A descendent of the Hungarian Kuvasz and the Maremmano Abruzzese, the Great Pyrenees is also related to the St.Bernard and the Newfoundland. With a history of being a guard dog to livestock and chateau, the breed goes back to the 1800s. It is not clear if the Great Pyrenees originated in Europe, Asia or Siberia, but undoubtedly, it is a mountain dog that stayed on high mountain ranges in the Middle Ages. It later became popular with the French noble. Protecting sheep, rescuing people, pulling sledge, war dog–these were some of the roles played by this breed.
The Great Pyrenees is widely recognized by its pure white, fluffy coat. The coat, however, can also have gray or tan markings around the face, where sometimes it is like a mask, and on ears or parts of the body. This breed is large and heavy, though well-balanced. The wedge-shaped head is not heavy in proportion to the body; intelligent, graceful expression; almond-shaped, dark eyes; and v-shaped, round-tipped ears; are some of the breed’s traits.
Grey with white spots before the age of two, then they grow into their adult coats that may be pure white, cream or light tan with darker markings around the face and ears. The skin, nose and claws are black.
A serious, well-mannered and calm breed, the Great Pyrenees is a brilliant guard dog, laying down its life for its owners if such a situation arises. The breed is great with children and loves its owner unconditionally. However, it is wary of strangers, whether human or canine, though they are good with cats. An independent breed, the Great Pyrenees can sometimes be stubborn and dominant with a diffident owner. They are a bit difficult to train and one has to patient while handling it. The breed needs good amount of socialization during puppyhood.
Hip dysplasia and skin problems during hot weather are the Great Pyrenees’s major health concerns.
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