Are Great Pyrenees Good With Cats?

barn cat looking down at a great pyrenees

If you’re an animal lover, odds are there will be a time in your life when you’ll want more than one pet at a time.  But, the reality of a multiple-pet household is that things can become more complicated with more animals around.

If you’re already a Great Pyrenees owner, or you’re looking into becoming one, you might wonder if they’re compatible with other animals.  Cats might especially be a point of interest!

So, are Great Pyrenees good with cats?

While it depends on the individuals, Great Pyrenees usually get along really well with cats.  Great Pyrenees are calm gentle giants who love to be surrounded by a pack or herd of other animals.  Though some cats might not love their personalities, you should be able to work through any issues between cats and Pyrs. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the things that make Pyrenees good and bad dogs to have with cats.  We’ll talk about how to introduce your canine and feline friends and what other animals might be able to live with a Great Pyrenees.

Why Great Pyrenees Might Be Good With Cats

The overall consensus seems to be that Great Pyrenees are good with cats.  If you’ve never seen this for yourself, check out this short video.

Not only is this video adorable, but it also shows how relaxed a Great Pyrenees can be around a cat.  The cat is playing with the Great Pyrenees fur and is being kind of annoying but the dog doesn’t seem to mind at all!

And believe it or not, there are some good reasons why these dogs make such great companions for other animals!

They’re Guardian Dogs

The first reason why the Great Pyrenees might be good with cats is that they’re guardian dogs.

Did you know that for a short time in history, Great Pyrenees were the dogs of French Royalty?  At one point, the kind even declared that this breed was the “royal dog” of France.  These dogs gained their regal position for their unrivaled loyalty and guardian qualities towards their families.

Being a family dog has never left the Great Pyrenees’ blood.  Once they consider you a part of their pack, you’re in!  This is true not only for humans but also for the animals around them as well.  Once your Pyr and cat get used to each other, your Pyrenees might even become protective over your cat.  You might find them sleeping and lounging together, just so your dog can keep a closer eye on the cat.

They Have a Calm Gentle Nature

Another reason why Pyrenees can be so good with cats is their nature.

Great Pyrenees really are gentle giants.  While these dogs have plenty of energy to burn running around outside, they’re usually pretty calm dogs while indoors.  Some owners might even refer to them as solemn or serious.  Great Pyrenees seems to enjoy lying around and sunbathing more than any other activity.  Their gentle nature is one of the reasons these giants actually make pretty good apartment dogs.  For some of the other reasons they’re good indoors, you can read our article here.

Doesn’t this sort of sound like the behavior of a cat?

Cats and Great Pyrenees might get along well together if they just want to lie around all day.  Great Pyrenees won’t scare off a cat with their excessive energy.  If anything, you’ll notice that your pets just get cozy and cuddle all day long together.

They’re Herding Dogs

The last quality that makes Great Pyrenees good with cats is their herding instincts.

When you think about a herding dog, you might think of an Australian Shepherd or a Border Collie.  Great Pyrenees are a little different from these dogs.  Great Pyrenees were originally bred to work in the mountains.  Their jobs were to live with herds of animals and protect them from predators.  While they did do some herding work, they mostly used their size and massive bark to keep the livestock safe and together.

The point here is that Great Pyrenees love being around other animals, including other Great Pyrenees.  Being alone can actually be pretty upsetting for them and they’re prone to anxiety when left in solitude.

If you get your Pyr a cat, they’re probably going to end up loving them and seeing them as part of their herd.  Great Pyrenees will naturally stay near other animals and they don’t discriminate based on species!

To summarize all of these points, Pyrs are calm dogs that love to be around other animals and protect them.  So, are there any qualities that might make a Great Pyrenees a bad dog for cats?

Why Great Pyrenees Might NOT Be Good With Cats

Usually, if there’s a problem between a cat and a Great Pyrenees, it’s going to be on the cat’s end.  While most Great Pyrenees will either ignore or love a cat, some cats might not like the large fluffy intruder in their lives.

Here are a few things that might make a Pyrenees offensive to your pet cat.

They’re Huge

There’s no denying the size difference between a cat and a Great Pyrenees.  If you have a cat or get a cat that has never spent time around dogs before, this 100lb monster might be a little too much for them.

Even though cats can be ferocious, they’re small.  If the size of the Great Pyrenees doesn’t intimidate them, there is always the potential for injury.  With such a big dog, the wrong placement of a paw or a curious nibble could seriously hurt a small cat.  Although this isn’t a likely scenario, it’s still a possibility!

They Might Get Territorial

We mentioned above that Pyrenees are guardian dogs.  If you’re part of their pack, tats a great thing!  If you’re not a part of the pack, that could mean trouble for you.

