The Great Pyrenees is a breed of a mountain, working dogs that were used as a guardian and cattle keeper. The breed originates from the Pyrenees Mountains in France. The ancestors of the Great Pyrenee came to the Pyrenees Mountains from Asia Minor sometime around 3000 B.C.
The first Pyrenees imported into America entered through Newfoundland in Canada and participated in the creation of a new breed called Landseer Newfoundlands, crossing with the native breed Newfoundlanders there.
The Great Pyrenees are intelligent, strong, imposing, elegant, and agile dogs who are devoted to family and wary of strangers. This breed is often confused with the Pyrenean Mastiff because of its appearance and name, but they are not the same breed. In 1675., the Great Pyrenees were declared as the royal dog of France.
Do Great Pyrenees Have Health Issues?
The Great Pyrenees is considered one of the healthiest breeds. However, many years of poor breeding have significantly reduced the number of these dogs and led to the development of some genetic diseases. The average life expectancy of Great Pyrenees is 10–12 years.
The Pyrenees are generally healthy, but like all other breeds, they are prone to some kind of health issues. The health issues reported in this breed over the years are the following:
- Orthopedic issues: hip dysplasia, arthritis, patellar luxation, elbow dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), chondrodysplasia, panosteitis
- Skin problems: demodectic mange, dermatitis, ichthyosis
- Eye problems: cataracts, entropion, ectropion, blindness
- Ear problems: otitis externa
- Gastric problems: bloat
- Heart problems: mitral valve disease (MVD), tricuspid valve disease, congestive heart failure, heart murmur
- Blood clotting diseases: von Willebrand’s disease, thrombophilia
- Liver failure
- Addison’s Disease (hypoadrenocorticism)
- Sensitivity to anesthesia
- Spinal muscular atrophy
Health issues from this list are not ranked according to any particular order, which means that the Great Pyrenees are not more prone to diseases that are at the top of the list and vice versa. We have tried to be as comprehensive as possible, but please keep in mind that this list isn’t exhaustive and that your dog still might develop some disease that isn’t on this list.
The Great Pyrenees are adapted to extremely cold conditions, they have a long and thick coat and undercoat so they find it difficult to withstand high temperatures. When taking your dog on walks, make sure to do that in the morning and evening, and do not leave him outside without shade.
The Pyrenees are prone to rapid bone growth and development, so you should spare puppies up to 18 months old from strenuous physical training and exercise. They are also prone to obesity, so their daily meal should be adjusted to their age and divided into several smaller doses rather than one large meal.
If you want to get a healthy dog, free from hereditary diseases, you should do so from reliable breeders who will provide you insight into DNA tests, and eye, hip, and knee exams.