From classic work dogs used as draft animals, farm laborers, search and rescue animals, and therapy dogs, to their natural ability as guard dogs and their innate tendency to be loyal and reliable family pets, Great Swiss Mountain Dogs are among the most versatile members of the canine family. This rare, but ancient breed of dog is thought to be responsible for the genetics in several more prominent breeds of dog such as the Mastiff and Rottweiler, and though this breed of dog is much more rare at the present time, they have been used as work animals for generation upon generation.
At one time thought to be extinct, this breed has gained popularity, and a great history is part of the appeal of this animal. The sheer strength and size of the Great Swiss Mountain Dog, or Swissy, as it is commonly called, make it a tremendous asset as a draft animal. They have historically been used to pull farm carts, as draft animals, and in service to farmers in other capacities. Now, in modern times, they are most happy when they have a job to do, and their keen intelligence and trainability make them the perfect choice for a wide variety of tasks.
Among the tasks to which Great Swiss Mountain Dogs are suited are as guard dogs. Their intelligence and natural inclination to protect their territory make not only very vocal toward neighbors and other animals near their territory, it makes them a tremendous asset for those needing the services of a guard dog. Not only that, their size and volume make them intimidating to a would be intruder.
By sharp contrast, though the Great Swiss Mountain Dog is equally able to become a part of the family and a great companion dog. It is important to note that whether a work dog or a family pet, the Great Swiss Mountain Dog must be rigorously trained. Obedience training and plenty of consistency are necessary to form a satisfactory relationship with most Swissies.
With training and reinforcement, Swissies are great service animals and readily fill positions as search and rescue animals and therapy dogs. One particular Swissy gained national acclaim when he was used as a search and rescue animal and was responsible for locating bodies beneath ice, in water, and finding lost children in the wilderness. This heroic canine even spent his last night alive locating a lost child.
As you can see, Great Swiss Mountain Dogs may not be the perfect match for every pet owner, but they are incredibly versatile and an asset in many traditional and nontraditional venues. If you are considering owning a Swissy, these factors should be considered.