History of the Pyr
Let's take a look at this Gentle Giant's origin story.
In: the Pyrenees Mountains
By: French & Spanish shepherds
Around: the 15th century
For: defending sheep flocks
Pyrenees can be found in fossil deposits from the Bronze Age (1800-1000 BCE)!
Originally, Great Pyrenees were bread by peasant shepherds to guard sheep in the Pyrenees mountains along the French-Spanish border. They defended the flocks against natural predators, like bears and wolves, and also against thieves.
This is probably when Pyrs developed their famed patience, since they would sit up in the cold, snowy mountains for days on end with nothing to do but perform the live reenactment of their favorite film, Dogs who stare at Sheep.
But the Pyrs were also courageous and this courage upgraded their seats to first class when Louis XIV adopted a Pyr as the Royal Dog of France in 1675.
And, in the mid-19th century, England's Queen Victoria got a Pyr, too.
Talk about royal bloodlines!
In Europe, Great Pyrenees are called Pyrenean Mountain Dogs.
Traveling westward, the Pyrenees first came to North America by way of Newfoundland in the mid-1600, where it fit right in with that Canadian cold.
As sheep's natural predators became more scarce (due to human-caused overhunting and habitat destruction), the necessity for and population of the Pyr diminished.
In 1907, the Pyr got a bit of a reboot, when the first kennel clubs were established in France and the Great Pyrenees was formally recognized.
And then, in 1933, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Great Pyrenees as its 91st breed, leaving us with the sweet, patient gentle giant we all know and love today.
A snow-romper if ever there was one.