Have you ever heard of a Pyrador?
These beautiful dogs are the result of crossing a Labrador Retriever with a Great Pyrenees.
If you’re not quite sure what a Great Pyrenees is either, don’t worry.
We’ll cover everything you need to know about the Pyrador in this article, including important information about both parent breeds.
But first, let’s take a quick look at why there is some controversy surrounding the Pyrador, and other designer dog breeds.
Are Pyradors designer dogs?
There’s a lot of controversy surrounding first generation mixes.
Since the Pyrador is one of these, it’s important to know a little bit about the issue before deciding whether to bring one into your home.
It boils down to people arguing over whether purebreds or mixed breeds are “better.”
There are a lot of strong, vocal supporters on both sides of the fence.
For instance, with purebreds, it’s easier to know what puppies will be like.
There’s more variety in any mixed breed offspring.
A Pyrador could inherit the traits of either parent breed, or even some combination of the two.
On the other hand, research shows that purebreds have reduced vigor.
This means, on average, they won’t live as long and won’t have as many offspring.
There isn’t a single right answer on which type of dog is better.
Hopefully, this article will help you decide if this particular designer dog is the right dog for you.
Origins of the Pyrador Dog
Little is known about how the Pyrador came about.
This is still a relatively new designer dog.
It’s also not as popular and therefore not as well-documented as some others, such as Labradoodles and Cockerpoos.
To have a better idea of this dog’s background, let’s look at the history of each parent breed.
The Labrador Retriever is believed to have originated in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.
The Lab began as a water dog and duck retriever for fishermen.
Then, in the early 1800s, English noblemen noticed the breed.
They brought some of the dogs back to England to be sporting dogs.
The England Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1903 and the American Kennel Club (AKC) followed shortly after, in 1917.
The breed has grown in popularity in both countries, primarily due to its remarkable temperament.
In fact, it’s topped the AKC list of popular breeds since 1991.
Some believe that the Great Pyrenees originated in either Central Asia or Siberia before making their way into Europe.
In fact, remains of the breed have been found among Bronze Age fossils.
This means the breed is potentially thousands of years old.
However, it wasn’t until a few hundred years ago that the Pyrenees got their name.
Somehow these dogs made it to the Pyrenees Mountains, where they became the companion of shepherds.
The dogs were bred there as herding dogs, and inherited their current name from the mountains.
They were meant not only to watch the flocks, but also keep away any predators.
The dogs had to be able to sit outside in freezing temperatures for days at a time, ready to fight off wolves, bears or thieves.
They grew to be known for both their patience and their courage.
The dogs first arrived in the US in 1824 when General Lafayette brought a pair over for his friend J.S. Skinner.
However, it wasn’t until 1933 that the AKC recognized the breed.
Lab Pyrenees Description
Since a Pyrador is a Pyrenees Lab mix, it could end up looking like either parent breed.
Or even some combination of the two.
So, to get a good idea of this dog’s appearance, we will first look at the general description of each parent breed.
Male Labradors will be between 22.5-24.5 inches tall and between 65-80 pounds in weight.
Female Labradors will be 21.5–23.5 inches tall and 55–70 pounds.
Labradors are strong dogs of large build with strong jaws, kind eyes, and ears that hang down.
Labs are also known for their ‘otter tails.’
These are thick, tapering, powerful tails that are used like a rudder as the dogs swim.
The Great Pyrenees are giant-sized dogs.
Females weight 85 pounds or more and usually stand between 25 – 29 inches tall.
Males are even larger, at 100 pounds and up.
They typically stand at 27 – 32 inches tall.
These dogs are slightly rectangular, as they are longer than they are tall.
However, they are still well-balanced, powerful, and agile dogs.
Pyrenees have wedge-shaped heads with intelligent, dark brown eyes and ears that lay flat against the head.
The Great Pyrenees has a well-plumed tail which may be carried low or crooked over its back.
A Pyrador could end up weighing anywhere between 55 to over 100 pounds full-grown.
It could also be 21.5 – 32 inches tall.
As you can see, this is a huge range of possibilities.
It’s the difference between a dog that’s just above medium-sized, to one that weighs as much as a small person!
