You have just bought a beautiful Great Pyrenees. You’re excited and maybe a little scared. That’s okay! Here are a few things to get you started and help understand your dog better. It is best to know these things before hand, so that if your dog does something you weren’t counting on it doing, you will be able to recognize and correct the problem.
As we like to say; there are no bad dogs, just undisciplined dog owners. If you treat your Great Pyrenees in a consistent manner and give it security within the pecking order of the pack (your family), your dog will become well behaved and be a joy in a short period of time.
About the Breed:
Great Pyrenees are one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. They were bred as dogs of war and then used during peace-time as sheep guarding dogs. Great Pyrenees are one of the least aggressive of the large guardian dogs (LGD), so often people cherish them as family dogs. They are regal, independent and aloof compared to other dogs breeds, (traits necessary to spend days alone guarding flocks.) This independence shows: when you call them – they will come, but maybe not on the first call. They will also seem to ignore you when your in their vicinity or close by. They will not look up when you call their name, and will seem to be sleeping. What they are actually doing differs if you want to classify it, but;
(1.) They are most likely bored with the game, (If you have been calling them like this all day just to check where they are, and what they’re doing without rewarding them with a visit, a pet or a treat.)
(2.) They have been up all night guarding while you were sleeping, and are confident that their area is in there control and only want to be left alone.
(3.) They have not been well socialized as a pup, and don’t necessarily feel they need your attention. Keep in mind that these dogs are a superior breed and will act sometimes like they don’t need their humans. Don’t take it to heart.
Great Pyrenees are very gentle around children. Despite their size, they won’t knock over a child, jump up or engage in dominance behavior tests. They are graceful and sure-footed. Playful “teenage” Great Pyrenees may bump into a person, and may give chase and nip if you are running with them. Adults tend to grow out of this as they mature and will not display the same type of behavior as they do as a puppy. The turning point will be at about 15 months of age if you have been committed to training them or leaving them with a previously trained older dog, (i.e the mother or father or just an older dog). They will tend to learn faster as the dog in charge takes it’s job seriously, and will establish a working pecking order pretty quickly. (You will see the mother do this more often then the father.) The adults will not act like a puppy that much after this stage, though they do not not feel it beneath them to “lean-in” for some ear scratching.
They usually don’t fetch. It’s beneath them. While they are still puppies and you have a ball with a bell or some type of noise maker inside you can get them to ‘fetch ‘ a little bit. It is a relatively good exercise to do with them to run off some energy, but be warned, it won’t last for long. Given the chance they’d rather have you ‘fetch’ the ball you threw, and watch in amusement as you do.
They don’t take to water like retrievers, and are a bear to try to bathe, but may wade a little and lap at the water. One of our dogs, Serenity, likes to stand in any collected rain water or puddles, and will submerge her nose and face completely in it, blowing bubbles through her nose before she laps the water. Our male (Shepherd), (-The father of our two females Serenity and Jubilee) will ‘splash’, ‘roll’ his upper body in the water, run through it and paw at it, usually when tempting his female (Patience) to play with him, because he knows she won’t enter the water to get him. Jubilee tends to be the daughter of her mother and will try her best to not get even her paws wet, but seems to have no qualms over getting muddy and becoming a completely different dog. This usually only happens though, when she is being forced to submit to the pack leader(s).
All my dogs have an orange tinted tail year round from the red clay everywhere on the property, and it verys in in it’s intensity as the seasons change. Since they always know where the coolest spot is in the yard, they will dig themselves a hole, (looking for the cooler dirt underneath), and will lay in that all day getting up from time to time to dig deeper, if their body heat has changed the temperature underneath them. This is typically why your dog, (if it is outside all the time) will have the orange tint to it’s tail. If it bothers you give them a bath, but as a warning, it really does no good because not only will bath time be very stressful for you, the dog will just get right back into whatever it was in before.
All of our Great Pyrenees have been taught basic manners. They do not jump up. They will “sit”, “down” and “come” when called. They will politely take a treat from our hand, and wait for the command to do so.
