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[Big Breed Spotlight] Great Pyrenees

What is a Great Pyrenees?

While many people may refer to them as mini-polar bears (or maybe that's just us), the Great Pyrenees is a statuesque and lovable breed all its own.

Great Pyrenees Breed Information

Originally bred to guard livestock in the Pyrenees Mountain region, this breed is naturally confident, gentle and protective.

Here are some more fun facts about the Great Pyrenees breed.

Stats & Quick Tips

  • The Great Pyrenees was first recognized by the AKC in 1933
  • In 2016, Great Pyrenees were the 67th most popular dog breed in the U.S. In the last decade the breed has experienced a dramatic fall off in number of breed registrations, dropping from #45 in 2000 to #71 in 2010. 


The Pyrenean Mountain Dog, known as the Great Pyrenees in North America, is a large breed of dog used as a livestock guardian. The Great Pyrenees was bred to be protective, as well as strong and agile, to fulfill its role as defender of sheep and goats against wolves and other threats. Their dense and weather-resistant double coat (with a wooly undercoat and long, course outer coat) assisted in keeping them warm and protected from the Pyrenean cold. Their stark white coloring also assisted their shepherds and keepers in being able to keep track of them in the fields and mountains. 

In the 1600s, the breed became popular in French courts.


 The Great Pyrenees has a strong build, a beautiful, thick coat, and he exudes elegance and majesty (Dogtime.comThe Great Pyrenees has a primarily white coat, with secondary colored markings of grey or tan around the face and tail. Many passerby's will easily mistake this breed for a very large, very light golden retriever or labrador, but their a distinct features that signify the Great Pyrenees, specifically their thick double coat. 

The weather-resistant double coat consists of a long, flat, thick, outer coat of coarse hair, straight or slightly undulating, and lying over a dense, fine, woolly undercoat. The coat is more profuse about the neck and shoulders where it forms a ruff or mane, which is more pronounced in males so that it may fend off wolf attacks. The longer hair on the tail forms a plume. There is also feathering along the back of the front legs and along the back of the thighs, giving a "pantaloon" effect (which can also be seen on Bernese Mountain Dogs). The hair on the face and ears is both shorter and of finer texture.

In terms of their size, full grown male Great Pyrenees can grow to 110-140 pounds and 27–32 inches, while females typically grow to 90–115 pounds and 26–31 inches (


The Great Pyrenees is a capable and imposing guardian, devoted to its family and somewhat wary of strangers — human or canine. When not provoked, it is calm, well-mannered and somewhat serious. It is very gentle with its family and children. It has an independent, somewhat stubborn, nature and may try to dominate a less secure owner. Some are not good off leash and may wander away. The Great Pyrenees tends to bark a lot ( 


Maintenance & Need-to-Knows for Owners

Grooming - Regular grooming and brushing is recommended for these fluffy dogs. They shed seasonally, so be prepared to vacuum often.

Sven the Great Pyrenees

Check out the fluff on Sven, a Great Pyrenees and one of our BDP Brand Ambassadors!


Did You Know? 

One of the traits that makes Great Pyrenees even more unique is their double dew-claw on their hind legs.

What are some other fun facts about Great Pyrenees that you'd like to share? Share in the comments!

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