So you’re looking to add a Great Pyrenees to your household. These dogs are usually laid back, hard-working, and extremely rewarding to take care of. But you may be wondering how the Great Pyrenees gets along with other dogs. The answer is not as straightforward as you might believe.
Great Pyrenees can be great with other dogs. They must be introduced and socialized properly to avoid confrontation. Great Pyrenees tolerate and protect smaller dogs and other pets. Large dogs may be seen as a threat. Mature Great Pyrenees of the same sex are never a good match.
Great Pyrenees are typically stubborn. They may become aggressive around other dogs, but this is not always the case. With a little care and training, most Great Pyrenees can be great with other dogs.
Are Great Pyrenees Good with Other Dogs?
Great Pyrenees generally do well with dogs and other household pets. While this breed can be aggressive towards potential threats, smaller dogs are usually taken into their ‘flock’ like an animal under their care.
Great Pyrenees were bred as guard dogs to flocks of sheep. Part of this job description means fending off predators and protecting the animals it sees as a ‘charge’. Most other dogs tend to fall into this category, provided they are introduced and socialized correctly.
This breed tends to be territorial, so take that into account. The irritations of smaller dogs usually don’t bother the Great Pyrenees, as they are usually mild-tempered. There might be some fighting as the pack order is established. It’s a good idea to introduce other dogs slowly.
Larger dogs, especially those in giant breed categories, may be perceived as a threat. Take special care with the following breeds:
- German Shepherds
- Pit Bulls
- Wolf Hybrids
- Bulldogs (of any variety)
- Saint Bernards
- Chow Chows
- Great Danes
If possible, choose a puppy to bring into your Great Pyrenees’ household rather than a mature dog.
Getting another Great Pyrenees as a companion for your current dog might not work. Mature Great Pyrenees of the same sex nearly always fight unless they are raised together.
The Great Pyrenees ‘Same Sex’ Problem
Great Pyrenees can be great with other dogs, given enough time. However, you should avoid adding more than one mature Great Pyrenees of the same sex to your household.
According to National Pyr Rescue, male Great Pyrenees around the same age (past puppyhood) tend to be aggressive towards each other. May agree that mature males, especially those introduced in adulthood, can’t live together without fights.
That’s because of the Great Pyrenees’ infamous isolated nature. Great Pyrenees were bred as guard dogs for sheep herds, which means they were alone most of the time. They take their job seriously. Other Great Pyrenees who don’t fall in with their idea of pack leadership are quickly dealt with.
Mature female Great Pyrenees are a little less aggressive. Still, most rescues don’t recommend placing mature females in the same household. Many of these rescues will outright refuse an adoption if there is another Great Pyrenees of the same sex in the household.
Some success has been found with placing Great Pyrenees puppies of the same sex together. If the dogs grow up in the same household, they might establish a pack hierarchy early. This only works some of the time.
Even if your Great Pyrenees of the same sex are raised together, they can still become aggressive at any time. Dogs who have lived together for years can get tired of each other or make each other angry at any time. It’s best to avoid pairing two Great Pyrenees of the same sex unless their personalities are complementary.
How to Train your Great Pyrenees to be Good with Other Dogs
Great Pyrenees are intelligent dogs, which makes them seem stubborn and unwilling to train. Some training centers even insist that they are not trainable, which is false. To professionally train a Great Pyrenees, you need to convince them that it’s in their best interest.
To train your Great Pyrenees to be good with other dogs, you need to first understand their psychology. These dogs are working dogs, and they take their jobs and their instincts seriously. You’ll need to do some work to train them away from these natural inclinations.
The first step towards teaching your Great Pyrenees to do anything (especially get along with other dogs) is obedience training.
It’s no secret that Great Pyrenees are big dogs. While they are classified as a giant breed, most of their size comes from their fluffy double coat. This means they are more difficult to train and may be slow to respond to commands.
Great Pyrenees are also stubborn, due to their amazing intelligence. Training them takes a lot of work, and training them to work with other dogs may be fruitless. It all depends on the type of training you choose and the personality of your dog.
Dog Training your Great Pyrenees
Considering the Great Pyrenees’ unique breed traits and personalities are key to training. The Great Pyrenees Rescue of Greater Chicago recommends attending training classes where you and your dog work together. If the Great Pyrenees trains with a stranger, they may not respect your order in the pack when they come home.
It is possible to help your dog learn to be good with other dogs, particularly if they are aggressive with them. With a Great Pyrenees, this is going to take a lot of time and patience. You should begin this training before you get another dog to minimize accidents or injuries.
Overall, if training your Great Pyrenees is something you want to pursue, expect to be met with a challenge. It can be done, but you’ll need a lot of patience, perseverance, and the correct type of training to help them integrate.
Introducing Your Great Pyrenees to a New Dog
Jenn Kyzer, a behavior trainer, recommends giving dogs space to get used to each other. Whatever steps you take to avoid fights between other dog breeds must be followed meticulously with Great Pyrenees.
Keep in mind that Great Pyrenees are independent. They are large, difficult to control, and may become aggressive even with obedience training.
Consider the following advice for introducing dogs (especially Great Pyrenees) to each other.