Our dogs are equally at home in the barn, the field, or in the house. Our female dog is house broken and does not have an ‘accident’ in the house unless the person in charge of her fails to read the signs she gives when she has to go. She is only in the house after giving birth to a litter, and it is only for about 4 weeks or so, to prevent her laying over the puppies by mistake. (This will probably change though very soon as we plan to build a whelping room to meet the requirements she needs.) All Pyrenees are very good mothers, but with their big size they sometimes don’t realize how large they are and will haphazardly lay on top a puppy they didn’t see when going to nurse. The only thing that she might do that may get her into trouble is to “wag” and knock something over.
All Great Pyrenees puppies will jump up, especially if their home area includes a cage or fence they can jump up on for attention. If you stick your hands or fingers through the fence, do so a the dog’s nose level. This way the dog will receive attention with four feet on the ground, not when jumping up. Do not allow the puppy or dog to put its paws on you (a dominance test). If it does jump up, step on the rear paws – really hard.
We have trained our dogs to never ever, jump up on anyone. This is very important considering their size. What may seem cute as a puppy when they jump up to greet you or jump up unto the gate or fence, will not be cute when they come running up at full speed, all 95 to 125 pounds, and jump up, leaving a mark of ownership in the shape of a muddy paw-print.
Our dogs were taught as puppies not to jump up – by stepping firmly on their back feet, pushing their behinds down, or squeezing their armpit muscles. Another method is to “knee” the dog in the chest. Having big dogs brings the responsibility of training that big dog.
We would encourage the people who buy our pups to teach them good manners.
Our dogs have never been to obedience school. We have working dogs with good manners, and they will obey the alpha dog, pack leader, if that person can take on the responsibility and stick to it.
To reinforce my superior position in the pack order, I will practice a technique called the ‘take down’ which is similar to a mom correcting a puppy. Patience will hold the pup down with her paw, and bark or growl at it. I have also held or pinned the said dog down and yelled or made growling sounds until it stops struggling.
Teenage Great Pyrenees can be very independent, and want to not come when they are called. A take down or two as needed will help cure the independence. A growing puppy and young adult will do a lot of dominance testing and should be corrected promptly.
If you are surprised to see this topic in this information guide, don’t be. It is not very common in dog’s who are taught properly, but if you happen to have your dog do it to someone outside the family, or even to your child, please don’t panic. Here are a few good reason’s why your dog might resort to biting;
Biting people by a Great Pyrenees’s is very rare usually an issue related to a pack mentality issue. Great Pyrenees’s are so gentle that we have only heard of a few cases of it among hundreds of owners.
Here are four of the known reasons why my dogs have bitten others. The time when it will most likely happen is;
(1.) When a non-alpha person (a child) attempts to take the food dish from the dog.
This is not just Great Pyrenees behavior, as most large breed dogs will behave in exactly the same way. If there is a question in your mind whether your child or the dog has dominance, instruct the child not to go near the dog while it is eating. Our dogs have bitten a couple members of the family for this very reason. Pyrenees are a dog that will become very protective of their food, especially organ meat. If you intend to give them any type of food, (i.e even ‘human food’ will become a delicacy) really anything besides whatever type of dog food you typically would give them, you must practice the food dominance training with them first.
Better yet, feed the dog outside away from the children. You can never assume that if a child or another person who is not the pack leader tries to take it’s food, that it will not defend its food dish and bite.
Methods to correct and train so that is doesn’t happen: (Prevention is worth a pound of cure!)
A method to get your Great Pyrenees to be more tolerant to you messing with their food, is to pat or scratch it while it is eating. Some suggest picking up the food dish after thirty seconds and then setting it back down. In our fenced in area it is much easier for me to feed our dogs, by attaching their food to the fence at face level so that they aren’t even able to posture over top of it. I do this by attaching an empty ice cream container (It has to have an removable handle) around two of the wires in our high tinsel wire fence, and letting it hang there until they finish eating. I also never leave it there, but always take it away as soon as they finish. It is never a good idea to leave something that they will learn to protect and become aggressive over, in their yard.
