Are you searching for the newest canine member of your family? Have you decided the Golden Retriever is a bit too overdone? Is the Great Pyrenees a bit too independent for your lifestyle? Well, there is an alternative option if you still want that goofy, four-legged friend. Let me tell you all about the Golden Retriever Great Pyrenees mix, known as the Golden Pyrenees. We’ll go through every possible detail – training, dietary requirements, activity level, and more.
A Snapshot of Golden Pyrenees
|Height||21.5-32 inches (from paw to shoulder)|
|Coat Type||Medium to long fur, double-coated, can be coarse or silky|
|Coat Color||White, Gold, Cream, Grey, White/Gold mix, “badger markings”|
|Amount of Shedding||Heavy|
|Temperament||Intelligent, Protective, Calm, Friendly, Outgoing|
The Illustrious Breed History of a Golden Pyrenees
Before we can discuss anything about the Golden Pyrenees, we need to go back to the beginning. This mixed breed is a cross between two very definitive dog breeds – one a retriever or hunting and the other a guardian. This mix receives parts of both parent breeds.
The Golden Retriever has been around since the early 1800s, their presence documented in the accounts of a Scottish lord. This parent breed was designed to retrieve waterfowl without tiring and has also grown to exhibit an upbeat and overtly happy demeanor.
The Great Pyrenees, however, tends to take a much calmer and quieter approach to life. These dogs were bred as mountain-top flock guardians. They appear unassuming at first but can snap into action fluidly to meet a potential threat.
The product of these two well-known breeds, the Golden Pyrenees, has no breed standard as they are only crossbred. There are no breeders actively breeding these dogs. Their breed history is the combined history of their two parent breeds.
Traits and Temperament – How Do Golden Pyrenees Act?
Again, there is no breed standard for Golden Pyrenees. The mixed breed can take on any trait or temperament from the two parent breeds, or any combination of them. On average, though, Golden Pyrenees tend to be less energetic than their Golden Retriever counterparts and more engaged than your typical Great Pyrenees.
This Golden Retriever and Great Pyrenees mix will be highly intelligent. This is a fantastic trait to have, as it means the dog will be easier to train. However, this also means that the pup will need more mental stimulation. If dogs are bored, they can become destructive towards objects in the home.
Thankfully, they can glean that mental stimulation from their humans. Their Golden Retriever parent typically passes on a friendly and outgoing personality. We all know the look of that goofy, constantly wagging tail. Goldens are known to have no discretion when it comes to asking for pets or playing.
The Great Pyrenees, on the other hand, is very aloof. They tend to be quiet, calm, and watchful. This makes them fantastic with kids, as long as they are trained early on to understand their size and strength. They were bred for protection and can be a wonderful family guard – they will protect a farm and livestock, and they will also have the inclination to protect your children
You will need to fine-tune these protective behaviors early in your Golden Pyrenees. Unchecked, these dogs will not learn boundaries and how to accept guests without extreme suspicion. Make sure to socialize your puppy properly.
What Does A Golden Pyrenees Look Like?
What does a Golden Pyrenees look like, you ask? Well, they can be any combination of the traits of their parents. The only characteristics that could come from both sides are the warm, brown eyes and lots of fluff.
This crossbreed could be medium to long-haired, with colors ranging from stark white to deep honey gold. They may also exhibit “badger markings,” a trait from the Great Pyrenees. To have “badger markings” means that the dog’s muzzle, ears, eyes, or base of the tail is a darker grey, red, or tan.
The Great Pyrenee’s traits do seem to be a bit more dominant. Often, the mixed breed will have the “lion’s mane,” or the thicker and fluffier fur around the chest and neck. Both dog breeds express long, fluffy ears and big, broad heads.
Another trait that occurs in most (if not all) the Great Pyrenees mixes is a double dewclaw in the hind end. The dewclaw is the claw that rests higher on the paw than the others, a remnant of what would have been the thumb. Some dogs have these on the front, some on the back, or some on both.
Regular nail trims are necessary to keep the dewclaws from curling onto themselves. Nail trims also keep the dewclaws short so that they cannot snag on furniture or other objects. Ripped nails are highly preventable.
The Great Pyrenees is known for having double dewclaws in the hind end, rather than only one. These dewclaws were originally there for assistance in scrabbling up the mountainside. The extra appendages can be removed early in life via surgery if there is no bone connection between the dewclaw and the leg bones.
The only reason that these would be removed is if your dog has a talent for getting the claw caught on things and ripping the nail. These are not typically removed in puppyhood, and not all dewclaws can be removed. This should be a decision made by a veterinarian and should be solely based on whether there is a bone-to-bone connection between the extra digits and the leg itself.
Please note, that this is an entirely different process than “declawing,” which is the act of removing an animal’s (primarily a cat’s) last toe bones that connect their claws to the paw in order to keep that animal from scratching people or furniture. This procedure has been widely proven to cause chronic pain to the animal for the rest of their life.
