The Golden Retriever is the perfect family dog. Cross it with the regal, zen-like Great Pyrenees, and you get more of the same temperament and then some – the ultimate addition to your home. Stunning to behold, this strong pack-leader will be intensely loyal and intimidatingly protective.
The puppies are large, fluffy, absolutely irresistibly adorable. The adult dog is a giant with a rectangular shape, a rounded head, and large drop ears. Its coat will be luxurious and dense, probably water repellent. It carries itself majestically, and its expression is alert, inquisitive, and intelligent.
Weight & Height
On average, this mix will be 25 to 32 inches (63 – 81 cm) tall and weigh between 75 to 120 pounds (34 – 54 kg). The Golden Pyrenees parent enjoys its food and has been seen at 220 pounds (100 kg) if its owner does not control its food.
The gait of the Golden Retriever Great Pyrenees mix (aka Great Pytreiver) is powerful, exhibiting efficiency and purpose. It will probably be capable of covering a lot of ground in each stride. The well-feathered tail will probably be carried gaily.
The Golden Retriever Great Pyrenees mix comes in a variety of coat colors. The coat will usually be mostly cream with gold, white, brown, or gray patterns. It can also be tricolor and, strangely enough, completely black, which is an arresting sight.
Coat Length & Thickness
If the parent Pyrenees genes dominate, the coat will be thick and wooly. If the Retriever parent genes dominate, it will be silkier and smoother. Either way, this mix will have a double coat with a warm and rather soft undercoat and a medium-length to slightly longer outer coat.
Your Great Pytreiver will probably be extremely affectionate. If the parent’s characteristics come in with a 50% split, you will have the loyalty and sweetness of the Retriever coupled with the exotic intuitiveness of the Py. Some owners have commented that the males seem more “attentive.”
Does Not Like Being Alone
You will not be able to leave these dogs alone for more than two or three hours. They will bark, get into trouble, and even become destructive. You will have to socialize and train them well enough to accompany you to work if you live alone. They are intensely social.
Will Bark and Chew if Bored
The Great Pytreiver’s parents have a genetic need to serve/work, and the Py has an inherent urge to extend its territory as far as it can. Left alone, it will play with toys, bark when it is bored and leave to search for you, unless you have installed robust fencing.
Can Be Aggressive and Unruly If Untrained
Your dog can take up to four years to mature completely and will retain its playfulness beyond that. Simply because of its size and strength, you will have to socialize it early and start training from day one. You must be able to exercise control under any circumstances.
Preferred Climate Is Colder Weather
Your Great Pytreiver will love the snow and will usually swim at every opportunity, relying on its water-repellant, warm, double coat to keep it comfortable. Don’t be tempted to cut the coat if you live in a hot area: it is designed to keep the dog cool as well.
Companion or Suitability Factor
The Golden Pyrenees has a delightful, lighthearted spirit and will initiate play by presenting a toy and making a play bow, which cannot be ignored. It might be too exuberant for toddlers and “unsteady on their feet” seniors, but it will inspire you to go out and run with it.
Kid-Friendly with Caution
Influenced by the Retriever heritage, it will tolerate small children climbing on it and pulling it around, but don’t neglect to teach young children how to interact safely. The parent Py is sensitive around the base of its tail for some reason. Never leave young children unattended with a dog.
Is Not Apartment Friendly
There is simply not enough room to keep a Golden Pyrenees in an apartment. The Pyrenees parent already has a tendency to sit and watch the world go by, and apartment living would likely turn this mix into a couch potato. This would be doing the dog an injustice.
Is a Perfect Watchdog
Keeping its family safe is a priority for this mix, and it will make the perfect guard dog. It will be reliably noisy in alerting you to strangers. Train your dog to keep watch inside or outside the kids’ room at night, and it will revel in the task.
Could Be Suitable for Senior Citizens
An older person, who is fit enough for one-hour walks twice a day, could adopt an older dog and enjoy a healthy mutual companionship for years. It would not be advisable for an older person to have to deal with a puppy or an adolescent Golden Pyrenees.
A Great Service Dog
The Golden Retriever Great Pyrenees mix would be a great service dog, including doing well in therapy and emotional support work. Both parents, and especially the Golden Retriever, are perfect candidates for this work. Both breeds have also worked as war messengers and in search and rescue.
Tends to Get Along with Other Pets If Properly Introduced
Its ancestry dictates that your Golden Retriever Great Pyrenees mix will get along with any animal that constitutes its family, including cats, birds, fish, gerbils, mice, and other dogs. Take care to do the first introduction to other dogs in a neutral space.
Comfortable on Boats
Retrievers are completely comfortable in water, and Pys swim well, so the Golden Pyrenees is most likely going to be at home around water. Consider putting plugs in their ears if they are going to be underwater. If you are boating, be sure they are wearing well-fitting life jackets.
