Great Pyrenees are many things. Loyal, gentle, sleepy, watchful… how do these traits manifest in an inside dog? Pyrs are bred to be outside dogs, so how will they deal with being inside most of the time?
Thankfully, some Pyrs will be amazing inside dogs – but there are quite a few things to take into account.
Great Pyrenees can be inside dogs, particularly if they have been raised primarily indoors. Most Pyrs love being outside and would rather be outside all the time. However, a Pyr puppy who has never had a large area to roam can be well-suited to apartment life.
There are a lot of things to consider if you want your Great Pyrenees to be an inside dog. Below, we’ll look at what you should consider before making this change.
Can Great Pyrenees Be Kept Inside?
The short answer to this question is, ‘yes, of course, a Great Pyrenees can be kept inside’. Technically, any dog can be an inside dog with enough work and damage control. But will they be happy? Will they have their needs met? Will your home suffer for it?
To answer whether Great Pyrenees can be primarily inside dogs, we need to look at some breed traits, preferences, and how your Pyr might react to being in a mostly indoor environment.
Are Great Pyrenees’ Indoor or Outdoor Dogs?
What do Great Pyrenees prefer?
The answer depends on your Pyr’s upbringing and personality. By nature, Pyrs love having space to roam.
They won’t stop roaming, and most fences can’t keep them out if they are ‘on patrol’.
However, you should consider if your Pyr has always had room to roam.
A Pyr raised indoors might prefer lazing around on the couch to walking the perimeter. It’s also important that your Pyr has been well-socialized throughout their life. A well-socialized Pyr may prefer the company of your family to laze around outside.
Ultimately, you must remember that Great Pyrenees are independent. A Pyr guarding sheep on a farm is living his ideal life, lazing around in the sun and keeping a watch for predators. Your Pyr might embrace that, and therefore find indoor life completely unsavory.
Can A Great Pyrenees be an Apartment Dog?
There are a few hurdles to overcome when you are trying to raise a Great Pyrenees in an apartment.
First, they are large dogs. They aren’t Great Danes, but they are still much larger than most apartments will allow.
Male Great Pyrenees can weigh upwards of 100 pounds.
Even smaller females weigh at least 85 pounds. Make sure to check your apartment’s pet policy, because some have weight or size limits for pets. There might be additional hoops to jump through if you want to be allowed to keep your Great Pyrenees in these situations.
But that’s not the only obstacle when it comes to living in an apartment.
Great Pyrenees’ bark – a lot. They bark when they’re bored. They bark when they hear noises approaching their ‘territory’. If your Pyr accepts that the apartment is his territory, he might still bark at noises from the neighbors, people walking in front of your door, and more.
And Great Pyrenees don’t just yip as smaller dogs might. Their barking is loud and thunderous. This may present a problem for your neighbors and lead to noise complaints
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to train a Pyr out of their barking habit. It’s part of their guard dog nature, and even a Great Pyrenees with high-quality obedience training will bark occasionally. They simply can’t go against their nature.
If your apartment has a patio, you may consider letting your Pyr out to lay in the sun. If they want to be outside, this should be enough space for them to enjoy it.
While this sounds like a good idea, it can be disastrous. Most apartment patio railings aren’t tall enough to stop a full-grown Great Pyrenees from going up and over it if they perceive a threat. If you want to leave your Pyr to sunbathe on the porch, you may have to have them attached to a lead.
Even then, they’ll probably bark at passersby.
The National Great Pyrenees Rescue outlines the standard for fencing your Pyr – and it’s a lot. Many Pyrs can open gates, get around latches, and jump or climb over fencing. For this reason, patios are a good idea only if your Pyr can’t escape.
Condominium Life and your Pyr
Condos and apartments are similar. You usually own your condo, so you might have less restrictive weight limits. However, the same rules apply – neighbors might tire of the barking, or your condo might not have enough space for your Great Pyrenees.
The Backyard Requirement
Do Great Pyrenees’ need a backyard?
There is some debate about this, but most owners agree that Great Pyrenees’ are happier when they can laze around in the backyard. The size doesn’t matter. The only real requirement is the fencing, and to make sure that your Pyr can’t escape.
However, as we’ve mentioned, many Pyrs like to lay around outside. Some owners attest that their Pyrs would rather be outside at nearly any time of day.
Of course, this depends greatly on the Great Pyrenees. They love to roam and check the perimeter, and the backyard gives them the freedom to do that.
Sometimes, this need to be outside can’t be satisfied with walks and trips to the dog park. Some rescues (such as the AGPR) require that you have a fenced yard before they allow you to adopt a Great Pyrenees.
Great Pyrenees Exercise Needs
Surprisingly, Great Pyrenees’ do not need a lot of energy.
Because of their breeding, Great Pyrenees spend a lot of time charging their batteries in case of a predator attack. This means that indoor Pyrs will sleep more than you’d think. They can even be lethargic on occasion.
Great Pyrenees don’t need as much stimulation as some hyperactive breeds. They are intelligent, but they prefer not to expend the effort. However, they do need to socialize with humans fairly often. Leaving them alone for long periods is not a great idea.
Too long without human interaction can lead to boredom, which leads to barking.
You can’t keep your Pyr indoors all the time – they will still need walks and moderate exercise. Dog parks with long runs are a great way to tire your Pyr out. If they feel like it’s worth their time, that is.
