Written by Ariele Sieling
The short answer: no. Absolutely not.
You may have heard this joke, “A pyr without a leash is a disapyr.”
Pyrs are independent, strong-willed dogs. They are bred to guard, and they are bred to act on instinct. But sometimes their instinct is to roam. They don’t care about human property boundaries, and their definition of “territory” might not have anything to do with yours.
Territory to a Pyr is defined by a visible fence. And even if you install an invisible fence, they will break through it the first chance they get. If the fence doesn’t work one day, you will have yourself a first rate Disapyr. Not to mention, a Pyr’s role is to protect you and your family. A small shock from an electric fence with do nothing to stop him if he feels that his flock’s safety is at risk. And once a Pyr walks through an electric fence, the second time is no big deal.
I was always on the fence (pun) about whether or not an invisible fence would be sufficient—and then, we were walking one day and saw a herd of deer, and Octavius just about dislocated my shoulder trying to get to them. An invisible fence wouldn’t hold him for a second if he was determined to escape.
Safety is also an important concern. Pyrs might be perfectly capable of taking care of themselves—they are strong-willed and independent after all. But a Pyr who can escape from his yard is a Pyr who can get hit by a car. They are a Pyr who can get picked up and taken by a random stranger and never returned. And they are a Pyr that is vulnerable to wild predators, such as wolves, coyotes, and bears.
A solid, visible fence is more than just to keep your Pyr in, however. It also keeps things out. It keeps out your standard predators—such as coyotes and bears—but it also keeps out other wandering dogs. It keeps out trespassing humans.
Remember—your Great Pyrenees dog’s first instinct is to protect. If a stranger wanders onto your property and your dog feels threatened, that dog might attack. This could lead to court cases, or potentially your Great Pyr being considered aggressive or dangerous. And depending on where you live, you could be ordered to have the dog put down.
At AGPR, we require all potential adopters to have a minimum of a 4-foot fence. This is because Pyrs can also jump over a fence if they are motivated to do so. If you are interested in adopting with us, we will send out a volunteer to review your property, to make sure it is safe for your Pyr; even if you do have a fence, the volunteer may point out problem areas, such as weak points, places where they could dig under, or areas where they could jump over or scale the fence.
But a 4-foot fence might not be enough, depending on your dog. An athletic, agile Pyr could scale even a six-foot fence.
Your dog’s safety should be your first priority. And an invisible fence, while it may temporarily reign in a dog’s roaming, is not sufficient to keep a Great Pyrenees safe.