It could also end up with an otter tail, or one that is plumed.
In either case, a Pyrador should end up being a well-balanced, powerful dog, with kind eyes and ears that lay flat.
Great Pyrenees and Lab Mix Coat
Once again, we’ll start off by looking at each parent breed.
Labs originally started out having either a short or long coat.
However, long-haired coats would become covered with ice when the dogs swam and worked in cold winter waters. Therefore, they were undesirable.
Today, the only coat recognized in the AKC breed standard is the short variety.
Labs always have two coats.
A thick undercoat and the short, dense, weather-resistant top coat.
They come in three possible solid colors: chocolate, black and yellow.
The Great Pyrenees either has a solid white coat, or one that is primarily white, with any of the following markings:
- Reddish brown
These dogs also have a double coat.
Their outer coat is thick and weather resistant, like the Lab’s, but it is long and sometimes slightly wavy.
The undercoat is dense, fine and wooly to help keep the Pyrs warm in cold temperatures.
Coats tend to be longer around the neck and shoulders, forming a ruff, particularly in males.
Feathering is also normally seen on the back of the legs and tail.
It’s a safe bet that a Pyrador will end up with two coats, with the top one being weather resistant.
However, these dogs could end up being long or short-haired.
They could also end up being any of the four solid colors or be white with markings.
Of course, knowing which color Lab parented the puppy will help you predict coloring.
For instance, a Great Pyrenees Yellow Lab mix should only end up being white, yellow, or white with markings.
A Great Pyrenees Black Lab mix should only end up being white, black, or white with markings.
Labrador Great Pyrenees Mix Grooming
Luckily, both Pyrs and Labs have relatively low-maintenance coats.
Their dense coats require little grooming.
Weekly brushing and the occasional bath should suffice for any Pyrador.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that both parent breeds shed.
This will be particularly noticeable twice a year when shedding season hits.
Unfortunately, due to the size of Pyrs, even mild shedding can result in a lot of hair all over everything.
So, if you end up with a Pyrador that’s near the giant side, you may need to get used to living with the hair.
However, you can reduce this with regular brushing.
Great Pyrenees Lab Mix Temperament
As mentioned earlier, both Labs and Pyrs have become known and loved for their temperaments.
Some characteristics both breeds have in common are:
- A gentle nature
Both breeds are typically considered great family dogs.
They tend to have a patient, tolerant nature towards children.
Any Pyrador puppy can reasonably be expected to inherit the above traits.
Pyradors as pets
However, there are also some differences between the parent breeds to keep in mind.
For instance, Labs are extremely outgoing and eager to please.
Pyrs can be more reserved and independent.
Labs also have a natural tendency to love everyone and everything. They should never show aggression of any kind.
Pyrs are never supposed to show aggression toward any humans, but they are bred to be protective.
Therefore, a Pyrador puppy may be reserved or outgoing.
It may be a social butterfly, or more reserved. And it may show aggression towards anything it deems a threat.
So it’s very important to properly train and socialize any Pyrador.
Labrador Pyrenees Mix Health Issues
Pyradors may inherit the genetic health issues of either parent breed.
Particularly the problems shared by both parents.
Therefore, we’ll look at the known health issues of both Pyrs and Labs.
Labs may inherit any of the following genetic conditions:
- Elbow and hip dysplasia
- Heart disorders
- Hereditary Myopathy
- Eye conditions
- Exercise-induced collapse
In addition, Labs are prone to ear infections and becoming overweight.
Pyrs may receive any of the following health issues from their parents:
- Elbow and hip dysplasia
- Eye conditions
- Luxating patellas
- Neurological disorders
- Immune-mediated disorders
The three issues both breeds have in common are dysplasia, eye conditions, and bloat.
Before committing to a Pyrador puppy, ask to see the hip scores for their parents. This article will help you understand them.
Both parents should also have a clear eye exam within the last year.
Also, you should familiarize yourself with the warning signs of bloat. It can be life-threatening.
Exercising a Great Pyrenees Labrador Retriever Mix
Labrador Retrievers are very high energy dogs.
Great Pyrenees, on the other hand, only need a moderate amount of exercise.
Therefore, with a Great Pyrenees Lab mix, you could end up with either trait.
