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Great Pyrenees are a popular breed of dog that has been around for thousands of years. Originally, these dogs were bred to protect both livestock and humans. Now, you can often find these gentle giants napping lazily in the afternoon sun. These dogs love company and a canine friend is almost always a positive in a Great Pyrenee’s life.
In this article, we’ll list 16 of the best companion dogs for your Great Pyrenees.
Great Pyrenees are a large dog breed that likes to spend time outside. Some of the best mates for a Great Pyrenees are herding dogs like border collies, Australian shepherds, and cattle dogs. Other companions like Newfoundlands, Bernese mountain dogs, and Tibetan mastiffs can match the Great Pyrenees in size and make great playmates.
Before we take a look at the perfect dog playmate for your Great Pyrenees, let’s take a look at what Great Pyrenees are like, their temperament with other dogs, both big and small, and how you can help your Pyrenees get along with another dog!
The Great Pyrenees Personality And Temperament
Before we jump into our choices for Great Pyrenees companions, let’s talk a little bit more about what makes a Great Pyrenees a Great Pyrenees.
One of the strongest personality traits in a Great Pyrenees is independence.
Great Pyrenees are smart dogs that are used to being alone. Historically, these dogs would spend days on end guarding their flocks. They might not see another dog or person and be totally okay with it. These dogs love to go about their days and do exactly what they want to. They’re trustworthy and won’t wander far, but do like to go where they please.
Independence is what makes these dogs such great guardians. They’re not afraid to be left alone and may sometimes prefer it.
That being said, Great Pyrenees are totally used to being surrounded by some kind of animal at all times.
There’s a reason why Pyrs are referred to as gentle giants.
Despite their large size, Great Pyrenees are incredibly relaxed dogs. Even though these dogs were bred to work, their work largely involved sitting and keeping an eye out for predators. Great Pyrenees aren’t easily riled up and tend to sleep for much of the day. This is partially due to their nocturnal sleeping schedules and their calm natures.
This video shows a great example of how calm and relaxed Pyrs can be, even in a chaotic environment.
For as big as they are, Great Pyrenees actually don’t do terribly in apartments because of their relaxed nature. So, these dogs can do well on ranches or in small living spaces.
The last notable personality trait of Great Pyrenees is that they are incredibly protective. Pyrenees are natural guard dogs, so they’re very protective of whatever they consider to be their “flock.”
While having a protective dog might sound cute, it’s a big responsibility. Being naturally protective can be triggering for dogs in situations like the dog park, a walk, or the beach. Your Pyr might surprise you and respond to a strange person or dog in a way they wouldn’t normally.
Great Pyrenees have a very strong bite force. Their bite force is stronger than both Rottweilers and Pitbulls. Your gentle giant does have the ability to cause some serious damage if they choose to do so.
Great Pyrenees Temperament With Other Dogs
So, how do all of these traits affect how Great Pyrenees interact with other dogs?
Overall, Great Pyrenees love to have companions. Although they’re independent, they’re also used to being surrounded by animals. If you don’t live on a farm already, a Pry would probably love the company of a second dog!
Great Pyrenees And Large Dogs
Initially, a Great Pyrenees might see another large dog as a threat to their flock. They might get protective and defensive. The best way to avoid this response is to introduce the two large dogs on neutral territory. Once your Great Pyrenees see that you are good with the new dog, they should eventually accept them.
Great Pyrenees should eventually see large dogs as equals or working partners. Large dogs can make great companions because they can keep up with Pyrenees’ large strides during playtime. Plus, large dogs will have the same temperature ranges and might stay inside or outside together depending on the weather.
Great Pyrenees And Small Dogs
Small dogs can be a little tricky to pair with Great Pyrenees if you don’t have a careful dog. Usually, small dogs don’t pose much of a threat to Great Pyrenees. They’re usually quicker to accept a small dog as part of the pack and may even start guarding them.
