Our beautiful guardians, the majestic Great Pyrenees, are a fixture at our farm and almost as popular as our roses! We receive questions about our dogs everyday, so I thought I would answer some here.
Why Great Pyrenees?
I fell in love with them because of how they look (white, fluffy, huge, floppy ears), and gosh, they are truly Gentle Giants. They have the sweetest souls. We only wanted XL dogs since we live on a farm and there are coyotes around. I also wanted to adopt a more rare breed. I feel like Goldens, Labs and German Shepards are easily adoptable by suburban families, whereas Great Pyrs are a little harder to find homes for due to their need for space and their size. My heart wanted to give a home to needier dogs that are best suited for life on a farm.
What do you feed them and is it expensive since they’re so big?
We feed exclusively fresh food from The Farmer’s Dog and ditched canned/dry food about a year ago. It’s been the best decision. Their coats are gorgeous, no more gas and they truly LOVE the food. Well worth the cost and very convenient. I was making homemade food for them for awhile, but to be honest, it was gross to handle all that raw meat. We are vegetarians, so we don’t keep meat in our home, nor do I know much about cooking it. The Farmer’s Dog was the perfect discovery for us since we want to feed fresh, human grade food and not have to deal with cooking it ourselves!
Are your dogs good with Seraphina?
YES! They are so gentle and protective. Buddy is especially on guard around her. They are big, but have never hurt her or played too rough around her. They are her watchful guardians.
Do your dogs work?
Nope! They are livestock guardians by instinct, but ours are pets. Many farms have Pyrs for their livestock because they’re the absolute best protectors. Our dogs just live amongst the roses, however they do take their instinctual job very seriously. They bark and protect the boundaries of our farm with great diligence! I absolutely adore this video from Oprah about the Great Pyrs at Apricot Lane Farms, a farm in our area. Makes me sob every time I watch it.
Where did you adopt from?
How do you train the dogs to avoid eating/bothering the roses?
Dogs don’t have an interest in roses like deer, rabbits or other herbivores do. The only damage they can really to to the roses is if they dig around the base of the rose when they smell a gopher. In that case, they’re doing what they should be and alarming us of a pesky gopher that’s about to kill our rose bush. We don’t let our dogs catch gophers since they’re rodents, and well, that’s gross!
How often do you have to groom them?
Our dogs get groomed once a month. The groomer bathes and blowdries them, and removes a lot of the undercoat to help them stay cool. We don’t get their hair cut like most breeds. Ellie tends to mat more than the boys, so she needs the most brushing when at the groomer.
With all that hair, do they tolerate heat well?
Surprisingly, they do! We are very careful to bring them indoors when it’s hot, give them multiple water bowls and plenty of shade. Our dogs are from the Pyrenees mountains in Europe where it snows, hence the thick white coats, so we know they’re not in their ideal climate and adjust accordingly for them. If you follow us on Instagram you know our dogs are always in our floral coolers in the summer! They absolutely love the cold.
Do they drool?
Buddy is the only one that drools. He has more jowls than the girls and Woody. He drools, but it’s not that much or gross. Comes with the territory of a large male!
I’ve heard they should live in pairs. True?
This is a personal preference I think. We have always adopted in pairs. All of our cats have a sibling, our dogs as well. I believe animals are happiest when with a pair of the same species.
Do they like to swim?
No! I wish they liked water so they could keep cool in the summer, but our dogs really dislike being wet. They run from the hose when I’m watering. They’re definitely not like labs that love being in water. Our dogs would rather be hot than get into a body of water to cool down!
Once they learn their boundaries, will they wander off property?
This is so hard to say. We don’t trust our dogs to stay home. People do let their Pyrs wander, but any reputable rescue or breeder will tell you they need to be fenced. Our dogs are completely fenced, and since we have so much land, they also wear Fi tracking collars. There are about a dozen Pyrs in our gated community and some of the ranch owners let their dogs wander, which totally freaks me out. They come up to our gate and say hello. We would not be able to sleep at night if our dogs were “lost” so the Fi tracking collars are a must. I don’t believe in having outdoor cats either due to predators or cars, so maybe I’m just super protective. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if one of our dogs or cats were killed/harmed by getting off our property. Better safe than sorry!
Are they so protective that it becomes a problem for delivery drivers?
Not for us at all! Buddy and Woody will bark, but they would never attack. They mostly just want everyone to know that this is their farm and not to try any funny business!