If you're hunting for a new family member who can do double-duty as a loyal guard dog, the great Pyrenees may be the dog for you. Running between 85 and 115 pounds, he's one of the "giant" breeds of dogs. If you have enough space, he might be the perfect addition to the family.
A Gentle Giant
One of the first things to consider when you add a dog to the family is his temperament. If your family has young children, it's critical that the two-legged and four-legged children can live together in harmony. Generally, the great Pyrenees is a good family pet because he's a calm, affectionate, gentle dog. He's not a playful dog, meaning he's not into clowning around. He has a serious disposition and is very independent. Those personality traits serve him well in his traditional role of protecting land and livestock from predators.
Though great Pyrenees dogs were historically working dogs, tasked with minding the flock, most have the job of "family dog" these days. Though he has many admirable qualities and can be a devoted family member, he requires proper training and socialization to be fully integrated into the fold. He gets along best with kids if he's brought into the family when he's still a puppy. If you have cats in the family, he'll probably take to them quite well, as the great Pyrenees is usually feline-friendly. A well-socialized and trained great Pyrenees is patient and tolerant, making him a natural with children.
A Leisurely Pace
The great Pyrenees needs moderate exercise, so if your family enjoys hiking or long walks, he'll make a good outdoor companion for the family. He should be kept on-leash during your outdoor adventures because he has a tendency to wander; his instinct is to patrol borders, and he'll take to roaming to expand his territory. A fenced yard is a must for this fellow -- he's not suited for apartment life. Without enough exercise, he can become destructive. Though he's a large dog, capable of taking care of himself outdoors, resist the temptation to leave him outside on his own; he'd much prefer to be indoors in the company of his family.
When to Say No
If home is an apartment, it's best to not bring a great Pyrenees into the mix. He'll become frustrated, and he may vent his feelings by excessive barking or destroying your home. A fenced yard will keep him safe and at home when he's not able to hang out with the family inside the house. If your family is always on the go and you don't have time to train him or groom his beautiful double coat weekly, you should take a pass on this breed and look for a dog that needs a little less maintenance.