Showsight Presents the Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees Q & A

Peggy Watson continued

Guardian Dogs in the United States. Great Pyrenees are very well suited to being a family member and many enjoy laying on the couches or beds in your home. The biggest drawback to liv- ing in the suburbs is the Great Pyrenees very, loud and protective bark. This is a challenge that Great Pyrenees owners encounter. The Great Pyrenees are very protective of your property, home, family members and other animals at his residence. They will even go as far as getting between strangers and children when necessary. I have recently lost my husband but I do feel very safe having my Great Pyrenees protecting me. What about the breed makes them an ideal companion? A home for a Great Pyrenees needs to be tolerant of some shed- ding, drooling and loud barking. They tend to be very stubborn as well because they are independent thinkers having been bred to guard the flocks of sheep while the shepherd slept at night. When I sell my puppies, I have it in my contract that all own- ers need to take their dogs to obedience classes. It is important that your Great Pyrenees knows who is in charge in the home (a human and not the dog). The dogs are very gentle and loving. Great Pyrenees do not have quite as much energy as a sporting or herding breed. They are very content to lay at your feet while you work or relax at home. What special challenges do Great Pyrenees breeders face in our current economic and social climate? In our current eco- nomic and social climate many people are having to downsize their homes, move to more populated areas for work or have lost their homes. This is a huge problem for our Great Pyrenees Rescues due to the number of large dogs being given up or aban- doned. It is quite the challenge for the people rescuing these Great Pyrenees dogs and all of their hard work is so appreciated. The Great Pyrenees Dog is not the right breed for everybody and it is the responsibility of the Breeders to interview the potential new owners to make sure that this is the breed for them and to be there for the life of the puppy as a resource. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthi- ness)? At eight to nine weeks you can first evaluate the puppies to see their potential but usually between one to two years is when you might see more maturity in the show ring. The Great Pyrenees reach their full maturity between three to five years and you could tell if they would be a competitive Special in the Confirmation Ring. What is it that makes showing dogs all worthwhile? Going to shows with my dogs is very hard work due to the size of the animals and the size of the equipment but spending time with the dogs is always a pleasure and you always go home with the Best Dog. Having fun in the ring with my dogs is what makes it all worth it and winning is also very rewarding. My dogs always enjoy going to shows with me and they get upset if I leave them home. The ultimate goal for this breed is to keep producing our dogs to be able to do the job that they were created for and to breed for healthy and correct conformation (Breed Standard). Each time you produce puppies, the breeder is working on pro- ducing better puppies than their parents were. My favorite dog show memory is when one of my Great Pyrenees Dogs was invited to go to Westminster Kennel Club Show. Going to New York City as an Owner/Handler was so much fun. All of my Great Pyrenees Dogs have been certified to be Therapy Dogs and have visited with children, hospital patients and the elderly in Nursing Homes as well as Retirement Homes. One of my dogs is my Diabetes Service Animal and has been a very important part of my life as a diabetic for over 45 years. Great Pyrenees are very versatile and once you have one in your family it is very difficult to be without one.

breed with a beautifully groomed, well-socialized Pyr. When I compete in obedience with a Pyr, its also fun when the judges are impressed with their performance in the ring. Dragging > around all the equipment necessary for showing gets more dif- ficult with each year. What is the most important thing about the breed for a nov- ice to keep in mind when judging? I’m assuming you mean a novice, or provisional, judge. The most important thing is remembering what this breed is bred to do—they must be strong and sound. I always advise that anyone who wishes to really learn and understand our breed to refer to the photos of the original dogs and try not to fall for fashionable extremes. Pyrs should have substance, size and soundness, and the temperament to do the job. That doesn’t often transfer well to the show ring. They are NOT white Golden Retrievers and they likely will never “ask” for a win like other breeds. They are commonly aloof and while some love to show, some toler- ate it because their owners ask them to. Coats should be hard and straight and not soft. The undercoat is soft, but the hard outer coat keeps them clean and free of mats in the field. The coat’s hardness can be felt by twirling a few strands between your thumb and finger and feeling it crackle. My ultimate goal for the breed? To preserve it in its original form and not have its appearance or temperament changed to suit some extreme style in any way. I’d love to see our national club grow and do more with LGD’s and their owners and breed- ers, and think about where we want to be in the next ten years. My favorite dog show memory? There are so many it would be hard to say! Recently a young dog I bred from my last litter has won two OH BIS’s—that was thrilling! I love the cama- raderie in the OH groups. It has been a great way to meet new people. LINDA WHISENHUNT I am a very passion-

ate breeder of Great Pyr- enees dogs and have been involved with this breed for more than 30 years. I strive to produce the best quality and the healthiest animals possible. Arnault Great Pyrenees have dogs from Euzkalzale and Karolaska bloodlines. The dogs are very com- petitive in AKC confor-

mation dog shows but are also active Therapy and Service dogs. My dogs are multiple AKC Champions and have been ranked Top 5 in the Nation. I live in Ventura, California. I work as a nurse and am very busy spending time with my family. I also enjoy target shooting and riding my Harley Davidson Motorcycle. Does the average person in the street recognize the breed? The average person does not recognize the Great Pyrenees breed but ask if he is a Newfoundland. People are drawn to the great big, white polar bear of a dog with a gentle disposition while out in public. You cannot walk ten steps without being stopped for a friendly hug and many questions. When people are look- ing for puppies, the public usually have done some research or has owned a Pyr before. Once a Pyr owner, usually always a Pyr owner. How has the breed adapted to civilian life? You would be surprised how many Great Pyrenees are still used for Livestock

362 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , N OVEMBER 2019

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