Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Dog Breed
Aliases: Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund, Large Swiss Mountain Dog, Swissie, GSMD, Great Swiss Cattle Dog, "poor man's horse"
|Life Span:||10 and 12 years.|
|Litter Size:||4 and 8 puppies.|
|Group:||Working Dog, Mastiff|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, NKC, APRI, ACR|
|Color:||black, white, and rust. Undercoat ranges from dark grey, light grey, to tawny.|
|Male Height:||25 1/2 - 28 1/2 inches|
|Male Weight:||Dogs: 105 - 140 pounds|
|Female Height:||Bitches: 23 1/2 - 27 inches|
|Female Weight:||Bitches: 85 - 110 pounds|
|General info courtesy of terrificpets.com. Additional information about this breed can be found on their website.|
|Living Area:||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.
Thyroid Disease - Low Risk
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog ranks #94 among all breeds for autoimmune thyroiditis prevalence. This is considered a low risk breed so your chances of obtaining a dog with the disease is small. It is still suggested that dogs meant for breeding still be tested to help bring the incidence of disease even lower (or even eliminate it).
|Rank Among Breeds||Number of Dogs Tested||Percent of Dogs With Disease|
You can download the full report (on all breeds) by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Here
Other Health Problems
- Hip Dysplasia: Ball and joint problem of the hip that causes arthritic like symptoms and pain.
- Elbow Dysplasia: Joint problem causing pain and arthritic like symptoms.
- Gastric Torsion: Caused by exercise after the ingestion of food and large quantities of water. Surgery is required.
- Distichiasis: Condition of the eye where extra eye lashes grow and curl inwards towards the eyes. This causes irritation and pain.
- Epilepsy: Causes seizures.