Archive for the ‘About Great Pyrenees’ Category

Sadie and the Coyotes

I once spotted Sadie, our first Great Pyrenees, about a quarter mile off in the half light of early morning in the cow pasture running down several coyotes. The coyotes disappeared into the brush, and Sade pounded in after them, now very close on their tails. Silence, and then an insane prolonged coyote din.

Soon after Sadie returned, as often she did with blood on her muzzle, tail wagging, eager to rest her head on my leg.

Until then, I had thought the blood on her muzzle was just a dead cow or deer that she had got into. I then realized that she probably did battle many nights.

We could often hear her out on her distant rounds all night long. She ran a perimeter of protection of about a mile in diameter. We never worried about our goat herd when she lived, as we had not even seen a coyote within a mile of the house after she grew up.

Before Sadie, we were overrun, and coyotes would approach within 200 feet of our house and attack goats, chickens, and cats.

And it wasn’t only coyotes we were concerned about. Wolves frequent our valley. Lions come down the canyons. Stray cow dogs chase our stock.

Although Sadie was a ruthless wolf with her night enemies, she alternated between sleepy slug and playful pup during the day. She often engaged any of us in a game of tag. It was then that I finally realized that she was extremely formidable as a night protector, because in our game playing, the seemingly lumbering form adopted the speed of a cheetah!
We often watched her with the cows. The cows clearly knew that she was completely OK. Mind you, these are fairly dog hating wild range cows that run off wolves when they descend in packs into the herd. More often that not, the mothers would not even look up while she sniffed their babies. Any other dog would have been pounded into the dirt.

I remember one time we woke up to see Sadie laying out among the cows about a mile away. She would not move. Usually she came home as soon as the sun came up. I jumped in the pickup to see what was up.

Sadie was laying along side a newborn calf—a ‘drop and run’ birth. Sometimes heifers (first calf moms) or older cows will just quit their newborns. This calf was barely licked off, and the mom vamoosed. We happened to have a mom nearby that just lost her baby, so we grafted Sadie’s foundling to her.

Sadie was our first Pyr. Though she died on the road after an engagement with a pickup truck, we knew that she would not be the last. We had never had one who so cared for our safety as she.

She stayed with our kids when they went out on horseback, on foot, or floating down the creek.

Always watching.

Even today, the older ones rode by on their bikes up where I was working, unloading some hay, about a half mile from the house. Both Sophie and Jackie had left their litters to be with the kids.

Always protecting.

Posted on April 16th, 2010 by admin  |  5 Comments »

Great Pyrenees are Not

Glenn’s Take: What Great Pyrennes are not

-lap dogs. My lap is not big enough to share with a 100+ lb dog.

-car dogs. Both inside and outside. Outside the car, they believe that any and all cars or trucks or semis or freight trains will stop for them (this is the reason that this is the number one cause of Pyrennes’ death). Inside the car, they will jump on your lap while you drive and act like a deployed airbag, all the while breathing their wonderful breath and maybe licking your face.

-apartment dogs. They have luxurious coats that are made to live outdoors, even with frosty winter nights. On hot days, they need shade.

-dependants. Well, they are, but no one ever can tell them this. They don’t know that they need you. They honestly believe that you need them. They love you with a passion, but can be aloof and not come to your call, especially if they perceive that there is patrolling or protection business at hand. But all that said, they are the kindest, sweetest, most protective free agent friends a person could have.

-mechanics companions. Every Pyr we have had feels that it is his or her duty to wiggle and snuggle next to me while I am under a vehicle working on it and lick my face in this place where I am totally defenseless. Remember, you can’t slap or hit your Pyr. They only really respond to Alpha rollovers with neck and ruff grabs (they will really respect you for that). Not enough room under the car…

-dogs who do tricks like fetch, roll over, play dead. These Pyrs have a great sense of dignity. This does not mean that they are not playful. On the contrary, they are great tag players, wrestlers, and lovers of fun. What is really cool is to see all of them play with different levels of strength with each of us. They will wrestle really hard with Glenn (dad) but very gently with the little kids, putting the kid gloves on with our 5 year old. They are the one dog breed that we know that we can really trust with the kids, even while they have litters of little ones of their own.

-frisbee dogs. I’ve never seen a Pyr with an interest in fetching and retrieving. I have seen them grab my stuff often and hide it in some warped mind game they play. I have lost gloves only to find them weeks later a quarter mile away. This leprecaunic habit is common through the breed.

Posted on April 16th, 2010 by admin  |  7 Comments »