The Great Pyrenees-Part 1

The origin of the breed is fascinating – although the fact that the dogs were initially bred to guard can be expected, the dog’s ancestry and status are little known pieces of information that are worthy of exploration.

Note the color and texture of this dog’s coat compared with the sheep — clever breeding!

According to, the Pyrenees “originated in Central Asia or Siberia. The breed was descended from the Hungarian Kuvasz and the Maremmano-Abruzzese.” (1)

The Kuvasz, one of the two main foundation breeds of the Pyrenees.

The Kuvasz was and is a beautiful Hungarian LGD with a pure white coat and very distinct similarities to the Great Pyrenees. The same can be said for the latter Italian guardian; the similarities continue in size, intelligence, and appearance, in fact, most people would likely mistake either for the Pyrenees due to the lack of dissimilarities. That being said, there arecharacteristics that set the three apart. Although they are all large breeds, the Pyrenees and the Kuvasz both outweigh their Maremma counterpart (the Kuvasz was likely chosen to help beef up the developing Pyrenees breed). Another distinction between the three is their personality traits, mild though they may be.

While they are all fairly well balanced in regards to their approach to guarding and family

The Maremma, the “Mr. Hyde” of the two foundation breeds (not really, they are just edgier and more suspicious, they take their job very seriously!)

relationships, the Kuvsz is more of a clown than the other two, and the Maremma falls on the opposite side of that spectrum, tending towards hostility when approached by outsiders.

The Pyrenees displays a healthy combination of the two in its general attitude – while suspicious of strangers, it is not overly aggressive until it needs to be. Though it is a very serious minded dog, it has the ability to relax and be playful with the family when it is “off duty”. To be continued next post…

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