The Great Pyrenees

aresanddixie2

As the farm has expanded with new and varying types of livestock it has become more and more clear that we needed some guard dogs.  The Great Pyrenees is a very common livestock guardian dog, as it is extremely good at doing its job.  The biggest drawback to these great white protectors is there snow white coat.  We live in the Georgia mountains where the soil is not black, but instead clay colored.  I am almost certain that this means that when we move our pooches down to the pasture they will quit being fluffy white and turn instead to heavy and damp pink.

Our female and first pup, was six weeks old when we got her.  She was raised in a barn by her mother and she really seemed to know the ropes.  She didn’t use the bathroom in her bed area, but instead waited until I moved her out into the grass.  She thrives being out on the deck.  She is content to be alone outside.  This is what she is familiar with, and when it rains she doesn’t even seem to notice.  If you leave her pinned up inside she will burst your ear drums with her high pitched howling and barking.  Her name is Athena.

athena

When we arrived to pick up her mate, Ares, we learned that he had come from a far different background.  His mother was young and didn’t really want anything to do with suckling her pups.  As a result all of them had died with the exception of Ares.  His human mother had bottle fed him inside the house.  He is one week younger than Athena and when we placed him outside he was completely terrified.  When it rains he believes that something has gone very wrong in his world, as he cowers under the eve of the house hoping to get inside.  Inside is where dogs are suppose to reside, right?

pups

To make matters worse, Athena had come from a large litter and the minute she saw him she stood over him pulling on his ears and tail.  The last two weeks have definitely been a crash course for the little male, but he is catching on to the fact that he is a dog and learning that being out with the chickens and other dogs is a perfectly normal thing for a Great Pyrenees pup. Now if he could just catch Athena in size he could quit being on the bottom all the time, where he is constantly being gnawed.  His face says it all…

gnawed

Ares has the marking on his face that are common to many Pyrenees, but not found on all of them.  They are called badger marks.  As his longer coat comes in they will become more muted, but his ears will probably remain darker than the rest of his fur.

Ares2

Together they both weight less than 25 pounds.  When they are fully grown Ares will be no more than 150lb and Athena will come in some where around 100lb.  Together they will live in the pasture and defend our livestock from all manner of predators.  They were bred to do this over a thousand years ago and they only thing we have to do to help them in this chore is expose them to their livestock family and teach them the boundaries of the yard.

For now they remain very cute little puff balls that are barely taller than the over grown grass…

ares 3

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