Of all the big dog breeds, Great Pyrenees may be the best suited to apartment living, but there will be significant challenges to managing your Great Pyrenees to get along with your neighbors.
In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about making the most of your apartment experience with your Great Pyrenees, and the secret to success to living with a Great Pyrenees dog that spends most of his time indoors.
What Makes Great Pyrenees Dogs Good Good for Apartment Living?
Great Pyrenees are good nighttime watchdogs.
With the right training as puppies, they are great family dogs. They are calm companions.
The Great Pyrenees Mountain Dog—also known by its French name Patou—was brought to the mountains of northern Spain in Roman times.
These enormous dogs were given the task of protecting sheep from wolves at night. Even in modern times, Great Pyrenees are terrific nighttime watchdogs.
Their keen senses of hearing and smell and their vigilance throughout the night make them a serious deterrent to burglars.
Great Pyrenees can be wonderful family dogs. My Great Pyrenees liked nothing better than to snuggle up with our 18-month-old.
These dogs can be socialized as puppies to accept children of all ages, neighbors, friends of the family, and other pets, including cats.
It is necessary to train children not to play “horsey” with their Great Pyrenees dog. Back or hip pain can instigate a bite.
Great Pyrenees need daily exercise outdoors.
If they get their outdoor playtime, there is nothing they like to do better the other 23 hours a day than to curl up on the softest bed in the house and snooze the day away.
If you neglect playtime, as I once did with my Great Pyrenees, then there could be problems.
I was once driving home from work with 8 miles (13 km) to go, when I spotted my male Great Pyrenees visiting a similarly unattended female Great Pyrenees in a friend’s yard.
What to Know Before You Consider Great Pyrenees as Apartment Dog
Sometimes, a Great Pyrenees just won’t work as an apartment dog.
Here’s what you need to know before you even think about adopting a Great Pyrenees to live with you in your apartment.
In the US, many apartment complexes either require an additional deposit or prohibit dogs above a certain weight.
An adult Great Pyrenees will exceed apartment weight restrictions.
It’s not like you can hide a Great Pyrenees from your landlord. If you keep a Great Pyrenees in your apartment, your landlord will know.’
Great Pyrenees bark a lot. You may get used to it, but your neighbors may not.
A Great Pyrenees is not a good choice for apartments that have thin walls.
Keeping your Great Pyrenees in a (very large) crate will help to reduce their barking, but you could still have to move or give up your dog if the neighbors complain.
Play Time and Play Space
Great Pyrenees dogs are not super-energetic, but they need at least two walks a day, and they need to have play time.
An adult Great Pyrenees can be left alone for four to eight hours, but a puppy will need attention at least every other hour.
Great Pyrenees need a fenced area for play.
Bred as a kind of early warning system for predator attacks on sheep and goats, these dogs will investigate any unusual scent.
If you do not keep them on leash, they can run very long distances tracking down the source of an interesting or threatening odor.
Ideally, your apartment complex should have a yard or a dog park, and the yard or dog park should be escape-proof.
Specific Concerns About Great Pyrenees as Apartment Dogs
You have made sure that your complex will allow big dogs.
You live in an apartment in a corner, or with good soundproofing.
You have a dog park or fenced area nearby, and you are committed to training your Great Pyrenees to get along with pets and people.
What else do you need to keep in mind when you are considering whether to keep a Great Pyrenees in your apartment?
Great Pyrenees are big and powerful
According to the breed standards of the Société Centrale Canine, males will stand 28 to 32 inches (70 to 82 cm) tall and females will stand 26 to 30 inches (55 to 70 cm) tall.
Adults usually weigh between 120 and 165 pounds (55 to 75 kg).
For better or worse, your neighbors may find your Great Pyrenees intimidating, and your apartment complex may not accept them because they are too large.
Great Pyrenees like to bark
Your Great Pyrenees may bark at sounds. Your Great Pyrenees may bark at smells. Your Great Pyrenees may bark just because.
Great Pyrenees may bark because they are excited because they want to warn you about something, because they are afraid of something, to show some other pet who is the alpha dog, or just to get your attention.
With some effort, you can train your Great Pyrenees not to bark as much. But you cannot train Great Pyrenees not to bark at all.
Great Pyrenees shed heavily
Great Pyrenees have tangle-resistant fur, but they have a double coat. They shed a lot, and they shed all the time.
