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Humans have been depending on the help of dogs for years. Modern working dogs that hunt, herd, and kill vermin were at one time essential to human survival. Some dogs, like the Great Pyrenees and other livestock guardian dogs, were one of the most important working dogs a farmer or rancher could have. These dogs protected the sheep, goats, cows, and horse herds of farmers from predators like bears, wolves, big cats, and coyotes. Livestock guardian dogs are still widely used as working farm dogs in rural areas globally.
Weighing more than 100 lbs, the majestic Great Pyrenees is a beautiful French working dog that was bred as one of these livestock protectors. As the name implies, they were developed in the Pyrenees Mountains on the border between Spain and France to protect herders and their flocks of sheep, goats, and horses from wolves and bears. They are very powerful dogs with a strong instinct to protect their animal family and their human family.
The AKC describes the Great Pyrenees as exhibiting a “zen-like calm” but that they can “quickly spring into action and move with grace and speed to meet a threat.” They have a beautiful white coat that protects them from all the elements on top of the cold Pyrenees Mountains and can sometimes have tan, brown, or gray markings. While they make a great family dog, their independent nature can make them difficult to train.
Are there any other dogs that look like Great Pyrenees?
The independent and protective Great Pyrenees might not be the breed for everyone, but they do have a beautiful aesthetic. Whether you want a different livestock guardian, different color, bigger dog, or smaller breed, many breeds look like the Great Pyrenees but might fit your lifestyle better.
So let’s take a look at some breeds of dogs that look like Great Pyrenees. Whether you like the big-bone muscular style, the agile livestock guardian appearance, or just the fluffy white-haired look, there is one thing these 9 dogs have in common, and that is a lot of hair!
Other Livestock Guardian Dogs
Great Pyrenees and other livestock guardian dogs tend to look like each other because they are likely descended from the same line of dogs brought across Europe by nomadic herders. They have similar structure and coloring, as well as the same fierce urge to protect their family.
Great Pyrenees and other livestock guardian dogs were bred to live with and protect their flocks of livestock independently. They have to be able to make decisions on their own and can have aloof personalities. This makes them seem stubborn, but they were not bred to work closely with a human handler like a herding or hunting dog.
While the Pyrenees and other livestock guardians are loving and affectionate with the people and animals they know, they can be wary of unknown animals or humans. They will instinctively instinctively protect their flocks (even if that flock is chickens, sheep, or people) from strangers, bears, wolves, coyotes, or big cats.
1. Anatolian Shepherd
According to the AKC, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. Sometimes called the Kangal, the Anatolian Shepherd is an ancient guardian dog from Turkey. These strong dogs date back to at least 6,000 years ago, and many modern guardian dogs, such as mastiffs, can trace their lineage back to Anatolian Shepherds.
They were bred as the ultimate livestock guardian dog, and will fiercely protect their flock at any time of day or night, whether that is sheep, their human family, or the family cat. Since Anatolian Shepherds had to defend against wolves, bears, and giant cats, they have been bred to be strong and large, with males weighing up to 150 lbs.
While the Great Pyrenees has a shaggier coat, they probably look so much like the Anatolian Shepherd because their ancestry can also be traced back to the ancient Turkish dogs. They are similar in size and have the same stocky body type that makes both dogs such capable guardian dogs.
As nomads made their way across the European continent from the steppes of Central Asia with their flocks, they also brought their fierce livestock guardian dogs. These were probably the original Anatolian Shepherds, and as the nomads settled in different areas, their dogs were bred to suit their new lifestyle.
While the people who lived on the border of France and Spain in the Pyrenees Mountains developed the Great Pyrenees dog to protect their flocks, the Italians had the Maremma Dog. Both dogs were bred from large Central Asian dogs, but in different regions, and share a large fluffy white coat that sheds a ton.
However, the Maremma Dogs are usually dwarfed by the Great Pyrenees. While both male and female Great Pyrenees can top over 100 pounds, the Maremma Dogs usually are under 100 pounds. They are known for being low-key dogs until they identify a threat to their flock or family, then will fiercely protect them.
3. Kuvasz Dog
Hailing from the Turkish mountains, the Kuvasz Dog is another giant white livestock guardian dog. Because of their similar size and bone structure, it is very easy to confuse Kuvasz with Great Pyrenees.
However, there are some key differences to the trained eye. Kuvasz Dogs have very thick coat like the Great Pyrenees, but it is curlier. If they are side by side, the difference is obvious.
Pyrenees also usually have double dewclaws, which make traversing the mountains easier for them. While they do not have the extra support of double dewclaws, Kuvaszs are still graceful creatures in the mountains and boldly protect their flocks.
They are usually more difficult dogs to train than the Pyrenees because they are extremely loyal but also very independent. Because of their headstrong personalities, Kuvasz dogs might not make as good apartment dogs as Great Pyrenees.
Dogs That Look Like The Pyrenees But Bigger
There are not a lot of dogs that are bigger than Great Pyrenees, but the ones you can find are also amazing gentle giants. These dogs have thick coats and big bone structures that make them look like the Pyrenees, but come in different colors and were bred for different purposes than guarding livestock.
From Germany, the Leonberger was bred to be an all-purpose companion and working dog and makes an amazing family dog. It is no coincidence that Leonbergers look like Great Pyrenees: The Pyrenees was one of the foundation breeds for Leonbergers. However, male Leonbergers can be over 170 lbs, making them look huge next to the already big Great Pyrenees.
With their lush waterproof coat, these dogs can handle cold temperatures like the Great Pyrenees, but these laid back dogs would rather be snuggled with their family. Their black masks and beautiful multi-toned tan and brown coats also set them apart from the Great Pyrenees.
