Today I'm talking about my opinion of the Great Pyrenees Livestock Guardian Dog. I'm no expert on the breed, but I've seen quite a few and I'm really fond of their personality, physical characteristics, and disposition. Obedience Training a Great Pyrenees puppy requires a proper understanding of the dogs behavioral tendencies, patience, consistency, and most importantly, persistence. If one takes into account the origins of the breed and the subsequent behavioral conformation, proper obedience training is simply a matter of setting appropriate goals and putting in a little bit of extra work!
The Great Pyrenees is a mountain shepherd's dog. Over this long period of time the Great Pyrenees developed a special relationship with the shepherd, its family, and the flock.
In 1407, French writings tell of the usefulness of these "Great Dogs of the Mountains" as guardians of the Chateau of Lourdes. In 1675, they were adopted as the Royal Dog of France by the Dauphin in the court of King Louis XIV, and subsequently became much sought after by nobility. Having a precocious sense of smell and exceptionally keen eyesight, each dog was counted equal to two men, be it as guard of the chateaux, or as invaluable companion of shepherds. While their royal adoption is interesting, the dogs main fame was from their ageless devotion to their mountain flocks, shepherds, and shepherds' family. When not working the flocks, you would find "Patou," as he is lovingly called, laying on the mat in the front doorway of the shepherds' humble dwellings.
Across the Ocean In 1662, dogs were carried to Newfoundland by Basque fishermen as companions and guardians of the new Settlement. Here it was they became mated with the black curly coated retriever, favorite of the English settlers. This cross resulted in the formation of the Landseer (black and white) Newfoundland. In 1824, General Lafayette introduced the first pair to America by bringing over two males to his friend, J.S. Skinner, author of "The Dog and the Sportsman".
In 1850, Britain's Queen Victoria owned a Pyrenean Mountain Dog, and in 188586, the first Pyrenean Mountain Dogs were registered with the Kennel Club in London and shown at the Crystal Palace.
In 1870, Pyrenean blood was used with that of other large breeds to help bring back the St. Bernard after that noble dog's numbers had been so greatly depleted by avalanches and distemper at the hospice in Switzerland. It was not until 1909 that the first Pyrenean Mountain Dogs were introduced into England for breeding purposes by Lady Sybil Grant, daughter of Lord Roseberry. It was twentysix years later (1935) that Pyreneans were again bred in a kennel in England. At that time, Mme. Jeanne Harper Trois Fontaines started her de Fontenay Kennel at Hyde Heath, Amersham, later becoming well known the world over and accounting for many exports to distant lands.
First Kennel in the U.S.A. In 1931, Mr. and Mrs. Francis V. Crane imported several specimens to seriously launch the breed in North America with the founding of the Basquaerie Kennels at Needham, Massachusetts. Their lifelong efforts on behalf of the breed provided the breed with an atmosphere in which it could thrive and prosper. They imported important breeding stock out of Europe just before the Continent was closed by World War II. The American Kennel Club accorded the Great Pyrenees official recognition in February, 1933, and beginning April, 1933, separate classification began for the breed at licensed shows.
Today the Great Pyrenees is a working dog as well as a companion and family dog. Most of our dogs never see a show ring, but they are trusted and beloved members in homes and may function as livestock guardian dogs on farms and ranches. The Great Pyrenees is proving itself very versatile, gaining fame as therapy dogs, rescue dogs, and many activities with its human companions. They are very social dogs in the family and get along extremely well with other animals that belong to the shepherd, farmer, or family. They are wary of strangers in the work environment (this includes the home). They adapt easily to other situations such as dog shows, and make extraordinary ambassadors for the breed in many settings such as hospitals, old age homes, with children, etc. They have a special ability to identify and distinguish predators or unwelcome intruders. They are nurturing of small, young, or sick animals.