The Great Swiss Mountain Dog possesses characteristics that make it unique, but it is not the right dog for everyone. Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are not considered the best choice for novice or first time dog owners, but with consistency and proper training, they can become wonderful family pets and great work dogs. Consider some of the following information in helping you to determine if the Great Swiss Mountain Dog is the right match for your needs, wants, and family dynamics.
One of the first things to consider when determining if a Great Swiss Mountain Dog is the right choice for you and your family, is determining if you have the type of lifestyle that will allow you to devote the amount of time necessary to train and raise this special breed of dog. Will your job and lifestyle allow you to devote a huge chunk of time to extensive training?
Great Swiss Mountain dogs are by nature working dogs. They are very large and require lots of space. They need activity and exercise with a purpose. Will your space and location provide them with the space to work, train, and play that they need?
Swissies are social animals, and they are most happy when they can be with their families. Rarely does a Great Swiss Mountain Dog thrive when relegated to a back yard or kennel. They desire and socialize best when they are allowed to live with the family and remain in close proximity to those they love.
The very characteristic that makes Great Swiss Mountain Dogs such good companions for farmers and being responsible for herds of animals is the characteristic that often causes trouble with close neighbors. They bark. They will bark at neighbors, guests, and other animals. They have a natural instinct to be protective of their home and family, and they will guard them very vocally.
Will you be able to supervise your pet with small children in the family? Most love the company of children, but they are large dogs and are very physically active, so they can bowl smaller children over unintentionally. Decide before ownership if this will be a problem for your family.
Decide before ownership if you are willing to invest time and love into an animal that might have serious health issues. This breed is prone to orthopaedic problems such as hip dysplasia, as are many large breed dogs. Gastric torsion or bloat are common problems which can be a major concern in this breed of canine, and be life threatening to your pet. Epilepsy is a common ailment among Great Swiss Mountain Dogs. This is a serious and heartbreaking ailment in any pet. All these medical conditions can cost pet owners a substantial amount of money and time to manage and control.
Swissies have a very strong drive to hunt prey. Neighborhood cats and other small animals might be at risk, and they can be difficult to contain. Can you provide the time and diligence required to keep other animals in close proximity safe?
Finally, are you physically strong enough to leash train your dog and are you willing to commit to extensive behavior and obedience training? Swissies can be wonderful pets and work dogs, if you are willing and able to provide the care they need!