Great Pyrenees, otherwise known as Pyrenean Mountain Dogs or just Pyrs, are a large working dog that was bred to protect sheep in the cold Pyrenees Mountains. They are strong, patient and loyal, and make excellent watchdogs as well as affectionate family companions.
What about shedding? Great Pyrenees are an average to high shedding breed with a long top coat and thick undercoat. They tend to lose more fur during spring though, as they shed their thick winter coat. So you should expect to put some effort into brushing, but they’re not a very high maintenance dog overall.
Let’s look at how much shedding they do, what they’re like to groom and what makes these beautiful guardians so special.
Guide to Great Pyrenees Shedding
Great Pyrenees are an average to high shedding breed.
Most of the time the shedding isn’t extreme, but once (or sometimes twice) per year it can be very noticeable as they “blow coat.” This is a normal phenomenon among dogs with thick, soft undercoats like Pyr.
Pyrs have long, thick top coats with fine, woolly undercoats that are mostly white in color, but some varieties have gray, tan or reddish-brown coats.
They originate from the cold, snowy Pyrenees mountain tops. And would often spend hours, sometimes days, doing nothing more than loyally watching over their master’s sheep.
So they their thick coat keeps them warm when they need it, and since they don’t need it as the weather warms up, they shed this fur (typically in spring).
They’re also quite a large dog, standing up to 32 inches tall and weighing up to 100 pounds, so any amount of shedding is going to be more noticeable than smaller breeds with less fur to lose.
Also, given the nature of the fur itself, you’ll notice it tends to float around the home more so than simply falling to the ground. So expect to see it on your furniture, clothes… everywhere.
Thankfully, it’s not hard to keep this under control. So let’s take a look at what you’re in for when it comes to grooming and keeping your home hair free.
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What Are They Like to Groom?
Pyrs are easier to groom than you might expect by looking at them. Normally dogs with thick double coats require a fair bit of attention, but that’s not the case with Pyrs.
Pyrenean Mountain Dogs were built tough. Not only does their coat insulate them in cold weather, but it’s also dirt and tangle resistant. Which means you won’t need to spend hours brushing their coat to remove matts, tangles, dirt and debris.
Brushing once or twice per week with a slicker brush is sufficient to keep his coat in good shape and remove any loose fur from his coat. And that shouldn’t take you much longer than about 30 minutes.
Tip: It’s generally not a good idea to clip the Pyrs coat because the undercoat doesn’t just keep him warm in winter, it keeps him cooler during warmer months too. This is his natural, protective coat and shouldn’t be removed.
You can use a pin brush as an alternative to the slicker, but this probably won’t be as effective at removing the dead hairs. Also, you could optionally use a deshedding brush to remove the loose fur from the undercoat which can be very effective and potentially save you some time.
If you do use a deshedder though, it’s generally best to start with a slicker brush first, to remove the bulk of loose fur from the top coat. Then use the deshedding tool to remove the dad undercoat fur.
Aside from brushing, general grooming involves bathing, nail trimming, and teeth cleaning. Nothing out of the ordinary compared to most breeds.
How to Reduce Excessive Shedding
The single best method of reducing the amount of fur your Great Pyrenees sheds is regular brushing. They only need a brush once or twice per week, but you can brush daily to keep shedding to a minimum.
Brushing is a simple and effective way to remove the fur from the source, before it has a chance to fill your home. So by sticking to a regular brushing routine, you can win the battle.
Brushing is also good because it helps distribute his coat oils, which helps to keep his coat healthy and well moisturized. This is important because dry skin and hair can cause excessive shedding.
Another thing that can cause dryness is over bathing or bathing with cheap (or human) shampoo. They don’t need to be bathed too often because they are a relatively clean breed.
It’s also worth ensuring he is consuming a well balanced, healthy diet. Because this can help promote a healthier coat which can further reduce the amount of fur they lose.
Keeping these simple tips in mind, and sticking to a good brushing regime, can make the world of difference and really limit how much time you spend cleaning up loose fur.
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Should You Adopt a Great Pyrenees?
Pyrs are large and because of this can be somewhat intimidating, and they can hold their own, but they’re known to be very mellow family dogs that are gentle around kids.
They’re the quietly confident type. Which no doubt comes from their heritage of guarding livestock of local sheep farmers in the Pyrenees Mountains, which sit between Spain and France, centuries ago.
They would sometimes have to sit atop cold, snow filled, mountain areas for days on end, doing nothing more than watching over the sheep. This takes patience, loyalty and strength.
And they didn’t just sit there watching either, they would quickly spring to action when needed to courageously defend the flock against wolves and other predators.
In the modern world, Pyrs are known to be excellent guardians of the home and those within it, and very affectionate and gentle. They play well with children and are known to be good around other dogs and cats.
So, if you’re looking for a beautiful, loyal family companion that will keep watch over you and yours, and don’t mind a bit of shedding, the Great Pyrenees is for you.
Are Great Pyrenees Hypoallergenic?
No, Great Pyrenees are not considered hypoallergenic. Mostly because they shed fairly heavily and drool often which, along with dander, can cause allergies to flare up.
When Do Great Pyrenees Shed Most?
They tend to shed moderately year round, except during spring when they shed their thick winter coat, or more specifically undercoat, which can result in a lot heavier shedding.
Are They Known to Bark Much?
Pyrs are known to bark fairly heavily and it is fairly loud. But even when it seems as though they’re barking at nothing, it can be that they’re simply barking at something you’re not aware of.
What Are Some Similar Breeds?
Perhaps the most similar breed to the Great Pyrenees is the Pyrenean Mastiff, which they are often mistaken for. Other similar breeds include the St. Bernard and Newfoundland, but if you’re looking for a large breed that sheds less than a Pyr, the Irish Wolfhound or Black Russian Terrier is worth considering.
What Is the Best Brush for a Great Pyrenees?
A slicker brush is the best brush to use for a Great Pyrenees, but you can also use a pin brush as an alternative, and a deshedding brush to save time and remove more loose fur from his undercoat.