Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, also know as a Swissy, originated in Switzerland as a versatile working dog doing herding, carting, and guard dog duty. The breed came close to extinction when machines took away several of its ancestral duties, but Dr. Albert Heim, of Zurich, was instrumental in building enthusiasm for saving the breed.
A Greater Swiss Mountain Dog breed stands between 23.5 and 28.5 inches tall and weighs between 90 and 150 pounds. The head is broad, and the muzzle is large and blunt. The eyes are almond-shaped and dark. The ears are dropped. The body is strong and muscular, and the tail reaches to the hocks. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog coat is double, with a thick undercoat and a dense 2-inch outer coat.
Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are tricolored: black with white and rust markings. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog’s coat sheds, so twice weekly brushing is needed to keep it under control. In the spring and fall, when shedding is at its worst, daily brushing may be needed.
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog puppies are active and playful, and although some Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs retain that sense of play when they grow up, they can also be quite serious. They are not overly active but still need regular exercise. A long, brisk walk morning and evening and a chance to play will make most Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs happy. Early and continued socialization and training is recommended for all Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs.
The training should be structured, fair, and firm yet fun. Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs also do well in many canine sports, including carting, weight pulling, search and rescue, tracking, and agility. In puppyhood, housetraining can be a challenge and requires patience. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a working dog and needs an owner who will do things with him.
This dog needs to feel needed, yet also needs an owner who will be his leader. He is great with kids as long as he has been well socialized with them and the kids treat him with respect. He is not always good with strange dogs. Health concerns include hip and elbow dysplasia, bloat, and epilepsy.