The Pyrenean Mountain Dog manages to unite contrasting traits in a coherent character. He is both a fearless protector and a loving cuddle bear.
History of the Pyrenean Mountain Dog
The Pyrenean Mountain Dog originally comes from the border mountains between Spain and France, the so-called Pyrenees. There he had the task of guarding the farm and was used to protect the herd. Occasionally, the Pyrenean mountain dog was also used as a war dog or as a kind of pack mule.
Genetically, the Pyrenean Mountain Dog is believed to be descended from the Hungarian Kuvasz and the Mastiff.
Interesting: Since the Spanish and the French could not agree on a common description of the breed, the Pyrenees mountain dog lives on in two separate breeds (the French Chien de Montagne des Pyrénées and the Spanish Mastín del Pirineo). Due to the same genesis, the individuals hardly differ.
Essence and Character
On the one hand, the Pyrenean Mountain Dog is a gentle, cuddly bear. He enjoys close contact with his family and has a calm personality.
On the other hand, he sometimes pulls out the protector. The Great Pyrenees boldly advocates for the well-being of the family. He acts intuitively and makes his decisions alone. These instinctive behaviors have to do with his past work in livestock protection. This required him to be independent, sovereign, and strong-willed.
While the Great Pyrenees form close bonds with family members – including their associated pets – they defend their territory from those who don’t belong there.
Purchase of a Pyrenean Mountain Dog
In Germany, not even 100 puppies are born each year. Compared to the Labrador Retrievers, which produce up to 3,000 offspring every year, the Pyrenean Mountain Dog is a real rarity in this country. If you are interested in buying, it is, therefore, advisable to contact the Club for Hungarian Sheepdogs or the Association for German Dogs. They will provide you with the contact details of the reported breeders (already pre-sorted by location).
Since Great Pyrenees are so rare, sellers ask for a high price of 1,000 to 1,200 euros.
What do I need to pay attention to when purchasing?
Buying a dog is an irreversible decision and should therefore always be well thought out and stand on solid ground.
Puppy Development and Training
The Great Pyrenees was often left to its own devices in its work as a livestock guardian and is still an autonomous animal today. In the hands of an ambitious dog owner, he can still learn to follow human rules. However, it requires perseverance, expertise, and diligence. The Pyrenean Mountain Dog is not recommended for beginners due to its idiosyncratic nature. The core competencies of the ideal owner are willing to compromise, consistency, and self-confidence. Also, the owner should be knowledgeable and experienced.
Tip: Avoid using penalties and coercion, as these methods are not effective and at best you will get the Great Pyrenees to block. Despite these challenges, he has the potential to be an excellent family pet. But it is important that you socialize with him in a targeted manner. Attending a dog school can be very helpful, as the Pyrenean Mountain Dog needs to develop a high threshold and social skills. If he cannot gain this experience, he will have difficulty coping with the day-to-day life of a family dog.
How Do I Keep a Pyrenean Mountain Dog?
The Pyrenean Mountain Dog is not a classic pet or family animal. However, a competent upbringing offers him a framework in which he can acquire the necessary social skills. If the Great Pyrenees have been socialized early, they do well with human contact and need it. If there are children in the family, they are also part of his fixed circle of ties. It is important, however, that his need for rest is taken into account by all family members.
Because the Great Pyrenees can unleash immense power, it is unsuitable for seniors and should not be left alone with physically challenged individuals and children. In addition, visiting situations require special attention, since he is very dismissive of strangers.
According to its disposition, the Pyrenean mountain dog wants to demarcate itself territorially and defend its territory against intruders. Since he can only meet this tendency to a limited extent in an apartment, he needs a limited outdoor space. A courtyard or fenced yard would be ideal. All that matters is that the enclosure is secure and he can’t get out. His understanding of territory refers not only to his range of movement but to the entire range of vision.
Activities with the Pyrenean Mountain Dog
Although the Pyrenean Mountain Dog is an active animal, it is not a high-performance animal. That’s why he doesn’t enjoy the fast movement sequences that occur in agility or dog dancing.
Nonetheless, he enjoys long walks and being outdoors. If you want to fully exploit the potential of your Pyrenean mountain dog, you can train it to become a working dog (e.g. a tracking, avalanche search, or rescue dog) or explain to it the work of a draft dog. He also likes to go on hikes and accompany a horse.
Health and Care
The grooming of the Great Pyrenees is not very different from that of other dog breeds either:
Fur: The Pyrenean Mountain Dog’s fur becomes matted very quickly (especially on the legs and ears). The best way to prevent pilling is to brush regularly. Some individuals require grooming twice a week, for others a weekly rotation is sufficient. Observe how your dog’s coat behaves and approach the ideal grooming interval. Note: During the change of fur, the time intervals can be shorter than usual.