Are you looking for a gentle giant companion dog with a big heart?
Or you would love to own a pet, only that you are allergic to their dander and needing a dog touted as hypoallergenic?
If you are looking for a pet that will fit the bill, then the Pyredoodle might be for you!
What is a Pyredoodle?
But first, what is a Pyredoodle?
Pyredoodle is a mixed breed between American Kennel Club (AKC)’s 66th most popular dog, the Great Pyrenees and the 7th on the spot, the Poodle.
When these two are bred together, it results in a calm, fearless and loyal pup with the best traits of their parents and they are called Pyredoodle.
Others also called this Great Pyrenees Poodle Mix as Pyreneespoo, Pyrepoo and Pyreneesdoodle.
Now, you might wonder why not Pyrepoodle instead of Pyredoodle? It’s because doodles are a collective term for the Poodle mixes.
History of the Pyredoodle
When did the Pyredoodle mix come to life? Honestly, like most mixed breeds or designer dogs, it is quite unclear when. Some would say it was probably in the 1980s when experimenting with the Poodle and other breeds became popular. While some surmise the early 2000s which most likely happened in North America.
While it is not documented when this breed started, the common reason why other breeds such as the Great Pyrenees were mixed with the Poodle were because of the latter’s allergy-friendly and low-shedding pup.
Now, let’s take a look at both parent breeds.
Have you ever wondered why the huge and majestic Pyrenean Mountain Dogs are also called Great Pyrenees?
In French, they are called “Le Grande Chien Des Montagnes” which means The Great Mountain dog.
The Pyr, as they are affectionately called, originated in the Pyrenees mountains of France and Spain. They were first bred to keep watch over the sheep, and goat flock from predators such as wolves and bears. Their innate patience is very useful for the job that they sat down atop a freezing cold mountain for days.
In the 17th century, the Pyrs became the Royal Dog of France because they were efficient guardians of the chateaux during the reign of King Louis XIV after the young prince fell in love with one and brought it home.
The Pyrs, recognized by the AKC in 1933, are considered the world’s most famous livestock protectors. While they are big dogs, they are also known to protect the young and the small.
On the other side of the breed, the curly and fluffy Poodles are also well-loved by the French. In fact, it is called France’s national dog.
While it has that title, it originated in Germany some 400 years ago. The word Poodle came from the German term “pudelin” referring to the splashing of water. Far from its flamboyant and fashionable status symbol nowadays, they used to be duck hunters and retrievers. Poodles were excellent for the job because they swim well and they have water-resistant coats!
Down the line of history, they were even known as circus performers and they were really smart, it was a breeze to train them.
Poodles were recognized by the AKC in 1887.
As a cross breed, the Pyredoodle offspring is not recognized by AKC. But the Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA), American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC) and Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC) include this mix.
How Does a Pyredoodle Look Like?
Are you wondering if the Pyredoodle will look like a curly Great Pyrenees? Or perhaps a stockier Poodle?
The answer is really not an exact science. Since this cross breed is relatively new, the standard is not yet set. Therefore, it is a wild card! You are in for a surprise for what your Pyredoodle pup will look like.
Commonly, the Pyredoodle has a long snout topped with a black nose. It has dark, round eyes that can be the color of hazel or black. Often, their eyes are quite hidden a bit because of their long coat. Its ears may or may not be flopped down like the Pyre.
It has a large and broad shouldered body that is well-proportioned. That is usually topped with a medium-length tail. All in all, the Pyredoodle looks more majestic and regal than other dog breeds. Nevertheless, it will look like a huge teddy bear.
Generally, Pyredoodles will have a color coat of white or cream. But it can also come in grey, apricot or black. Some of them can have bold colors while there are also others with mixed colors.
It will depend on what their coat will be from their parents. It can either be a single or double coat. They can have straight or slightly curly hair which is abundant around the face, neck and tail.
In terms of size, expect your Pyredoodle to be on the larger side.
Looking at each parent, a Standard Poodle’s height is over 15 inches which can weigh tipping at 70 pounds. While the Great Pyrenees can be about 29 inches and more than 100 pounds.
