7 Great Pyrenees Colors & Markings (With Pictures)

Two Great Pyrenees with different colors and markings

In addition to its disposition and all-around beauty, the Great Pyrenees’ color is something to note. Though it is frequently mistaken for being entirely white, there are more colors available for this huge breed.

It is believed, however, that its colors other than white are a result of the mixture of other breeds. As a result, responsible breeders have adopted strict guidelines so they can maintain the purity of the Great Pyrenees.

In this article, we are going to discuss all the available colors and markings of the Great Pyrenees. Some of the frequently asked questions related to its color will also be addressed. If you are ready to be amazed, let’s begin!

Are All Purebred Great Pyrenees White?

Great Pyrenees walking on a grass field

Not all purebred Great Pyrenees are entirely white. Although this breed is known for its predominantly white coat, which can range from brilliant white to cream, some Great Pyrenees might have extra markings.

The standard markings for the breed can be gray, reddish brown, badger, or tan. It typically appears on a Great Pyrenees’ head as a mask, on the ears and tail, and rarely on the body.

However, the markings of a Great Pyrenees should never cover more than one-third of its body. While it is not an indication that the pup is disqualified under the breed standard, it is considered undesirable.

A breeder colleague of mine who specializes in large breeds such as Samoyeds and Great Pyrenees always needs to explain this to possible clients who get surprised when they visit his facility. Since he breeds Great Pyrenees with other markings, people sometimes think they are unpure.

He always has to guide his clients to the AKC’s site so the clients can view that Great Pyrenees with markings is indeed recognized.

7 Great Pyrenees Colors & Markings

The Great Pyrenees’ colors and markings are not only aesthetically beautiful but have historically played a crucial role in the breed’s current standing.

Read on to find out more about the colors and markings of the Great Pyrenees. A few sample photographs are also included here to help you become familiar with them.

1. All White

White Great Pyrenees

Most Great Pyrenees images on the internet feature the dog in all white. This is due to the fact that the Pyrenees’ most popular and original coat color is solid white. 

One might even assume that the Pyrenees is not purebred if it is not entirely white. However, this is a total misconception, as the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes Great Pyrenees with variations in markings.

Great Pyrenees puppies occasionally show a slightly creamy undertone to their snow-like white coats. This color fades into pure white in time. 

2. White with tan markings

White Great Pyrenees with tan markings

A Great Pyrenees with tan markings is one of the common variations of an all-white Great Pyrenees. It is primarily white in color with tan patches on the body, ears, and face. 

The dog’s tan markings actually range in color from light tan to dark brown, making them challenging to distinguish from other colors. However, it often carries a yellowish tone that sets it apart from others.

See what a white Great Pyrenees with tan markings looks like in the following video: 

Great Pyrenees "Bruce" Howling

3. White with gray markings

White Great Pyrenees with gray markings

Gray dogs are usually associated with diluted genes. Therefore, it’s possible that this gene also contributes to the Great Pyrenees’ gray markings.

Similar to the white and tan Great Pyrenees, shades of gray are frequently seen on the dog’s body, face, and ears.

4. White with badger markings

White Great Pyrenees with badger markings
Image credit: raisingellarose / Instagram

The badger marking is named after an animal that has eye-catching black and white stripes on its face. 

Badger-marked white Great Pyrenees are extremely uncommon in a typical litter where the parent may contain this gene.

Even so, these pups often lose these marks between the ages of seven and eight months, making the Great Pyrenees with badger markings rarer.

Some people, however, claim that these markings can reappear after fading. This most likely occurs because the Great Pyrenees’ coat renews as it sheds. 

5. White with reddish-brown markings

White Great Pyrenees with reddish brown markings
Image credit: kovu_thegreatpyrenees / Instagram

A Great Pyrenees with a reddish-brown marking is almost identical to a Pyrenees with a tan marking. The only distinction is that this color has more of a red tone than a yellow one.

Both of these colors are considered to be very desirable in the breed, and they are both seen as being of equal quality.

6. White with orange markings

White Great Pyrenees with orange markings
Image credit: _lovely_lady_luna / Instagram

A Great Pyrenees with orange markings looks like the result of artificial coloring. However, these markings are natural for the breed and are caused by the red pigment called pheomelanin.

This color is considered by the United Kennel Club (UKC) as a shade of tan. However, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognizes Great Pyrenees with orange markings separately.

