Standard of the Great Pyrenees
Great Pyrenees dog conveys the distinct impression of elegance and unsurpassed
beauty combined with great overall size and majesty. He has a white or
principally white coat that may contain markings of badger, gray, or varying
shades of tan. He possesses a keen intelligence and a kindly, while regal,
expression. Exhibiting a unique elegance of bearing and movement, his soundness
and coordination show unmistakably the purpose for which he has been bred, the
strenuous work of guarding the flocks in all kinds of weather on the steep
mountain slopes of the Pyrenees.
Size, Proportion, Substance
- Size-The height at the withers ranges
from 27 inches to 32 inches for dogs and from 25 inches to 29 inches for
bitches. A 27 inch dog weighs about 100 pounds and a 25 inch bitch weighs about
85 pounds. Weight is in proportion to the overall size and structure.
- Proportion-The Great Pyrenees is a
balanced dog with the height measured at the withers being somewhat less than
the length of the body measured from the point of the shoulder to the rearmost
projection of the upper thigh (buttocks). These proportions create a somewhat
rectangular dog, slightly longer than it is tall. Front and rear angulation are
- Substance-The Great Pyrenees is a dog of
medium substance whose coat deceives those who do not feel the bone and muscle.
Commensurate with his size and impression of elegance there is sufficient bone
and muscle to provide a balance with the frame.
-Size-Dogs and bitches under minimum
size or over maximum size.
-Substance-Dogs too heavily boned or too lightly
boned to be in balance with their frame.
- Correct head and expression are essential to
the breed. The head is not heavy in proportion to the size of the dog. It is
wedge shaped with a slightly rounded crown.
- Expression-The expression is elegant,
intelligent and contemplative.
- Eyes-Medium sized, almond shaped, set
slightly obliquely, rich dark brown. Eyelids are close fitting with black
- Ears-Small to medium in size, V-shaped
with rounded tips, set on at eye level, normally carried low, flat, and close
to the head. There is a characteristic meeting of the hair of the upper and
lower face which forms a line from the outer corner of the eye to the base of
- Skull and Muzzle-The muzzle is
approximately equal in length to the back skull. The width and length of the
skull are approximately equal. The muzzle blends smoothly with the skull. The
cheeks are flat. There is sufficient fill under the eyes. A slight furrow
exists between the eyes. There is no apparent stop. The boney eyebrow ridges
are only slightly developed. Lips are tight fitting with the upper lip just
covering the lower lip. There is a strong lower jaw. The nose and lips are
- Teeth-A scissor bite is preferred, but a
level bite is acceptable. It is not unusual to see dropped (receding) lower
central incisor teeth.
-Too heavy head (St. Bernard or
Newfoundland-like). Too narrow or small skull. Foxy appearance. Presence of an
apparent stop. Missing pigmentation on nose, eye rims, or lips. Eyelids round,
triangular, loose or small. Overshot, undershot, wry mouth.
Neck, Topline, Body
- Neck-Strongly muscled and of medium
length, with minimal dewlap.
- Topline-The backline is
- Body-The chest is moderately broad. The
rib cage is well sprung, oval in shape, and of sufficient depth to reach the
elbows. Back and loin are broad and strongly coupled with some tuck-up. The
croup is gently sloping with the tail set on just below the level of the back.
- Tail-The tailbones are of sufficient
length to reach the hock. The tail is well plumed, carried low in repose and
may be carried over the back, "making the wheel," when aroused. When present, a
"shepherd's crook" at the end of the tail accentuates the plume. When gaiting,
the tail may be carried either over the back or low. Both carriages are equally
- Shoulders-The shoulders are well laid
back, well muscled, and lie close to the body. The upper arm meets the shoulder
blade at approximately a right angle. The upper arm angles backward from the
point of the shoulder to the elbow and is never perpendicular to the ground.
The length of the shoulder blade and the upper arm is approximately equal. The
height from the ground to the elbow appears approximately equal to the height
from the elbow to the withers.
- Forelegs-The legs are of sufficient bone
and muscle to provide a balance with the frame. The elbows are close to the
body and point directly to the rear when standing and gaiting. The forelegs,
when viewed from the side, are located directly under the withers and are
straight and vertical to the ground. The elbows, when viewed from the front,
are set in a straight line from the point of shoulder to the wrist. Front
pasterns are strong and flexible. Each foreleg carries a single dewclaw. Front
Feet-Rounded, close-cupped, well padded, toes well arched.
- The angulation of the hindquarters is similar
in degree to that of the forequarters.
- Thighs-Strongly muscular upper thighs
extend from the pelvis at right angles. The upper thigh is the same length as
the lower thigh, creating moderate stifle joint angulation when viewed in
profile. The rear pastern (metatarsus) is of medium length and perpendicular to
the ground as the dog stands naturally. This produces a moderate degree of
angulation in the hock joint, when viewed from the side. The hindquarters from
the hip to the rear pastern are straight and parallel, as viewed from the rear.
The rear legs are of sufficient bone and muscle to provide a balance with the
frame. Double dewclaws are located on each rear leg.
- Rear Feet-The rear feet have a
structural tendency to toe out slightly. This breed characteristic is not to be
confused with cow-hocks. The rear feet, like the forefeet, are rounded,
close-cupped, well padded with toes well arched.
-Absence of double dewclaws on each
- The weather resistant double coat consists of a
long, flat, thick, outer coat of coarse hair, straight or slightly undulating,
and lying over a dense, fine, woolly undercoat. The coat is more profuse about
the neck and shoulders where it forms a ruff or mane which is more pronounced
in males. Longer hair on the tail forms a plume. There is feathering along the
back of the front legs and along the back of the thighs, giving a "pantaloon"
effect. The hair on the face and ears is shorter and of finer texture.
Correctness of coat is more important than abundance of coat.
-Curly coat. Stand-off coat (Samoyed
- White or white with markings of gray, badger,
reddish brown, or varying shades of tan. Markings of varying size may appear on
the ears, head (including a full face mask), tail, and as a few body spots. The
undercoat may be white or shaded. All of the above described colorings and
locations are characteristic of the breed and equally correct.
-Outer coat markings covering more
than one third of the body.
- The Great Pyrenees moves smoothly and
elegantly, true and straight ahead, exhibiting both power and agility. The
stride is well balanced with good reach and strong drive. The legs tend to move
toward the center line as speed increases. Ease and efficiency of movement are
more important than speed.
- Character and temperament are of utmost
importance. In nature, the Great Pyrenees is confident, gentle, and
affectionate. While territorial and protective of his flock or family when
necessary, his general demeanor is one of quiet composure, both patient and
tolerant. He is strong willed, independent and somewhat reserved, yet
attentive, fearless and loyal to his charges both human and animal.
- Although the Great Pyrenees may appear reserved
in the show ring, any sign of excessive shyness, nervousness, or aggression to
humans is unacceptable and must be considered an extremely serious
Effective August 1, 1990