Watch your dog’s behavior and energy levels as it grows.
You’ll be able to tell over time if one long daily walk will suffice, or if you have a dog with the off-the-wall energy of a Lab.
This type of dog will need frequent mental and physical exercise.
Without it, it’s likely to act out in destructive and undesirable ways.
Training a Half Lab Half Great Pyrenees
Labradors love to please, and are typically wonderful trainees.
This is one of the reasons so many of them are employed as search and rescue and guide dogs.
Pyrs, however, are a little more independent, and well, stubborn.
These dogs are more likely to become bored with training.
So, it’s important to make it as fun and engaging as possible.
Consistent, positive reinforcement should work well with your Pyrador.
Even if it takes after it’s Pyrenees parent.
It’s important to provide your dog with proper training and socialization from an early age.
Particularly with a dog that has the potential of being over 100 pounds.
Ideal Home for a Lab and Pyrenees Mix
These dogs generally make wonderful companion dogs and family pets.
That is, if they’ve come from a good home and have had proper socialization and training.
Due to the potential size of the dog, it will do best in a larger home, rather than a small apartment.
A fenced backyard is also a good idea, so it does not roam or feel the need to ‘fend off’ anything it views as a predator.
Pyrs may be fine left home alone, but Labs are at risk of acting out without company.
With a Pyrador, either scenario could occur.
So, it’s best if your home has someone around most of the time.
It’s also best if you live an active, outdoorsy lifestyle.
Is a Pyrador the right pet for me?
A Pyrador may be reserved and even protective around strangers.
If you interact with a lot of new people regularly, socialization will be even more important.
Be cautious introducing a Pyrador into a home with other pets.
The Pyrenees nature of herding may not be welcomed by other animals in your home.
Are you hoping for a kind, intelligent, patient, and possible playful large to giant-sized dog?
If so, this beautiful mix might be the right dog for you!
As long as you don’t mind the shedding!
Great Pyrenees Lab Mix Puppies
Pyrador puppies are not always easy to find.
Make sure that any Pyrador breeder you find online is reputable.
Check for references, ask questions, and view the location before making your decision.
Also ask to see both parents, and all relevant vet records and health test results.
Remember that the color of your Pyrador will partially depend on the parents.
So, if you’re hoping for a black one, look for a breeder advertising a Black Lab Pyrenees mix.
The price of Pyrador puppies can range widely across breeders.
I’ve seen pricing from $150 all the way up to $1,000.
You can also consider a Pyrador rescue if you’re hoping to adopt an older dog or find one for a more affordable price.
The Great Pyrenees Club of America is a great place to start looking.
You can check out their rescue page or contact them to see if they currently have any Pyradors for adoption near you.
The last word on Pyradors
Pyradors are the first generation offspring of the well-known Labrador Retriever and the more unusual Great Pyrenees.
They are medium-large dogs, with features and qualities that could draw from either parent.
If you are confident that your could love and care for either a Lab or a Great Pyrenees, that’s a good sign that you will also love life with a Pyrador.
To make sure your Pyrador has the best chance of a long and healthy life, choose a reponsible breeder carefully.
Do you have a Pyrador?
How did you come to meet your dog? Did you seek this unusual crossbreed out, or was it lucky chance?
Tell us all about them in the comments section!
References and Further Reading
American Kennel Club. “Bloat in Dogs: A Potentially Life-Threatening Condition”.
Beuchat, C., 2014, “The myth of hybrid vigor in dogs…is a myth.” The Institute of Canine Biology.
Beuchat, C. 2015. “The 10 most important things to know about canine hip dysplasia.” The Institute of Canine Biology.
Harasen, G., 2006, “Patellar Luxation,” The Canadian Veterinary Journal.
Lewis et al. 2013. “Comparative analyses of genetic trends and prospects for selection against hip and elbow dysplasia in 15 UK dog breeds,” BMC Genetics.
Lim, C., et al., 2011, “Cataracts in 44 dogs (77 eyes): A Comparison of Outcomes for No Treatment, Topical Medical Management, or Phacoemulsification with Intraocular Lens Implantation,” The Canadian Veterinary Journal.