed, and presently it is one of the most admired dogs. It also holds recognition from various famous kennel clubs.
Temperament & Personality
Docile, calm and gentle defines the Great Pyrenees. It is a balanced and confident dog who easily bonds firmly with its people, making an excellent family companion. However, training is crucial to polish their skills which do not make them an ideal dog for the first time owners. It doesn’t step back to protect its family during the time of danger. Early socialization helps them o go well with kids and other pets in the house. However, their interactions require supervision.
Pyres are not a very highly active breed and do not require a heavy exercising schedule. Short walks and jogs will suffice their needs. Allow them to play freely in a fenced yard or in a park where they can move and play on their own. It is advisable to keep them unleash while playing. Apart from physical exercises they also require mental stimulation to keep them healthy, it can be in the form of puzzle toys, agility training, obedience trials or cart pulling are some of the options to keep them mentally fit.
These puppies have abundant fur but do not require heavy grooming standards as their coat is tangle and dirt resistant. Brushing their coat twice a week will suffice their needs. They do not require frequent bathing, but when they are extremely dirty. However, they need extra attention during their shedding season, brush regularly or twice a day to clear the loose fur from the coat.
They have droopy ears which are prone to infections due to the accumulation of water, dirt buildup and need regular checking to prevent infections and pain. Clean their ears with Vet prescribed ear solution. Clean their corner of the eyes with a damp cloth to remove tear stains.
They tend to grow nails faster than other breeds which can crack if not appropriately trimmed and hinder regular activities like walking, run, etc. However, cutting them twice a month will serve the purpose. Brush their teeth twice a week to avoid development tartar and oral problems.
The great Pyrenees do not enjoy a healthful life. It suffers from a variety of diseases like eye disorders, hip dysplasia, luxating patellas, immune and neurological disorders. Some dogs are also prone to cancer and bloat. It is a life-threatening disease, in which the stomach can suddenly twist or distend. Owners of this breed should know the symptoms of bloating to save their dogs. However, some occasional tests like eye checkups, blood tests, X-rays, complete body checkup and a random vet visit will keep the pet healthy.
Pyres are independent thinks which makes training tough and requires a firm trainer to train them. However, being intelligent they will catch up with the training sessions quickly. Like all dogs, they do well with positive training techniques and short training sessions. Owners can train themselves or might require a professional trainer to train them.
Early socialization is crucial to make them well behaved and a good companion. Take them to different busy places like a supermarket, bus stops busy roads and Dogs Park, etc. It will allow them to meet unknown faces, different sounds and situations and make them more flexible.
Command training is essential to polish their skills, enhance the relationship between the dog and the owner and to minimize their excessive barking behavior. Commands like ‘no,’ ‘yes,’ ’stop,’ ‘come’ are some simple commands which are essential.
They do well on a high-quality food low in protein specially made for large dog breeds or homemade food. But it is essential to visit a dietician or a vet before opting for the food. Diet should be created depending upon the dog’s size, age, and activity level. They are prone to gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV) and bloating. Hence, the owner should offer them small meals multiple times a day and prevent heavy exercises to minimize the risk. Owners should check their weight level and calorie consumption. If they gain weight reduce table scraps, treats, etc.