The Great Pyrenees is, as its name suggest, a very large dog. It ranges in size from around 25-32 inches at the shoulder. In weight it ranges from 85-140 pounds. It is primarily markings of badger, gray, or varying shade of tan and has a long, flat, harsh protective coat. They have few major genetic problems and usually live to be 10-12 years old.
The Great Pyrenees originated in the Pyrenees mountains of Europe which form the border between France and Spain. They were developed by the Basque people to protect their flocks from predation by bears and wolves. The dogs have been used for this purpose for over a thousand years. Since a lot of the bears and wolves have disappeared from the mountains, the dogs today are still guarding homes and property. Historically, the dogs have also been used in France to guard large estates. The ability of these dogs to work was achieved by selective breeding in which only the most successful workers were allowed to reproduce themselves, and therefore, a great deal of this inbred instinct remains strong.
Great Pyrenees combine a great intelligence with a deep devotion to family and home, and a natural-born instinct to guard and protect. While trustworthy, affectionate, gentle and tractable, they can become, when and if the need arises, protective guardians of their family and their territory. Thus, they command respect as watch dogs. Pyrs were bred to be left alone with the sheep up in the mountain valleys. They are a guard dog by instinct, not by training. Their basic personality is different from most breeds, since most breeds were bred to take commands from people, while Pyrs were bred to work on their own.
A good working dog has been selected for hostility toward all possible predators. This is why Great Pyrenees, although bred to work on bears and wolves, are equally effective on wild and feral dogs which are an increasing problem to stockman. By nature, the Great Pyrenees is nocturnal. It can be trusted with small, young and helpless animals of any kind. It is one of the most interesting qualities of a Great Pyrenees-the absolute intolerance of all predators, coupled with extraordinary patience and kindness to stock.
Our Guard Dogs are a Great Pyrenees, Akbash cross. Raised with the sheep, from working parents.