See Also: Are Great Pyrenees Good with Other Dogs?
Great Pyrenees owners will often tell you that their dogs are the gentlest, laziest giants in the canine world. This is true, to a degree. They usually aren’t highly active, preferring to perch somewhere where they can oversee their space and guard it vigilantly.
It’s this temperament that makes Pyrs okay for indoor life, apartments, and other small spaces. They are a far cry from the hyperactive Australian Shephard or the destructive Border Collie.
However, they do still need space. If you can satisfy their rather minimal need for exercise, they will be happy to lay around with you the rest of the day.
They do tend to follow their instincts when it comes to guarding their territory. Even a well-trained Pyr might react to every sound like it’s a potential trespasser.
Essentially, a well-trained and socialized Great Pyrenees can make a good indoor dog if they get enough attention, and their needs are met. Great Pyrenees can be extremely affectionate, and enjoy receiving your love and being around you always.
The Size Factor
Great Pyrenees, as we’ve stated, are large. Some experts don’t believe that Pyrs can exist happily in a one-bedroom apartment or other smaller space. However, a Great Pyrenees who is completely attached to their human doesn’t need much room at all.
They’re going to be at their human’s side most of the time. If there is room for another person to exist in your home, there is probably room for your Great Pyrenees. Just be cautious about how large they can get.
Great Pyrenees’ and Shedding
One of the biggest factors to consider when you want a Pyr to be an inside dog is shedding. Like Huskies, Great Pyrenees shed a lot.
During the year, they ‘blow’ their coat almost every season, meaning you’ll likely have enough fur on your floors to assemble another Great Pyrenees.
If you’re considering having a Pyr as an inside dog, be aware that they need to be brushed often. Your couches and rugs will likely never be free of their white fur. But don’t shave them!
As tempting as it may be, shaving a Great Pyrenees can damage their double-coat. The double-coat structure of their fur is essential, as it keeps them warm in the winter and cools in the summer.
Potty Training your Great Pyrenees
Potty training can be difficult, and even a well-trained Great Pyrenees shouldn’t be left alone for long periods without walks.
Potty training a stubborn Pyr is difficult enough and living in an apartment will make it even more difficult. Crate training is a must, especially when raising your Great Pyrenees indoors.
Teach your Great Pyrenees the commands for going outside, and how to tell you they need a walk. You don’t want to be cleaning up messes from a Great Pyrenees all the time.
An adult Great Pyrenees who is well-trained and obedient needs about 4 walks a day. More walks are ideal if you can convince them to go.
However, a walk in the morning, at night, and a few walks during the day should be enough for their bathroom needs, even if it doesn’t quite cover their exercise needs.
Great Pyrenees can be great indoor dogs given the right circumstances. Of course, there are unique challenges to raising this breed indoors.
However, they are much better suited to indoor or apartment life than some working or herding breeds due to their lethargic nature.
Consider your dog’s personality and upbringing if you are considering transitioning your Great Pyrenees to apartment living.
Are Great Pyrenees’ Good with Cats?
By nature, Great Pyrenees are guard dogs. Smaller animals easily become part of their ‘flock’. They can get along very well with cats, particularly if they are raised together. You may find that a kitten and your Pyr puppy become lifelong friends. Pyrs can be great with older cats, too – just keep in mind that some Pyrs may be better suited to life with a cat than others.
Are Great Pyrenees’ Good with Children?
Great Pyrenees are gentle and patient with children. Still, they get along much better with older children. They are loyal and protective, but they are large. They can easily knock toddlers or smaller children down during play. However, Great Pyrenees can undergo training to behave better around smaller children if required.
Are Great Pyrenees Good Guard Dogs?
Great Pyrenees were bred to be guard dogs. A working Pyr was often made to guard a flock of sheep alone, following them as they wandered and keeping predators away. This instinct is still very much alive in Great Pyrenees today. They are loyal and protective of their families.
Will a Great Pyrenees Attack an Intruder?
Every dog is different, by Great Pyrenees generally only attack as a last line of defense. Usually, Pyrs will bark first, and then attempt to chase an intruder away. If these methods don’t work, they will attack if forced. Dogs who are trained and socialized well will understand the correct reaction to an intruder and won’t escalate to attacking quickly.
Are Great Pyrenees Hard to Potty Train?
When it comes to potty training, the Great Pyrenees can be stubborn. They are stubborn for just about any type of training, but persistence and patience are essential. Make sure that you are being consistent, keeping track of their tells, and praising them often, Pyrs can eventually respond well to potty training
Is it Better to Get a Male or Female Great Pyrenees?
A male Great Pyrenees will generally be more laid back, especially if he is neutered. Females tend to be strong-willed and a little more difficult to train. Females can be a bit more protective of their ‘flocks’. Regardless, it’s recommended to not put two Pyrs of the same gender in the same household. They will often fight for dominance.
“Fencing.” National Great Pyrenees Rescue, Inc. https://www.nationalpyr.org/fencing. Accessed 6 May 2021.
“Great Pyrenees.” American Kennel Club. https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/great-pyrenees/ Accessed 5 May 2021.
Knapp, Gail. “Busting Five Myths About the Great Pyrenees.” American Kennel Club, 24 February 2020. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/dog-breeds/breed-spotlight-busting-five-myths-about-the-great-pyrenees/