- Keep the dogs separate. If you have room in your yard for a smaller fenced area, use this to keep the new dogs apart. This way, they can get used to each other without injury.
- Use neutral ground. When you introduce the dogs, do it on neutral territory. Great Pyrenees can be territorial. They are always attempting to protect their flock. Neutral territory can help reduce the initial aggression.
- Stay calm. Dogs are good at reading the emotions of their owners. This is especially true with the Great Pyrenees. If you remain calm and at ease with the other dog (and the other dog’s handler), they will be more at ease with the meeting.
- Distance is key. When meeting for the first time, maintain distance between the dogs. Use leashes. Slowly move the dogs closer together and immediately back up if either dog begins to show signs of aggression.
- Be patient. Getting your Great Pyrenees to accept another dog may take time. Make sure that you don’t rush them and keep treats on hand. The process may take a while.
- The leash is important. Keep your Great Pyrenees on a loose leash but keep it short. Don’t give him a lot of room to roam away from you. Make sure that you are moving with your dog as required.
Experts don’t recommend bringing another dog home right away. Make sure that you have the dogs meet each other beforehand to avoid fights.
The best way to get a Great Pyrenees to accept another dog is to raise them together. You can also bring a second dog in as a puppy – this may trigger your Great Pyrenees’ guard instinct. As stated, avoid bringing in another mature Great Pyrenees of the same sex.
Are Great Pyrenees Good with Cats?
The good news is that Great Pyrenees are good with cats. Because cats are much smaller and don’t present much of a threat (according to the dog), they don’t tend to be aggressive towards felines. Of course, raising the cat and your Great Pyrenees together is a great way to make them get along better.
However, if they are introduced slowly and kept separate at first, Great Pyrenees and cats can get along great.
Great Pyrenees tend to guard and protect. Cats are much smaller (particularly kittens) and can quickly become part of the ‘flock’. Of course, consider your dog’s personality. Some Great Pyrenees will do much better with cats than others.
Introducing your Great Pyrenees to your Cat
For best results, make sure to follow the guidelines for introducing your cat and your dog. Cats and Great Pyrenees can both be very territorial. Give them their own spaces first.
- Cats need personal space. Make sure that your cat has space away from the dog. Higher areas or closed-off spaces give your cat a sense of security. Make sure that there are places the cat can go to escape the dog’s interest if it wants.
- Keep Your Dog Busy. Make sure to keep your dog stimulated, mentally and physically. Plenty of toys, exercise, and runs in the yard can help keep him from bothering the cat as entertainment.
- Allow them to interact. Let them interact on their terms. Make sure that you aren’t hovering but stay close enough that you can break up a fight if it happens. Most cats will run if your Great Pyrenees shows signs of aggression, but some may want to fight.
- Separate food and toys. Keep your dog and cat water bowls, food bowls, beds, and toys separate from each other. It’s important to give them their own spaces. Keeping separate food bowls can help them avoid food-based aggression, a common reason that some cats and dogs don’t get along.
Great Pyrenees are gentle around creatures they don’t consider threats. Allow the cat and dog time to meet each other and get used to their space before they have a face-to-face meeting. This is the best way to ensure that your Great Pyrenees gets along with your feline companion.
Are Great Pyrenees Good with Kids?
The Great Pyrenees has some unique breed traits and instincts. You might be wondering if they are safe around your kids.
Great news! Great Pyrenees are great with people, especially kids. If you’re looking for a guard dog for your little ones, you can’t get much better than the Great Pyrenees. The Great Pyrenees Rescue of Greater Chicago cites the breed’s sense of responsibility and its guard-dog instincts as hallmarks of this.
Be aware that Great Pyrenees take play-fighting very seriously. In any situation where the dog perceives that a child may be hurt, they will become aggressive. They are not able to separate playful fighting from real danger in this way.
However, Great Pyrenees are ideal for households with younger children. Supervision is necessary. Great Pyrenees thrive when under the attention of young children and will protect them with fierce loyalty when required.
The Great Pyrenees can be a great addition to your household, but there are things you need to consider when it comes to other dogs. This breed is singularly stubborn, difficult to train, and nearly impossible to corral. If you can deal with the quirks of this breed, they can do great around other dogs. Obedience training is recommended if you want to bring another dog into a home with a Great Pyrenees.F
“Battle of the Same-Sexes!” National Pyr Rescue, National Pyr Rescue, 2007, www.nationalpyr.org/same-sex-aggression.
Knapp, Gail. “Busting Five Myths About the Great Pyrenees.” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 20 Apr. 2021, www.akc.org/expert-advice/dog-breeds/breed-spotlight-busting-five-myths-about-the-great-pyrenees/
“Is A Pyr For Me?” Great Pyrenees Rescue of Greater Chicago, Great Pyrenees Rescue of Greater Chicago, 2001, http://www.gpcgc.org/pyrforme.htm#:~:text=Great%20Pyrenees%20generally%20get%20along,along%20well%20together%20as%20housepets
“Are Great Pyrenees Good With Cats?” Animal Path, AnimalPath.org, 2021, https://animalpath.org/are-great-pyrenees-good-with-cats/