It also might be wise to teach them to stop eating on command. You can do this by using a correction collar, ( a shock collar) set on beep or buzz, to startle them out of the dish, while saying ‘leave it’ or ‘off ‘. Puppies will catch on fast.
Never yank their head out with your hands by grabbing the scruff of their neck as this will cause them to become defensive. If you do not want to use a collar on them, use a leash over a elevated food dish and yank upward while using the same commands.
These behaviors will help to reinforce pack order by saying, “I still control the food dish and I’m only letting you eat”.
(2.) A female dog(s) who is pregnant or nursing (hormonal), will be more likely to growl and posture around the food dish. Our female dog has even attacked another female dog within the pack, while she was pregnant. Like a human, female dogs become very hungry, (understandably) because of all the babies they are giving their resources too, and will act out of character for a time. It is best to feed a pregnant dog alone. If it is necessary for you to feed her with others around, be prepared for her unpredictable moods, and if she does go after the other dog, (even through the fence by barking aggressively and trying to get her mussel through the wire…) Don’t panic or get angry. It is important to maintain your cool and have a calm authoritative manner in dealing with your dog.
(3.) If you have not taught your puppy to stop playfully biting to re-leave the teething they are doing. Correct this at an early age by: Taking your thumb and forefinger, roll the top lips under the teeth so that the pup bites down on them. You can also press your thumb or forefinger forcefully on their tongue. If they squeak you’ve done it correctly. Be patient, it will take a couple of tries, and even more for a strong willed dog.
Puppies chew and bite naturally, especially from six to twelve weeks as they socialize with their peers. When you get a puppy this age, do not allow it to continue “socializing” with your hand, as this is part of dominance testing for placement in the pack. Being able to bite says, “I’m more dominant”. A gentle pinch and a firmly spoken, “No” gets the message across. Discourage mouthing the hands or nipping at any family member. Somewhere between five months and a year come the adult teeth. The young dog will need to do a lot of chewing to help bring those teeth in. Have available big bags of rawhide strips. Rawhide bones would be better for an older dog whose teeth are already set.
(4.)Males tend to be more protective of their territory then the females. But even with that being said, we have a very protective female too. There was one time when the previous owners of Shepherd wanted to see him, and I took them into his yard. This was my own mistake, because while I had him in my control, I allowed her in without properly introducing her to him again. The result was that she was a unidentified threat, and he did try to attack, but was stopped and thrown to the ground where I growled and yelled at him until he stopped looking at her and growling.
It is best to have only people who are familiar with dogs or have control of their emotions, see your dog, and even if you can safely trust them and your dog, it is still best to have them properly introduced and your dog to understand completely that they are not a threat. If you have people constantly on your farm, for tours or whatever reason, then it may not be as much of a threat. However keep in mind that youngsters will tend to want to pet or touch the dog. If your comfortable with this then go ahead. Bare in mind though that the dog should be trained to this and be in the petting mood. It should be a time only when you have the said dog on a leash or somehow in your control, and never, ever little hands reaching through the fence to their area or yard.
Also if you have a bully or a very frightened youngster in the group, do not allow them at anytime near your dog. You can not trust your dog to not see the frightened youngster as weak and therefore a threat to it’s flock, (wither it be your family or it’s herd). Since it is in their nature to kill off the weaker of the flock so that the weak one does not pose as threat to the rest of it’s flock, they will sense that same weakness in a timid youngster.
Regarding bullies: They are just a danger since they tend to think they are tough and indestructible. If they are purposely trying to anger the dog, or just taunting your dog for no reason, they can find themselves the victim of a quick nip, or a warning growl. If they continue to do this after the dog has warned them, the dog will get more aggressive and may break skin in the next nip. It would be better to identify those who would tend to be this way in the beginning, and forbid them to touch or play with the dog. Keep them in sight of you at all times. (Meaning the bully.)
