The allure of owning a Great Pyrenees can be strong for some and many believe with enough obedience lessons, handling this large breed of dog will be an easy task. While obedience lessons are a good start it is important to remember that the Great Pyrenees is first and foremost a working breed. They will not always necessarily make the best of family pets. In general, working breeds tend to have a certain personality that can be non conducive to the expectation most dogs tend to fit. Working dogs are bred for certain helpful characteristics with companionship coming in last on the list. In this case, the Great Pyrenees' main purpose was to guard animals such as cattle and sheep on farms.
Throughout their development, working breeds were typically made to look out for themselves. This meant finding shelter and food was largely the dog's responsibility. Without this dependency on their owner, most working breeds have a fully developed sense of self reliance that sometimes comes off as stubborn or willful. Many times the Pyr has been described as aloof or standoffish. Those who cannot work with the dog's boundaries and expect blind obedience from the Great Pyrenees will be in for a rude awakening. This is simply because the dog does not depend on its owner's approval to exist. Expecting to train a Pyr into complete submission will only lead to an endless power struggle.
The Great Pyrenees will of course need plenty of space to run and exercise but they will do best in environments that match their original purpose. As a protector of the farm, it is a Pyr's job to sound the alert whenever something suspicious arises. Many have come to find that a Pyr's booming bark is sometimes too much for nearby neighbors who get tired of hearing the dog's every suspicion. Their bark packs much power and is meant to resound over vast distances. A dog that barks too loudly or too often can have owners in violation of local noise and barking dog ordinances. It is yet another breed characteristic that can no more be trained out of the Great Pyrenees than training the dog out of its tail.
It is a common truth that large dogs leave large messes. With the Great Pyrenees, those expecting a spotless home would do better to opt for a smaller type of dog. Not only does the Great Pyrenees need its room to get around, they can shed heavily, especially during certain times of the year. To keep itself from overheating, the Pyr will lose its heavy undercoat in the warm summer months. To keep a home from becoming covered in excess hair, a daily routine of grooming with a slicker or other stiff bristled brush will be required. Shaving the breed down is never an option as it disturbs their natural ability to stay warm and cool off.