Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Information

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(Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund) (Large Swiss Mountain Dog) (Great Swiss Cattle Dog) The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a large and cheerful looking breed.  A long rectangular muzzle comes from their round head.  Also on their round heads are small brown eyes and large folded ears which hang down past their muzzle.  A thick muscular neck, with folds of loose skin, leads to their deep chest and broad shoulders.  Short, yet strong, legs lead to huge round feet.  Short, sleek fur covers their body.  This breed has no color variations; it should only be black with some patches of white and red.

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The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a very devoted family dog.  This breed loves being a part of the family and will also be good as a watch dog because of their protective nature.  However, even being protective, they are friendly if the family seems friendly with the person and not threatened.  Plus, this breed is great to have with children because they are extremely gentle.  Family pets will be treated kindly, and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog will often do well with other dogs.

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23-28 inches
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130-135 pounds
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General Health

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is prone to a few health problems.  Some of these disorder are bloat, distichiasis (which often requires surgery), epilepsy, and hip dysplasia.  This breed has an average life expectancy of 10-11 years.

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As the name suggests, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog came from parts of the Swiss Alps.  The breed is believed to be one of four from the area whose ancestry includes the Roman Mastiffs who traveled through the area thousands of years ago.  Some believe the St. Bernard is related to the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and may have led to its near extinction.  In the early 20th century, Dr. Albert Heim actively began promoting the breed and encouraging people to breed them.  His efforts were successful, and the dog’s popularity blossomed.  More than a half century later, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog made its appearance in the United States.  Despite increases in its numbers, the breed is not plentiful on either side of the Atlantic.

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The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is an easy to care for dog in all aspects.  Grooming just requires occasional brushing to keep their coat clean. A walk everyday or play sessions in a medium sized yard will keep them happy and calm indoors.

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Ideal Environment

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a large dog but a very sweet and gentle one as well.  Great with the family and strangers who do not seem threatening, they also do well with all other animals.  This breed is also a wonderful companion for children because of its calm nature.  Even though this breed is big, it can easily live in an apartment without a yard.  An even temperament and adaptability make this large breed perfect for almost any home.

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Dog Training!

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Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Q&A

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I've heard that these dogs are not good for first time dog-owners. What is the reason for this?

these dogs are a specialized dog breed and need a lot of care and attention not only that the food bill is quite large and they are a handful at the best of times the best dog to start with if u are a first time buyer would be a beagle or a labrador retriever as there isnt much to worry about in a specialized way.


How will these dogs do in warm climates? We live in Tampa, FL.

I also live in Tampa and have a gsmd. She does fine and loves it outdoors even in the warmer weather. She won't get in the pool but will stand in the water at the dog park.


One person posting an answer stated that her gsmd doesn't swim in her pool. Do gsmd like the water? Is is a nature or nurture issue?

my gsmd fell in our pool one time and never went back again. he was not a strong swimmer and hated getting wet


I live in New England and am having a difficult time finding a gsmd breeder. Can anyone recommend one? Thanks.

There is a GSMD breeder in Forrest Hill, Maryland. That is wonderful, it's a bit of a drive, but well worth it, there puppies are wonderful.


I am an experienced dog owner, having had many breeds. I like to train my dogs to be very well-mannered and not out-of-control. Can anybody comment on being able to do this with the GSMD?

Yes, very trainable, and like all dogs, if you put the time in to training and are calm, well-mannered owners, you will have a calm, well-mannered Greater Swiss. The Greater Swiss loves its family and really wants to please.


Can anybody comment on GSMD males versus females and the general dog belief that females are more aggressive than males?

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