All guard dogs bark, especially at night. That’s what they are bred to do. If you and the neighbors don’t mind the barking, varmints, stray dogs and other undesirable critters will stay far away. If the barking is not acceptable, move the dog to a place where the dog feels secure. This might be on the porch, in the basement, in the garage, in a pen in the barn, or whatever works for you and your dog. Some dogs will also bark or yelp because of boredom. Vary their days by moving them to a new location. Also squirting them in the mouth with lemon juice when they are barking from boredom, sometimes will discourage this behavior.
Adult Great Pyrenees will naturally cover a one to two mile radius. If that’s not allowable, the dog will have to be trained to a smaller area. Fences, electric fences, and invisible fences all work good. Neutering helps to keep a male dog at home. Close supervision and correction the first two years will help yield a dog that stays within the property lines. Roaming is mostly male behavior and Shepherd will display the marking trait if he happens to escape. Marking is lifting the leg to urinate on bushes, small trees, big trees, mailboxes etc. If he tries to do it to you, he is calming ownership of you and it should never be allowed. You own him, not vice’a’versa .
A Great Pyrenees will guard what it is bonded to – or better said – it will guard the defined space that contains what it is bonded to. If bonded with sheep, it will guard sheep. If with the owner, the owner and his or her property. If toys or chew things are left in the yard, it will guard those too. If the Great Pyrenees is to guard, it is not good to raise it around other non-Great Pyrenees dogs where it can pick up bad habits such as chasing poultry or livestock. Great Pyrenees don’t normally chase, but if the big puppy bounces up to a chicken and the chicken runs the other way, the Great Pyrenees will give bounce after it. Once chasing starts, the chicken soon becomes a diversion, and that Great Pyrenees can no longer be trusted with poultry. Closely monitor your Great Pyrenees puppy for its first 12 months if you desire to raise a trustworthy poultry guard. A Great Pyrenees confined to a kennel will likely be more aggressive with poultry than a Great Pyrenees that is loose with them.
Great Pyrenees are social in a pack society. The older members of the pack teach the younger ones. Sticking a Great Pyrenees pup by itself in with sheep or goats is risky. The pup may be mellow and responsible and take on the guarding duties in stride. Then again, it may be playful and want to rough house with the livestock. We think it is better to segregate the Great Pyrenees pup where it can see the livestock. Take the pup in with you while doing chores and correct any undesirable behavior such as chasing, barking or nipping.
Great Pyrenees guard mostly through intimidation – by barking and posturing. Their barking keeps deer and rabbits out of our garden and raccoons, weasels, and rats out of our yard, in fact our dogs will root up underground tunnels that these critters have made in their yard. They bark at people, bikers and cars, but keep their distance. They will defend and back down dog packs, wolves, coyotes, bears, cougars, etc. If you have a problem with a bear or a wolf pack, you will need two Great Pyrenees. One will die trying to defend – two cannot be surrounded or overpowered.
Training for Livestock:
The key to training a puppy or even an older dog is to do it progressively over several months. Put a 12-week or older Great Pyrenees in a medium pen with ewe and her 2-3 week old lamb (or goat). Provide a place for the pup to hide under and where only he can get his food. In a couple weeks and the pup will learn that the lamb and ewe are to be respected and ignored. Move to pup to another pen with several ewes and lambs. Again, provide a safe spot to hide and eat. As the pups learns to respect the Ewes and lambs, he will become confident and ignore the sheep. Finally, move the pup to a larger pen with lambs or kids about its size. After some initial sniffing, the dog should settle down and ignore the sheep. Any posturing or attempts to play should be a sign to extend any phase of the training period. Put the conditioned dog with a trained team of working dogs to learn how to behave in an open pasture environment.
The loss of a Great Pyrenees is hard to deal with – especially if it could have been prevented. Being run over or stolen happens all too frequently where there is a lack of fencing. Great Pyrenees are large and most animals respect their space, so they seem deliberately slow to move out the way when a car approaches. We are fanatical about keeping the dogs off the busy highway in front of our house. Our fence is made up of tee-posts supporting high tinsel wire fencing stretched between the posts. There is a live wire that runs along the bottom a couple feet off the ground, but it must be maintained else our male will mess it up.
