the latest information available to us in Joseph
P. Gentzel's new book, The Great Pyrenees From
France With Love, (available only on e-bay)
the Great Pyrenees developed into a unique breed
in the isolation of the Great Pyrenees Mountains
between approximately 3000 B.C. and 1000 B.C.
Their ancestors came from the Middle East, through
Europe and arrived in the Pyrenees Mountains
with the first flocks of sheep around 3000 B.C.
The earliest known ancestor of the Great Pyrenees
is the Kurdish Flock Guard Dog which dates back
to about 11,000 B.C. Other books tell differing
stories of its origins but they all agree the
Great Pyrenees is an ancient breed.
However the Great
Pyrenees came to be with us, its modern history
starts centuries ago in the Great Pyrenees Mountains
of France and Spain where they were bred to
survive winter storms, rough country and still
protect their herds of sheep from bear and wolf
attacks. They are white dogs because they worked
with the shepherds to fend off these attacks
and the shepherds could tell their white Pyrs
from the predators at night. It is also possible
that they were bred to be white because the
white sheep accepted them more easily.
were first brought to the United States in 1824
by General Lafayette but remained an obscure
breed in the US until the 20th century. In the
late 19th and early 20th centuries in France,
Great Pyrenees became popular and flourished
but the breed suffered badly during WWI and
WWII because of starvation, mayhem and neglect.
It was saved and stabilized through great efforts
by a combination of dedicated French, British
and American breeders after WWII.
The Great Pyrenees
disposition and intelligence endear them and
recommend them to all who know them. For the
Pyrenees are very discriminating, snobbish and
aristocratic in their taste. They can readily
distinguish between friend and foe. They protect
whatever belongs to their home, but not in such
a way as to plunge their master into lawsuits
over bites and attacks! The Great Pyrenees gets
along admirably with other breeds and is not
a fighter. ... Neither are they roamers as a
rule. They merely ... widen the circle a bit.
Perhaps no other
breed is as ideally fitted for the role of a
child's companion and protector as the Great
Pyrenees. In the company of children he always
seems happy whether enjoying a romp, a tussle,
... playing tug-of-war, or merely doing nothing.
Ever conscience of his own strength, he seems
more gentle than the smallest of lap dogs, yet,
should danger appear in the form of a stranger,
thief or trespasser his deep warning bark is
usually enough to handle the situation. If not,
his size, strength, and fury most certainly
for A Great Pyrenees
A fenced yard
is a must! Wherever you may live, it is unkind
and unfair to any dog to give him the freedom
to run about the neighborhood and risk encountering
automobiles ... Any puppy is better off and
happier, too, if kept in the house, and taken
out with the family for his walks and pleasure.
... At all times, when out-of-doors and not
accompanied by his owner, put him loose to roam
about at will in an enclosed yard. ... It should
be constructed by laying one narrow width of
chicken mesh wire flat on the ground. Bury this
piece of wire about two inches in the ground.
Fasten the edge of it to the upright wire that
you will stretch between posts to a recommended
height of six feet. Make sure that the wires
are well woven together so that the dog cannot
push his way out between them. The purpose of
the wire on the ground is to keep the dog from
of a "Pyr" Coat
In the summer,
give your puppy a cool shady place to lie and
be sure that his supply of fresh water is always
available. ... And above all, don't clip him!
In all probability he will shed out his woolly
undercoat when the warm weather comes, and a
bath at this time, followed by a good grooming,
will take most of it out at once and reduce
the shedding nuisance in the home. What he has
left will serve as insulation to protect him
in nature's way from the strong burning rays
of the sun. If you try to help him by clipping
him, you will only be exposing sensitive skin
which is unused to exposure, and you will, in
all probability, cause a very severe and serious
case of sun-burn which will be most painful
and can cause illness and even lead to death
by way of a sun stroke!
try so hard to please that they will never do
anything to displease their master. They are
naturally extremely intelligent, understanding,
and sympathetic in their actions and sensitive
to a great degree. A Pyrenees should always
be handled with kindness, not force. They should
never be allowed to get away with something
which may be wrong or develop into an undesirable
or dangerous habit later on, for they are often
very willful and a dog's memory seldom forgets.
In this respect, obedience school training is
recommended for both the dog and owner. It makes
for a better understanding between the two and
every house pet should know and obey the commands
to sit, lie down, and to come when called.
and compassion with your Great Pyrenees will
ensure many long years of companionship and
a bond unmatched by other breeds. The old saying
goes.....Great Dogs, Great Hearts, Great Pyrenees!
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