Great Pyrenees Dogs: Size, Temperament, Breed Information, and More!

The Great Pyrenees is an amazing dog breed that has a long and interesting history. Primarily used as a livestock guardian dog both historically and today, the Great Pyrenees is a hard working member of the AKC’s working group.

Though the Great Pyrenees is still widely used as a working dog, more and more families are getting a Great Pyrenees to be primarily a pet and companion. Although the Great Pyrenees can make a good family dog, they are only recommended for experienced dog owners and handlers due to their large size and temperament.

In this article, we will be explaining everything that you need to know about the Great Pyrenees dog breed. This will include the explaining breed’s history, what they look like, how they typically act, and how to properly care for one. Let’s get right into it!

Great Pyrenees Breed History

The Great Pyrenees has been around for hundreds of years, and they mainly serve as a livestock guardian dog. However, the farmers of the Pyrenean mountains would also occasionally use the Great Pyrenees as a herding dog as well.

For a long time, the Great Pyrenees was isolated to the area between France and Spain. However, the reputation of the Great Pyrenees’ amazing guarding skills reached the French nobility in the 1600s, leading to knowledge about the breed becoming slightly more widespread.

The Great Pyrenees was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1933 as a member of the Working group. From there, the Great Pyrenees has slowly grown in popularity over time both within the United States and abroad.

Great Pyrenees Dog in Terre Haute, IN

Great Pyrenees Size


  • 25-29 in. (female)
  • 27-32 in. (male)


  • 85 lbs. and up (female)
  • 100 lbs. and up (male)

Great Pyrenees Temperament

The Great Pyrenees is known to be an intelligent, calm, and gentle dog when well trained and socialized. The Great Pyrenees truly has the reputation of being a gentle giant. Additionally, the Great Pyrenees is known to be incredibly affectionate with the members of their family. However, they tend to be reserved around strangers.

Great Pyrenees Diet and Exercise Needs

Despite their very large size, the Great Pyrenees doesn’t need nearly as much exercise as some other large dogs. In fact, the Great Pyrenees does best when they get about 30 to 40 minutes of exercise per day.

When it comes to their diet, the Great Pyrenees eats a lot. In fact, they need about four and a half cups of food per day. It is recommended that you separate this portion into two to three meals. This will help prevents conditions like bloat and keep your Great Pyrenees fuller for longer.

The Great Pyrenees is a fairly hearty dog breed, and they usually do fine on high quality dog food. The Great Pyrenees is also not extremely prone to food allergies or intolerances, though they can occur on occasion.

Great Pyrenees Grooming Needs

The Great Pyrenees has a thick and dense double coat that needs to be brushed at least once a week to remove shedding hair. Of course, you will also need to keep your Great Pyrenees’ nails trimmed and teeth clean as well. It is also a good idea to ensure that the ears and eyes of your Great Pyrenees are kept clean.

How to Train a Great Pyrenees

Training and socializing a Great Pyrenees from an early age is crucial. This is because the Great Pyrenees is a very large dog that has a strong guarding instinct. It is a good idea to start basic obedience training using positive reinforcement as soon as you can with a Great Pyrenees puppy. Similarly, you will need to make sure that you are exposing your Great Pyrenees puppy to a wide variety of environments, people, animals, sights, and sounds. This will prepare your Great Pyrenees to be confident and calm in any situation.

Does the Great Pyrenees Make Good Family Dogs?

The Great Pyrenees can make good family dogs for families that are experienced with guarding dog breeds. The Great Pyrenees tends to behave very well around older children, but they require supervision when around very young children. This is mainly due to their powerful build and very large size.

Does the Great Pyrenees do Well With Other Dogs?

When well trained and socialized, yes, the Great Pyrenees tends to do well around other dogs. This is especially true if the dogs are smaller than they are and are also well trained and socialized.

The only time when a Great Pyrenees will not do well around other dogs is when they perceive that dog to be a threat. This is mainly a concern when a Great Pyrenees interacts with a large and powerful dog that is not well trained.

Does the Great Pyrenees do Well With Cats?

Though it may be surprising to some, the Great Pyrenees is also known to do very well around cats. This is especially true when they are well trained and are socialized with cats from an early age. The Great Pyrenees tends to do so well around cats because they are so much smaller than them, which will make the Great Pyrenees more apt to protect them than try to harm them in any way.

Is the Great Pyrenees a Healthy Dog Breed?

The Great Pyrenees is a relatively healthy dog breed, especially when compared to other dog breeds of a similar size. Still, the Great Pyrenees can genetically be predisposed to some health conditions just like any other dog breed. Here is a list of medical issues that can occur in a Great Pyrenees.

  • Entropion
  • Bloat
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Cataracts
  • Addison’s Disease

So, Is the Great Pyrenees the Right Dog for You?

The Great Pyrenees is an excellent choice for most families that have prior experience with similar guarding breeds. The main thing that you will need to spend time on with your Great Pyrenees is proper training and socialization since they are relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming and exercise. The Great Pyrenees tends to do very well around cats and other smaller dogs. However, they may occasionally perceive other large and powerful dogs to be a threat.

If you’re wondering what breed of dog might be best for you, Brown Veterinary Hospital in Terre Haute, IN is here to help! Reach out at 812-645-0715 or make an appointment today.

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We are here to serve as your partner in keeping your four-legged family member healthy, ensuring you have all the tools you need to provide them with a lifetime of outstanding care. Our animal hospital in Terre Haute offers a full range of services to nurture and extend your pet’s life, from wellness and preventative care to critical care, exotic pet care, and dermatology.