Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs—or “Swissies” as their fans call them—might be the closest you'll ever get to owning that pony your parents never bought you. You can't ride them, of course: Seriously, don't ever try to ride a dog, no matter how big it is! But this hard-working breed has the endurance and strength of a small horse. They used to carry and pull loads on Swiss Farms, in addition to serving as watchdogs. Today, their sweet, gentle natures make them an excellent choice for therapy work.
This breed is enthusiastic about a lot of things, including mealtimes. Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs eat a lot — we're talking six or more cups of food every day. But unlike many dogs their size (ahem, Bullmastiffs), Swissies don't usually drool.
Originally from Switzerland, this large-sized and medium-energy breed can grow to between 85-140 pounds and lives an average of 8-11 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Working group.
|Breed's original pastime||Transport|
|Average lifespan||8-11 years|
|Date of origin||Ancient times|
|Original function||Draft dog|
|Average size of male||Height: 25.5-28.5 Weight: 105-140|
|Average size of female||Height: 25.5-28.5 Weight: 105-140|
|Energy level||Medium energy|
|Playfullness||Not very playful|
|Affection level||Moderately affectionate|
|Friendliness toward other dogs||Friendly|
|Friendliness toward other pets||Friendly|
|Friendliness toward strangers||Shy|
|Ease of training||Hard to train|
|Protection ability||Very protective|
|Grooming needs||Low maintenance|
|Cold tolerance||High tolerance|
|Heat tolerance||Low tolerance|
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A GREATER SWISS MOUNTAIN DOG'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Reliable and devoted, these dogs have a lovely, even temperament. They can be suspicious of strangers, but Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are loyal and affectionate toward their chosen people. These pups are gentle and patient with kids. They're hard working dogs, but once they've had enough exercise, they're mellow and happy to lay about the house with you.
WHAT IS GREATER SWISS MOUNTAIN DOG BEHAVIOR LIKE?
Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are a strong and devoted breed. Don't let that sweet face fool you: these dogs are packing some serious muscle, and they're built to move. Plan for a long walk (or several) every day.
If you're looking for a guard dog, a Swissie can be a good deterrent for intruders. They bark out of necessity, making them somewhat less vocal than other guard dogs.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A GREATER SWISS MOUNTAIN DOG?
Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs mature slowly and they're sometimes slow to housetrain. But if you're patient, this pup responds well to training. Socialize them early and often to discourage herding and chasing behaviors toward kids and other pets. These dogs respond well to food, play, and praise rewards.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO GREATER SWISS MOUNTAIN DOGS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs' double coats are short and dense. They are somewhat heavy, seasonal shedders. Brush them once a week and bathe as needed — this is a wash-and-go breed.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO GREATER SWISS MOUNTAIN DOGS HAVE?
Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are generally healthy, but like many large dogs, some are prone to eye disease and hip dysplasia. Swissies are particularly prone to bloat, a condition that requires immediate attention from your veterinarian. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) and contact your vet at once if you suspect your dog might be suffering from this ailment.