When working, the dog receives a shock when they touch the wire and can be trained to the fence with two or three shocks. The fences require maintenance to check for broken wires, to tighten sagging wires and to trim back weeds and grass. They do not work in the snow or when a lot of weeds touch the wires. A standard wire fence or cattle panel works well, though some Great Pyrenees learn to climb. Shepherd will climb any five-foot fence and does not respect the electric fence – Typically it is because he is a very timid dog when it come to very loud noises, such as a gunshot, a mower popping, or a storm coming. We have also used a portable electric chicken fence, which the rest of our Great Pyrenees seem to respect (Premier 1). Several people have told us that invisible fencing works out well for them.
Great Pyrenees have a lot of fur and it is important for its health and well being to know how to groom and take care of such. Great Pyrenees shed in the spring when the weather turns warm and also when a female weans her pups. Females have what is called a ‘blow out’, so don’t be alarmed when you pet them and accidentally give them a bald spot. Brushing during these times keeps the dog looking good. Outdoor dogs don’t need a lot of brushing, but it is good to brush to periodically to check for mats, ticks and injury. An electric hair clipper (or pet clipper from Jeffer’s ) is good removing the occasional small mat, especially around the ears. Larger mats should be cut several times with a sharp scissors along the grain of the fur. Carefully comb through until the shed hairs are removed and the mat is gone. A spray-on waterless shampoo helps keep the coat smelling clean without having to give a bath. NOTE: If your Great Pyrenees cools off by sleeping on dirt or in a dirt hole, it’s important to check for and remove the mats on the rear quarters, tail and legs – especially on older dogs. The mats pick up moisture from the ground and flies will lays eggs in the mats causing big health issues when the eggs hatch. Better to shave the rear quarters and legs than to have mats.
Because of their thick coat, some people ask if the Great Pyrenees should be clipped or shaven for the hot summer months. This is not a good idea for a guard dog, since they have very light pink skin (with some darker spots looking like pig spots.), shaving them will only cause burning of the sensitive skin underneath. If you brush them out every time the warm weather starts to come on and they start to shed, then you are helping them keep cool. The white coat helps keep the dog cooler by reflecting the sun and not allowing the sun’s heat to penetrate into the body. The coat also sheds rain.
Great Pyrenees need their toenails clipped, especially the single dew claws on the front feet and double dew claws on the rear. Check the toenails once a month and clip every 2-3 months as needed. If you allow them to grow without clipping you can cause a problem for the dog as the toenails grow fast. Our one female, Jubilee had a problem with hers just recently where the toenail curled in on itself and was pushing back into her dew claw causing pain and irritation. Thankfully we caught it before it became something that had to be surgically removed.
The ears should be cleaned during this time too. Swab out with long-handled Q-tips applied with hydrogen peroxide. Commercial solutions are available that help dissolve wax. If dogs shakes its heads, rubs or scratches at the ear, check it at once. If you suspect an infection, the ear will smell foul. Dirty ears can cause infection and an unwanted trip to the Vet for medication. I would recommends using a clipper to remove the hairs from the bottom side of the ear flap and from under the ear to help keep the ear dried out.
Great Pyrenees dogs have a distinctive smile. A Great Pyrenees is content in their world, is protecting it’s flock and does knows its place in the pack. It smiles knowing all is well. When you see a Great Pyrenees that doesn’t smile, it’s a clue that there may be a situation that needs correction. A dog that has been abused, neglected or mistreated will show it on their face. Boredom or being kept in a small kennel or not given enough exercise will show too. A dog in constant pain may show other signs as well like holding its tail or head low or walking stiffly.
Great Pyrenees Breeders: Great Pyrenees breeders tend to fall into three areas of interest – show dogs, working dogs and the pet/puppy mills. The best guidance we can give is to stick with breeders who can answer your questions on the way you’re going to be using the dog.