Since they are such large dogs, you still need to take the time to socialize and train them from puppyhood, but they do not have the stubborn streak that Great Pyrenees and other livestock guardian dogs have. They love being with their family and are extremely affectionate.
These beautiful Canadian dogs that were originally bred to work with fishermen in frigid water are still known for their love of water and can weigh over 170 lbs. Newfoundlands are calm, steady, and strong dogs and are often used for water search and rescue nowadays.
Newfoundlands excel at working with human handlers, originally with fishermen and now with search and rescue teams. They are very trainable, unlike the independent Great Pyrenees.
However, their large muscular frame does resemble the Great Pyrenees. They are both large dogs with lots of hair, but you can see the differences in the stockier head of the Newfoundland, as well as the color of the dog. While the Great Pyrenees are white or white and tan, the Newfoundland comes in black, black and white, grey, and brown.
6. Saint Bernard
Some Saint Bernards can weigh over 180 lb, towering over the Great Pyrenees. But from a distance, they share a similar muscular frame, as well as a thick double coat built for frigid mountain winters that will shed terribly.
Rather than guarding livestock in the Pyrenees Mountains, the Saint Bernard was a watchdog and caretaker of the Swiss Alps. They were nanny dogs, protectors, and rescuers for lost mountaineers.
Saint Bernards are white dogs with large brown patches that can make them look a lot like white and tan Great Pyrenees. Compared to the Great Pyrenees though, they are much bigger and have giant blocky heads.
Despite breed standards describing Saint Bernards as imposing, massive, and muscular, they are known for being friendly and making a gentle family dog.
Dogs That Look Like The Pyrenees But Smaller
Even though the Great Pyrenees are known for being gentle giants, big dogs are still a lot of responsibility. They shed a lot, cost more money to feed, and take up a lot of room.
Great Pyrenees are also known for being independent and stubborn dogs. For those potential dog owners who like the look of the Pyrenees but want something smaller and perhaps more trainable, let’s take a look at some smaller dogs who share that same fluffy white coat.
7. White Swiss Shepherd
The White Swiss Shepherd is not only confused with German Shepherds but also with Great Pyrenees. A wonderful herding dog from Switzerland, these white shepherds top off at about 90 lbs and have a unique history.
Unlike many of the dogs we have talked about, the White Swiss Shepherd is a relatively new breed of dog that developed in the 1970s from white German Shepherds imported from America to Switzerland. They are now recognized as a distinct breed and have a fluffy white coat that might make you do a double take thinking they are a Great Pyrenees.
However, their pricked ears and smaller size give them away as a different breed. They are also more trainable and excel at obedience and other dog sports. But as herding dogs, there is a chance that working White Swiss Shepherds will interact with Great Pyrenees or other livestock guardian dogs at some point.
If you love the look of the Great Pyrenees but are looking for something smaller and would love to go on lots of outdoor adventures with you, then look no further than the Samoyed. These fluffy white medium dogs also make a good choice for those who are allergic to dogs because they are hypoallergenic.
While these Siberian sled dogs have prick ears and tightly curled tails, it can be easy to mix up their white fur with the thick white Great Pyrenees coats. But Samoyeds are much smaller, weighing 35-65lbs, and are known for their smart and happy personalities.
Despite their smaller stature, they love the cold and might try to sleep outside like Great Pyrenees dogs. Also like the Great Pyrenees, they can be stubborn and require a trainer with lots of patience, or they can easily take advantage of you.
9. American Eskimo Dog
While an American Eskimo Dog might get confused more with a Samoyed than a Great Pyrenees, they still share the same fluffy white dog look that both breeds have. Some American Eskimo dogs can be tan and white or cream colored like some Great Pyrenees.
With its origins tracing back to the German Spitz Dogs, these all-around working dogs are much smaller than the Samoyed and Great Pyrenees, topping off at 35 lbs. If you like the look of dogs like Great Pyrenees but want something smaller and more trainable, you should consider the American Eskimo Dog.
Dogs like Great Pyrenees and Samoyeds were bred to work fairly independently from their owners, making them appear to be stubborn or hard to train. But American Eskimo Dogs love working closely with their handler. Therefore they tend to excel at training and dog sports like agility, rally, and herding.
The Great Pyrenees is not only a popular family dog but is still used for its original purpose in France and the United States. They are known as gentle giants but can be fierce protectors when there is a threat.
Typically the Great Pyrenees are one of the easier livestock guardian breeds, and some people who are looking for a good working dog might look at other breeds like the Anatolian Shepherd or Maremma. These dogs look a lot like the Pyrenees because they come from the same foundation stock, but have more of an aloof personality. I hope you do not mind I hope you don’t barking, as that is how these dogs warn you there is danger!
The Pyrenees is already a big dog, but you can certainly find breeds that are bigger that share all that hair and a similar stocky appearance. Dogs like the Newfoundland not only come in different colors but are more trainable. They might be a better fit for someone interested in dog sports.
Furthermore, though these big dogs can fit into cars of any size, you might find the Swiss White Shepherd or American Eskimo dog a little easier to transport. These dogs also might fit a more active lifestyle for people who want a hiking or running companion since a lot of exercises can be hard on giant breeds’ joints.
One thing is for certain, no matter which of these breeds you choose to fit your lifestyle, be prepared for a lot of grooming. Dogs that share the fluffy coats of the Great Pyrenees are usually bred to survive harsh winters and have a lot of fur.
Hopefully, this list will help you find the perfect fluffy Great Pyrenees look-alike that will protect you, keep you warm, and be a wonderful companion for all the adventures ahead.