Meet the Breed: Fantastic Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Here is everything that you should know about the fantastic Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. History of the breed, temperament, and grooming requirements - all in one place.

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a faithful, family-oriented, and strong worker famous for a strong coat of striking red, black, and white markings.

They are faithful and dependable. If you are interested in welcoming this breed into your home, you should read further to discover more about this amazing breed.

Quick Facts

Real name: Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Origin: Switzerland
Breed type: Working dog
Weight: Male 90–135 lb (41–61 kg) Female 80–110 lb (36–50 kg)
Height: Male 25.5–28.5 in (65–72 cm), Female 23.5–27 in (60–69 cm)
Lifespan: 10 – 11 years
Color: Tricolor (black, rust or tan, and white)
Coat: Short, double coat

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog – History

The large Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is nowadays a famous dog, but yet so little is known about this breed. The exact origin or how the breed was actually developed is still unknown.

Overall, it’s known that the breed is from the Alps and that they were brought by Julius Caesar’s legions. As soon as the breed reached Switzerland the Swiss used these mastiff-types to be working dogs.

In distant and remote areas, this breed was used to work on the farm. Physically, this breed is closely related to Saint Bernard, Rottweiler, and mostly to the Bernese Mountain dog.

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is one of the oldest dog breeds in Switzerland. A canine researcher named Albert Neim, in 1908 spotted two dogs at a Swiss Kennel Club jubilee, who he listed as “short-haired Bernese Mountain Dogs.”

He recognized these dogs as large members of the Sennenhund type, a breed from the Swiss. Heim fought hard to get the dogs recognized as a separate breed. Ever since the breed’s popularity grew, but slow.

When the breed was brought to the States in 1968, their popularity grew faster and in 1995 the breed was recognized by American Kennel Club, as a member of the working group.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog – Physical Appearance

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a large dog, and he is structured as such. The breed is almost always tri-colored, powerful, striking, and confident.

The breed is always heavy-boned and well-muscled, regardless of its weight and overall size. This is a true mountain dog who won’t mind spending a lot of time outdoors and being active.

Eyes are always brown and almond-shaped, while and other eye colors but brown means disqualification. Ears are medium-sized, set high and gently rounded at the tip.

Ears are only brought forward when alert. The bones on the tail are really strong, and this is one more reason why you should tell your children never to pulls the dog’s tail, and overall educate them on how to treat dogs.

Forelegs are strong and straight, while shoulders are long, next to feet that are round and compact. Undercoat color ranged from light gray to dark, and sometimes it can be tawny.

The total absence of an undercoat is undesirable and always penalized at the dog shows. The thighs are muscular, broad, and strong. The feet are compact and round.

Overall, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a heavy-boned dog with amazing physical strength. Males are always slightly bigger than females.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog – Personality and Temperament

The Swissy’s temper and personality is fun, loving, and calm. They are not easygoing, they are more confident, and with a mind of their own.

Because they are independent and fearless, they might be stubborn occasionally. Because of their unique personality, they thrive with experienced owners, who are kind, gentle, and confident.

This breed is observant and alert, and always on the lookout, which makes them a nice watchdogs. They are not aggressive, although they may be wary of strangers.

Just like in any other dog breed, their temperament may be affected by a number of external factors, including socialization, heredity, and training.

Puppies are always playful and curious, and more than willing to approach people and even be held by them. If possible, you should always aim to choose a middle-of-the-road puppy, meaning that you want the puppy who is not hiding in the corner or that who is insisting on the fight – but the one in the middle.

If possible, ask if you can meet the puppy’s parents before making the final decision. If parents are nice and health, the chances are that the entire litter has a similar nature.

Meeting any siblings can also be helpful. Like every dog, the Greater Swiss Mountain dog needs early socialization – early exposure to different sounds, people, and sight. Only the proper socialization can guarantee that your puppy will grow to be a well-behaved dog.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog – Training

Just like with any other dog breed, if you want to have a well-behaved and disciplined Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, you need to train him. Training your dog is a first step toward a good relations.

Through training your dog learns how to behave, to see you as a pack leader, and to know how to behave among people.

This breed responds amazing to food rewards, so for easy training use a reward-based system. As with all dogs, puppy training, early socialization, and proper daily exercises are highly recommended.

If you feel as if you can’t train your Greater Swiss Mountain Dog on your won, hire a professional trainer, or got to a dog training class. This can do wonders in the long run.

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog requires moderate exercise. A quick walk around the building should do, or a strong romp in the woods. They will follow you gladly if you are up for a long hike or any outdoor activity actually.

If you are looking for a marathon-running partner or a bicycling partner, this breed gladly follows you.

Every dog is different, but you will have to put extra effort into training your Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs.

Some owners claim that this breed takes more time to teach house rules, to get used to the kennel, and to master house training.

Like any other dog, proper training requires time, energy, puppy training equipment, and well-structured training sessions.

Since this breed loves being outside, it would be amazing if you have a backyard of your own or a green area for doggo to run near your home.

You should start training your GSMD from day one, as soon as he is introduced to your family members. Only early socialization and proper training can guarantee to have a well-behaved dog.

Since this breed is partly independent you can expect some mind games, so make sure that you know how to train him. If needed, hire a professional dog trainer, or organize puppy school.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog – Grooming

Grooming of Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is not time-consuming. The breed’s short and thick double coat is easy to groom.

Weekly brushing is mandatory. For this coat, it’s best to use a rubber curry brush or hound glove. You can’t go wrong with either choice, because you will, either way, manages to remove the dog’s dead skin.

Without dead skin, the dog’s coat and undercoat will be healthier, and shinier.

You can expect heavy shedding twice a year, in the spring and fall, and having a vacuum on hand in that period will be your salvation.

Luckily, opposite to mastiff-type dogs, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog doesn’t drool that much.

The rest is basic care. Have weekly check-ups of ears, eyes, and teeth. Serve him the best foods for healthy teeth, and bath only when it’s really necessary. Dog’s are not fond of weekly bathing, because they don’t need it.

Trim the nails as needed, don’t allow for them to grow too long, and use only vet-approved products for overall grooming.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog – Health

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog doesn’t have any breed-specific disorders but can have common problems that affect large-breed dogs. There is always the possibility of bloat, which can be fatal.

Swissy dogs may have major and minor concerns, including:

  • Seizures
  • Female urinary incontinence
  • Panosteitis
  • Distichiasis
  • Gastric torsion
  • CHD

Epilepsy may occur at any age and urinary incontinence in spayed bitches and puppies. Owners should provide regular veterinarian check-ups and proper nutrition to maintain a good diet and nutrition.

Recommended Health Tests:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Elbow Evaluation
  • Shoulder Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog can thrive on a different type of food, including raw food, as long as you combine food well. Make sure to know how and when to feed your dog.

Make sure that you know how to feed your puppy or your senior dog. Once you welcome your dog into your home, you can keep him safe from one of the most common problems in pets nowadays – obesity.

Don’t overfeed your canine, because weight loss is a long and difficult path. Moreover, you should know that obesity comes a long line of other health problems.

The Bottom Line

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a loyal and sensitive breed. This breed is a great family companion and gentle with children. Your GSMD will love spending time outdoors, especially in cold weather.

Make sure that you provide proper nutrition, regular exercise, and regular veterinarian check-ups to raise a well-behaved and healthy canine.