Considering these, most Pyredoodles weigh from 85 to 100 pounds (or 38.6 to 45.4 kg) and can grow as tall as 22 to 32 inches.
Grooming and Taking Care of a Pyredoodle
As mentioned, there are many dog breeds mixed with a Poodle with the hope that they will inherit the allergy-friendly and low-shedding coat of this breed. But if you have a 50% Great Pyrenees and 50% Poodle, well, it is not guaranteed that it will inherit so.
Yes, a Poodle has a hypoallergenic coat but a Pyr’s fur is abundant and will require a lot of grooming. They have a double coat that is dirt and tangle resistant, but they shed like a snowball!
Either way, you have a mixed breed in between low to moderate shedding.
If your Pyrdoodle inherited the single-coated genes of the Poodle, they will of course enjoy being hypoallergenic and will only need weekly hair brushing. But if it inherited the Pyre’s double-coat, daily brushing to prevent matting may be needed. Tools like pin brushes and scissors will really come in handy in the job.
Another thing to note is that if your Pyrodoodle has a double-coat, it can withstand extremely low temperatures. But summers can be tough for them as they are prone to overheating. So during those times, limit their outdoor exposure.
So how often should you wash your Pyredoodle’s coat? The answer is only when necessary as too much bathing can strip off its natural oils. And did you know that a Pyredoodle’s coat is relatively dirt-resistant?
Floppy ears also mean that you should always inspect your Pyredoodle’s ears from wax build up and even spot check for infection. Trim your dog’s nails also every two to three weeks or when it starts noisily clicking on the floor already.
Good oral hygiene is also important for your Pyredoodle to prevent periodontal diseases. Daily brushing of teeth is recommended but if that is too taxing already, do it at least twice or thrice a week. Your vet can also teach you how to brush your dog’s teeth properly but it is best to start at puppyhood!
What is the Temperament of a Pyredoodle?
The Great Pyrenees are known to be smart, patient and with a zen-like calm. Meanwhile, Poodles are described as very smart, active and proud.
With the Pyredoodle, you can expect a gentle giant dog who is loving, sweet and protective. They always crave your attention. But don’t be too easily fooled as the moment their curiosity peaks, they have that strong desire to wander off the leash!
While it is indeed a large dog, just like the Pyrs, it is a very calm dog. Yes, very timid and sweet-natured. They won’t necessarily go out of that shy type phase so socialization is important to make your Pyredoodles comfortable around people and animals.
Unlike the barking tendency of the Great Pyrenees (which can be quite a lot), the Pyredoodles are generally quiet. That is thanks to their Poodle parents. But, if they sense danger, they alert their humans and tend to be very protective especially of children.
This makes them very good and reliable guard dogs; which most Doodles are not known for as they surely will welcome any stranger. Even so, Pyredoodles are by no means aggressive. They are very even-tempered dogs.
Other pets are also welcome for a Pyredoodle for as long as they are socialized and trained to interact with other animals while at a young age.
The Pyredoodles are indeed great companion dogs. Yes, they are big but with a bigger heart who can protect your home and family!
How Much Exercise Does a Pyredoodle Need?
The Great Pyrenees are not highly active despite being livestock guardians. The thing is, they do it calmly and in zen since they conserve the energy they need in fending off their flock for long periods of days.
On the other hand, Poodles are very active! They require a good deal of exercise daily no matter what that is and swimming is one of their favorites!
Pyredoodles are in the middle spectrum having medium levels of energy. To keep your doodle happy and healthy, they need at least 30 minutes to 1-hour of daily exercise. This breed also has the tendency to be lazy and therefore obese when allowed to just stay indoors without exercise.
Apart from physical exercise, your Pyredoodles also need interactive play sessions. Without ample mental activity, your Pyredoodle will be prone to mischief!
Since they are also prone to bloat, schedule your exercise far off from a meal.
Because they need ample exercise and with their size, a home with a yard is suited for them. Although they can also adapt to apartment living for as long as their exercise needs are met.
Is the Pyredoodle Highly Trainable?
The Great Pyrenees have a stubborn streak and they are not recommended for novice owners. They are independent thinkers that can do their job with minimal supervision. They are smart but training is met with indifference.