Intelligence & Training
The Retriever is ranked by Stanly Coren, the dog intelligence guru, as the 4th most intelligent of the 138 dogs he evaluated. The Pyrenees is 64th, but makes up for this in its intuition. It might be tricky to understand your dog, which could appear aloof and be seriously laid-back.
As in humans, challenging your dog with the toys you choose for it, the games you play with it and, believe it or not, the time you spend with it, can sharpen its intelligence. Proper socialization when your dog is young will help it understand what is expected of it.
Training Could Be Challenging
You will need to be a strong pack leader and also be consistent with this mix. Train it in short sessions and present its training in a fun, challenging way. Twelve minutes, twice a day, will work better than two and a half hours all at once.
If you have to rely on a fence to keep your dog at home, it must be 6 feet (1.83 m) high and be reinforced. While this mix needs a family, if the Py genes come in strongly, it will have an inherent drive to increase the territory it controls.
Adults Eat 4 to 5 Cups of Dry Food a Day
You should ask your veterinarian to help you control your dog’s growth spurts, which happen around four months old. Be sure to always feed age-appropriate food. Use as much fresh food as you can for treats to help control obesity. Feed two or three times a day.
Needs At Least 120 Minutes Exercise Per Day
Once your Golden Retriever Great Pyrenees mix is grown, it should walk at least 9 miles (15 km) a week. You should be careful that it does not exercise on hard surfaces while it is still growing to prevent health issues later.
You will need to brush your Great Pytreiver every day to maintain its coat. You need a de-shedder with an automatic cleaning function, a pin brush, nail clipper, and toothbrush. Your dog may have double dewclaws on the back feet. Be aware it may be sensitive in the tail area.
Shedding & Bathing
Daily brushing is the only way to survive shedding. It provides the opportunity to examine the ears for injury or infection, especially if it swims regularly or you live in a humid atmosphere. Keep the nails trimmed neatly. Brush the teeth three times a week. Bathe monthly, with “shedders”
Background & Pricing for a Puppy
The Golden Retriever was descended from a yellow, wavy-coated retriever named “Nous,” bought from a Brighton cobbler in 1865 and bred with “Belle,” the now-extinct Tweed Water Spaniel. The Golden Retriever was to be the perfect talented Retriever with a superb nose and a gentle mouth. It was bred to be “more attentive to his human hunting companion that the setters and spaniels used for retrieving at the time.”
The Great Pyrenees is an ancient breed that was used by peasant shepherds in the snowy Pyrenees as long as 11,000 years ago. It was a large white dog that disappeared into the flock and guarded it against wolves and bears. Sometimes it remained on top of the freezing mountain for days, alone except for the flock it was guarding. In the 17th century, Louis 14th declared “Le Grande Chien des Montagne” the National Dog of France. It became the darling of the aristocracy, guarding its luxurious chateaux.
The Golden Retriever Great Pyrenees mix is called Golden Pyrenees and Great Pytreivers. It is supposed to be healthier than either of its purebred parents. Historically, the Great Pyrenees has been crossed with many different breeds with positive outcomes. This mix produces beautiful dogs with an exceptionally balanced, person-centered personality.
Price for a Puppy
Prices start at US$350 and can go to US$5,000. If you can’t locate a breeder, consult your veterinarian or nearest Golden Retriever breeder for a referral. Be sure that the breeder is registered and can produce documentation that both parents have been cleared for breeding purposes. This is non-negotiable.
Your mix is large, very active, and enjoys eating, so your main health concern is hip dysplasia. Certified reports on both parents must register “fair” or better. With careful attention to nutrition and amount of exercise, your dog will not develop this painful condition. The lifespan is 10 to 13 years.
Hip dysplasia is hereditary and will likely show up in later years. It is especially prevalent in animals that grow too quickly and obese animals. Ask your vet’s advice on food, supplements, and care to take during your dog’s exercise to help prevent hip dysplasia.
A breeder should screen hip dysplasia out of the bloodline before breeding. You should make sure to get the hip scores of the parents of your mix so you can make informed decisions about its food and exercise. Take it to get hip x-rays when it is two years old.
Bloat (Gastric Torsion Dilatation Volvulus)
Because your dog is deep-chested, it may suffer from bloat. Bloat is when the stomach fills with gas, fluid, or food. It often twists, preventing the vital blood flow back to the heart. The dog will go into shock. This is an emergency, and you must get to the veterinarian immediately.
Be aware of these signs: restlessness, unusual drooling, dry retching, and a tender, swollen abdomen. You can help avoid this by feeding it three smaller meals instead of one large meal. Prevent the dog from doing heavy exercise shortly after eating.
The breeder has a duty to have its breeding stock screened for common cancers. Discuss this with your breeder, especially in regard to the Golden Retriever parent. Both parents have a predisposition to cancer, especially of mast cells, immune system, soft tissue, and bone cancer.
There is very little you can do to prevent this, but you can manage your dog’s weight, avoid it being exposed to second-hand smoke, supplement food with antioxidants when the dog gets older (6 years), and most importantly, discuss with your veterinarian when it is best to neuter your dog.
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.