7. White with black markings

White Great Pyrenees with black markings
Image credit: jakethefloofball / Instagram

There has been debate over whether the Great Pyrenees with black markings is a true breed or a mix. Currently, there still needs to be a clear consensus on the matter.

Salt and pepper is the nickname given to the Great Pyrenees with black markings. This color is not among the standard markings of the breed, and many registries do not accept it.

Can Purebred Great Pyrenees Be Black?

Purebred Great Pyrenees can never be black. In the gene pool of the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, black is not present. Also, there haven’t been any confirmed instances of registered Pyreneans with black markings.

There were claims, though, that two white Great Pyrenees occasionally produce litters with black puppies. 

It was even supported by different theories; however, the most plausible was the excessive black gene of the Pyrenees.

In this theory, one of the extension genes of the Great Pyrenees becomes dominant. To be clear, this dog usually has a recessive e/e gene, which gives it its usual color, white. 

So, if one of its genes becomes dominant, a dark-colored Great Pyrenees might be produced. Then again, this is just a theory, which means that a purebred black Great Pyrenees is just a possibility rather than a fact.

Do Great Pyrenees Colors Affect Behavior and Health?

Two Great Pyrenees sitting side by side

The behavior and health of a Great Pyrenees are unlikely to be affected by its coat color. Several studies have shown that the most influential factor that affects the behavior of dogs is their experience and environment.

Hence, instead of evaluating the behavior of your Great Pyrenees by their color, concentrate more on what you can do to shape their behavior.

Furthermore, the Great Pyrenees breed is a generally healthy dog. However, as a white dog, it may be more prone to albinism. This condition occurs due to the absence of pigmentation or melanin.

A Great Pyrenees with albinism has a substantially higher risk of developing certain illnesses, including skin cancer and deafness

However, if its parents are physically and genetically sound dogs, the offspring won’t probably indicate any illness.

Do Great Pyrenees Puppies Change Colors as They Grow?

The Great Pyrenees change color from birth to adulthood. In fact, some pups are usually born with dark markings. 

While these markings usually fade away as the pup grows older, there are some pups that continuously have them and become even darker.

Aside from maturity, there are other factors that cause the Great Pyrenees to change color. Stains, diet, medications, grooming, and environment also play a role in the coat color of the Great Pyrenees. 

For example, a lack of nutrition or too much exposure of the Great Pyrenees to the sun can cause its coat to darken.

If you want to ensure the coat of your Great Pyrenees remains in the best condition possible, invest the time and resources necessary for its proper grooming and health maintenance.

What Color Will My Great Pyrenees Puppy Be?

Great Pyrenees in the sea shore

In general, the Great Pyrenees are white in color. So you may expect that your adorable pup will also be that color. It is possible, however, to have a Great Pyrenees pup in colors other than white. 

This happens when one or both of its parent dogs have traces of other colors such as tan, reddish brown, badger, orange, and yellow.

The best way to find out what color your Great Pyrenees puppy will be is to do genetic testing. This test can help you identify your puppy’s coat color and know if any other colors may appear as your Pyrenees gets older. 

Another way is to look at both parents of your puppy. Ask the breeder to show them to you so that you will have an idea of the pup’s color. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Great Pyrenees tongue out

What Is the Rarest Great Pyrenees Color?

Among the acceptable colors of the Great Pyrenees, white with badger marking is the rarest. 

A Great Pyrenees with a badger marking usually appears darker in their puppyhood. Often, this color fades to white after 7 to 8 months of age. 

Only a few Great Pyrenees retain this color until adulthood, making the badger-marked rare.

What Is the Most Common Great Pyrenees Color?

The most common color in the Great Pyrenees breed is white. This color is often assumed to be the only accepted color in the standard set by the AKC.

This white color allows the Great Pyrenees to hide or disguise themselves in snow and other white places, allowing them to protect animals like sheep from other species that obtain food by killing other organisms.

Final Thoughts

If you want a lot of color options to choose from, then a Great Pyrenees may not be the perfect pup for you. They are always white, with some having their markings as the only variation.

The markings available on this breed include tan, gray, reddish brown, badger, orange, and black. Each of these markings has its own unique charm, so picking between them is just a matter of preference.

Did this article help you decide on which Great Pyrenees color to get? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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