Breed Characteristics

Before adopting a Pyr you must understand their characteristics. The lack of understanding their inherent qualities and heritage causes Pyrs to be surrendered or in some instances returned to us.  The following are the most common issues:

Uploaded File: characteristics.jpgBarking – Pyrs Bark!! They bark much more than most dogs and they bark at anything near your property. This is their way to defend and protect you and their property borders. Great Pyrenees can NOT be left outside in a neighborhood for prolonged periods of time or you will definately have neighbor problems. They are normally calm and well behaved in the house when left alone but are NOT apartment dogs due to close neighbors.

Wandering – Most Pyrs wander and all are best kept in solid fencing. Many Pyrs do NOT respect underground electric fence systems and are considered, by most underground fencing companies, to be in the top 5 ‘high risk’ dogs for NOT accepting this type of fencing. The other problem with underground electric fencing is that it does NOT keep strangers and animals OUT of your property. This can be a potential problem for these protective dogs. Due to the need to walk the boundaries of your property in order to “do their job” they can NOT be tied. Prolonged tying can cause aggression.

LEASHES – While some select Pyrs can be trained to hike off-leash, most Great Pyrenees can not be trained for off leash work. Their nature is to investigate all areas in their access. Therefore, most Pyrs are leash-walked for their entire lives.

Obedience – While many breeds live to ‘please their owners” the Pyr has an attitude that says “you’re swell but…what’s in it for me!” The Great Pyrenees is an independent minded and very intelligent dog. The breed originated to think for themselves with the flock and worked independent of the shepherd or human commands. This differentiates them from the herding and hunting breeds that originated to obey human direction/commands.

Therefore if you want a dog that responds to obedience commands like a Golden Retriever, German Shepard or Poodle this is definitely NOT the breed for you!

Pyrs do NOT respond to the traditional compulsory obedience model based on repetition and heavy correction. Establishing mutual respect is vital for a healthy relationship with your Pyr. A relationship of mutual respect takes time spent with you r dog, consistent language and positive reinforcement. There is no shortcut and you will not achieve this in an 8-week obedience course; it i s a lifetime commitment.

If you are ‘up for the challenge,’ your Pyr will truly teach you what it is like to have a “peer/pyr&rdquo ; relationship with a dog!

Marking – One way of defending property boundaries is to urinate, defecate and walk a path along property borders. While this is desirable on a sheep farm, many homeowners do not appreciate this practice!

Digging – Due to the heavy coat Pyrs love to dig in several places in the yard to keep cool. Some of this can be discouraged but most Pyr owners find they need to fence off favorite flowerbeds!