A dog with attitude

I am going to answer a Frequently Barked Question, or FBQ, today.

FBQ: Is a Pyrenean Mountain Dog (Great Pyrenees) the right dog for me?

I have to point out that the people asking this question have it back to front. The question should really be: Am I the right person for a Pyrenean Mountain Dog? If you’re offended that I have turned the question round then the answer to your original question is a no!

People who live with Pyrenean Mountain Dogs are generally agreed that we have lots of attitude. I think that attitude is a good thing and I’ve seen lots of quotations saying that attitude is everything, but apparently some humans don’t want attitude from a dog!

My ancestors were bred to look after livestock in the mountains, with little or no supervision from humans. We are confident and think for ourselves. If you think a dog should obey you, without question, simply because you are a human, you are the wrong person for a Great Pyrenees.

We are intelligent and capable of learning quickly. Training needs to begin early and our bipeds usually think they have the perfect puppy for a while, as we pick things up so quickly. But most of us, sooner or later, start thinking about whether we actually want to do the things we’re asked to do. Then we start thinking about ways of avoiding doing the things we don’t want to do. I myself began this phase when I was about eleven weeks old – and I’m not particularly precocious!

We need bipeds who are patient and consistent to work through this with us. A sense of humour also helps! If you have those qualities, we’ll gradually grow to trust and respect you and we’ll do as we’re asked most of the time. Training us isn’t about dominance, we respond to positive reinforcement but we’re not usually as motivated by food as people expect dogs to be. I enjoy a treat or two, but I’m far more motivated by praise or a game.

Bone-shaped dog biscuits, treats

Thank you, but I’m not hungry!

I’m a well-behaved adult and I trust and respect my bipeds – they can take me anywhere with them. But I still occasionally check to see if my bipeds are on their toes by trying to bend a rule. Of course it’s just a coincidence that this happens when I know they’re in a hurry, or that it’s raining and they don’t really want to put on shoes to come outside to fetch me in from the garden! I’ve heard that I’m far from alone in doing this!

If that Pyr-attitude doesn’t worry you, check out “Not the dog for everyone“. For those brave souls who are still with me, here are just a few more things you should know before deciding that you’re right for a Great Pyrenees.


It’s fairly obvious that we’re large, but this has lots of implications that are not as obvious – see “Santa Pups“.


We have lots of it! We moult heavily once or twice a year, but we’re generous with our hair the rest of the time – see “From hair to eternity“. I hope you don’t like wearing black!


We have a reputation for barking a lot. Our bark is loud, so it can be a cause for concern. I have barked about this a few times.

General barking – “To bark, or not to bark, that is the question“.

Preparing for the barking – “The calm before the barking storm“.

Barking at night – “Why barking at night can be a good thing“.

Aqua paw print

I hope you find the right dog for you!

See you next Wednesday!


  1. Whee piggies would need a very little dog for us because whee think you Great Pyrenees would be very hard to walk for animals as little as us, hehe. What about a nice plastic dog for us?
    P.S. the hooman says thank you for the awesome info about the breed πŸ™‚
    The Pigs xx

    • I think you’re right, you would find it difficult to take a dog for a walk! But I sometimes carry a backpack on a walk – you could be nice and cosy in that!
      I’m glad your biped liked reading about my breed.

  2. Well done Clowie, the more info us bipeds have before making a choice about our barkers the merrier we will all be! Our nicknames for our two dogs are Ronnie & Sue πŸ˜‰

  3. Such great advice, Clowie. More bipeds need to think “am I the right person for [insert breed here]?” instead of being tempted by a cute puppy face with no idea of if they have the proper environment or how to be an effective pack.

    Happy Wednesday to you!

  4. Clowie great info…you forgot to mention how very very sweet and cute you are too πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ and barking…well…I have a fox terrier…tis just a barkathon here hahaah πŸ™‚ hugs Fozziemum xx

  5. Nice one Clowie. If more people spent time thinking about the right breed for their circumstances and temperament there would be less dogs in shelters. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  6. Clowie, Another great lesson. I will love you from afar!! LOL LOL. But this is a key lesson that should be applied no matter the breed. Sometimes personalities don’t match, and this needs to be addressed before the start of the relationship. Thanks and take care, Bill

    • Thank you. Yes, dogs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, with different requirements – most people should find one to suit them if they find out enough about us.

  7. Top tips. I love that you have Pyr-attitude

  8. Ha ha looking for a better option before doing as asked is a favourite trick of Mitys and a trick which he has taught BD (I am not so thrilled about this!) Some very wise advice – again!!

  9. Very good advice Clowie. People need to really think about whether a pet is right for them and they need to realize how important it is to be there in every way for their pet.

