About Great Pyrenees

This is an information page compiled to provide a quick introduction to the Great Pyrenees. Please feel free to contact us with any questions, and please do plenty of research before adopting or buying any dog.

Great Pyrenees are a large breed, weighing between 90- 120 pounds on average. They are mostly white, but many have markings on their face (mask) and possibly spots on their bodies, not to exceed 1/3 of the total area. The white may be a bright, clean white to a cream color, but is always considered “white”.  Great Pyrenees may be solid white, or be classified in colors, or considered “blaireau”, the French term for badger. Badger and Tan markings are usually only seen in puppies, but the Wolf-gray and Red-brown do keep their color in adulthood.

For those unfamiliar with the “spots” on pyr puppies: the badgers will fade by the time they are grown and only be left with black edging around their ears and eyes. This is what the AKC Great Pyrenees standard says about pyr coloring:  “Pyrs can be white or white with markings of gray, badger, reddish brown, or varying shades of tan. Markings of varying size may appear on the ears, head (including a full face mask), tail, and as a few body spots. The undercoat may be white or shaded. All of the above described colorings and locations are characteristic of the breed and equally correct.”
    To give you an idea of how much the badger puppies will change color, here is Mark, a very dark badger from Grace’s 2004 litter, as a three week old puppy and at 10 months. As you can see he turned white with just the beautiful black eyeliner and ear edging.

             

Colors:
“White”: Pure white, no markings at all. They should still have dark skin to protect against sunburn. Dogs of all colors, but white dogs in particular, should be bred with care to avoid too much pink skin. The resulting puppies can be susceptible to sun burning, and possibly even skin cancer. 

“Badger”: a mixture of white/brown/gray/black hairs that fade off to a light tan color in adulthood. There is usually darker shading around the edge of the ears.

“Wolf-gray”: A mixture of gray/black hairs that do not fade off in adulthood.

“Red-brown”: A mixture of red/gray/brown hairs that do not fade off in adulthood.

“Tan” Light brown hairs that fade off to white in adulthood. There is usually darker shading around the edge of the ears. 

 

Tan Puppy              Tan adult

Many Pyrenees are registered by the breeder as badger rather than their true coloring.

Great Pyrenees developed in the high peaks of the Pyrenees Mountains. The well-ingrained traits of loyalty, guardianship, and intelligence were invaluable to the shepherd they accompanied. The breed became well known as dogs of French Royalty,  but are now famous for their guardian abilities.

All Great Pyrenees have double dewclaws on the rear feet. It was originally used to determine if the dog was purebred.

Many veterinarians are not familiar with the double dewclaws and suggest that they be removed. This is not proper for Great Pyrenees. Their double dewclaws are the hallmark of the breed and serve to assist them running in deep snow. They are intricately attached the to bone structure inside the foot andshould not be removed.

Great Pyrenees may appear reserved and “cool” towards humans, but must never show aggression to a friendly stranger. Many are “stand-offish” when visitors arrive at their farm or ranch, but if their owners appear to be at ease, then the dog will also. However, if the owner is away, the dog may not allow visitors on the property.

Great Pyrenees have a “warning” bark– they bark simply to make their presence known to predators. This is one factor that can make them a less-than-suitable city pet.

When outside in the heat, many Great Pyrenees will dig large holes to lie in to keep cool. This tends to not mix well with expensive landscaping.

All Pyrenees drool when hot, excited, or after drinking. While our Pyrenees are not excessive droolers, all will drool at some time. This is something to consider when thinking about a Great Pyrenees as a house pet.

Great Pyrenees are usually nocturnal and nap during the day.