In a study ranking dog intelligence, the Pyrs rank at the 64th spot. Dogs in this tier can understand new commands after 40 to 80 repetitions while obeying the first command 30% of the time, or better.
On the other hand, Poodles are very easy to train! Since they are extremely intelligent and eager to please, they can be trained. They can even perform circus acts! Apart from that, they excel in a variety of canine sports from agility, obedience and tracking.
In the same ranking, Poodles are considered as one of the smartest dogs at the 2nd rank! They can follow new commands after only less than five repetitions! If you ask them to obey a first command, 95% of the time, they will get it.
Definitely, your Pyredoodle will be easier to train than their Great Pyrenees parents. But still, they can still inherit that stubborn streak. To train your Pyredoodle, positive reinforcement and rewards training are recommended. Be firm and consistent when training your pooch.
Give them lots of praises when they do a good job. Physical praises like a pat as an incentive will also go a long way. Rewarding them with treats (yes, make sure it’s healthy) will also work with this mix-breed.
Some areas where you can focus are:
- Socialization– expose them to different people, animals and even places, sounds and experiences to help them out of their shyness. This is best done while at puppyhood.
- Obedience– Basic commands such as sit, stay, come must be taught early on.
If it is really difficult to train them, as training should be done and is never just an option, it is best to seek professional help. Typically also, a Pyredoodle is not recommended for a first-time owner as they can be strong-willed and assertive.
Food and Nutrition Requirements of a Pyredoodle
Ideal food for your Pyredoodle should consider its age, size, activity level, weight, and a lot more factors. Nevertheless, it should be properly formulated for a large breed with medium energy levels.
Typically, they will require 4 to 5 cups of high-quality kibble but since each dog is unique, it is best to get the advice of your vet. Their dietary needs also change as they age.
Your Pyredoodle is also prone to weight gain. So while exercise is a must, food must always be given incorrect amounts. Treats must also be done the same. It should not exceed 10% of their total diet and it should be the healthy ones like dog-approved veggies and fruits.
Another thing that they are prone to is bloat so supervise their meals to ensure they do not eat quickly which can exacerbate it.
Regularly visit your vet also and work with your vet for your dog’s care routine.
Common Health Issues of a Pyredoodle
No breed, whether purebred or mixed breed, can escape illnesses. Even mixed breeds known to have hybrid vigor can still be susceptible to health issues. For the Pyredoodle, these are:
- Addison’s disease
- Bloat/ gastric torsion
- Cushing’s Disease
- Elbow dysplasia
- Eye disorders (entropion, cataracts, and optic nerve hypoplasia)
- Patellar luxation
- Hip dysplasia
If you are getting a Pyredoodle, always deal with a reputable breeder and look for one who has health clearances from CERF and the OFA for the puppy’s parents.
How Long is the Lifespan of a Pyredoodle?
A Pyr has a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years while Poodles live a bit longer at 10 to 18 years.
With proper care, grooming, regular check up and lots of tender loving care, your Pyredoodle can have a healthy lifespan of 10 to 12 years.
How Much is a Pyredoodle?
Owning a dog and a doodle is not that cheap. The price tag of a Pyredoodle range from $1,300 to $2,300 based on gender and color. But that is only an upfront cost as taking care of a dog is a lifetime commitment.
If you are interested in a Pyredoodle, you can also try to rescue one in your local shelter. You can look for Poodles and Great Pyrenees shelters as they usually take in the mixed breeds. What’s nice about adopting is that you get to save these dogs and give them a second chance at happiness.
Is the Pyredoodle a Good Family Dog?
Yes, they might be large dogs but they are gentle and protective of little children. They will be glad to be their playmate and their protector in one big, cuddly body! Of course, children must always be taught how to interact properly with pets.
Conclusion: Is the Pyredoodle for You?
The Pyredoodle is indeed a great companion dog who will surely bring joy and protection to any home.
No dog deserves to be abandoned in a shelter. If you decide to bring home one, make sure that your heart and soul are 100% sure and that you will stick with them until the end. Owning a dog is a blessing! You will be blessed with a lifelong companion who will love you to bits.