Pyrs with Cats

Are great pyrenees good with cats?

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Oct 11, 2017
by: Donna

If you are looking to get a Pyr, make sure to do your research since getting along with cats shouldn't be the only reason to get one.

Proper introductions are always required as with any breed of dog. Don't just let the cat loose with the dog. Keep dog leashed until it looks like all will be well with them.

Know that Pyrs are not for most people.

Oct 11, 2017
Quirks are worth it!
by: Nashville

Pyrs are wonderful but you need patience with quirky breed.

Oct 21, 2017
They get along
by: Anonymous

We introduced our 5 year old pyr to a 3 yr old cat and they do just fine. The pyr wanted to sniff out the cat the first day and the cat quickly shut that down but they have been peacefully living together ever since. They rarely interact with each other, but are perfectly content sharing a home space.

Oct 29, 2017
3 year old Pyr and 2 cats
by: AriPyrenees

When I got my Pyr she was 11 weeks. If my cats came around her while she was eating, she would flail and snarl. She hated them.

So I would sit with her while she ate and encourage the cats to come around. I would pet her and the cats at the same time and praise her over and over again. I would also make sure she saw the cats and saw me petting them.

She's almost 3 now. The cats can walk right under while she's eating and she doesn't flinch.

She does try to the manage the cats though. She tattles on them if they're on the counter or the table. She growls sometimes if they get to close to her toys. I always pet them if she starts to get like that, just so she knows that the cats are welcome and not a threat.

I have a pet camera set up when I'm not home, and I see them cuddling. My oldest cat always keeps her company. It's very sweet.

You just have to work with it.

Oct 30, 2017
Pyrs and cats
by: Anonymous

I had to comment on this one, we have 7 (yup, 7) cats and 2 Pyr/Burnese mixes that I delivered and cared for them and Mum for 8 weeks (there were 10 pups total, all have happy homes). At any rate, these pups grew up with cats so bringing them home to ours was no big deal. Interesting enough we find the 3 male cats and only 1 of the females are comfortable with the dogs, but we have also provided some kitty only spots for the cats which I think helps. I laughed at the other comment about the Pyr "snitching" on the cats since we call our dogs the Wardens. If the cats are fighting or making excess noise they go and investigate immediately. 🤣 We even call one of our male cats Little Dog because he seems to think he is one of them. He goes outside with them and they do play together (the great game of chase instigated by the cat). 🙂

If your dog is not used to cats there are ways to introduce them safely, starting with taking something that smells of each animal and putting it with the other. Like putting the cat’s blanket in the dog’s bed and vice versa. This progresses to them smelling each other on the other side of a door, until eventually face to face introductions. There is a ton of info on doing this online and likely on this site.

Best of luck to you.

Apr 27, 2018
Cats and Pyr/Anatolian
by: Anonymous

I have a Pyr/Anatolian mix (75-25), Hurley. He arrived to our home at 8 weeks old. We have 2 other dogs (coonhound/Shepherd mix 12 and a terrier mix 6) and 2 cats. He was the same size as the terrier so they immediately became buddies, the older dog is still indifferent towards him. The cats though are funny, Hurley wants to play with them and the one just wants to cuddle him. More often than not, you will catch them with their noses touching then the cat is all over Hurley rubbing and he will just lick the cat. The other cat has an attitude and wants Hurley to leave him alone so, of course, Hurley chases this cat trying to rough house. Long story short, my experience with my cats and the dogs we have had come into our lives, it all depends on the cat’s personality.
My Hurley is the sweetest dog ever!

Mar 24, 2019
Cats and dogs
by: Darla

I have found a great Pyrenees saved him from pound pick up..
We taken him into our home. He seems so sweet and kind..
But I don't know him yet we are still learning each other..
I have three other dogs and six cats
We have had him about week now haven't seen nothing showing that he was going to hurt anyone yet.
Except my nurtured male dog dont like him and tried showing some teeth and we stepped in to correct that behavior.
Bear did rise up to him a bit showing he was much bigger.
Should I be worried leaving him alone everyday when I go to work?
It's been few days I have cameras set up to watch them all.
Nothing has happen but barking.
Someone said if this dog was going to be Aggressive to my other animals it would already happened any advices well appreciated..