Weight and Care:
Growth: Great Pyrenees typically have 4-6 pups in a litter. In Patience’s first litter she had 8, in her most resent she had 9. Each pup will weigh between one and two pounds at birth and will be about the size of a small Guinea pig. By six weeks, they will weigh between 12 and 16 pounds when they are well fed. Looking at the paws will give an indication of how large the dog will be as they tend to grow into their paws. They will continue to put on weight very quickly until about ten months and will slow as they begin to reach their adult weight. The females weigh between 85 and 115 pounds and the males between 100 and 125 pounds. The males will look like “skinny teenagers ” until about 18 months. If the Great Pyrenees is spayed or neutered, food should be measured so that the dog does not become overweight.
Our Male is the typical size for his breed as he has a percentage of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog.
Our Female is a good weight and size too, and is almost completely pure breed but also has a very small percentage of Maremma in her.
These are all the classified breeds in the Great Pyrenees family; Akbash, Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Komondor, Kuvasz, Maremma and Tibetan Mastiff . ( As classified by the Large Guardian Dog Association. )
Great Pyrenees have several color traits. All white is common and is favored by judges in dog shows. Badger marked is the most common coloring among working dogs. The AKC also recognizes tan, red and gray traits. As Great Pyrenees get older, long white shield hairs grow through the undercoat and that has the effect of fading out any coloring except on the ear tips and near the nose. This coat can be very fine, almost like angora fur, or coarse. The coarse hair requires less care. Great Pyrenees look larger than they are because of their heavy coat. Also, they hold their tail curled over their back when trotting or facing down a threat. This makes them look bigger. Another unique characteristic among Great Pyrenees is that they have double dew claws on their back feet. Our female though on the other hand does not have dew claws on her back legs, which has in the past caused a few of her puppies to not have any, have only one on one side, have one on each side, have two on one and only one on the other, and have a prefect two. (This is because the father has two dew claws.)
Picking out a puppy among the litter mates may be a challenge. Goods things to decide beforehand is how you’re going to use the puppy and what are your preferences for sex and coloring. The breeder will let you know what pups are available and should be able to answer all of your questions. There is not much personality before four weeks of age. Social interaction and role playing begins to bring out the personality of the pup. All pups are cute and cuddly, so the choice for some often comes down to the cutest one. What to look for if you want a good guardian, are often the pups who are the “watchers”. (When people come, the pup observes rather than greets. The family dog tends to bounce out and say “howdy”.)
Normal people do not own Great Pyrenees. The majority of owners value the Great Pyrenees for their guarding ability and so buy them to guard livestock like sheep, goats, alpacas, and chickens, but most of the dogs we’ve sold go as pets. We will try to discourage this, but ultimately we believe it is the owners choice once they have purchased a dog from us.
Great Pyrenees are the gentlest of the large guardian dog family, so they are a good choice to be with children. Some owners cherish them as a family pet because of their gentleness and easy going nature. If the home is out in the country, having the big dog provides security from strangers. They bark when somebody stops by and will often sit quietly between you and the stranger should there be a short conversation. Their large size and gentleness are good qualifications to reside in nursing or group homes. Some are even trained as therapy dogs to help people recover.
All dogs are pack animals. Some breeds like companion dogs, have had their natural instincts to test for dominance testing minimized through selective breeding. Even so, many dog actions like licking your face or placing their paw on your leg are showing submission behaviors or dominance testing. The pecking order within the pack is determined by age, sex, strength and hormones and is played out through hundreds of testing and submission behaviors. A well behaved, secure, self-confident dog knows its place in the pack. It has testing against every member of the pack – recently! It knows that the owner is the Alpha dog and that challenging a more dominant will result in punishment or having to show submission. It should also learn that all the people in its pack are higher in the pecking order.
House Breaking a Puppy:
Great Pyrenees puppies house break very quickly following this schedule: Take them out to potty: 1) every two hours, 2) after they finish eating or 3) when they wake up from a nap. They usually will not mess up their kennel, so they will sleep through the night without incident. They do need to be taken out fairly soon after awaking. Always take them to the same spot and they will quickly learn. If the dog is kept inside it is good to have a “safe” spot where the dog can do its duty with getting in too much trouble. There is a commercial product that is scented to attract the dogs to do their duty on it. This can be moved closer to the door everyday and then finally placed outside.
