black, white, and rust. Undercoat ranges from dark grey, light grey, to tawny.
25 1/2 - 28 1/2 inches
Dogs: 105 - 140 pounds
Bitches: 23 1/2 - 27 inches
Bitches: 85 - 110 pounds
Apartment size all the way to large yard size. This breed can also be content living in an apartment style space as long as it does get outside once daily.
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a Dober and Draft breed and should appear as such. They have a very striking yet powerful and strong appearance. They are heavy boned and well muscled. However, despite their large and powerful structure they are very agile and needed to be to perform a plethora of tasks in a mountainous region.
Their expression is gentle and animated with almond brown shaped eyes. Their ears are medium sized, set high, and triangular in shape. They are rounded at the tips and hang near the head when in repose. When alert the ears are brought forward and raised at the base. The top of the ear should be level with the top of the skull. The muzzle is large, blunt, and straight. The backskull should be twice the width of the muzzle.
The strong and muscular neck should be of moderate length. The chest is deep and broad with a breastbone that slightly protrudes. The depth of the chest is approximately one half of the total height of the dog at the withers. The shoulders should be flat, sloping, and well muscled. The forelegs are straight and strong. The feet are large with arched toes. The thighs are broad, strong, and muscular.
The gait of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog should have movement with a level black. The gait should have good reach in front with a powerful drive in the rear. They are a large breed but because of their history as farm dogs in mountainous terrain, they are extremely agile and this is apparent in their gait.
The coat of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a double tri-colored coat. The outer coat is not any longer than 2 inches. The undercoat lines the outer coat and is considered to be very dense. The undercoat does show through especially at the neck. The showing of the undercoat is not considered a fault.
The colors found in the tri-colored coat are: black, white, and rust. This breed has a mainly black coat with symmetrical white and black markings. The rust is found in a patch over each eye, on the cheeks, and on either side of the chest. The white is found on the blaze of the muzzle, the tip of the tail, feet, and the chest. White markings on the neck or a white collar are permitted. However, any base color other than black is a serious fault and disqualification. The undercoat ranges from dark grey, light grey, to tawny.
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog originated in the Swiss Alps farms and villages. It is considered to be the largest of the four Sennenhund Breeds. These include: Appenzell Cattle Dog, Entlebuch Cattle Dog, and the Bernese Mountain Dog. The Sennenhund breeds are said to be descendants of the Roman Mastiff. They were brought to the area more than 2000 years ago. The Greater Swiss Mountain dog has a natural ability for drafting which gave him the nickname "the poor man's horse." The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog have also contributed to the origin of the Saint Bernard. The popularity of the Saint Bernard led to the decline in popularity of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. This decline in popularity actually almost led to extinction. Dr. Albert Heim, an authority of the Sennenhund breeds rediscovered the Great Swiss Mountain Dog in 1908 while he was judging a dog show. He encouraged breeding of this dog and the response was strong. The breed was brought over to the United States in 1967. They still remain fairly rare even in Switzerland. However, they are a recognized breed. Their talents include: tracking, watchdogging, guarding, carting, and competitive obedience. This breed is still used on some farms to pull cheese or daily carts to market, although it is mostly ceremonial.
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog has a very loyal and protective nature without being aggressive. They are excellent watchdogs because of their courage and loyalty. They are known to bark at strange noises and intruders. This makes them excellent watchdogs because they are capable of being alert and delivering a warning without being aggressive.
This breed makes excellent family pets. They love and desire to be part of the family and are very eager to please. They want to be involved in the family as much as possible. They prefer to be around their family and owner at all times. They are excellent around children. They are capable of adjusting well to other family pets and are typically not dog aggressive. This makes them an excellent choice for a family with other animals or dogs. They are occasionally known to chase and may need to be taught not to. They do have a slight territorial nature and therefore should be introduced to newcomers slowly. However, they respond well to the family's initiative and will accept strangers when the family has shown that they are acceptable.
As puppies, the Greater Swiss Mountain dog is very friendly and rambunctious. This is shown through jumping and rowdy behavior, excessive barking, and chewing. They will get bored when left alone and are known to destructively chew things around the home. They also mature late and so the family or owner should be aware that maturity may not be reached until two or three years. Socialization is also very important as puppies because they need to learn to tell the difference between good guys and bad guys. They are quick to bark at strangers and strange noises and therefore should be trained that excessive barking is not necessary.
hip dysplasia: Ball and joint problem of the hip that causes arthritic like symptoms and pain.
