Greater Swiss Mountain Dog breed was developed in Switzerland. These sturdy and robust dogs were originally used as draft dogs and farm sentinels in mountainous regions. They were also used for livestock management because of their good herding and guarding skills.
These dogs are believed to have descended from the large Roman Mastiff dogs. They are the largest and oldest of all the four dog breeds developed by Sennenhund herders of Swiss Alps.
Great Swiss Mountain Dog, Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund, Grand Bouvier Suisse and Great Swiss Cattle Dog are some other names of these working dogs.
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a large, heavy boned, powerful and muscular dog. The dog’s neck is strong, muscular and medium in length. The almond shaped are medium in size and dark in brown, preferably dark brown in color.
The high set ears are triangular in shape and gently rounded at the tips. They are moderate in length and tend to hang close to the head when the dog is relaxed.
Color: The tricolor hair coat of a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog black, rust and white in color. It is primarily black with white and rust markings with white present as a blaze on the muzzle, chest and tip of the tail and rust color present on the cheeks, either part of the chest and on legs between white and black. It also appears as a spot over each eye.
Height: The average height of both male as well as female Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs ranges between 23.5 to 28.5 inches.
Weight: The average weight of this dog breed is generally about 130 to 135 pounds.
Like other large sized dog breeds, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog breed is also prone to Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Bloating and other health problems associated with the joints and digestive system. Other common health issues in these dogs are Epilepsy, Distichiasis, Urinary Incontinence and other common dog diseases.
Life Expectancy: The average life span of these dogs is usually around 10 to 12 years.
Litter Size: The average litter size of this bred of dogs is about 4 to 8 puppies.
The short double coat of a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog with a thick undercoat and dense and coarse outer coat is fairly easy to groom. The hair coat needs to be brushed and combed with a firm bristle brush only occasionally, about once in a week’s time.
For shedding seasons when the dog sheds moderately, a rubber brush can be used to keep the shedding to a minimum. The dog does not require frequent bathing. A simple wipe down can also help in keeping your Greater Swiss Mountain Dog clean.
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog has a loyal, alert, courageous, sociable and enthusiastic personality. Though massive in size, still the dog is usually gentle with children. They can be stubborn and independent at times but are never overly aggressive.
Being alert and protective in temperament, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog makes for an excellent watchdog. These dogs generally get along well with other pets. Plus, they are confident and friendly with strangers.
They should be trained and socialized properly right from the beginning to keep them disciplined and to control their natural prey instincts that compel them to chase smaller animals.
These intelligent dogs can be trained without much trouble once you realize that that they are always ready to engage in activities that make you pleased.
They require moderate amount of physical exercise on a daily basis to be physically fit. Hence, hence take your beloved Greater Swiss Mountain Dog out for daily walks and regularly play interactive games with him to provide sufficient mental and physical stimulation. These dogs tend to do well in cooler climates.
These dogs are always willing to work and enjoy activities like carting, weight pulling, hiking etc. On the downside, they generally take about 2-3 years to mature. Besides, they can be difficult to housebreak. When adequately exercised, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs can be considered suitable for apartment situation.
Apartment with a small sized, properly fenced yard should be more than sufficient to provide the dog with the opportunity to fulfill his activity needs.