One of the downsides with small dogs and Great Pyrenees is that your big dog might accidentally injure your smaller one. A bite that was meant for a toy could seriously injure a little dog.
But, this also depends on the temperament of your individual dog. If you have a pretty calm Pyr, they might only play halfheartedly, which is perfect for a little companion. Plus, if you’re willing to put in the effort, big dogs can be trained to play safely with small dogs.
16 Best Companion Dogs For Great Pyrenees
So, which dogs make the best companion dogs for the Great Pyrenees?
We’ll go over all of the combinations that give you and your dog the best chances for success, now!
1. Other Great Pyrenees
The best pairing you might truly be able to find for a Great Pyrenees is another Great Pyrenees. These dogs do well in pairs. It’s something that’s very natural for them.
Great Pyrenees love having a companion of the same breed and get along really well. These dogs will probably do everything together. Or, you might find that your two Pyrs start to work together and take up positions in different areas of the house or yard.
2. Anatolian Shepherd
Anatolian shepherds are one of the few dog breeds that are even older than the Great Pyrenees. These dogs were bred to guard Turkish palaces and took their jobs seriously. They’re close relatives to Great Pyrenees and Pyrs are even said to be descended from them.
Anatolian shepherds are still popular pets today and can be used to guard people and property. These dogs usually get along well with Great Pyrenees because they’re so similar, They look alike, they’re the same size, and they have similar jobs!
Newfoundlands or “Newfies” are the largest dog breed in existence. These dogs may be even gentler and more giant than Pyrs are! They’re calm, intelligent, and love to swim.
Just like Great Pyrenees, these are a dog breed that loves to sleep for most of the day. Pairing your Pyrenees with a Newfie is a great idea because they’ll match each other energy. If your Pyrenees is a little spunky, a Newfoundland might even calm them down. Since Pyrs don’t usually love water, they might even encourage them to take a dip!
4. Old English Sheepdog
Another large dog breed that gets along well with the Great Pyrenees is the Old English sheepdog (OES).
OESs have a very similar history to Great Pyrenees. These dogs were bred in England to, you guessed it, take care of livestock! Not only are OESs working dogs, but they’re also adorable and incredibly loving. These dogs do really well with families and children and have a pretty low energy level.
5. Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain dogs and Great Pyrenees can make some of the best companions.
Bernese Mountain dogs were bred to herd and protect cattle and pull carts on farms. These dogs have a thick double-layer coat that allows them to withstand very cold temperatures, just like Pyrs. Berners can be a little mouthy, so it’s always a good idea to pair them with another large dog who can handle it!
6. Tibetan Mastiff
Tibetan mastiffs are a spicy companion for Great Pyrenees. We say spicy because these dogs are incredibly intelligent, independent, and vocal. Like Great Pyrenees, these guard dogs sleep during the day and can be more active at night. If left outside, they may bark nonstop.
These dogs aren’t lazy or idle and will need plenty of room to roam. So, if you do decide to try pairing your Pyr with a mastiff, make sure your neighbors don’t live too close!
7. Saint Bernard
Saint Bernards are another giant dog breed that makes great Pyrenees companions. These dogs originated close to the Pyrenees home range, high up in the mountains of the Alps. Saint Bernards were used to perform rescues in the mountains and to guard and protect people and livestock.
These two breeds have got many of the same traits. Both dogs are huge, and gentle, and acted as guard dogs. They’re a natural pairing and you’d likely find these two spending their days napping outside when left to their own devices.
8. Border Collie
Finally, we have a slightly smaller dog companion for the Great Pyrenees.
Border collies are shepherd dogs that are known for their intelligence, drive, and energy levels. Border collies get along great with larger dogs like Pyrs and even rottweilers because they can match their strength and even outmatch their speed. A fun border collie makes a natural partner for a big, serious Pyrenees.
9. Welsh Corgi
Everyone loves a cute corgi, and Pyrenees are no exception!
Welsh corgis are one of the dog breeds that usually weigh around 30 pounds. It might surprise you to learn that these low riders were actually used as herding dogs back in the day!
