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Great Pyrenees: History and Appearance

History

Dating back centuries, the Great Pyrenees is a breed that has quite a long and interesting history. It is believed that the breed’s ancestors came from Central Asia or Siberia, and ended up in Europe after following the Aryan migration.

In Europe, fossil remains of the breed have been found. These fossils go all the way back to the Bronze Age, dating between 1800 and 1000 B.C. It is also believed that a mastiff type dog, whose remains have been found near the Baltic and the North Sea, is one of the breed’s ancestors. The breed also appears in Babylonian art, dating all the way back to the 3rd millennium, B.C.

Once in Europe, the Great Pyrenees began to adapt to the climate and environment. It remained in the mountains and was fairly isolated for a long period of time. The breed re-emerged during Medieval times, where it was featured bearing France’s coat of arms in bas reliefs at Carcasonne. Later, in 1407, historians describe the Great Pyrenees dogs that stood in the sentry boxes alongside the armed guards and accompanied the jailers on their rounds at the Chateau of Lourdes.

In the 17th century, the great Pyrenees became the celebrated pet of the nobility. In 1675, the young Dauphin fell in love with the breed while visiting Barreges. He insisted on taking it back to the Louvre with him, where the Marquis De Louvois also became interested in the breed. It was after that the Great Pyrenees became the favored pet at court.

It was no surprise that the Great Pyrenees became a great favorite at court. The dog was devoted, loyal, and had a fine sense of guardianship and understanding of mankind. These inherent traits were developed during the time the breed spent isolated in the mountains. The Great Pyrenees was the official guardian over the flocks of sheep that roamed, and it was the breed’s job to protect them from wild animals. The dog became the shepherd’s companion, and was considered to be twice the worth of a man. The Great Pyrenees was built for the mountains. It was covered in a long, heavy coat that protected its body. Outfitted with a spiked collar, it proved a formidable foe against roaming predators.

The Great Pyrenees was not limited to only the mountains and the courts. It was also considered to be the protector of the fishermen of the early settlements at Newfoundland Island. By 1662, the Great Pyrenees had become the companion of the people. It was bred with the black English Retriever, and that is where the Newfoundland breed comes from.

During the decline of... Read More

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