Great Pyrenees are incredible. Just look at the photo of that white, wooly bear! That dog was Emma, a family friend’s gorgeous and loving Pyr. Her job was to watch over the flock of goats in a beautiful wooded pasture, although as she aged, I think it might have been the goats who were watching over her. Apparently, when she died, she quietly walked off into the distant woods. Later that evening, she was found curled up in a grove of trees, as if she were sleeping peacefully.
I loved hanging out with that dog. She was one of the most cuddly and affectionate dog giants I’ve ever encountered. I often wished her owners kept her indoors, though; she loved people so much that it seemed unkind to keep her outside with only ornery goats for company.
In earlier years, I’d seen a few Great Pyrenees walking around town or camped out in fields, but Emma was the first Pyr that I got to spend some quality time with. Her sweetness and gentleness certainly won me over to considering the breed.
Pyrs belong to the AKC working group and they exhibit traits that are markedly different from the herding dogs. Even though these groups may both hang out with sheep all day, they serve different functions. A dog like an Aussie or a border collie would be responsible for keeping the sheep in line, as per the shepherd’s orders, but a Pyr would be the great white guardian of the flock. A representative Pyr should be gentle and affectionate toward people, but territorial over its flock when it needs to be. They are quite independent dogs and tend to be bred for the ability to make decisions on their own. Because of this tendency, they are not as extremely trainable as your average herding breed.
That said, here’s a list of the qualities that I love about this breed, and the qualities that I’m not so sure about.
Great Pyrenees pros:
- Very sweet-natured.
- Generally laid back.
- Great guard dogs, especially for children and livestock.
- Contented natures; don’t necessarily need a ton of exercise.
Great Pyrenees cons:
- Not easily trainable.
- Independent and often stubborn.
- SO. MUCH. HAIR.
- Having one would be like having a small Arctic bear in your house.
I’m not sure if I’d get a Pyr any time soon, mainly because of their considerable size, but they’re definitely at the top of my list once Guion and I get that farm we keep talking about…
Great Pyrenees links: