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The Great Pyrenees is one of the biggest, most loyal, and fluffiest dog breeds around! With all that love can come a lot of hair!
If you find yourself asking, do Great Pyrenees shed? We can give you a quick answer, Yes!
Great Pyrenees shed regularly and seasonally. They have a double-layered coat that needs to be maintained and replaced with new fur often. Many factors can affect the amount of fur shed such as climate, allergies, diet, and grooming. But, don’t worry, there are ways to help reduce the amount of fur your Great Pyrenees sheds.
This article will give you the answer to why your dog is shedding, if it’s something to worry about and how you can effectively manage all that fluff!
Great Pyrenees Have Always Been Shedders!
If we start to look at the history and evolution of the Great Pyrenees, it can teach us so much about these dogs. Their past also tells us a bit about why they might shed.
Great Pyrenees are an ancient breed of mountain dog. Fossils of this dog breed have been discovered that date back to over 4000 years ago! While these dogs were used as hunting dogs for a short time, most of their working dog history is guarding and shepherding. Great Pyrenees worked high in the mountains keeping shepherds and their flocks safe and protected from threats!
Naturally, living high up in the mountains meant that these dogs needed to be equipped to handle any weather! At the tops of the Pyrenees Mountains, the winters are cold and snowy while the summers are bright and sunny. The especially thick coat of the Great Pyrenees keeps them warm and even allows them to stay outside all day during the cold winters. The stark white color helps reflect the strong summer sun to keep them as cool as possible.
The only thing their coat isn’t great at is handling water, but that still doesn’t stop some Great Pyrenees from going for a swim!
Part of the reason that Great Pyrenees shed is that in the past, their coat needed to be fully functional! This means that they are always producing newer, stronger hairs and replacing the old ones, and occasionally shedding their winter coats to stay cool in the Summer.
But, there are so many more factors that determine how much Great Pyrenees shed and when they shed. Now that we have knowledge of their historical background, we can dive into more reasons why these dogs shed!
What Is Special About the Great Pyrenees Coat?
Great Pyrenees are renowned for their white fluffy coats! This is one of the reasons they make such great dogs for families. Not only are they calm and loyal but they are also great to cuddle with!
The coat of any dog has a lot to do with whether they shed at all, and how much hair they shed. Unfortunately for Great Pyrenees, the hairs of this coat are shed often.
As we mentioned above the coat of the Great Pyrenees is white. But, that doesn’t necessarily affect the amount of shedding. What really makes a big difference in the shedding is that the Great Pyrenees coat is double layered.
This video gives a short explanation of why double-layered coats are special and how to care for them.
We will go more in-depth with the grooming recommendations below. But, first, let’s find out more about the Great Pyrenees’ special coat and why it sheds so much!
What is a Double-Layered Coat?
A double-layered coat on a dog consists of a top and bottom layer. The top layer is created for protection from the elements and is usually tougher overall, while the underlayer is softer and used for insulation.
There are many breeds of dogs that have a double-layered coat. Huskies, Australian Shepherds, German Shepherds, Border Collies, and even Rottweilers are a couple of examples! If you’ve ever owned one of these fluffy dogs, you can understand that they shed quite a bit more than other dog breeds!
The reason a double-layered coat produces more fur flying around the house is simply that there is more fur to be shed! And usually, coats like these serve some sort of function for the dog! Whether it’s keeping them warm in the snow, or cool in the sun, these coats are functional and need to be maintained with new, fresh fur.
What is the Top Layer Like?
The top or outer layer of a double-layered coat is rough, strong, and sometimes coarse. For a Great Pyrenees, this topcoat would serve as a barrier from the extreme elements in the mountains. But, now, we just recognize it for picking up dirt and dropping hair all over the house!
The Great Pyrenees Club of America states that the outer fur on these dogs should be straight or have a slight wave! If the outer hairs are curled or very wavy, the dog might be a mixed breed. So, if you do own a Great Pyrenees you will find them shedding these long, thick, straight outer coat hairs all throughout the year.
What is the Bottom Layer Like?
The bottom or underlayer of a Great Pyrenees coat is very similar to the fine soft wool of a sheep! It seems like they took on some of the qualities of the animals they once protected.
This underlayer acts just like insulation in a wall does! It’s so fluffy that it traps heat between the fluff and keeps your dog nice and warm.
As nice as this sounds, this undercoat is responsible for the vast majority of shedding. These fluffy hairs tend to stick together and create their own dust bunnies in the corners of the house. While this coat is shed all year round, once or twice a year, there is usually a mass shedding event, which we will describe in detail below!
So you can see how having two thick layers of coat is one of the reasons Great Pyrenees shed so much, but are there any other reasons?
Great Pyrenees Are Giant Dogs.
Yes, we’re sure you know all about this one, but it’s true!
Great Pyrenees may not be the biggest dogs in the world, but they are definitely categorized as a large breed! Even though this is obvious, this is definitely one of the reasons they seem to shed more.
While Great Pyrenees might not shed more often than another dog, they have so much more fur than a smaller dog! Because they are bigger, there is just more fur, in general, to be shed.
Is Shedding Seasonal?
While shedding is normal year-round, there are often two times per year that we see a sort of mass shedding event!
Dogs with thick coats or double-layered coats usually shed a great deal once in the Spring and once in the Fall. Some people refer to this as a dog blowing their coat. Dogs shed seasonally like this because of the dramatic change in temperatures. As it starts to heat up in the Spring, the thick undercoat is replaced with a newer lighter layer. When it starts to get colder in the Fall, the topcoat is replaced with new strong fun and the undercoat is thickened again.
While this is incredibly helpful and protective to these dogs, it can feel a little overwhelming for owners. But, rest assured, this is a normal event and only happens a couple of times a year at most.
Seasonal shedding also varies greatly based on the breed, age, and health of the dog!
Are There Any Other Reasons They Could Shed So Much?
We attribute the vast majority of the hair shed to the type of coat the Great Pyrenees has. It is thick, double-layered, and fluffy, and, it needs to be replaced seasonally.
However, there are many other things that could affect how much your dog sheds! WE also need to make sure that your dog is experiencing a normal level of shedding, and not suffering from abnormal hair loss!
What Is the Difference Between Shedding and Hair Loss?
Both people and pups can suffer from hair loss. Shedding is a normal process but hair loss can sometimes be a symptom of another issue.
So, what’s the difference between these two things?
Well, shedding is a gradual process that only happened all at once seasonally. Hair loss on the other hand can be observed as bald spots, patchiness in the coat, or slumps of fun falling out all at once.
It’s important to know whether your dog is shedding normally or whether they might be experiencing hair loss. If you think they are losing more fur than normal, we recommend giving your vet a call!
Your dog might shed more or less than other Great Pyrenees based on a bunch of different factors! Some of these factors are listed below!
Your Dog Might Have Anxiety.
Anxiety is known to increase shedding in all dog breeds. It’s even the same in people! WE talk about being so stressed our hair falls out. well, it’s the same for dogs.
Great Pyrenees are very susceptible to developing separation anxiety. They are solemn and calm, but they are also very attached to their people. So attached, that they can make themselves sick. Anxiety and stress can cause increased shedding and even hair loss in some cases that go untreated.
Your Dog’s Diet Might Not Be Perfect.
Diet is so important to the health of our pets. This is also true for the health of their coats!
Not only will the right diet make the Great Pyrenees coat soft and shiny, but it could also reduce some shedding. Picking a diet that provides the right levels of all the essential nutrients is important. Sometimes, supplementing with something like flaxseed oil can help make a dog’s coat even healthier!
If you recently changed your pup’s food and you notice more shedding, your dog might even be allergic to something in the food. This could cause an overall health issue that results in many small symptoms, one of them being a less healthy coat.
You Might Be Washing Your Dog Too Often.
We all know that Great Pyrenees have a talent for getting dirty. Maybe it’s their bright white coats or just their wild sides coming out! Either way, it’s no secret these dogs need regular baths.
