Great Pyrenees | Living the Country Life
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Great Pyrenees

On this Minnesota farm, Great Pyrenees guard the family flock.
  • Furry protectors

    On Milk and Honey Farm near Cokato, Minnesota, Bob and Sarah Lea have almost completely done away with their need for the supermarket by raising ducks and turkeys, fruits and vegetables, and especially sheep. The couple lives in an area where coyotes and other predators thrive. The survival of their flock often falls on a few furry shoulders -- their Great Pyrenees guard dogs.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 3, 2012
  • Low-maintenance dogs

    The Leas' Great Pyrenees weigh in a little bigger than normal for the breed: adult males weigh between 115 to 130 pounds, and the females are between 90 and 120 pounds. Yet, for the size of the breed, Great Pyrenees are easy to care for. They metabolize slower than other dogs their size, meaning they tend to eat less, and heavy shedding only happens for about three weeks out of the year.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 3, 2012
  • Earning their keep

    When the Leas got their first Great Pyrennees dogs 12 years ago, she thought they'd have one litter of puppies and that would be it. Today, they breed the dogs, and the puppies have become a cash crop. The Leas charge about $800 per purebred puppy, all of which are registered with the American Kennel Club. While these dogs are certainly good enough for showing, it's not what they are bred for. "I raise guardians and pets," Sarah says.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 3, 2012
  • Cold-weather canines

    Since the breed is native to mountainous regions in Europe, they need cold weather. They have very thick fur and can develop skin problems in hot climates. Lucky for the Leas, their Minnesota home provides plenty of chilly weather for these cold-loving canines.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 3, 2012
  • Safe and sound

    These sheep look cozy and content, knowing they are safe from would-be predators. The dogs provide exceptional protection for sheep and humans alike. "We don't have issues with rabbits, raccoons, coyotes, people, or dog packs," Sarah says. "They take care of business big-time."

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 3, 2012
  • Everyone's protected

    The sheep aren't the only animals on Milk and Honey Farm who benefit from the presence of the Great Pyrenees. With these big dogs on patrol, there will be no fox in this family's henhouse.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 3, 2012
  • Personality plus

    Despite their tremendous size, Great Pyrenees are gentle, sweet dogs. Sarah describes them as mellow and quite bright. "They're wonderful with children, and they are very gentle," she says. "But if a need arose, they would be protective."

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 3, 2012
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