large working dog, probably of Asian origin, that appeared in Europe between 1800 and 1000 BC. The court favourite of 17th-century France, the Great Pyrenees was originally used in the Pyrenees Mountains to guard flocks of sheep from wolves and bears. It is noted as a guard and watchdog and has been used to pull carts and, during World War I, to carry contraband goods between France and Spain. A massive dog with drooping ears and a characteristic rolling gait, the Great Pyrenees stands 25 to 32 inches (63.5 to 81 cm) and weighs 90 to 125 pounds (41 to 57 kg). Its thick, long coat is white or white with gray or brown markings.
Learn more about Great Pyrenees with a free trial on Britannica.com.