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Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

The quintessential working dog needn't be less than a thing of beauty and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog or Swissies as they are known by their fans, heeds the call.  From a striking black, red and white smooth coat to a deeply muscled and substantial body, the Swissie, with proper care and handling, proves itself to be an intriguing and loving addition to the illustrious family of Mastiff descended breeds.

By Breed Name
By Breed Name
General Information
Group(s): WorkingGuardian Height: 23.5-28.5 inches at the shoulder
Weight: usually 85-140 pounds Longevity: teens
Colors: black, tan or rust and white in a specific pattern with preferred symmetry Coat type: smooth, dense and short
Recognized Registries: AKC, FCI, NCA and others
Overall Appearance: Heavy boned and well muscled to be well suited for its intended use as a drover, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog has a distinctive Mastiff inspired head and striking tri-color smooth coat. The overall build is one of power with the body being longer than the legs also known as rectilinear.
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: moderate
General Nature: Confident, vigilant and faithful
  with Children: exceptional if socialized and reared properly
  with other pets: very good generally with proper guidance
  with dogs: generally very good though care should be taken with proper and gradual introductions on home turf
Socialization requirements: moderate and preferably heavy before 2 years of age
Ideal home characteristics: One that is well suited for a large dog and the exercise/energy requirements inherent, commitment to faithful care and handling including socializing ; thus a home with the guidance of someone very experienced is critical
Temperament Notes: bold, confident, not easily intimidated or subdued but generally very genial
Training requirement: moderate, basic manners or more
Trainer notes: Intelligent, confident dogs can be the most challenging as without proper handling they will be the quickest to become shy and/or aggressive, thus a very experienced home or at least one that commits to the help of a more experienced trainer is valuable.  The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is by nature a gentle giant but their inherent desire to be vigilant and loyal can be problematic in a dog that isn't provided every advantage in socializing and training by its home early on.
Background Information
Year range of first recognition: 1909 SKG
Country of Origin: Switzerland
Original Function: Drover
History: Very likely descended from the Roman Molasian (Mastiff type) and the oldest of the Swiss breeds. Utilized as a Drover even as late as the second World War.
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard: blue eye(s), not black, red and white, overly refined
Health Notes: epilepsy, eye problems, temperament issues
Health Testing: OFA; CERF (annual); various temperament certifications refer to
Questions to ask Breeder:  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for!

  • How long have you had Swissies?
  • How do you choose your breeding stock? what health and performance titles/certifications do you require?
  • What did you find complimentary about this pair of parents?
  • Will you be keeping a puppy from this litter?
  • Do you have a written contract and puppy guarantee?
  • How often do you breed?
  • What health issues do you see in the breed?
  • What is your primary priority in breeding?
  • What suggestions do you offer regarding training and socializing of puppies?
Web Sites: - Contacts for GSMDCA Rescue

Other Resources
Breed standard:
 - Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America Standard
Breeder Ethics:\- GSMDCA Breeders' Guidelines

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