May 14, 2019
New Dog
by: Donna

If you have two intact males in the house, there will be fights. If they are both neutered, you may still have issues. We never recommend two dogs of the same sex in the home.

You say you have two other dogs (besides the one who doesn't like the new one) in the house. It seems they are fine with the new dog.

You have brought a new dog into the home. You cannot expect them to get along right away since the new one is intruding on the resident dogs' territory. When you are there, keep the new one on leash with you until you are certain they all get along.

I would crate the new one while you are not there to ensure no fights happen until you are certain they will get along. To learn how to crate train, see Susan Garret's crate games.

Do not punish the dogs for not getting along. This will not help matters but only confuse the dogs. You are there to give them confidence. Just separate them.

The real character of the dog will only show in a few weeks as they learn to trust you and you them. He has to learn the routine, as well.

Oct 21, 2019
Planning on getting a puppy sometime soon..
by: Anonymous

I have a 9y old female Cat and we are planning on getting a Great Pyrenees as a first time dog. Have been doing research and reading blogs. My Dad has always had German shepherds before I was born. I've never owned a dog I've only had cats. I was also told that Pyrenees aren't the best for first time owners but I plan on doing whatever it takes to train one. I do not believe in giving up my pets so once I adopt they are family till they grow old and pass naturally. Any more advice would help.

Oct 28, 2019
About the Pyr
by: Donna

It is important to do your research. Here is some summarized information. There is more information on our website that is more in-depth.

Yes, they are beautiful dogs with great temperaments given the right breeding, socialization, care including diet and training. Dogs are a lifelong commitment. If your dog requires critical vet care, make sure you are able to go forward with that.

BARKING: They bark more than most dogs and neighbours do complain. That is a common reason for people surrendering their Pyrs (they didn’t do their research). Their bark is what deters predators and it is instinct to them. That and marking their territory. To take away their bark is to take away who they are. The barking can be managed to some degree but it takes time, patience and consistency with positive-reinforcement training. If you don’t like barking, they are not the dog for you.

CONTAINMENT: Pyrs love to hang out outside and their instinct is to wander. Therefore, they require at least a 6-foot secure fence in a large yard in which they can play, run and watch over. Some have been know to scale any height of fencing. No tie outs for these guys. It can lead to aggression since they cannot fully watch over their territory. If they are out all day, as they usually prefer when you are home, they need shelter from the elements. And, no shock collars or shock fencing. Please read the information on electric fencing.

DIGGING: They dig holes in your garden to stay cool in summer so you’ll want to set aside some garden for them. If you don't want to do this, this is not the dog for you.

DIET: Raw is the species-appropriate diet. They eat 2%-3% of the ideal body weight. The breakdown is about 10% edible bone, 80% muscle meat and 5-10% organ meat of beef, chicken, rabbit, deer etc. Do not feed what they are guarding. Start them out on one protein until they are used to it and gradually add another. Raw food primer. Raw Roundup is an excellent resource, as well.

DOGS: If you want more than one dog in the home or working, we always recommend two dogs of the opposite sex. Two males or two females do not always see eye-to-eye and fights will ensue in some cases, but not all. Proper introduction on neutral territory is a must with gradual introduction.

EXERCISE: They require regular walks and hikes, of course, so they get out and see the world to keep them interested in life. They must be leashed because they will wander. Again, they have been specifically bred to wander with sheep as they watch over them without human intervention. We do not recommend dog parks since not everyone pays attention to dog body language and fights can ensue.

GROOMING: Working and companion dogs must be groomed. They require a daily grooming with a slicker brush, and a good weekly grooming to keep them mat free and their skin healthy (hence, pain free from the pulling of mats as they move), and cutting their nails including their dew claws every couple of weeks. Here is how to trim their nails. NEVER have their dew claws removed. This is a barbaric practice. Simply keep the dews trimmed.

