Do you wonder why your Great Pyrenees acts the way he does?
Pyrs can be quirky, though some are more serious than anything. These quirks are present for most Great Pyrenees pets.
Great Pyrenees are always on guard and bark frequently at any perceived threat. However, they are also lovable, loyal, and great family companions. Make sure to keep them fenced in and watch out for drool because Pyrs are extremely resourceful.
Keep reading to find out why your Pyr acts as he does!
Great Pyrenees Behavior and Personality
The Great Pyrenees is a gentle giant. Nicknamed “Pyrs”, these dogs were bred for keeping watch over flocks of sheep and other livestock. They roamed the mountains with the animals in their charge, keeping an eye out for potential threats and chasing them away.
As a pet, your Great Pyrenees is loyal and loveable and prone to lazing about the house. However, he’s always alert, keeping an eye and an ear out for potential threats.
While Pyrs are notoriously strong-willed and can be difficult to train, many Pyrs make great family pets. They endure annoyances well, making them great for households with children and smaller dogs.
Of course, every Great Pyrenees’ will have their own personality. Not all Pyrs will display all these traits, and some might not show any of them! Nothing is set in stone, particularly when it comes to the Great Pyrenees.
12 Great Pyrenees Quirks
Your Great Pyrenees has their own personality. However, some traits are shared across the breed. These 12 unique quirks are present in most Great Pyrenees.
1. Always Guarding
The Great Pyrenees is always on guard. He’s always on the lookout for danger, especially when he thinks something might threaten his family.
Pyrs aren’t guarding dogs, and they’re unlikely to become aggressive towards intruders. Instead, they are vigilant, watching for perceived threats.
They were bred to watch over herds of sheep in the mountains, always keep watching so they can scare a predator off before it attacks.
What your dog sees as a threat might be a falling leaf, the mailman, or the train going by a mile away. Be prepared to be alerted to every potential threat.
Read Next: 20 Stimulating Jobs for Your Great Pyrenees
2. Frequent Barking
Because they must warn you about everything going on around their property, they may bark frequently. A Pyr’s loud, deep barking works to scare off potential threats, and they use it to keep you safe.
However, sometimes they can be confused with some potential threats. It’s not uncommon for Pyr owners to wake up in the night to barking and growling, only to find that the tree outside is blowing in the wind.
Great Pyrenees’ take every opportunity to protect the family they love, and they may bark at just about anything.
For this reason, Pyrs are not well-suited for apartment life.
3. Extremely Lovable
The Great Pyrenees is a stoic breed, but they are also extremely loyal and affectionate. While they are too large to be lap dogs (though some will try anyway), they mostly enjoy frequently petting and attention.
Pyrs often try to replicate the attention they want. They might sit next to their favorite human and raise their paws, moving it in a petting motion to encourage you to do the same.
They’re also a ‘velcro’ breed, which can be a bit inconvenient. They’ll move around the house with you, and always want to be at your side. When a Great Pyrenees loves you, they love you with everything they have.
4. Playing Possum
Some Great Pyrenees pretend to sleep, especially when they are on guard. This helps them easily identify threats that would otherwise be deterred by their presence.
It’s a behavior trait that’s been common in Pyrs since their working dog days, so you might find your Pyr “playing possum” often.
Many Great Pyrenees’ are extremely convincing when it comes to their pretend sleep, so don’t be surprised if you can’t tell when your dog is sleeping.
5. Lazy but Alert
Great Pyrenees aren’t lazy – but they do like to lay around. They are calm dogs for the most part, outside of their monitoring duties.
They are always alert, always watching, but they do like to laze around when they’re safe at home. Don’t be surprised if your Great Pyrenees is a couch potato after a long day of assessing threats.
6. Roam the Neighborhood
Keeping a high fence is important when you have a Great Pyrenees. Not only can they jump low fences, but they do have a habit of getting out if they can.
This is because Pyrs like to survey their territory and are constantly looking to expand their patrol.
