Gentle Giant: Great Pyrenees Dog
When my now 29-year-old was a little kid there was a show on Nickleodeon that I enjoyed watching with him. It was a cartoon series called Belle and Sebastian about a young boy who got separated from his parents and had his Great Pyrenees dog as a companion. They had a lot of adventures as he tried to find his family, who was part of a travelling circus troupe in Europe.
That was my first indroduction to the breed, as I had never seen one but as I visit farms here in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky I have seen several now that are companion animals guarding goats and sheep. Additionally, I have seen more and more information about Great Pyrenees being used successfully to guard chickens.
Here is what of Bob and Sarah Lea of Milk and Honey Farm in Cokato, Minnesota has written:
We have a fenced in pasture for the sheep and poultry. Our Great Pyrenees guard dogs stay in close range to the sheep, and pay special attention to the new lambs born in the spring. The chickens, ducks and geese all free range with the dogs.
Any form of predator or neighbor’s hounds are quickly discouraged from approaching the pasture. The Great Pyrenees are very alert, even when they appear to be snoozing. The pasture is close to a main highway and the dogs are “fence trained” to remain inside the pasture and away from the road. When there is real predator threat, the Great Pyrenees size and aggressive barking dispatch the intruders quickly. We trained our dogs to their boundary limits, by repeatedly walking the fence line with them. They know their territory and keep it well patrolled. See the links below for info on open pasture guarding.