The problem with regular bathing is that you can over-bathe your pet. Washing a dog too often can result in dry fur and skin. This could lead to dandruff and increased shedding. We recommend bathing no more than once a week. This way, you can make sure that the natural oils on your dog’s coat are not being stripped away. A healthy coat definitely sheds less!
Hormones Might Be Affecting Your Dogs Coat.
Another factor to consider when thinking about shedding is your dog’s hormones.
Hormones play a huge role in how bodies function. They can cause a change in just about anything if they are unbalanced. If your animal was recently spayed or neutered, this could cause a change in shedding. Or, if your dog is pregnant or nursing, you will likely notice more fur being shed.
These two circumstances are normal but your pet could also be dealing with a more serious hormonal imbalance if you find chunks of hair a falling out. Make sure you can determine whether you are seeing normal shedding or hair loss, and always contact your vet if you’re not sure.
Your Dog Could Have an Infection.
The last factor that could affect your dog’s shedding pattern is the presence of an infection.
An infection on the skin can lead to abnormal hair loss. This infection could be from bacteria or fungus. Usually, skin infections will present as patches of itchy skin with clumps of hair shedding or as complete bald spots.
But, don’t worry! Skin infections are usually easily diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian.
Can You Prevent or Reduce Shedding?
So, if you have a Great Pyrenees around the house, it’s safe to say that they definitely shed!
Is there anything you can do to stop or reduce shedding?
You never want your dog to stop shedding! Shedding is a healthy and natural process that keeps a dog’s coat and skin clean and healthy. But, there are many ways to help control and manage the amount of shedding.
Try Brushing Your Great Pyrenees Regularly.
One of the best ways to reduce shedding throughout the day is to groom and brush your Great Pyrenees regularly. Brushing the coat of your Great Pyrenees daily will help to reduce shedding around the house. But, this is not a task for the faint of heart! This video shows a family brushing out their recently rescued Great Pyrenees.
As you can see this process can take quite a while. To reduce shedding, and maintain a healthy clean coat, you want to be able to rub a comb through your dog’s fur without it getting stuck. You can also see that this family decided to brush their dog outside! Doing this outside definitely reduces the amount of hair you will find on your baseboards! Even though this is time-consuming, it’s worth it to keep the shedding to a minimum.
Try Visiting the Groomer!
Along with regular brushing comes regular grooming. This can be done in your home or with a professional. It all depends on the comfort level of you and your dog! If you’re not confident, it’s always a good idea to try a professional groomer. A groomer washes, drys, clips, and brushes the coat of your dog. Tons of hair can be removed during this process, saving you the trouble of a big cleanup in the future!
Don’t Shave Your Great Pyrenees!
No matter how frustrated you might get with the constant shedding, please don’t shave your Great Pyrenees (or any other double-coated dog).
This might seems like the perfect solution at first glance. Shaving the coat would not only get rid of a lot of excess hair, but it would also keep your pup cleaner and cooler, right?
That double-layered coat we talked about is so important for the Great Pyrenees! Remember that in the Summer, the outer coat is actually a strong reflective barrier against the sun. Without this topcoat, Great Pyrenees are more prone to overheating and sunbirn.
If you are ever tempted to shave your Great Pyrenees, just don’t! Try to remember that they will be much more comfortable with regular grooming and brushing.
Is There Anything Else You Can Do?
Beyond maintaining your pet’s coat and cleanliness, it’s not a bad idea to invest in some special cleaning products!
A smart vacuum can help take some of the pressure off of you. If you have to sweep and vacuum every day because of your furry friend, you could grow to resent them. A smart vacuum works automatically, on its own, and saves you so much time and energy!
It’s also not a bad idea to invest in a good lint roller. Now, you can find reusable lint rollers that don’t need to be refilled constantly. We recommend going for a reusable option because you will need it a lot with your Great Pyrenees hanging around!
Our Final Thoughts:
This shedding happens both throughout the year and then once or twice a year, seasonally. There are ways to help maintain your dog’s healthy coat and to reduce the amount of fur shed overall. If you don’t already own one of these gentle giants, they might not be the dog for you if you are worried about shedding!