Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
(aka: Great Swiss Mountain Dog, Grosser Schweitzer Sennenhund, Great Swiss Cattle Dog, Grand Bouvier Suisse)
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog has 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 strong and muscular neck should be of moderate length. The chest is deep and broad with a breastbone that slightly protrudes. 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.
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Temperament
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is dedicated, faithful, and loving, he makes a very good companion. He is wonderful with children, and is usually very well mannered around other pets, however Swissy's like to chase small animals, so he should be trained not to do so.
This breed is protective, loyal, and affectionate. He is very eager to please, and makes a good watch dog. The Swissy is very courageous and will bark at the sign of intruders or odd noises. However, he is not aggressive so he does not make a good guard dog. He is a very good worker, and is also amazingly bold.
This Swissy is easy to groom, just brush him on a regularly once a week. During the two times a year when your dog sheds, you should brush him more often to help the shedding go quicker.
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is considered one of Switzerland's oldest dog breeds, and there are several theories as to the breeds origins. The most popular is that he's descended from large, Mastiff-like dogs that were brought to the Alps by invading Roman Legions.
The Swissy's ancestors served as herding, guard, and draft dogs. At one time the Swissy is thought to have been one of the most popular breeds in Switzerland. By the 1900s however, their numbers dwindled, probably because their traditional jobs on Swiss farms were taken over by other dog breeds or machines.
In 1908, a canine researcher named Albert Heim spotted two dogs at a Swiss Kennel Club jubilee, listed as "short-haired Bernese Mountain Dogs." Heim recognized the dogs as being large members of the Sennenhund type, a family of four breeds that includes the Swissy.
Heim lobbied to get the dogs recognized as a separate breed and, in 1909, the Swiss Kennel Club listed the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund) in the Swiss Stud Book.
Since then, the breed's popularity has grown slowly, but steadily. In 1968 the first Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs were brought to the U.S., and soon after, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America formed. The dog was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1995, as a member of the Working Group.
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is very intelligent and does well in many sports, including obedience. The trainer must be experienced as this is a large breed, however he is very eager to please and normal training methods keep his attention easily.
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is prone to bloat (feed 2-3 times a day instead of once a day), epilepsy, digestive disorders, hip dysplasia (make sure parents are OFA certified), and distichiasis (extra eyelashes).