We got our Great Pyrenees when she was just 8 weeks old from our friend Miss Pam. She was the smallest, friendliness puppy in her litter. Her mother and father both worked as guardian dogs on Miss Pam’s farm. Adult Great Pyrenees are large dogs, averaging 75-100 pounds. They are known for their loyalty and gentle nature but they are also fierce guardians who will fearlessly defend their herd against predators. When confronted with the enemy a Great Pyrenees will fight to the death. When we first got our Great Pyrenees she was so small it didn’t seem possible that one day she would grow big and strong enough to be our livestock guardian dog.
It was hard to come up with a name for our little Pyrenees because we wanted to give her a name that she could grow into but one that also suited her as a puppy. After a few days of tossing around various ideas I asked Nate what he thought about calling her Paris. I thought Paris was fitting because the Great Pyrenees breed originated in France and because it sounded dignified, in a feminine sort of way. Nate wasn’t sure if he liked the name Paris, but once I started calling her Pear-Bear there was no turning back! She really did look like a fluffy little bear.
Today Paris is a full grown Great Pyrenees. She is four years old now and weighs about 85 pounds. Her incredibly thick, white fur protects her from the elements and makes her look like an even bigger dog. She spends most of her day sleeping near the goat barn or in the crawl space under our milk parlor. In the afternoon she wanders over to our neighbor’s backdoor where she finds food scraps waiting for her. Our neighbor Lucy has been feeding Paris kitchen scraps ever since she was a puppy, but Paris still won’t let Lucy pet her. Shyness of people is another characteristic typical of the Pyrenees breed.
Even though she sleeps most of the day, Paris is always the first one on the scene if a goat kid escapes the fence or if a vulture circles overhead. Paris hates vultures and chases them away every time she sees one. At night Paris is alert and on guard. She spends most of the evening patrolling her territory and barking to ward off unwelcome foes. The barking took some getting used to but barking is Paris’ best defense against coyotes, stray dogs, bobcats, and whatever else might be a threat to our goats. She also protects our cat, Percy. Paris is very fond of cats, especially her best buddy Percy. The chickens are a different story though. While Paris tolerates their existence, she gleefully indulges in playful urges to chase and growl at them when they wander too close to her food dish. Now that Paris has been with us for four years her barking at night actually helps us sleep because we know she’s keeping our goats, Percy, and even the chickens safe. We couldn’t keep our goats safe without our Great Pyrenees. She is an integral part of the team. Paris isn’t just a working dog either; she’s a loyal friend too.