Unfortunately, if your Pyrenees doesn’t start to see the cat as a friend or family member, they might become territorial toward it.  Territorial behavior is no fun and can be hard to stop.  Territorial behavior might start as a harmless growl but could escalate to an actual fight, which would be terrible for everyone involved!  Great Pyrenees have a surprisingly strong bite force which would definitely be enough to injure a small cat.

They Can Be Pretty Loud

The last thing that could make a Pyrenees not get along with a cat is how loud they are.

Cats are super quiet and sneaky creatures.  While they might “talk” to their owners from time to time, they are much quieter than dogs overall.  Great Pyrenees on the other hand are notorious barkers.  These dogs have a natural instinct to bark at anything and anyone.  They mean well, but it can be annoying, alarming, and startling!

For a cat, this barking might just be too much.  A cat might have an issue understanding why a Great Pyrenees is barking and could take it as an aggressive sound.

To summarize all of these points, a Great Pyrenees might not get along with a cat because of their size, barking, and their territorial nature.  Luckily, these are all things that can be overcome with the right training and preparation.

How To Train Your Great Pyrenees To Be Okay With Cats

All dogs can be encouraged to get along with cats.  It’s a two-way street and isn’t always a smooth process, but over time your furry friends should start to get used to each other.  With this process, you can even help a rottweiler and a cat become the best of friends!

1. Make Sure Your Cat Has Safe Zones

The first thing you’ll want to do for your pet cat is to make sure they have “safe zones”

These zones are spaces that your cat can get to where your Pyrenees cannot.  Examples of safe zones are cat trees and small doggie dors.  When your cat has an escape plan, they’ll feel less trapped when they first meet your Great Pyrenees.

2. Introduce Through Smells First

After making sure your area is cat friendly, you can let your pets start to get to know each other through smells.

Give each of your pets something that the other one spends time with.  Maybe you put a ball from your Pyrenees in your cat’s bed.  Then, you can put your cat’s favorite blanket with your Pyrenees.  This smell introduction will give them time to start processing the idea of a new family member before it actually happens!

3. Let Them Meet On Leash

For the first meeting, you’ll want to introduce your pets through a barrier and/or on a leash.

You can try doing this through a baby gate.  Let your cat take their time in coming up to your Great Pyrenees.  If you don’t have a baby gate, you can just walk your Pyrenees into the room with your cat.  Try not to force them to meet each other.  It might take a few times, but eventually, your cat should start to show a little interest and trust in your Pyrenees.

4. Supervise An Off-Leash interaction

After you’ve had some successful contact with an on-leash meeting, you can let your Pyrenees free.

Keep an eye out for any signs of aggression.  For your Pyrenees you’ll want to watch out for growling, raised lips, and raised hair.  Even though your cat is less of a danger, you’ll want to be aware of any hissing or swatting. If everything seems okay between the two of them, you can move to the last step.

5. Let Them Start To Cohabitate

Finally, you’ll want to let your animals cohabitate.

Your cat might not be best friends with your Pyrenees right away and that’s okay.  Your number one concern at this point is making sure that your animals are both safe.  as long as that stays true, they can work out the other kinks all on their own.

Hopefully, you’ll have a cat and a dog that love each other in no time.

Are Great Pyrenees Good With Other Dogs?

Great Pyrenees are good with other cats, but what about with other dogs?

Your Great Pyrenees’ relationship with other dogs depends on whether they consider them a threat to the family or not.  If your Great Pyrenees sees another dog as a predator, they’ll be on edge and act protectively.   But, if the other dog doesn’t threaten your Pyr, everything should be okay.

It’s important to introduce your Pyrenees to new animals on common ground.  If you bring a new dog into the picture, it’ll be harder to do it at home, where your Pyrenees is already territorial.

Are Great Pyrenees Okay With Other Animals?

Great Pyrenees do really well with a ton of other animals.

Because Great Pyrenees are livestock guardians, they’re used to pretty interesting company.  Most animals that you’ll find on a farm will get along just fine with a Great Pyrenees.  Cows, sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, and pigs should all get along really well with a Great Pyrenees.

It’s instinctual for these dogs to spend time around a bunch of different animals.  As long as they don’t feel challenged, these dogs really are the most gentle giants.

Final Thoughts

While not all dogs get along with cats, Great Pyrenees usually are. All Great Pyrenees have different personalities and preferences.  Some cats might also be more prone to loving or having dogs.  But, Great Pyrenees’ calm natures make them great cat companions.  If they see your cat as a part of the herd, they’ll protect them as one of their own.

Great Pyrenees are great companion dogs for most animals.  You might need to spend some time on the introduction, but, if you respect your Pyr’s space, you’ll probably be successful.  If you choose to combine a cat and a Pyr, we hope that they become the best of friends!

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