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Le Grande Chien des Montagnes

Chien de Montagne des Pyrenees
Pyrenean Mountain Dog

Great Pyrenees




​​These dogs take their name from the mountain range in southwestern Europe where they long have been used as guardians of the flocks. In the United States they are called Great Pyrenees. In the United Kingdom and on the continent of Europe, they are known as the Pyrenean Mountain Dog. In their native France, they are Le Chien de Montague des Pyrenees or Le Chien des Pyrenees. These dogs are sometimes also referred to as 'pastou'(pronounced patou) meaning shepherd in old French. Whatever the name, it is the beautiful white dog with a "certain elegance" which for centuries has been the working associate of peasant shepherds high on the mountain slopes; the dog "discovered" by French nobility in the seventeenth century and elevated to the status of court dog of France. As a race the Pyrenean dog dates back far into antiquity, where its fossil remains are found in deposits of the Bronze Age, 1800-1000 B.C.

In 1675, they were adopted as the Royal Dog of France by the Dauphin, Louis XIV, and subsequently became much sought after by nobility. Having a precocious sense of smell and exceptionally keen eyesight, each dog was counted equal to two men, be it as guard of the chateau, as invaluable companion of shepherds or as useful pack and message carrying animal across the mountains. As a protector of the family, no breed could be more devoted, sensible and wise. Tidy and fastidious by nature and despite their size, are ideally suited to life as a family pet. Today, Great Pyrenees Mountain Dogs are protective companions, show obedience dogs, livestock guardians and goodwill ambassadors doing therapy work in hospitals and seniors homes. All in all, these dogs are intelligent, noble and most of all a great family friend. They are gentle and kind by nature, in particular around kinds and even babies.

General Appearance

The Great Pyrenees dog conveys the distinct impression of elegance and unsurpassed beauty combined with great overall size and majesty. Have a white or principally white coat that may contain markings of badger, gray, or varying shades of tan. They possess a keen intelligence and a kindly, while regal, expression.


Minimum shoulder height: dogs: 70 cm (27½ ins); bitches: 65 cm (25½ ins).

Most will considerably exceed this, great size is essential provided type and

character are retained. Minimum weight: dogs: 50 kg (110 lbs);

bitches: 40 kg (88 lbs); these weights apply only to specimens of minimum height,

taller ones should be heavier. Weight always in proportion to height, giving a

powerful dog of great strength.


The head is not heavy in proportion to the size of the dog. It is wedge shaped with a slightly

rounded crown.

Expression--The expression is elegant, intelligent and contemplative.

Eyes--Medium sized, almond shaped, set slightly obliquely, rich dark brown. Eyelids are close fitting with black rims.

Ears--Small to medium in size, V-shaped with rounded tips. Normally carried low, flat, and close to the head.

Teeth--A scissor bite is preferred, but a level bite is acceptable.

Faults--Too heavy head (St. Bernard or Newfoundland-like). Too narrow or small skull.

Neck, Topline, Body

Neck--Strongly muscled and of medium length, with minimal dewlap.

Topline--The backline is level.

Body--The chest is moderately broad. The rib cage is well sprung, oval in shape, and of sufficient depth to reach the elbows.

Tail--The tailbones are of sufficient length to reach the hock. The tail is well plumed, carried low in repose and may be carried over the back, "making the wheel," when aroused.

Shoulders--The shoulders are well laid back, well muscled, and lie close to the body.

Forelegs--The legs are of sufficient bone and muscle to provide a balance with the frame. Each foreleg carries a single dewclaw. Front

Feet--Rounded, close-cupped, well padded, toes well arched.


The weather resistant double coat consists of a long, flat, thick, outer coat of coarse hair, straight or slightly undulating, and lying over a dense, fine, woolly undercoat. The coat is more profuse about the neck and shoulders where it forms a ruff or mane which is more pronounced in males. Longer hair on the tail forms a plume. There is feathering along the back of the front legs and along the back of the thighs, giving a "pantaloon" effect. The hair on the face and ears is shorter and of finer texture.

Faults--Curly coat. Stand-off coat (Samoyed type).


White or white with markings of gray, badger, reddish brown, or varying shades of tan. Fault--Outer coat markings covering more than one third of the body.

Gait/ Movement

The Great Pyrenees moves smoothly and elegantly, true and straight ahead, exhibiting both power and agility. The stride is well balanced with good reach and strong drive. The legs tend to move toward the center line as speed increases. Ease and efficiency of movement are more important than speed.


Character and temperament are of utmost importance. In nature, the Great Pyrenees is confident, gentle, and affectionate. While territorial and protective of his flock or family when necessary, his general demeanor is one of quiet composure, both patient and tolerant. He is strong willed, independent and somewhat reserved, yet attentive, fearless and loyal to his charges both human and animal.

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