The Lifespan of a Golden Pyrenees
Unlike other mixed breeds, the Golden Pyrenees does not seem to have gained any extra length to their lifespan. Both the Golden Retriever and the Great Pyrenees have an average lifespan of 10-12 years. Large breed dogs tend to have shorter lives due to the increased strain on their hearts in comparison to their smaller counterparts. A mix of the two seems to continue that trend and will not outlive their parent breeds. If you are looking for a dog with longevity, this may not be the breed for you.
What to Feed a Golden Retriever Great Pyrenees Mix
In case this subject was in question, a Golden Retriever and Great Pyrenees will always end up a large breed dog. This is a mix of two large breed dogs; there is no opportunity for a different outcome. As such, a Golden Pyrenees should always be on a Large Breed diet.
A Large Breed diet is any dog food that is specially formulated for large breed dogs. They contain the correct amount of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to support quicker and more dramatic bone growth, larger muscles, and a higher body mass. Big dogs need more from their diet than little dogs. A Large Breed diet can sometimes even alleviate growing pains.
Most brands have a Large Breed diet option. Your veterinarian will probably recommend Science Diet, Royal Canin, or Purina, as these three brands have a veterinary nutritionist on staff. Out of these three, Purina’s Large Breed diet seems to be the most palatable and the least expensive. It has also consistently been the easiest to find in pet stores.
DO NOT feed a large breed dog a Grain Free diet. I repeat, DO NOT feed a Grain Free diet. I cannot stress that enough. I know that you want what’s best for your pet and you want to meet their food needs. Grain Free foods have actually been proven to cause heart problems (such as cardiomyopathy) in large breed dogs, and they specifically used Golden Retrievers for the study. Stick to the brands and types of food recommended by your veterinarian so that your Golden Pyrenees (or any other large breed dog) can live a long, happy life.
In order to comfortably live that long, happy life, it would not be a bad idea to add a joint supplement into your dog’s diet sooner rather than later. Large breed dogs are notorious for early onset arthritis and joint problems.
You can start over-the-counter glucosamine chondroitin as early as 6 months to 1 year of age. Glucosamine chondroitin has no negative side effects so it can only help your dog strengthen their joints before they start to have problems rather than maintaining them after problems are noticed.
How many exercises Does A Golden Pyrenees Need?
A Golden Pyrenees is, without a doubt, going to need plenty of outside time. They may be medium to high energy, depending on how much of their energy comes from the Golden Retriever parent. However, the Pyrenees in them will make them want to patrol what they consider as their territory. If that is a backyard, they will probably prefer to be outside.
1-2 walks daily is a standard amount of exercise for a large breed dog and will alleviate excess energy. These walks will also give your dog mental stimulation in terms of new sights and interesting smells. Walks are necessary unless you are releasing your dog into a yard or fenced area for an off-leash time.
The trainability of a Golden Pyrenees Puppy
With this crossbreed, you have a high chance of an easy training experience. Golden Retrievers are very rewarded motivated and the Great Pyrenees is known for its high intelligence. It stands to reason that training should go relatively well.
There are, however, some specific behaviors that should be watched for and trained out early. These behaviors typically are inherited from the Great Pyrenees. The first of these is guarding behaviors and suspicion of strangers or guests. They may body block, which is when a dog places themselves between their resource/owner and a perceived threat. This can be caught and trained out early on.
A second behavior that can be trained out of Golden Pyrenees while they are young is alert barking. They will let you know, in a very deep and loud voice, that someone or something is approaching. Even if that something is only left falling outside. Desensitization training and positive reinforcement for quiet responses are crucial.
A third behavior that is inherited from the Great Pyrenees is nighttime pacing. This may not be something that you can train out. If you start to see this behavior in your puppy, consult a behaviorist who has a background in working with Great Pyrenees. This means that he wants to be outside patrolling and is anxious that he cannot do so. This behavior can be redirected with stimulation but if the behavior is excessive, the dog might need to be an “outside dog.”
In the same breath, these behaviors can be very useful. You may find that these dogs will do well as service animals. With a history of Golden Retrievers as guide dogs added to the calm energy of the Great Pyrenees, they have unlimited potential. They could be trained as guards or alert dogs, as well. There is not very much information on either of these two parent breeds as protection animals but if you partner with an experienced trainer, that is also possible.
If you do decide to pursue guarding or protection tasks with your Golden Pyrenees, take extra caution to make sure that your dog can still assimilate into life as a house pet. They have the potential to do really well in guard dog training but it has to be taught young and they have to be guest and child-safe.
Potential Health Problems of Golden Pyrenees
This mixed breed has a chance of inheriting several health problems from their predecessors. One of these is early onset arthritis or inflammation in the joints. As we’ve talked about, starting a joint supplement while these dogs are young is not a bad idea.
As a large dog breed, they are also predisposed to hip dysplasia. This is a physical deformity that worsens over time where the head of the femur (the long bone that connects to the hip) does not sit correctly in the socket of the pelvis that it is designed to fit. This gets worse with age and cannot typically be fixed.