Combing your dog twice a week helps you keep up with their shedding, but you will need to vacuum regularly.
Great Pyrenees are at high risk of hip dysplasia and patellar subluxation
Both of these conditions are aggravated by making your dog go up and down stairs as a puppy
. You do not want to be in a situation in which you have to carry your Great Pyrenees up and down stairs for potty breaks and playtime.
Don’t adopt the Great Pyrenees as an apartment dog unless you have an elevator or you live on the ground floor.
Great Pyrenees need early and ongoing socialization
Great Pyrenees are not aggressive dogs, but they were bred to protect against threats.
They need you to introduce them to different kinds of animals and different kinds of people as puppies and throughout their lives, reassuring them that the new animal is friend, not foe.
Great Pyrenees are intelligent, and training them requires a different approach
You will need to train your Great Pyrenees to potty outside.
Your Great Pyrenees will need to obey your “Stay” command to stay out of traffic and to avoid taking on fights she cannot win.
Your Great Pyrenees will grow to be huge, and you don’t want your pet jumping up on people and knocking them to the floor.
Puppy or Rescue Dog?
Great Pyrenees rescue dogs may have spent their early lives in apartments, but you need to find out where they have been living before you adopt.
A Great Pyrenees that spent her early life free to roam may not be able to adjust to spending the night in a crate or waiting for hours for her daily walk.
Destructive behavior can become a problem if you take a rescue dog that has been raised in a home with a yard to live in an apartment.
The Secret to Success with Great Pyrenees
More than anything else, there is one thing you can do to make sure your Great Pyrenees is happy living in an apartment:
Give your dog a job.
Great Pyrenees are working dogs. They need a purpose to organize their lives around.
You can train your Great Pyrenees to guard your cat. Great Pyrenees that have been socialized to cats when they were puppies will guard cats 20 hours a day.
Great Pyrenees make wonderful therapy dogs. You will need to keep them under control in public, however.
And Great Pyrenees can help you keep track of your children.
You should never leave your children with the dog in charge, but Great Pyrenees can learn how to operate door latches for safety, even opening latched doors for quick exits in emergencies.
Frequently Asked Questions About Great Pyrenees as Apartment Dogs
When do Great Pyrenees stop growing? I want to know because our landlord is very strict about the 75-pound weight limit.
Your Great Pyrenees will exceed a 75-pound weight limit. A male Great Pyrenees will weigh 70 to 80 pounds at six months.
A female will reach 75 pounds at 10 months. Great Pyrenees don’t reach their full adult size until 18 to 24 months.
Why do Great Pyrenees bark so much?
Great Pyrenees were bred to keep sheep safe from predators.
There were a lot of predators. In modern apartment life, you won’t be bothered by wolves, lions, tigers, and bears, but you could need to know when someone is at the door or if someone is breaking in.
If you want a dog that doesn’t bark, don’t get a Great Pyrenees.
But you can teach your Great Pyrenees a “Quiet” command to stop barking, and a “Leave It” command to stop barking at an interesting squirrel or bird when you are out on a walk.
The Great Pyrenees Rescue Foundation says that puzzle toys and chew toys keep Great Pyrenees occupied so they bark less. But every Great Pyrenees will bark some.
Will Great Pyrenees protect cats?
My Great Pyrenees would let my cat rub his nose with her paw. I would sometimes find them curled up together in my potato bin in my basement.
Great Pyrenees who are introduced to kittens when they are two to three months old will form life-long bonds with cats.
They will protect them as part of their “herd.” Few breeds of dogs are as compatible with housecats.
How are Great Pyrenees with other dogs?
Great Pyrenees usually do not get along with other dogs of the same sex as adults.
They are compatible with dogs of the opposite sex, and with cats, but they will fight for dominance with another Great Pyrenees of the same sex.
This is a common reason for surrendering a Great Pyrenees to a rescue organization.
How long do Great Pyrenees live?
Most Great Pyrenees live to be 10 to 12 years old.
Can Great Pyrenees swim? Will they jump into the pool?
Great Pyrenees tend either to love water or hate it. Once they get over their fear of the water, their natural athleticism and their webbed feet make them great swimmers.
But if your Great Pyrenees likes to swim, she will love herding rubber ducks.
Even if your Great Pyrenees does not want to swim, they will usually enjoy a splash in cool water in warm weather.
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