Because of their breeding and history, they can make good companion dogs for a Great Pyrenees. Plus, corgis are super fast and can get out of the way of a Pyr’s giant paws.
10. Shetland Sheepdog
Shetland sheepdogs or shelties, are another medium-sized herding dog that would get along well with Great Pyrenees. These dogs are known for their loyal companionship and usually bond with just one or two people.
Shelties are usually referred to as “shadows” of their owners because they’re never far away. It might take a little bit of time for a shaltie to warm up to a Pyr, but once they do they might be inseparable.
11. Australian Cattle Dog
Australian cattle dogs or heelers might be one of the most energetic dogs on our list. These dogs are full of energy and need almost constant mental stimulation. Unlike Pyrenees, they spend most of their day engaged in activities. Since cattle dogs are a close relation to the dingo, they like to run and be outside as much as possible.
When paired with a Pyr, a cattle dog may find a buoy in their craziness. A cattle dog might also encourage the lazy Pyrenees to get up and move a little bit more often than normal.
12. Australian Shepherd
Australian shepherds are the fluffier cousin of the cattle dog. For many of the same reasons above, Aussies can be excellent companion dogs for Great Pyrenees. Although their excess energy might annoy a calm Pyr, they’ll learn to tolerate them.
13. English Bulldog
English bulldogs are small, muscular powerhouses that can get along well with many dog breeds. These dogs have a bloody history and were selectively bred to fight cattle in arenas. Those times are long gone and bulldogs usually just fill the role of an affectionate pet in the household.
If you have a Pyrenees as a house dog, a bulldog can make a loving and loyal companion for them. However, if your Pyr lives on a farm, a bulldog won’t be able to keep up with them since they’re brachycephalic and might end up over-exerting themselves.
14. Labrador Retriever
Labrador retrievers were bred to assist humans while hunting. Because of this, retrievers don’t always make the best ranch dogs. They’ll often chase and hunt birds like chickens and ducks. But, if you’re a bird-free household, a retriever will get along with almost any dog, including Pyrenees. Though these are working dogs, they can have calm temperaments and might spend a lot of the day napping alongside your Pyr.
15. Golden Retriever
Golden retrievers have a lot of similar characteristics to Labrador retrievers. However, goldens are known to be a little more silly than their sleek counterparts.
These goofy dogs get along well with other companion dogs and love to spend their days eating playing and sleeping, making them a great sidekick for a Pyrenees.
The last dog we’ll list today for a companion dog is the boxer. Boxer dogs are sweet, tolerant, and patient. These dogs make great pets for first-time dog owners because they’re so patient and easygoing. There aren’t many dogs that boxers won’t get along with right off the bat.
17. And More!
This list is by no means comprehensive!
Even though dog breeds have tendencies, each individual dog is different. You might have a super energetic Pyrenees who needs a strong fast dog to keep up with them. Or, you might have a calm Pyr that just needs a small companion to keep them company.
Plus, many dogs these days are mixed breed, which usually results in a more mellow dog that gets along with other dogs a little bit easier!
How To Help Your Great Pyrenees Get Along With Another Dog
If you’re worried that your Great Pyrenees won’t get along with a new housemate, here are some quick tips to help the transition go a little more smoothly.
Socializing your Pyr as a puppy is super important. Make sure to introduce them to plenty of new dogs and get them used to interacting with strange animals. Since Pyrs are so big, it’s always a good idea to get them some obedience training,
When you do introduce your Pyr to a new potential companion, try to do it on neutral ground. That way, your Pyr won’t feel territorial and their protective instincts will stay away. Try to keep both dogs on leashes initially so you can pull them away from each other if needed.
There are so many good companion dogs for Great Pyrenees. That’s because Great Pyrenees are so calm and relaxed and don’t care too much about what’s going on around them. Ideally, you’ll adopt a dog into your household that matches your Pyr’s energy perfectly.