This is not the only type that could be affected. These dogs also have a higher chance of experiencing patellar luxation. This is the fancy name for when the kneecap pops out of its designated groove. This can sometimes be fixed with surgery but the surgery is usually less successful in larger breed dogs.
Sorry, but that isn’t the end of the list of possible health problems. They could also possibly inherit their Golden Retriever parent’s predisposition for benign (non-cancerous) and/or cancerous lumps and bumps. For some reason, Goldens are known in the veterinary field for this issue specifically and that chance passes on to their offspring.
Golden Retrievers could also share their tendency towards hypothyroidism. This is a complication with the thyroid, a gland that produces different hormones. When thyroid levels are too low, the body starts to slow down and becomes less functional. This is manageable with chronic medication for the rest of the pet’s life.
Another issue that would require chronic medication is allergies resulting in skin issues. Dogs can experience two types of allergies: food or environmental. If they encounter allergens (the thing that they are allergic to), symptoms include itchy skin, stomach problems, and weepy or crusty eyes.
The resulting skin issues are typical of what land an allergy dog in the vet’s office. Sometimes they itch to the point where they are causing themselves body-wide skin infections. Every dog is different and responds to different types of treatment. Seek out a veterinarian if your dog is itching beyond what you feel is normal.
The final health problem that could possibly plague a Golden Pyrenees is entropion. This is when the eyelashes curl inward, scratching the cornea, or the surface of the eyeball. This needs to be surgically corrected or it could cause constant irritation, injury, and possibly blindness.
There is one health concern to note that is not hereditary but these dogs would have a higher chance of contracting. Since these dogs desire to be outside most of the time, they are more at risk of heartworm and tick-borne diseases.
A heartworm is a literal worm that is transmitted via mosquito bites and grows in the blood vessels of a dog until it blocks them completely, killing the pet. There are several tick-borne diseases, the most common being Lyme’s disease which can cause symptoms such as random pain in multiple limbs. These are treatable but they are also preventable.
How Much Do Golden Pyrenees Cost?
In terms of what this dog would cost you, the vet bills are going to be the most expensive. Big dogs require bigger doses of medication which costs more money. Keep your animal on heartworm and flea/tick prevention all year round to avoid the most common issues. Also, it would really benefit you to look into pet insurance. Large breed dogs of any kind are going to run your vet bill up sky high, probably in the $400 and up range per visit.
These dogs are going to eat you out of the house and home. Golden Pyrenees have the potential to grow to the size of a small horse and need to eat like one. One 50lb bag of food can cost up to $75 and they go through that quickly. Be prepared to look into the rewards programs at big-name pet stores to find savings on dog food.
Refer this post to know how much it cost you to buy and raise a Golden Retriever Puppy.
Is Golden Pyrenees Right for You?
Would I recommend a Golden Pyrenees as a pet? I honestly would. I think that they have the potential to be fantastic family dogs as long as they are trained properly. They could also make excellent working dogs – working as service animals, alert dogs, guard dogs, or in certain cases, protection dogs.
These are not cheap dogs, by any means. If you are operating on a low budget, I would not recommend these guys. Purchasing food alone for these dogs would beggar you. Vet bills would throw you into bankruptcy.
I would also say that these Golden and Pyrenees mixes would not be ideal for an apartment situation. They want to be outside and have distinct territories and apartments may not fulfill that need. Also, if you have dark-colored furniture these are not the dogs for you. They will shed all over everything and light-colored fur will appear very obviously against dark couches.
Overall, a Golden Pyrenees seems like a well-mixed breed to bring into the family. They are typically lower energy than the Golden and more outgoing than the Pyrenees. Just make sure you keep them on their year-round prevention, give them enough outside time, and train them properly when they are still young. These dogs could turn out to be great pets!
Other Golden Retrievers Mixes
- Goldendoodle (Golden Retriever Poodle Mix)
- Goldador (Golden Retriever Labrador Mix)
- Golden Collie (Golden Retriever Border Collie Mix)
- Golden Boxer (Golden Retriever Boxer Mix)
- Australian Retriever (Australian Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix)
- Golden Mountain Dog (Golden Retriever Bernese Mountain Dog Mix)
- Corgi Retriever (Golden Retriever Corgi Mix)
- Golden Retriever Husky Mix: Active, Energetic, and Companionable Dog
- Golden Pyrenees (Golden Retriever Great Pyrenees Mix)
- Golden Chi (Golden Retriever Chihuahua Mix)
- Goldmation (Golden Retriever Dalmatian Mix)
- A Snapshot of Golden Pyrenees
- The Illustrious Breed History of a Golden Pyrenees
- Traits and Temperament – How Do Golden Pyrenees Act?
- What Does A Golden Pyrenees Look Like?
- The Lifespan of a Golden Pyrenees
- What to Feed a Golden Retriever Great Pyrenees Mix
- How many exercises Does A Golden Pyrenees Need?
- The trainability of a Golden Pyrenees Puppy
- Potential Health Problems of Golden Pyrenees
- How Much Do Golden Pyrenees Cost?
- Is Golden Pyrenees Right for You?
- Other Golden Retrievers Mixes