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Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

The Canine Chronicles Directory

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are the largest of the four Swiss varieties. The front legs are straight and strong with rounded, compact feet. The head is large with a broad, flat skull and slight stop. The skull should be the same length as the muzzle. The muzzle is blunt, and the nose is black. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The chest is broad and deep, and the breast bone extends slightly ahead of the legs. The eyes are dark brown (blue eyes are a disqualification) with a gentle but lively expression. The eye rims are black. The medium-sized ears are triangular. The long tail reaches to the hocks and has a white tip. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog has a beautiful tri-color double coat (black with rich rust and white markings). The outer coat is about 1-1¾ inches long, lined with a dense undercoat. Rust markings include a spot over each eye, rust on the cheeks, and on either side of the chest. The blaze on the muzzle and a large marking on the chest are white. A white collar or patches on the neck are permitted. Any base color other than black is a disqualification.

Temperament The Swissy is a calm, even-tempered and sturdy dog. Not a roamer, they hate to be tied or confined and are happiest with their family. He loves to pull carts or sleds, especially if the passenger is a child. They are steady and protective but not aggressive. He loves to please and is excellent with children. Territorial in nature, Swissy's should be introduced to newcomers, but will warm up quickly. He will bark at strange noises and at intruders. He prefers to be with his family at all times. Swissy's get along well with family pets and should be taught not to chase. They are slow to mature.
Height, Weight Male Height: 25-28" ; Weight: 130-145 lbs.
Female Height: 23-27" ; Weight: 100-120 lbs.
Health Problems Like most large breed dogs, they are prone to hip dysplasia and bloat. The GSMG is also prone to distichiasis, a condition in which extra lashes grow along the edge of the eyelid. Surgery may be necessary to correct this condition.
Living Conditions Swissy's will do okay living in an apartment. They do best with a small yard. They enjoy a cooler climate and can become uncomfortable during warmer weather.
Exercise This breed is a working bred and needs moderate amounts of exercise.
Life Expectancy About 10-11 years
Grooming The coat of this breed is easy to groom and only needs to be brushed weekly. This breed is an average shedder.
Origin The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog's origin can be traced back to the Swiss Alps. He is the largest and probably the oldest of the four Sennenhund breeds including the Appenzell Cattle Dog, Entlebuch Cattle Dog and the Bernese Mountain Dog. This breed is thought to be descendants of Roman Mastiffs that were brought to the area more than 2000 years ago. The four breeds differ in size but have similar markings. The GSMD is known as "the poor man's horse" because of his natural drafting ability. The GSMD lost favor and almost became extinct when the St. Bernard became popular. Dr. Albert Heim rediscovered the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog in 1908 while he was judging a dog show. He encouraged people to begin breeding programs which helped to re-establish the breed. The breed is still fairly rare, even in Switzerland. They are recognized by the AKC and the UKC.
Group AKC Working, UKC Guardian Dog