This breed takes its name from the mountain range in southwestern Europe where it was developed to be an indispensable helper to the resident shepherds, guarding the herds of sheep grazed on the steep mountain slopes. This was an occupation of considerable hazard and the breed’s thick, weatherproof coat and indomitable character are testament to these roots. Adoration for the breeds remarkable abilities spanned social classes – in addition to their association with humble shepherds, they were also highly esteemed among the noble class and appointed French court dog in the 17th century. The Great Pyrenees was bred to work autonomously so their independent nature may not predispose them to becoming obedience stars but they are intelligent and make faithful, affectionate family pets. Their protective instincts run deep so they can be very territorial and owners should be prepared barking, especially at night. Their moderately long, thick coats should be brushed out once a week.