GREATER SWISS MOUNTAIN DOGS
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Swissies get BIG? Swissies are the largest of the four Swiss breeds. The AKC standard for males is 25.5-28.5 inches and females 23.5-27 inches. Males typically weigh between 110-140lbs, females between 80-105lbs. They usually do not reach their full size until 18mos-3yrs of age.
How do they act/temperament? Swissies love to spend time with their families and are not well suited temperament wise to isolated confinement such as an outdoor pen. They are friendly confident dogs when well socialized & love to follow you where ever you go!
Are they good with children? Swissies make wonderful family pets but, the puppy/dog and the children should both be taught how to interact properly. They are loving & bond quite strongly to their family. As with children though, Swissies are also a product of their environment.
Do they get along with other family pets? Swissies easily adapt to almost any situation as long as they receive proper & consistent training. As with all dogs some Swissies do display more dominant characteristics than others but are usually still very workable. In the picture, notice the 10lb miniature dachshund curled up with the 105lb Swissie!
Are they difficult to train? Proper and early socialization is key to a happy, healthy, loving dog. They are more responsive to positive yet firm training. If not trained properly, Swissies can become quite stubborn & independent.
Do Swissies have a lot of health problems? Heath concerns for Swissies are very similar to those of other large breed dogs. Hip & Elbow Dysplasia, Osteochondritis Dessicans (OCD), bloat, entropian (eyes) and sometimes epilepsy.
Do Swissies eat a lot? Not as much as you would expect. Usually about 4 cups a day +/-, although they should be fed a very high quality food starting early in puppyhood. To help prevent many problems associated with rapid growth, puppies should be fed a low protein formula specifically formulated for large breeds.
What is Bloat? Bloat is a condition that can occur in large deep chested breeds. It is called Gastric DilitationVolvulus & is an extremely life threatening situation. Medical attention must be immediate! Bloat occurs when the stomach fills with air & then twists, cutting of blood supply to vital organs.
Do Swissies Drool? Thankfully NO!! They are a dry mouth breed although they love to make a mess when drinking water! I always keep a mat under the water bowl.
Do Swissies shed? Yes. Even though they are a short/medium hair breed, they do have a thick undercoat. Frequent brushing w/ a shedding brush is very effective in reducing the shedding process in the house.
Do Swissies chew? I have yet to find a puppy that dos not chew! J However, once Swissies are out of the puppy stage they are not usually big chewers!
Do Swissies bark? Swissies in general are not known to be excessive barkers. They will however bark “to alert” you of something different, someone in the driveway or knocking on the door. They also sometimes like to “talk” to their family.
Are Swissies hard to housetrain? Swissies can be somewhat challenging to house train. Although all dogs are different, due to the fact that Swissies mature very slowly both physically & mentally, house training can take up to 6 months. Crate training is definitely recommended & can help to speed up the house breaking process.
Do you have to have a HUGE yard? Believe it or not, Swissies do not need as much space as many other breeds although a safe fenced yard is recommended. Swissies much prefer hanging out with their family rather than spending extended time out in the yard by themselves.
Do Swissies need a lot of exercise? Usually a walk or a romp in the yard is adequate. Especially for young (still growing) Swissies, exercise should not be over done. They should not be expected to jump in & out of the car or go for a long run as it could harm their still developing joints, etc…
If you have any more questions that I haven’t answered, please feel free to contact me either by phone or email (on “contact” page).
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Greater Swiss Mountain Dog AKC Breed Standard:
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a Draft and Drover breed and should structurally appear as such. It is a striking, tri-colored, large, powerful, confident dog of sturdy appearance. It is a heavy boned and well muscled dog which, in spite of its size and weight, is agile enough to perform the all-purpose farm duties of the mountainous regions of its origin.
Size, Proportion and Substance
Height at the highest point of the shoulder is ideally: Dogs: 25.5 to 28.5 inches. Bitches 23.5 to 27 inches. Body length to height is approximately a 10 to 9 proportion, thus appearing slightly longer than tall. It is a heavy boned and well muscled dog of sturdy appearance.
Expression is animated and gentle. The eyes are almond shaped and brown, dark brown preferred, medium sized, neither deep set nor protruding. Blue eye or eyes is a disqualification. Eyelids are close fitting and eyerims are black. The ears are medium sized, set high, triangular in shape, gently rounded at the tip, and hang close to the head when in repose. When alert, the ears are brought forward and raised at the base. The top of the ear is level with the top of the skull. The skull is flat and broad with a slight stop. The backskull and muzzle are of approximately equal length. The backskull is approximately twice the width of the muzzle. The muzzle is large, blunt and straight, not pointed and most often with a slight rise before the end. In adult dogs the nose leather is always black. The lips are clean and as a dry-mouthed breed, flews are only slightly developed. The teeth meet in a scissors bite.
Neck, Topline and Body
The neck is of moderate length, strong, muscular and clean. The topline is level from the withers to the croup. The chest is deep and broad with a slight protruding breastbone. The ribs are well-sprung. Depth of chest is approximately one half the total height of the dog at the withers. Body is full with slight tuck up. The loins are broad and strong. The croup is long, broad and smoothly rounded to the tail insertion. The tail is thick from root to tip, tapering slightly at the tip, reaching to the hocks, and carried down in repose. When alert and in movement, the tail may be carried higher and slightly curved upwards, but should not curl, or tilt over the back. The bones of the tail should feel straight.
The shoulders are long, sloping, strong and moderately laid back. They are flat and well-muscled. Forelegs are straight and strong. The pasterns slope very slightly, but are not weak. Feet are round and compact with well arched toes, and turn neither in nor out. The dewclaws may or may not be present.
The thighs are broad, strong and muscular. The stifles are moderately bent and taper smoothly into the hocks. The hocks are well let down and straight when viewed from the rear. Feet are round and compact with well arched toes, and turn neither in nor out. Dewclaws should be removed.
Topcoat is dense, approximately 1-1/4 to 2 inches in length. Undercoat must be present and may be thick and sometimes showing, almost always present at neck but may be present throughout. Color of undercoat ranges from the preferred dark gray to light gray to tawny. Total absence of undercoat is undesirable and should be penalized.
The topcoat is black. The markings are rich rust and white. Symmetry of markings is desired. On the head, rust typically appears over each eye, on each cheek and on the underside of the ears. On the body, rust appears on both sides of the forechest, on all four legs and underneath the tail. White markings appear typically on the head (blaze) and muzzle. The blaze may vary in length and width. It may be a very thin stripe or wider band. The blaze may extend just barely to the stop or may extend over the top of the skull and may meet with white patch or collar on the neck. Typically, white appears on the chest, running unbroken from the throat to the chest, as well as on all four feet and on the tip of the tail. White patches or collar on the neck is acceptable. Any color other than the "Black, Red and White" tri-colored dog described above, such as "Blue/Charcoal, Red and White" or "Red and White" is considered a disqualification. When evaluating the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, markings and other cosmetic factors should be considered of lesser importance than other aspects of type which directly affect working ability.
Good reach in front, powerful drive in rear. Movement with a level back.
Bold, faithful, willing worker. Alert and vigilant. Shyness or aggressiveness shall be severely penalized.
The foregoing is the description of the ideal Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. Defects of both structure and temperament are to be judged more severely than mere lack of elegance because they reduce the animal's capacity to work. Any fault that detracts from the above described working dog should be penalized to the extent of the deviation.
Any color other than the "Black, Red and White" tri-colored dog described above, such as "Blue/Charcoal, Red and White" or "Red and White." Blue eye or eyes.
Approved: April 8, 2003
Effective: May 29, 2003