Do Great Pyrenees Get Along With Cats?

Will your Great Pyr be the friend or foe of cats?

Few things in life are as reassuring as a big white fluffy dog like the Great Pyrenees, but maybe you have a cat or are wanting one. The Great Pyrenees whole existence depends upon the protection and comfort of loved ones, will this extend to the family cat? Is it possible for a Great Pyrenees and a cat to get along?

Due to the Great Pyrenee’s sheepherding instincts and their desire to protect loved ones, this dog breed can get along with cats much better than most other dogs. The only difficulty in the relationship would come from the significant size differential between the two. But with some proper training and a bit of patience, any problems due to size can easily be overcome, especially with a breed as lovable and eager to please as the Pyrenees.

The Great Pyrenees is the very definition of a protector of loved ones. These can include children, adults, sheep, and yes, even cats. Few dogs can combine protective instincts with a natural caregiving personality like these fluffy giants. Any cat would be fortunate to be snuggled in their protective custody.

Not everything is perfect, however. While this breed is a great family dog to all members of the family, both two-legged and four-legged, they are veritable giants, and this could cause some danger to the cat only due to size. This could be especially true with a young Pyrenees who has too much energy for the cat and hasn’t yet learned enough the proper amount of force to be used in play.

With some great training techniques, however, you can make sure that your Great Pyrenees is gentle with your cat and that they form a lasting, loving bond.

History of the Great Pyrenees

This breed originated in beautiful Pyrenees mountains that have historically formed the border between France and Spain. These fluffy behemoths are an ancient dog breed. With ancestry potentially dating back thousands of years ago to the Asia minor region.

Bred originally as well as today in the modern period to be both a family dog and a livestock guardian. Looking after a shepherd’s flocks have been their job seemingly forever. The natural nobility of this breed was so great, that despite often being a dog owned by peasants, King Louis XIV decided to declare them the royal dog of France.

Interestingly enough, the Great Pyrenees is a distant genetic cousin of Saint

Bernards. At one point in time, when the Saint Bernard population was devastated, Great Pyrenees were bred into the line to help make it strong again.

Breed Instincts

There are only really two different instincts that determine this breed’s personality. These are guarding their family, which includes both animals and humans. As well as providing unconditional love. In many ways forming the ultimate Nanny dog, if nannies could chase off wolves.

With their long history of guarding livestock and the family, there is little to none prey drive. This breed was never really used for hunting, so this means that some of the hunting instinct problems that a house cat might face with certain other breeds will not be a problem with the Great Pyrenees.

Still, despite these very cat-friendly instincts, the easiest Pyrenees and cat pairing will be that of a puppy and kitten. When both animals are raised from youth, it allows them to figure each other out and fully understand their family relationship before they can get old and ornery. Even so, Great Pyrenees and cats of all ages can still be paired together successfully. It will just be most comfortable if you can start young.

The Great Pyrenees Is a Large Dog

While there are some dogs more massive than a Pyrenees, the saint bernard breed comes to mind. They are very few in number. Few dogs can rival this breed in height or weight. With males reaching around 110-130 pounds and 27-32 inches, with females reaching 115 pounds and 26-31 inches, this is a breed that has few equals in size.

Of course, as you might imagine, this could cause some difficulties in keeping them with cats. Being loving and playful, the Great Pyrenees is unlikely ever to hurt the cat on purpose. Still, their sheer size could lead to accidental injuries if the dog isn’t carefully trained to understand that they must be exceedingly gentle with their much smaller friend.

Fortunately, this breed is relatively easy-going and somewhat used to be larger than other things. So training them to be gentle should not be tough at all. Still, it never hurts to be a little cautious by keeping an eye on your dog and cat whenever they interact and not letting them be unsupervised until your confident they get along.

Tips and Tricks

One of the most important things for training your Great Pyrenees to get along with your cat is to establish some ground rules for their relationship from the beginning. Make firm rules and be consistent in enforcing them. If you lack consistency, you will confuse and frustrate your dog. Potentially hurting the relationship.

Here are some simple tricks that you can try to foster friendship between your dog and cat:

  • Create a cat specific-area
  • Train your dog to obey a command phrase
  • Feed them in different locations in your house
  • Take your dog for walks
  • Make sure to give attention and love to your cat so that they don’t get jealous

Make a Cat Only Area

Cats need a quiet place that they can retreat to at various points in the day. Their senses are very sharp, and they have a naturally high vigilance and sensitivity to noises and movement. With all this sensory information hitting them all the time, they need somewhere they can go and just be alone surrounded by quiet.

One of the thorniest issues with cats and dogs is that dogs can almost be like energizer bunnies, and when they like you, they want to be around you all the time. If the dog keeps wanting to play with the cat when he’s not in the mood, then there are going to be problems.

So either designate a particular room for your cat where your dog isn’t allowed. You can also get them a large cat tree where they can go up high and feel safe. Using a child-gate to block off sections of the house can be an excellent strategy as well.

Train Your Dog With a Command Phrase

A command phrase is a word or sound that means for your dog to stop whatever they may be doing instantly. It’s an essential element of dog training and can save a lot of pain for both you, the owner, and your dog.

Its usefulness can not be underestimated. You could theoretically use whatever word you want, but no and a sound like ack-ack can work quite well.

While Great Pyrenees are a breed that can easily get along with the family’s cats, still sometimes play can get too rough, or there could be a little scuffle. This is where the command phrase comes in handy, and can stop your Pyrenees in their tracks. Giving your cat and dog a chance to cool off or for your cat to escape to their safe space, hopefully ending the situation.

Feed Your Cat in a High up Place

Food protection is a common trait with nearly all animals. Humans, too, can practice food protection. Food is such an essential part of survival that it is a strong instinct to want to hover over our meal and keep others from it.

With a friendship between a cat and dog, this food protection instinct can become a major flashpoint for the relationship. Feed your dog and cat at the same time but in different places in the house.

This will help cut down on stress for both you and your animals and help keep the peace in the household. While it’s not necessary, a good place for the cat’s food bowl is somewhere up high where the dog can not get to it.

This will make your cat feel safe and cut the risk of a food altercation down close to zero.

Give Attention to Your Cat

With all this focus on your dog, it’s important not to neglect your cat’s feelings as well. Cats are known to lash out when they feel jealous or abandoned. So its somewhat necessary to put in energy and time to appease them, especially when the dog is the newcomer to the family.

Give your cat some of their favorite treats from time to time, and get them some special toys that they like. Pet them and snuggle them for as long as they tolerate. This could be a different length of time depending upon the unique personality of your particular cat.

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