What We Feed our Dogs:
We feed our pups a Puppy Chow by Taste of the Wild and our female Taste of the Wild ( You can get it in different flavors) which is a grain free formula. We also supplement their diet with eggs, rice, green beans, deer meet (or legs) and raw chicken bones or parts. Do not give them pork or cow bones. However you can give them raw chicken bones. I will repeat that again, only raw bones and only occasionally. Cooked bones from a chicken will splinter and become brittle since the chicken is a bird and therefore has hollow bones. Raw bones aren’t a problem though. My dogs love chicken feet.
Sleeping is a favored activity for any dog. The Great Pyrenees’s night guarding behavior may make it seem like they are always sleeping during the the day. In reality, their sleep behavior is average for a dog of their size. Puppies, like all babies, sleep a lot. Great Pyrenees have dreams and so it is common for them to twitch during the dream periods. Some Great Pyrenees snore. Sleeping adult Great Pyrenees take up a lot of real estate, so we recommend that you do not let your puppy sleep in your bed.
Having the dog to walk gently on a lead is a real pleasure. Young Great Pyrenees seem to pick up very quickly on this skill when trained properly. Their strength and thick coat make a choke collar ineffective. Invest in a pinch collar and only use it during training sessions. Remove the normal collar before putting the pinch collar in place. Links may have to be added or removed to make the collar work properly. Make the dog sit when you stop and walk when you walk.
Health and Shots:
A dog needs various medications for a long and healthy life. Worming is necessary unless you keep the dog in the house and tightly control what the dog eats. As soon as our puppies are able to eat normal puppy food I start them on a weekly de-worming program and use Molly’s Herbal de-worming. When around other animals, it’s best to worm.
Rabies vaccination is needed every 2-3 years. Since we do not do puppy shots, but leave that up to the owner, the only shot we are required by law to do is the rabies, and since that is done the first time at about six months, we do nothing but deform our puppies and feed them a good healthy diet. This is so as to give them a good healthy boost by letting them eat right.
Great Pyrenees Health:
Great Pyrenees generally stay in good health. Some more common problems may include mats in the fur (especially around the neck and ears), the dew claws growing too long, ear infections (due to dirt and moisture in the ear), eye infections (pink eye), allergies and “hot spots”. Hot spots are caused when an area of the skin becomes inflamed. The fur will fall out, the skin will turn bright red and the dog wants to bite at it. Some ointment from the Vet and keeping the spot dry cures this problem.
Which include, under-bite, entropia (small eyeballs), seizures and hip dysplaysia. Pronounced under-bite shows up as wet spots under the chin and neck. Entropia is when the eyeballs are small for the socket size and the eye lashes stick inward causing irritation. This can be cured with simple surgery, but the dog should not be used for breeding. The cause of seizures is unknown, but from what we have heard, changing owners, being confined to a small area, or other highly stressful situations will tend to bring them on. Hip dysplasia is not quite as common as in other breeds because Great Pyrenees have not been over bred. The most common form of death that we hear about is being hit by a car or being stolen.
More Genetic Problems:
Arthritis may show up in older Great Pyrenees, especially those that spend the winter outside sleeping on the ground.
Life and Death:
Normal life span for a Great Pyrenees is about twelve years. Some live shorter, some live over sixteen years. You will have a relationship with your dog for a season and when the season is over, the dog will be gone and you will miss the dog that you loved. These feelings are normal. There is a strong cultural influence in our society to dogs to give your dog human-like qualities and rights (Anthropomorphism). These feelings are not quite normal and are easily played upon by a care provider willing to bump up their charges. Your dog is still a dog no matter how much it feels like part of the family. You may want to decide in advance to what (time and dollar) level you will be willing to spend to care for the dog as it ages. For example, maybe your dog is diagnosed with a illness at age ten and will need $200 worth of “treatments” a month. You will have to make a decision to either spend the money or say the season is over. Without forethought, this decision will be much more difficult at the care provider’s office. A family meeting to discuss, “What would we do if…?” may be appropriate as the dog ages.