Is This the Breed For You?
So you think you want a Great Pyrenees. Youve seen them, and your starting to learn about them. You have to ask yourself a question, Is this the breed for me? They are not the ideal pet for everyone!
The mature, sedate Great Pyrenees which you have seen did not just materialize suddenly. It grew from a cuddly, lovable ball of fluff which at 8-12 weeks of age is most captivating. From puppyhood to adulthood is a great distance and a considerable time. As a breed they are remarkably healthy and long lived. They have few major genetic problems and usually live to be 10-12 years old.
Pyrs have great intelligence and a deep devotion to family and home, with a natural-born instinct to guard and protect. They are trustworthy, affectionate, gentle and tractable, but they can become, when and if the need arises, protective guardians of their family and their territory. Thus, they command respect as watch dogs as well as admiration as pets.
Adult Pyrs are placid by nature and calm in the house. But they are a giant breed and are not always suited to life in a small apartment or urban setting with little yard space and lots of activity around. They, like most dogs, want their life to be consistent and predictable.
The addition of a new member to your family is a major decision and deserves a great deal of thought. A Great Pyrenees is placid by nature, so despite their size, they are excellent house dogs. Yes, an adult Pyr is a beautiful, calm dog, but there are other considerations you have to think of?
Are you physically able to handle a giant breed? Although basically gentle, they are strong, and during puppyhood can be a challenge.
Does dog hair around the house bother you? Will you be able to deal with the occassional (and somtimes more than occassional) puddles of drool? If this is a problem, forget the Pyrenees. While with routine grooming they are not much different than any other breed, they do shed and there are white hairs in Pyr homes and on Pyr people. Although different individuals will have different degrees of drooling, Pyr people are used to getting slimed.
A Pyr needs love and attention on a daily basis. Are you and your family able to provide this? A lonesome Pyr is a bored dog, and a bored dog can become destructive.
Great Pyrenees are at heart guard dogs and members of the great family of livestock guardian dogs. As such, they share with them certain strong characteristics. Pyrs were bred to be left alone with the sheep up in the mountain valleys. They are a guard dog by instinctnot training. Their basic personality is different from most breeds, most breeds were bred to take commands from people, Pyrs were bred to work on their own and to think for themselves.
A Great Pyrenees is an intelligent, sometimes willful animal. They have minds of their own and are not easily obedience trained. Things that you consider important may not be the same things your Pyrenees considers important. Many are almost cat-like, in their independence.
If you want a dog who will be a great off-leash companion for your outdoor activities, if you want a dog who will follow your every command, or if you want a competition obedience dog, the Pyrenees is probably not for you.
Do you have room for a Pyr? They are large and must be confined in a well fenced area, or they will exercise their powerful instinct to establish and patrol a large territory. When out of the fence they must be kept on lead at all times.
As with all livestock guardian breeds, Great Pyrenees are barkers, especially at night. The amount of barking varies from individual to individual, (from a lot to unbelievable annoying) but the instinct is there and in some cases can cause major problems. All Great Pyrenees in urban or suburban settings must be kept indoors at night.
Like any guard dog, a Great Pyrenees cant be expected to welcome uninvited intrusions onto your property. They will accept anyone you invite into your home. They are not attack dogs. They can, however, be very intimidating to the surprised visitor. It is an owners obligation to maintain a Great Pyrenees so that his guarding instincts can be exercised in a responsible way.
Thats a lot to think about. If after considering all these facts you still think a Pyr is the dog for you, lets talk about how you should choose your puppy.
A Reputable Breeder
Always choose a reputable breeder instead of the casual backyard breeder. And never go to a pet store. If you would like help finding a breeder, get in touch with us via our contact page, and well be glad to send you a breeders list. Ask to see the sire and dame of the puppy you are interested in. Inquire if both parents were certified clear of hip dysplasia. See if the surroundings are clean and the puppy looks healthy. Make sure the coat carries a glossy shine, which is a sign of good health. There should be no discharge from eyes or nose, and a pup should stand up on strong legs and good feet.
Your pup should have a health record showing when and what had been given in the way of inoculations and medication. The breeder should also give you care and feeding instructions.
If youre buying a puppy, it should be at least 8 weeks old. Carefully bred and cared for Great Pyrenees puppies are not inexpensive. While prices may vary, people who sell pups for bargain basement prices probably have not put as much time or care into the breeding or rearing of their pups.
Would you consider a mature dog? Many breeders have older dogs which they will place in pet homes. On occassion, we will have rescue dogs that are in need of good homes. These older dogs usually are housebroken and have had preliminary training. Most adult Pyrs adjust readily to a new home, but a trial period should be considered. This may be just what you want, allowing you to skip the puppy-adolescent growth stage. A rescue dog can be one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have.
Male or female? There is not a great difference here. The male is larger, and carries more coat, but they both show the same affection for, and protection of, their family. The bitch, unless spayed will come into season every six months, the first season is usually around a year of age. If the animal isnt a show dog and not for breeding, have it spayed or neutered at 6-8 months of age. A neutered animal will make a happier and healthier pet, and will probably live longer.