Once you have decided to buy a puppy, the best thing you can do, not only for yourself and your family, but for your puppy, is to research. The more you know about a breed of dog, the more likely you are to make a choice that will best suit everyone involved. Once you have researched your breed, and decided upon a Great Swiss Mountain puppy, the next step is choosing a reputable breeder.
Choosing a reputable breeder will ensure that you deal with someone who is not unscrupulous about making sure your puppy has the best chances. If you buy from someone who is less than scrupulously honest, you might run into someone wanting a co-ownership with strings (some breeders require that an owner breed their puppy and give all or part of the litters to the breeders after they have paid a full purchase price of the puppy, thus requiring them to pay many, many times over) or someone who is less than diligent about breeding out dangerous or unwanted characteristics of the Swissy (Swissy's are prone to hip dysplasia, eye problems, and epilepsy, among other genetic predispositions that breeders choose to try to 'breed out').
Here are some questions you should ask the breeders about the puppy you wish to aquire:
May I see the sire and dam of this puppy?
May I interact with this puppy?
Are there any health problems this puppy might be prone to?
Are the sire and dam of this litter protective?
Are there any behavior problems or overt aggressiveness in the sire or dam of this litter?
How well do the sire and dam of this puppy interact with the family?
How well do the sire and dam interact with neighbors and other animals?
What training methods worked best for the sire and dam of my puppy?
Finally, The AKC provides a parent club breeder referral service, and suggests that potential buyers begin looking for the breed they have chosen by contacting the appropriate AKC parent club for their breed. This parent group can point you in the direction of reputable breeders who will help you determine not only if the breed is right for you, but help you get on the list to purchase your puppy. There are only approximately 200 Great Swiss Mountain Dog puppies born each year, and many potential owners remain on lists and in close contact with breeders for several years before a puppy is available.
Great Swiss Mountain Dog litters average four to eight. This early socialization with the other pups is important, and for that reason, pups should not leave their dams until eight weeks of age at least. Swissy's are slow to mature both mentally and physically, and may retain puppy like characteristics up until ages two to three years.
The body of Great Swiss Mountain dogs will be just longer than the dog is tall. The front legs should be straight and strong, and they should have rounded, compact feet. The color of the eyes may vary from hazel to chestnut, but should be brown, as any other coloration exempts them from show and breeding. They have beautiful tri-color double coats (black with rust and white, preferably symmetrical, markings). The tip of the tail, a blaze on the muzzle and a large marking on the chest should be white, and a white collar or patches on the neck are considered standard.