GTPulse: Protectors of the Realm, Great Pyrenees and Their Young

Quinn and Gretel of Williamsburg, Michigan are the proud new parents to six Great Pyrenees pups. The farm dog couple resides at Varken Vallei Farm where they dutifully protect their livestock. The sheep, chickens and pigs rely on Quinn and Gretel to keep lurking coyotes away, and pretty soon the new puppies will learn how to do the same.

The life of these puppies will look very different from the lives of other breeds. At two and a half weeks old life is still pretty easy for the little pack. Their days are spent napping nestled against one another, occasionally untangling themselves to play or eat when Gretel comes to feed them.

For Gretel, much of her day remains the same. She drops in on her pups every hour or so to make sure they haven’t burned the house down but she doesn’t use being a new mom as an excuse to take it easy on the job. She still roams the grounds, keeping her eyes and ears alert for visitors of any kind. She’s the more serious of the reigning duo. Quinn, her colleague, pal and father of her children is by far the more playful of the two. Quinn works hard and plays hard. Gretel is no-nonsense. Part of Gretel’s strong work ethic comes from her breed. She’s an Anatolian Pyrenees, a Great Pyrenees mixed with Anatolian Shepherd. A winning combination for a livestock guardian.

Mom and dad

Gretel’s Anatolian heritage doesn’t show up too much in her looks, but some of those features were passed down to a few of her litter. Peaches inherited the slightly darker coat and face. She’s the largest of the litter and the only one of the pack that will remain at Varken Vallei.

For now, Peaches gets to snuggle and roughhouse with her brothers and sisters. They’re discovering their voice and their strength. Baby growls and ear-biting are all done in the name of play and affection. Peaches finds out what a headlock is when one of her siblings wraps his front legs around her head and pulls her down to the ground. They don’t know it yet, but this playful wrestling is helping them prepare for training with their parents in a few short weeks.

Quinn and Gretel will homeschool the puppies on how to treat and protect livestock. A rambunctious pup chasing a chicken around for a laugh will be swiftly reprimanded by mom or dad. 

The puppies will also be able to see their parents come into action against the freaks that come out at night. Menacing foxes and coyotes are a threat to any farm with livestock and as night falls it’s their duty to prevent them from breaking into the farm.

Quinn and Gretel do not need to be instructed to mentor their young in the art of looking after other animals. It’s a nature-given instinct. Their parents taught them how, and should any of these puppies become parents one day, they will teach their little ones in the same way. It’s been this way for centuries.

The puppies will leave home after their work aptitude is tested and understood, at around 12 to 15 weeks but not to worry, the puppies won’t be going on their new adventure alone. Pyrenees dogs typically work in pairs to work the farm. The babies will eventually have a partner in crime that will become their best work pal, and possibly a mate to have puppies of their own with.

Great Pyrenees are unique in that they’re both a prized employee at their farms, and a part of the family as well. Neither livestock or house pets, they roam their farms with a sense of understanding and ease. It’s their domain. They live outside 365 days a year and they never take a day off. The livestock they look after revere them. The families that own them, love them. Being given so much responsibility and fulfilling their purpose creates a kind of satisfaction that other dog breeds will never know. They are the great defenders, their brother’s keeper, and the protagonists of their own destiny.

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Categories: GTPulse