Black Great Pyrenees- Fact Or Fiction?

correct answerThe Short Answer is:

Yes there are black great Pyrenees. There are hundreds of beautiful pictures of black Pyrenees dogs on Google Image search.

In this research you will know the answer to the query “Black Great Pyrenees- Fact Or Fiction?“.

While known as Great Pyrenees in the US and Canada they are known as Pyrenees Mountain Dogs in Europe (including the UK).

Pyrs are affectionately known as “Pyrs” by their loving owners and legions of fans. 

Regardless of what they are called in which part of the world the burning question that you are asking is: can I get a black great Pyrenees?

It is a question that opens up a whole can of worms. Most people would say that there is no such thing as a black great Pyr.

However others would say hold on a minute of course black great Pyrs exist.

Who is right between these two camps?

I’d like to give you some basic stats and characteristics about this wonderful breed before I get into this heated debate.

We can all agree on this information and it will help those of you who are unfamiliar with these dogs form an image in your mind of what a Pyr looks like- which will be useful later as we sail in choppy waters.

Great Pyrenees undisputed stats

I want to highlight some basic characteristics in this first section. 

A fully grown male will grow to be somewhere between 27 and 32 inches- which is about 68 centimeters to 80 centimeters in height and weigh no less than 100 pounds or 45 kilograms. 

A womans height should be 25 to 29 inches (62cm to 72cm) and her weight should not be less than 85 pounds or 38.5 kilograms. 

In terms of their personalities the majority of Pyros should be very calm relaxed and affectionate. They are also quick to protect their flock or human family when necessary. 

Taking a look at the texture and substance of their coat (I will be dealing with the color shortly) it should have a thick double coat appropriate for a dog that is most at home on top of mountains. 

The coat is also thick around the neck and shoulders much like the mane of a horse. 

What is the purpose of their mane?

Scientists are really certain. 

It may be to provide better protection for their neck in the event of an attack by a wolf or bear.

Do you have a clearer picture in your mind of a great pyr now?

We can talk about their coat color if that is the case.

I would like to start by looking at what the American Kennel Club has to say about it. 

What is the standard color of the Great Pyrenees?

People mistakenly think the great Pyrenees must be completely white in order to be purebred.

They are the people who dismiss any suggestion that black Pyrs exist. 

However this is a completely wrong view.

A dog breed standard or set of desirable qualities that a dog breed must have allows up to one-third of its coat to have a color other than white.

Breed standards are developed by the American Kennel Club. 

What are the different colors permitted?

There are a variety of colors such as grey “badger” reddish-brown or shades of tan. 

There are not black badgers- they’re different shades of grey stripes that appear around a players head.

Therefore black is not mentioned at all. 

On the other hand the Kennel Club – the UKs equivalent of the AKC – explicitly states that any patches of black on the great Pyrenees are highly undesirable. 

It seems pretty clear now does not it? There is no such thing as a black great Pyrenees. 

What you respect about the American Kennel Club and its breed standard will determine how much you respect it.

Lets take a look at some of these limitations in the following section.

Are black great Pyrenees allowed?

To be eligible for registration with the American Kennel Club a dog must meet certain breed standards.

To be eligible to enter dogs into AKC-sponsored shows (which are the most prestigious dog shows in the US) your dog must conform to the breed standard.

Consequently the Pyrenees are not allowed to be a solid black color or something close to it.

So if you’re looking for a black great Pyrenee for showing or AKC registration then your search should end here if you’re looking for a black Pyrenee to breed. 

This begs the question do black pyrs exist at all?

We will find some clues in the next section. 

Does black great Pyrenees exist?

Yes there are black great Pyrenees.

There are hundreds of beautiful pictures of black Pyrenees dogs on Google Image search. 

Clearly these are real dogs- they are not Newfoundlands or even Jack Russells in fancy dress!

Now that we know what black Pyrs are whats the difference between white Pyrs?

There are only two basic differences between them without going into a long and boring discussion on genetics. 

Black Pyrenees cannot be registered with the AKC and they can not be shown at shows sponsored by the AKC. 

However that does not mean that beautiful examples of solid black great pyrs do not exist or have never existed. 

It was only in 1933 that the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Great Pyrenees breed as a separate breed. 

However there is much more history to the breed in France than we realize.

In fact as we will see later players were extremely popular in France in the late seventeenth century.

The American branch of the family was founded two hundred years earlier

Two hundred years is a long time and a lot can happen.

According to those who believe in the existence of black great pyrs this is central to their argument…

Due to the fact that they already existed before the American Kennel Club and the Kennel Club restricted the colors to exclude black pyrs- or indeed any coloring at all.

A person makes this argument very strongly and calls great pyrs with black on them the standard of the French breed.

A second person suggests that the black great Pyrs that were imported to Canada may have contributed to the creation of Landseers or black and white Newfoundlands.

In the next section I want to take a look back a little bit and explore some of the histories of this wonderful breed.

History of Great Pyrenees

They were bred to work in the mountains that separate Spain and France (the Pyrenees).

In these mountains these dogs protected sheep from wolves bears and even livestock rustlers. 

Their size athletic ability patience and thick white coat are some of their key characteristics which we will discuss in more depth later!

Many of the Pyr breeds roots can be traced back thousands of years to an area of the world now called Turkey. 

Large animals can very often be described as “majestic” which is a description commonly used for pyrs. 

In their case however the dogs are truly majestic because they were once described as the royal dogs of France. 

That was done by Loius XIV in the late seventeenth century. 

The next section will examine some alternatives to the black great Pyrs. 

You might have a hard time finding a puppy of this breed.

Moreover registering a dog with the AKC will be important for many of you.

What are your options if you want a great big black dog?

Black Livestock Guarding Dogs

If only it were as simple as finding a big black dog that is recognized by the AKC but it isnot.

Pyrs were bred for a very specific purpose as livestock guard dogs.

There is only one choice if you are looking for a dog to fulfill that role on your farm or ranch: the Tibetian Mastiff.

Black cattle guarding dogs are the only ones recognized by the AKC.

What is the difference between them? Lets examine them.

The Great Pyrenees Tibetan Mastiff
Height (Adult Male)  27- 32 inches 26 – 29 inches
Weight (Male) At least 100 lbs At least 100 lbs
Personality Calm protective Calm protective
Exercise High Moderate
Potential to bark High Moderate
Shedding High Moderate

Creating the above table made me realize how difficult it is to compare these two breeds or any breed for that matter.

Nevertheless I hope I have provided you with some “headlines” that you can use as a starting point.

Physically Pyrs are taller than Tibetan Mastiffs but because they are about the same size the Mastiffs are “chunkier”.

The personalities and temperaments of both breeds can be described as calm and protective and they both make excellent livestock guardians.

However Tibetans need less exercise than Pyrs and they are less likely to bark- and I for one love quiet dogs.

Moreover a Tibetans coat is less likely to shed than a Pyrs so it requires less maintenance.

Thus if you want a dog that will be more of a family pet than a working dog a Tibetan may be a better choice than a black Pyr!

If you want to read more about dog breeds read here: Dog Breeds Updates.

Black Great Pyrenees- Fact Or Fiction? (Watch Video)

Leave a Comment