  10. I lived next to neighbors with an older Pyrenees dog. When he died they got a puppy. Holy cow! I have never seen such energy. They had a big yard but that didn’t stop Bailey from visiting me daily when he saw me out. Of course we had a love affair but even as a puppy, he was a handful. I now live next to a poorly trained Portuguese water dog. She’s a love but she jumps on everyone and barks whenever she sees people. Her owners love her but I don’t think they are consistent with training like your bipeds. “Bad dog” isn’t enough to discourage naughty behavior. Thanks for the info. My cats will not allow me to adopt a dog but if I did it may be a boxer mix, or maybe a lab mix or a terrier mix. Obviously, I would have to do some thinking first. Thanks for your info.

    • My bipeds say I’m fairly easy to live with as an adult – I’m calm and relaxed. But when I was a pup I was just like that Pyrenees puppy you describe. I had loads of energy and I was into any mischief I could find – I kept them on their toes!
      With undesired behaviour, it’s generally enough to teach a desired behaviour in its place. I was taught from a young pup to sit to greet people – it’s hard to jump up while sitting.
      One of our cats was quite shocked when I arrived! The other one was only a kitten, so he thought I was his new toy.

  11. Great advice Clowie, my bipeds have to be pretty energetic to keep up with me! My mom said she had to baby-proof the house and change the door knobs. We had those lever-type door handles and I learned to open those and let myself outside whenever I wanted. I get to go to school a lot, because my mom says a busy dog makes for happy bipeds πŸ™‚

    p.s. Our neighbor’s daughter adopted a hound-doggy puppy. He was so cute, until he started howling…he didn’t bark much, but they had to take him back to be readopted (there was a waiting list), because they couldn’t take the howling 😯

    • Thank you. The first time I opened a door on my own, I had about five minutes before they found I wasn’t where they’d left me – I gave the bathroom a makeover in that time! I went to a number of different classes to keep me busy. I had to have my nose in something all the time! My bipeds say that all pups are tiring, but Pyr pups take it to a different level!

      I’ve never really tried howling, have you? I guess it is the sort of sound that carries and would get on biped nerves!

  12. Another good one, Clowie. And important. The question is right on, whether the biped is right for the breed. We know about that. Our bipeds could share a lot of similarities since we, rotties, are from a line of working dogs in Germany and although we are fundamentally grrrrreat family members (shhhhh pets) and very loyal we still have our attitude and need the right humans to be with. wag wag, Max, Bella, and Lady Luck (ps. from biped: this reminds me of the onslaught of puppies adopted after the Disney movie 100 and 1 Dalmatians. So many puppies were turned in to shelters because people bought the cute factor from the movie without understanding the breed. This post from you could help save a lot of heartache if people choose wisely before adopting a fur baby.)

    • Thank you. I have met some lovely Rotties. I think most of us larger dogs need calm and consistent bipeds who will socialise us and train us to have good manners.

      There was a Dalmatian puppy at my puppy class – he was full of energy and so quick. He just loved to run as fast as his legs would carry him! It’s generally bad for a breed to suddenly become popular. It’s very sad when so many end up in shelters because people don’t understand the breed.

  13. Hmmmm….. a lot of those things sounds like my huskies! It was wonderful to learn more about your breed Clowie!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  14. I love my Jeep… yes he is independent but he allows me in his life you know for stuff like feeding and letting him out! lol!!!! Keep up the good work Clowie!!!!

    • Thank you. It’s good to know that Jeep is getting you trained!! I could never be described as clingy, but as I matured I became a lot more affectionate to my bipeds than I was as an adolescent.

  15. What a cool, inFURmative post! You are a very handsome doggie boo!! *(purrs)*

  16. I know very well that I will admire you and your fellow Pyrs from a distance. πŸ™‚ My husband and I simply don’t have the right mentality to handle your attitude and size. But if we were to ever meet, I know I would find you absolutely charming and impeccably well-mannered!

    • I’m always polite when I meet people because I know that my size makes some people nervous and I really want to be friends. I think anyone should think carefully before getting any of the giant breeds – lots of things are more difficult. I know that when you do get a dog you’ll have considered the dog’s requirements carefully.

  17. What a great post !!!.. You have presented us (read us potential biped owners) a detailed feature and I would say your characteristics stand out for more than one reason…
    I really liked the way your post here is written!. Attitude clearly shows up here!!!
    Thanks for sharing. Best wishes to you, Aquileana πŸ˜€

    • Thank you very much! I think it’s important for people to understand my breed if they’re thinking of living with one of us.

      Enjoy the rest of your week!