If you aren’t careful, your Pyr might just take it upon himself to roam the neighborhood, making sure that all is well.
However, this can be a dangerous habit, particularly if you live on a busy street. Always have a high fence and keep an eye on your dog when he’s outside.
7. Intelligent and Stubborn
Most dogs that are extremely intelligent are also extremely stubborn. The Great Pyrenees is no exception. During training, he may take some time to recognize you as a leader.
Great Pyrenees’ are one of those breeds that must be convinced that good behaviors are their idea. If you fail to convince them, it may be difficult to train a Pyr (especially early on, when you haven’t gained their loyalty yet).
However, once you find a way that works for both of you, Pyrs take to training. It just takes the right trainer in most cases.
There are some traits that you can never train out of your dog, but for the most part, you can still teach them to be good canine citizens.
8. Unfailing Loyalty
Your Great Pyrenees is, above all, loyal. Once they are trained, Pyrs will do all that they can to make sure that you are happy with them.
They will protect the family, stay by your side, and always take time to patiently watch to make sure that everything is okay.
He may feel like it’s his sole responsibility to make sure that your family and your property are secure. Once you have gained a your dog’s trust and loyalty, they are extremely devoted.
9. They’ll Miss You
Great Pyrenees often suffer from bouts of separation anxiety. If you leave your Pyr for long periods, they may bark excessively, get restless, or destroy things.
And as large as Great Pyrenees’ are, they can do a lot of destroying. Always make sure to take measures for these things.
Provide your Pyr with enough mental and physical engagement to keep them busy.
If you’ll be gone for a long time, arrange for someone to check in with your Pyr every few hours. You’ll both be happier if you make sure that someone is nearby. Great Pyrenees’ dislike being left alone, so try to have someone with them as often as possible.
10. Great Pyrenees’ are Laid Back
Though we’ve established that Great Pyrenees’ are always on guard, they are also great at relaxing.
Pyrs aren’t hyperalert like some guard dogs might be, though they do assess threats constantly. When there are none to be found, your Great Pyrenees is patient, reserved, and stoic.
Pyrs are also almost impervious to most small annoyances. They make great family dogs because they aren’t bothered by small children, small dogs, and many are even okay with cats.
It takes a lot to rile a Great Pyrenees, though they are particularly disturbed by visitors (announced or otherwise) and may take some training to deal well with strangers.
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11. They Drool
Great Pyrenees have droopy mouths and frequently drool. It’s an endearing trait but can often lead to lots of clean-up. Make sure to keep a cloth on hand to wipe up your Pyr’s drool, especially if you’re playing or cuddling.
Pyrs have an uncanny ability to get drool all over everything if you aren’t careful.
12. Great Pyrenees’ Love Snow
Even the oldest, most composed Great Pyrenees will run around in the first deep snow of the year. Their double coat protects them from the cold, and most Pyrs can’t get enough.
While most dogs enjoy the snow, Pyrs are bred for it. You won’t be able to restrain them, so always take your Pyr out in a fenced area if they’re enjoying the first snowfall of the year.
Read Next: Are Great Pyrenees Good with Other Dogs?
Great Pyrenees are lovable, watchful dogs. These 12 goofy behaviors may endear your Pyr to you – or they might drive you crazy. Either way, most Pyrs exhibit at least some of these traits.
Your Pyr will be a steadfast companion if you can keep up with them. Expect an alert companion who wants you to know about everything that comes close to your front door – and be prepared for lots of barking.
“Great Pyrenees.” American Kennel Club. https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/great-pyrenees/. Accessed 12 October 2021.
“Know the Breed.” National Pyr Rescue. https://www.nationalpyr.org/know-the-breed. Accessed 12 October 2021.
“Great Pyrenees FAQs.” Appalachian Great Pyrenees Rescue. https://agprescue.org/faqs/. Accessed 11 October 2021.
“All About the Great Pyrenees Breed.” Great Pyrenees Association of Southern California, Inc. https://www.greatpyrrescue.org/about.html. Accessed 11 October 2021.