Before you adopt a rescue Pyr to be a new addition to your family, there are a few things that make this breed different from others. So many pyrs end up in shelters or rescue because they have often been overbred, unsocialized, underfed and neglected on large farms or with backyard breeders. Overall, Pyrs are calm, gentle giants who make wonderful pets when owners understand their unique nature. The vast majority of our pyrs are happiest when guarding their new human family and other household pets.
The Great Pyrenees is one of the oldest livestock guardian dog breeds, and while most no longer “guard” without proper training, they still have the innate sense to think independently. This is one of the biggest differences between Pyrs and other breeds - most breeds were developed to take commands from people, while Pyrs were encouraged to work (and think) on their own. This independent thinking can be seen in their distinctive personalities. While each pyr has their own personality, these are the most common traits.
There is a potential for a Great Pyrenees to not get along with dogs of the same sex as adults. As with any new addition, practice slow, supervised introductions with your current dogs and watch for any signs of aggression during your trial adoption period.
Pyrs BARK as part of their guarding routine. Many are surrendered as a result of noise complaints. Pyrs bark as part of their natural behavior; it is their first line of defense against predators.
Pyrs drool, some more than others.
Pyrs ROAM! They require secure fencing, preferably at least 5 feet high. Invisible fencing will not keep a Pyr on its property and can cause harm to them.
A Pyr off-leash, outside of a fenced area, is called "dis-a-Pyr" and will rarely turn around and come home after exploring your neighborhood.
They are not easily obedience-trained. With a Pyr, every day is training day. Owners need a basic understanding and patience as to how to train (with positive reinforcement) a dog that thinks they know better than you. They require a strong and confident pack leader, or they will take over.
Great Pyrenees are NOT a larger version of a golden retriever looking to please. They are NOT herding dogs; they GUARD. Some Pyrs can be particularly protective of "their" family and property. Assess and take precautions to minimize situations that could result in any harm to either people or animals.
Pyrs have thick fur and shed (or "blow") their undercoats twice a year. Owners need to keep up with brushing to avoid matting and skin problems.
Pyrs are known for digging craters in yards to keep cool.
Pyrs are nocturnal and will still be on guard (and barking) at night, just as they would be as flock guards.