Everything you need to know to buy or adopt a Great Pyrenees puppy or adult dog.


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Great Pyrenees!

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Great Pyrenees dog breed

Buying or Adopting a Great Pyrenees

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2017


Is a DOG really the right pet for you?

I've been helping people choose and find dogs for over 35 years now, and I have to say that for many people, dogs are not ideal pets.

Pros AND Cons of Owning a Dog


Should you get a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog?

Don't set your sights on any purebred dog until you read these three eye-opening articles:

The Truth About Purebred Dogs

The Truth About Crossbred Dogs

The Truth About Mixed Breed Dogs


Is a Great Pyrenees the right breed for you?

Great Pyrenees: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

Great Pyrenees Health Problems


Are YOU right for a Great Pyrenees?

Great Pyrenees were developed to work as livestock guardians, living outdoors among their charges. So ideally you have farm animals that need protection from predators. If you just want a pet, there are far better choices, unless you come upon a nice mellow adult Great Pyrenees offered as a family companion by a Rescue organization.

Can you provide what this breed needs?

  • Fenced yard (not an electronic/underground fence)
  • No very small dogs in the household
  • No dogs of the same sex in the household
  • No cats in the household
  • Restricted exercise when young – until maturity (at least 18 months old), no forced running (beside a jogger or bicyclist), no long-distance treks, minimal jumping
  • Ample exercise after maturity – enough ongoing exercise that your Great Pyrenees stays slim and is tired enough to sleep contentedly and not get into mischief
  • "Mental exercise" – interesting activities that keep the mind stimulated, such as a dog sport (carting or sledding)
  • A meat-heavy diet, either homemade or commercial – be aware that meat is expensive
  • An owner with enough money to treat the health problems Great Pyrenees are prone to (pet health insurance can really help here!)
  • An owner who is okay with heavy shedding
  • Commitment to establish the proper Leader-Follower relationship with your Great Pyrenees, teaching him to listen to you and do what you say

Should you get a male or female Great Pyrenees?

Symbols for male and female Male Dogs vs. Female Dogs
Which one makes a better pet?


Should you get a young puppy, an older puppy, or an adult dog?

Girl hugging a dog Puppies vs. Adult Dogs
What age should your new Great Pyrenees be?


Where can you buy or adopt a Great Pyrenees?

Great Pyrenees are moderately common in the United States. Out of 189 breeds in the American Kennel Club, where 1 is most popular and 189 is least popular, Great Pyrenees rank 67th. So they're not that hard to find.

Adopting From Dog Rescue Organizations
Great Pyrenees are often available from Dog Rescue groups. Owners may give up their Great Pyrenees when it becomes apparent that the dog is too much for them to handle. There might be dominance issues, or aggression toward other animals. You would need to provide these dogs with the exercise, training, and socialization that they are lacking.

Adopting From Public Animal Shelters and Humane Societies
Great Pyrenees can sometimes be found here, but shelter personnel may label any giant furry white dog as a Great Pyrenees, even when it's not. Great Pyrenees rescue groups do keep their eyes peeled on shelters and humane societies across the country, and if a Pyr turns up at a shelter, the rescue group does try to move the dog into their rescue network.

Buying From a Dog Breeder
You can buy a Great Pyrenees from a show breeder, who breeds Great Pyrenees to match a detailed standard of appearance for the dog show ring.

Or you can buy a Great Pyrenees from a performance breeder who produces livestock guardians par excellence.

You can also buy a Great Pyrenees from people who "just breed pets" or "just had one litter." But should you? Be sure to read the article to learn more about these people.

Here's one difference between a responsible breeder and an irresponsible breeder – BOTH PARENTS of a Great Pyrenees puppy should have:

  • a certificate from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) – dated within the past year – certifying the dog to be free of eye diseases
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) or PennHip certifying the dog to have normal hips
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) certifying the dog to have normal knees
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) or a report from a veterinary cardiologist – dated within the past year – certifying that the dog has had an Advanced Cardiac Exam and has a normal heart

If a seller can't show you those certificates, the puppies are higher risk for health problems. You might choose to accept that risk. But then you need to be willing (and able) to pay a couple thousand bucks for future surgeries and lifelong meds if your Great Pyrenees ends up blind and crippled.

Puppy in a pet shop window Pet Shop Puppies: Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store
Great Pyrenees are occasionally seen in pet shops. I have plenty to say about buying a puppy from a pet shop!


Related Articles

Girl holding up a puppy and looking at him How To Choose a Good Great Pyrenees Puppy
How to test the temperament and personality of Great Pyrenees puppies and pick the best puppy in a litter.


Pedigree parchment AKC Registered Puppies: Are AKC Papers Important?
Should you consider buying only AKC registered Great Pyrenees puppies? Do AKC papers and pedigrees really matter?


To help you train and care for your dog

book cover To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.

book cover My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.