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Great Pyrenees

The Pyrenean Mountain Dog, known as the Great Pyrenees in the United States, is a large breed of dog, used as a livestock guardian dog.

The Great Pyrenees is a very old breed, and has been used for millennia by the Basque people, who inhabit parts of the region in and around the Pyrenees Mountains of southern France and northern Spain. More recently, the breed served as the official dog of the royal French court (whose prominence began circa the Middle Ages, and lasted until the middle of the nineteenth century). During World War II the dogs were used to haul artillery over the Pyrenean Mountain range to and from Spain and France. They are related to several other large white European livestock guardian dogs (LGD), including the Italian Maremma Sheepdog, Kuvasz (Hungary), Anatolian Shepherd (Turkey) and Polish Tatra or Polski Owczarek Podhalanski.

Males weigh in at about 90-115 pounds, while females are approximately 85-98 pounds. Their coats are white and can have varying shades of gray or tan around the face (including a full face mask), ears and sometimes on the body; as a Great Pyrenees matures, their coats grow thicker and the longer white hair of the coat often fades the markings on those dogs that were not born completely white. Grey or tan markings that remain lend the French name, "blaireau," (badger) meaning "with color" to those dogs who are marked. Only one in four will have a pure white coat. They are well known for their back double dewclaws.


Great Pyrenees
Other names: Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Chien des Pyrenees, Chien de Montagne des Pyrenees, Montanes del Pirineo
Country of origin: France/Spain