The Great Pyrenees is a large, medium-sized dog with a graceful, imposing build, slightly longer than tall. Its thick fur gives the impression of heavier bones and a higher figure. The breed was developed to protect sheep on steep hillsides, so it had to combine strength and flexibility. It moves smoothly and has good extension and driving force. Its weather-resistant double-layer coating is composed of a dense wool-like primer and a long, flat, and rough outer layer, which has great isolation from the cold of the Pyrenees. Its expression is elegance and contemplation. The Great Pyrenees is a capable and dignified guardian, committed to its family, and a little wary of strangers – people or dogs. When not provoked, it is calm, polite, a little serious. It is very gentle to family and children. It has an independent, somewhat stubborn nature that may try to control a less secure owner. Some people don’t have good belts and may wander around. The Great Pyrenees loves to bark.
The Great Pyrenees needs to exercise every day to keep fit, although it’s not too demanding. A moderate walk is usually enough. It likes hiking, especially in cold weather and snowy days. It’s not good in hot weather. This breed can live outdoors in mild to cold weather, although it prefers to be indoors with family members. Its fur needs to be brushed once or twice a week, once a day. It sometimes dribbles and often gets drunk.
The Great Pyrenees is a very old breed, probably from the Tibetan mastiff. It may have come to Europe with Aryans from Central Asia and Phoenician merchants. They settled in the Spanish Pyrenees and various valleys in Europe. It has been used to protect sheep since its earliest days. A painting in the times shows a pair of such guards, each wearing a barbed iron collar to protect their throat from animal or human opponents.
In Medieval France, the Graet Pyrenees became a powerful fortress guard, and in the end, a group of these magnificent dogs became the pride of many large castles. At the end of the 17th century, the breed attracted the attention of French aristocrats, and there was a brief demand in Louis XIV’s court. In fact, in 1675, the Great Pyrenees was named “the Royal French dog” by Louis XIV. At about the same time, the Great Pyrenees came to Newfoundland, where it may have played a role in the development of Newfoundland varieties, but it is not a pure breed in itself. In 1824, the first recorded Pyrenees came to the United States with General Lafayette. By the 19th century, the dogs had disappeared from French court life, leaving behind dogs who still worked in isolated Basque villages. Many of the poorer puppies are sold to tourists, who take them back to the UK and other countries. However, the dogs have little in common with the beautiful Pyrenees, once revered. In the UK, interest in the breed has declined, but fortunately, it is still insufficient quantity and quality in its native mountainous areas, so that later enthusiasts can obtain excellent breeding stock. These dogs are the foundation of modern Pyrenees. In 1933, the Great Pyrenees was approved by AKC. It has attracted a lot of attention and new owners.
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