The Great Pyrenees developed in the Pyrenees mountains, on the border between France and Spain. This breed is one of the oldest domesticated breeds of dog with a history that has been traced to the
Bronze Age (3500 to 4000 BC.). At that time it was used in its native environment for much the same purpose that it is used today; that of living in harmony with large flocks of sheep while protecting them from the bears and wolves. They possess great stamina, a keen sense of danger, and good fighting abilities. Due to its growing popularity, the Great Pyrenees Club of America has a code of ethics clause. Members will guarantee any puppy they sell to be free from hereditary defects to protect this breed. I applaud these people in their efforts to provide us with good and healthy dogs.
This has allowed it to evolve naturally over centuries, which among other things, means that the breed has relatively few health problems, in comparison to modern dogs. The first written reference to the Great Pyrenees is from 1407, where the historian of the Chateau of Lourdes wrote of the breed in use to guard the Chateau.
The Great Pyrenees is native to the Basque country in the Pyrenees mountains that border France and Spain. Known as Le Chien de Montagne des Pyrénées in its native France, the Great Pyrenees is known to be one of the oldest breeds of dog in the world. While similar in size and stature to the Mastiff family, the Great Pyrenees is actually descended from the ancient large, white livestock guardian dogs of the middle ages and therefore evolved parallel to most modern breeds of dogs as opposed to being descended from them. Because of this, the Great Pyrenees has more in common with a wolf, than that of a modern dog.
Having no extant ancestor, the Great Pyrenees has remained virtually unchanged both physically and mentally for hundreds of years. This has allowed it to evolve naturally over centuries, which among other things, means that the breed has relatively few health problems, in comparison to modern dogs. The first written reference to the Great Pyrenees is from 1407, where the historian of the Chateau of Lourdes wrote of the breed in use to guard the Chateau.
The Great Pyrenees is a working animal, bred primarily as a livestock guardian for shepherds. Their imposing size, strength , courage and resistance to the elements proved invaluable to shepherds, who learned to depend on the large white dogs for companionship as well as protection for their flock against predators of all kinds. Wild dogs, bears, wolves, coyotes, as well as many birds of prey and more, learned to respect the white dogs and give them a wide berth. Even humans, over the ages that threaten or endanger their flock have found themselves on the wrong side of a Great Pyrenees. The breed's natural characteristics are a calm, placid nature, which was a work requirement allowing them to roam freely among the flocks without alarming them.
Upon sensing a threat to its flock or family however, the Pyrenees is 100% a fearless guardian dog, quite capable of convincing nearly any predator that dining on its flock is not an option. The Great Pyrenees' heavy, white double coat is a valuable asset, shielding the dog from rain, wind and snow as well as providing a formidable coat of armor against the teeth of predators.
Also known as the Great Pyrenees Mountain Dog in much of Europe, the Great Pyrenees is a highly intelligent and independent breed. It requires no human intervention while in the field, which was a requirement as early Pyr's often protected hundreds of acres of open farmland, fending off any predators it encountered. The working Pyr makes its own decisions and acts on them accordingly. The breed is also known for its natural ability to sense danger, with many a shepherd throughout time owing their lives to their big white companions.
Native food supplies for this breed would have been from their Pyrenees Mountain environment. The meat sources contained a very high fat to protein ratio. Any grains or vegetables would have been the type that could grow in a short season and rocky soil. For the Great Pyrenees I recommend foods of lamb, poultry, wheat, and potato. It must have a high fat content. I also recommend you avoid feeding a food that contains soy, beef or beef by-products, yellow corn, or beet pulp to this breed.