They molt twice a year and shed all year round so your vacuum stays full. NEVER shave a Pyr. Their coats keep them cool in summer–they lose their undercoat, leaving just guard hairs–the guard hairs protect your dog from sunburn and insulate them against heat, as well as allowing air to circulate to keep the skin cool–and warm in winter–their undercoat grows close to the skin to keep your dog warm and dry. This system only works if you groom your dog regularly. A good long-tined slicker brush and comb are good tools to keep their coats in good shape weekly. If you don’t like grooming, take your dog to a master groomer. If you don’t want to, this isn’t the dog for you.

TRAINING: They require a lot of socialization as pups onward with many different people and other dogs. They also require positive-reinforcement training. Pyrs, nor any dogs, take kindly to any kind of punishment. It will lead to aggression. Always use positive-reinforcement training. Susan Garrett and Karen Pryor are great website resources. There is also the Free Dog Training Workshop (Susan Garrett).

It’s important to work with dogs as if in a dance and you are leading. Rewards for good behaviour and redirect for unwanted behaviour. It’s up to you to make them a good canine citizen. When engaging a trainer, ensure they use positive-reinforcement training to show you how to work with your dog. Never send a dog away for training. The dog is only as good as the trainer. If you are not ready to work with a dog, this is not the dog for you.

To train a Pyr is not like training some other breeds. They are not eager-to-please and just as soon walk away from you than do as you say. They were bred by man to be used as guardian livestock dogs because they do not require human intervention to tell them how to do their job. Lots of patience, consistency and time is required to work with them. If you want an obedient dog and do not have the time for training, this is not the dog for you.

TRAINING FOR LIVESTOCK: There are a few who just want to be a companion dog. Most are natural guardian dogs of livestock. Yes, it is instinct. However, you must introduce your dog to any livestock slowly. This means leashing your dog to you as you work about the animals and barns so they get used to them. When you are not there, keep them penned near the animals so they get used to them. Fowl can be difficult for dogs because of how they move but it can be done. It will take at least a month for a Pyr to get used to the animals, maybe less. You’ll know when they are ready, and the dog will take it from there.

The dog and Adopter have a 2-week adjustment period in which time the dog is to be trained to the guardian (or companion) work expected of him/her.
Bonding with a human is the very important first step in socialising a Great Pyr to his/her new home.
Walking the perimeter and introduction to the animal charges in a secure environment (a fenced-in area) must be done several times daily to ensure comprehension of the task expected of the dog. S/He must have the opportunity to bond with "his/her" sheep or goats under supervision before being left alone with them.
The dog should initially be kept on leash as you work around the animals and penned near the animals when you are not there until you are sure the dog will work well with the animals. At that point, long-distance surveillance is required until you are sure all will be well.
The dog must not be left alone in the pasture with the animals for extended periods (week) without relief or human contact.
Plans should be made to have livestock guardian Pyrs work in pairs, as partner and backup as soon as the first one understands the job. A male-female pair is generally the most successful.

WHY ARE THEY SURRENDERED: There are those in need of a home because someone didn’t realize they would get so big, bark so much (complaints from neighbours), leave so much hair in the house, wander, and require work. There are also those whom people want to surrender for aggression but we do not knowingly take those dogs in. These dogs usually come from farmers, backyard breeders and pet shops (puppy mills) where genetics are unknown by the ‘breeders’. Combine this with lack of socialization and handling by many many different people in the crucial first thirteen weeks of their lives, and by the time they start to mature, aggression can set in.

Note that the 'good' Pyrs are ones with whom people have worked with a lot and do ongoing training with them and they come from reputable breeders. Rescues don't come 'perfect'. If you aren't ready to work with a dog 24/7 with consistency and patience, you should not have a dog. Know that they will be stressed in their new home and only start to settle after a few weeks. This is important to know.

It is very important to do your research on any breed before deciding if they are a good match for your family. Please start here:

More Information on the Great Pyr

Regarding dogs and children. We never want to set dogs up for failure so it’s important that children learn how to behave with dogs, and that parents never leave their children alone with a dog. Here is a link on that subject:

Best Dogs for Children

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