  18. You’re so smart to encourage ‘would-be’ pet shoppers to look at all the angles before committing to a new dog. I wish everyone would read this, no matter which doggie they’re hoping to adopt. There’s far too many pets at every shelter that while tiny pups were irresistible. People need to know, some breeds can live over 15 years and while your bipeds make it look easy, training a dog that everyone enjoys takes patience, commitment and consistency.

    • Thank you. I think it’s important for people to know as much as possible before taking an animal home.
      When we go somewhere busy, my bipeds are often told how ‘lucky’ they are that I’m so well behaved – they explain politely that it’s due to socialisation and training, but I think some people would rather believe it’s luck.

  19. Clowie you were so eloquent in how you presented this πŸ™‚ Pyrenees, Samoyed, Malmutes, and many other “independent” breeds are given a bad rap since they are all breeds who’s respect you need to earn and whom you will never dominate. That is what I loved most about Oskar the Samoyed. We had a rich and wonderful life together because of it!
    Marty’s Mom

    • Thank you. We are more challenging to train, but the relationship grows and becomes very special when the trust and respect are there.
      My bipeds say that they wouldn’t want to live with some of the breeds that are considered easy to train because the dogs need constant activity of some sort.

  20. Great info, Clowie! Sephi was a little like you in that she did her own thing and required more of a motivation to obey commands. She was very different in that sense than other dogs I have had and might not have been the right fit for some people. She was very food motivated, though, and so it was a bit easier. Like Clowie, she got a lot of positive training and had very good manners most of the time.

  21. I love this post, Clowie! I could imagine chosing a wonderful dog like you – but unfortunately at this moment no dog would be possible for me. I’m working full time and I cannot take a dog with me. I love big dogs and self-thinking dogs. In every case a dog needs more attention that I in my situation would be able to give.
    I therefore think, I’d be right with my kitties. πŸ™‚

  22. Very interesting and informative πŸ™‚ I can relate to the part about attitude…from a howl I had the misfortune to be hauled into last night, people don’t like attitude and independent thinking from wolves either! Bipeds are terribly prone to misinterpreting what they think of as attitudes…sometimes it’s their own attitudes that should be called into question but dare you howl that back at them!!!!

  23. Hi Clowie: So sorry we’ve been ghosts as of late. We’ve been locked away, in our writing room working on our book. But we’re almost done which means we can get back to our blogging buds like you!! Now as for the post. Brilliant!!! We wish more blogs would put up doggy personalities & what kind of environment would be best for them. Perhaps then, there would be less abused animals & happy doggy/kitty homes!! My brother bought his wife a dog (beautiful). A Siberian Husky. Now, don’t get me wrong, they spoil that dog rotten!!! HOWEVER, I often feel very sad for my nephew, Cody because he’s a dog who is not in the right environment. He lives in South Florida (too hot) and has no companions (brothers or sisters) to connect with except my brother and his wife. He has no room to run, nothing to pull & is often hungry for just that!!! So you see, I feel that this post is not only brilliant, but warranted if bi-ped’s are looking for a dog!! You go Clowie!!! Luv this & sharing now!! xoxo <3

    • It’s lovely to see you again! You must be excited to have almost finished your book – congratulations!

      Thank you, I do think it’s important for bipeds to understand the needs of any animal they choose to live with them. It is nice if our natural tendencies can be channelled in some way that is fun for us.

  24. We know your breed Clowie and have like it when we met them at dog shows. But…the manners of any canine depend on the time the humans put into teaching, partnering and gaining trust etc. One of Mom L’s clients had a GPMD…and they had 2 other rescue mixed breed dogs and lived in a mountain community…the dogs had the run of 25 acres…but mostly they hung around the house. Well…there was a big party and Mom and Dad both went…lots of people, some young people, barbques going, music etc. As soon as Mom and Dad climbed to the wood deck….the Pyr came over, Mom had met him before..but she still held out her hand, back of hand up for the Pyr to sniff…thankfully several men were around as the dog let out a ferocious growl and at the same time lunged for Mom! Someone grabbed the dog…and the bipeds came over and said oh he is never like that and he has never hurt anyone. Sure…that Pyr followed my Mom for over an hour…always trying to get within a few feet of her, never taking his eyes off her…Mom was afraid and finally put several people, Dad included and a couple of large chairs between her and the dog…and Mom and Dad left soon after eating quickly. Not that Pyr’s fault at all…but the bipeds who had never worked with him. paw hugs, Savvy

    • That must have been a horrible experience for your mom. I’m sure my bipeds would have made their excuses and left as soon as they could.
      It’s important for any dog to be socialised and get to know what’s expected, but it’s especially important for the large and protective breeds to be relaxed. I love meeting people, but my bipeds always try to make sure that one of them can see me when we have people around. That isn’t because they don’t trust me but because they want to be able to put a stop to anything that is stressful for me.

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