The maintenance of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is considered to be low to moderate. They are known to be moderate shedders. Shedding will increase during the two shedding seasons. Weekly brushing is recommended for the majority of the year; however increased brushing will be necessary during shedding seasons. A wire bristle brush is recommended for brushing of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.
This breed should be bathed when necessary, however due to its size, this can be somewhat difficult at home. It can be taken to a professional to be groomed if the owner finds it too difficult a task to achieve at home. Because of their large size, it is important for the dog to get used to brushing and grooming from a young age. Teach the dog to stand nicely while it is being brushed and it will eventually just see it as a natural part of living. If the dog is being bathed at home it is important to use a dog shampoo and not human shampoo or liquid soap. The shampoo should also be rinsed thoroughly. It is important to try and minimize skin irritation as much as possible. The dog should be brushed thoroughly before bathing to ensure that all the dead hair has been removed.
The exercise needs of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is considered to be low to moderate. They do require daily exercise and although a walk a day is sufficient, a run or an activity like cart pulling that adds a little more vigor is beneficial. The "more is better" rule definitely applies. The more exercise the dog receives the healthier and happier the dog will be. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog does not fair well in warm, hot, and humid weather. They will overheat so this breed should not be over exercised when the weather is warmer. They adjust well to cooler weather and can be quite content outside in cooler weather.
They are traditionally working dogs and therefore an excellent way for the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog to receive its physical activity is getting it involved in working tasks. In addition they are excellent for competitive obedience. Obedience training is an excellent way for the dog to receive some physical activity as well as mental stimulation. They are very well natured with children and because of their history of cart pulling and being working dogs; they make excellent pets for winter play with children. Having the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog pull the kids on a sled or sleigh is an excellent way to enjoy the colder season and ensure the dog is obtaining enough exercise.
Exercise as puppies is necessary as well but can be difficult because they are extremely rambunctious and display a very awkward and uncoordinated romp. As puppies they should be taken out daily because when left in the home and bored can become destructive. Their powerful jaws will be used to chew things in the home.
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is quite capable of living in many different environments. Some caution should be taken when expecting a large dog to live in a small apartment is that it can make living uncomfortable. It is really the owner's preference and what they are comfortable with. This breed can also be content living in an apartment style space as long as it does get outside once daily. They will also be very happy living in a home with a fenced yard where they can spend some time outside.
They are also excellent dogs to keep on the farm. They are working dogs and therefore would thrive in an environment where they should be around family as well as being involved in working tasks to ensure that they are not bored. Farming is an excellent atmosphere for them because there is always something that could be pulled somewhere or moved. It also gives them large spaces to run and romp and obtain exercise.
to take The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog needs to have very consistent training from a very young age. They are dominant dogs that want to prove to the owner that they have a mind of their own. The owner or handler needs to prove to the dog that they have the upper hand and can make the dog listen to them. Training can also be difficult because of the late maturity of the breed. They remain puppies for about two or three years. This makes them an excellent dog for an experienced dog owner and perhaps not the best dog for a first time dog owner. However, there is always professional training available for the first time owner that needs some help if they are truly interested and dedicated in owning a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.
Socialization is the first part of training that is extremely important for this breed. Their nature as watchdogs and guard dogs combined with their loyal and protective nature can make them suspicious around strangers and new environments when not socialized properly. Suspicion needs to be dealt with at an early age because if it increases throughout the dog's life it can actually turn into defensive biting.
Socialization can be done from the time the puppy is about 6 weeks old. It is important to take them to new environments and have them meet all types of different people. They are quick to bark at new stimuli so this is also an excellent time to be just as quick to teach them that barking is not appropriate. With large dogs it is important that they are well mannered.
Training should be firm and consistent. The owner needs to always have the upper hand. They are very large dogs and can be hard to handle and control and therefore the owner should be confident and have the ability charge. They also have a tendency to chase and should be taught from a young age that this is unacceptable as well. This will make taking them for walks or having other pets in the house much easier.