A New Definition of Working | National Great Pyrenees Rescue

A working dog is a dog with a job to do. The jobs can be as varied guarding a flock of sheep, walking to the mail box every day, making regular visits to a nursing home or warning someone of an impending seizure.

With a thousand-year or longer history of helping man, Pyrs are at the forefront of redefining what it means to be a working dog. Our volunteers have placed several dogs in their traditional role of livestock guardian on selected farms. But even here the definition of working is changing, with many guardian dogs responding well to more human interaction as farms become smaller and less remote.

Micaela and Melanie
Micaela and Melanie.
Photo © Good Housekeeping.
More recently working Pyrs have moved out of the fields and into classrooms, hospitals and nursing homes as therapy dogs. Pyrs have participated in formal and informal therapy programs around the country. A Great Pyrenees named Melanie from Maine was featured in Good Housekeeping Magazine several years ago when she was transported by the "Hole in the Wall Gang" to be the companion to a young cancer patient.

The innate gentleness, wisdom and protective guardian qualities make the Great Pyrenees breed well-suited to many different types of work. Even that stubborn, independent streak can be of value in a working dog. Example: one Pyr wouldn't give up trying to rally a reluctant farmer. It was later discovered that a new lamb had been born out in the field unexpectedly.

We salute our Pyrs in their many working roles, and look forward to hearing more about the many ways a working dog's vocation can be fulfilled. If you have a working Pyr doing an unusual job you would like to tell us about, or a working Pyr doing an usually good job, please e-mail director@nationalpyr.org.