The Great Pyrenees is one of the oldest dog breeds of the canine world. Starting at roughly ninety pounds and moving well past the one hundred pound mark, its relation to the Mastiff explains the breed's large stature. Despite their long history and their massive physique, the breed is actually quite sensitive. They dislike harsh reprimands; and though not physically weak in any way, their sensitive constitution has been known to react fatally to even the smallest doses of anesthesia. Plus, any changes in diet must be made in very small, very slow steps in order to not to upset their ultra susceptible digestive system. As they tend to bond deeply with their original owner, it can take some time for the sensitive Pyr to accept change and bond with a new family.
In complete contradiction to their resounding bark, many Pyr owners have been astounded by the fact that such a large dog can move with such unbelievable stealth. In all reality, this comes from their days as guardians of livestock and the nighttime patroling of their property. The Pyr is one that has been known to sneak food off of counters or rifle through trash with nary a sound. Their ability to quietly pad through the house is so good that the Pyr sometimes does not wait for the cover of darkness to move. They will simply wait until the owner's back is momentarily turned. To know where their dog is at any given time, many Pyr owners will take to hanging a bell around the dog's neck.
Along with guarding and herding, the Great Pyrenees was also used to pull small carts. Their massive size made them perfect for hauling tasks around the farm and it is not uncommon to now see them performing this duty at fairs and other like events. Dog carting has taken on a serious interest among Pyr owners as the Pyr is one that loves having a job to do. Specially made harnesses and carts are made just for this purpose and Pyr and dog carting enthusiasts often meet for annual dog carting events throughout the world. Dog carts pulled by Pyr's are also used in certain camps and therapy programs for disabled children.
The Great Pyrenees is a breed of dog that has double dew claws on the back legs. This is not a fault. In fact, for dogs following the breed standard, a fault will be cited in those Pyr's that do not have the double dew claw. For the most part, the double dew claw merely takes on the function of extra working toes. Though these toes may or may not have nails growing out of them, they should be maintained regularly when they do.