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Took a portrait photograph of this very large but young Great Pyrnesse with his thick white fur coat. As he saw the camera he stood and just stared into it almost trying to figure out what I was doing. Males grow to 110�120 pounds (50�54 kg) and 27�32 inches (69�81 cm), while females reach 80�90 pounds (36�41 kg) and 25�29 inches (63�74 cm). On average, their lifespan is 10 to 11 years.
The weather resistant double coat consists of a long, flat, thick, outer coat of coarse hair, straight or slightly undulating, and lying over a dense, fine, woolly undercoat. The coat is more profuse about the neck and shoulders where it forms a ruff or mane, more pronounced in males, to fend off wolves that may attack their neck. Longer hair on the tail forms a plume. There is feathering along the back of the front legs and along the back of the thighs, giving a "pantaloon" effect. The hair on the face and ears is shorter and of finer texture.
The main coat color is white and can have varying shades of gray, red (rust), or tan around the face (including a full face mask), ears and sometimes on the body and tail. As Great Pyrenees mature, their coats grow thicker and the longer colored hair of the coat often fades on those dogs that were not born completely white. Sometimes a little light tan or lemon will appear later in life around the ears and face. Being a double-coated breed, the undercoat can also have color and the skin as well. The color of the nose and on the eye rims should be jet black. Grey or tan markings that remain lend the French name, "blaireau", (badger) which is a similar grizzled mixture color seen in the European badger. More recently, any color is correctly termed "Badger" or "Blaireau".
One singular characteristic of the Great Pyrenees is the unique double dew claws on each hind leg.
September 16th, 2012
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