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Pyrenean Mountain Dog

Possibly the best known of the livestock guardian breeds, the Pyrenean Mountain Dog is an immensely strong, huge, heavy bodied dog with a thick coat. Despite their size they should be elegant and well balanced with a smooth movement driven by powerful hindquarters.

10 – 12 years
36 – 54kg
66 – 81cm
They are typically white or white with patches of badger, wolf-grey, lemon, orange or tan on their heads, ears and root of the tail
UK Kennel Club Groups
The need-to-know
  • Dogs suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Generally healthy breed
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys more than two hours of walking a day
  • Giant dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks, alerts and may be physically protective/suspicious of visitors
  • Might not like other dogs
  • May need additional training to live with other pets
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a large garden
  • Best suited to countryside
  • Can be left occasionally with training
Generally healthy breed

The Pyrenean Mountain Dog is generally a hardy breed but can be prone to: 
- Hip dysplasia
- Panosteitis 
- Laryngeal paralysis¹, a condition where nerve damage develops in the vocal cords and this can lead to problems breathing.
- Deafness²
- Multifocal retinopathy³ which is a disease affecting the back of the eye which may lead to vision loss but may also not cause any signs.
Priority Kennel Club health schemes and testing:
- Hip dysplasia screening scheme 

¹H. Vandenberghe, 'Juvenile‐onset polyneuropathy in American Staffordshire Terriers', 2018, Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
²G. M. Strain, 'Genetics of Deafness in Dogs', 2015, Fronteers in Veterinary Science
³B. H. Grahn, 'Multifocal retinopathy of Great Pyrenees dogs', 1998, Veterinary Ophthalmology


Whilst Pyreneans can make affectionate and loving companions to their families, they are inclined toward aggression to strange dogs, particularly those of a similar size. Strangers will be at best mistrusted and at worst, a Pyrenean may react aggressively to those they deem unwelcome and threatening, so careful socialisation and training is advised.

Often described as headstrong and stubborn, the reality is that this is a bred long bred for a willingness to use aggression if they think necessary and an independent nature, ready to make decisions for themselves without the input of their owners. This means they really are not suitable for first-time owners as they are hard to motivate in training and must be managed very carefully.

Did You Know?

  • The Pyrenean Mountain Dog is strangely popular within the Japanese manga and anime culture, with characters featuring in several manga series’ including Fullmetal Alchemist and Naruto amongst others.
  • In 2014 a Pyrenean Mountain dog, ‘Duke’ became Mayor of Comorant, a small town in Minnesota where he held the (ceremonial) role for four consecutive terms!
  • This breed is naturally nocturnal as they were bred to guard flocks of sheep and herds of cattle at night.
  • Queen Victoria of England owned a Pyrenean Mountain Dog in the mid-19th century.
  • In 1870, blood from Pyrenean Mountain Dogs was used at a hospice in Switzerland to help revive the St. Bernard after so many had suffered injuries from avalanches and distemper.
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