Greater Swiss Mountain Dog


A large sized Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Quick Summary
Also Known AsSwissy
Height (at withers)24-29in (61-74cm)
Weight90-130lbs (41-59kg)
Hair Colour(s)Black, white, rust
Lifespan9-11 years
Energy LevelMedium
Litter size4-8
Barking TendencyMedium
Exercise requirementsMedium
Ease of trainingMedium
Suitability for kidsMedium
Animal compatabilityLow
Aggression levelsLow
Distress if leftMedium

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a huge dog sporting a sturdy and athletic build. The body is heavy boned and well muscled with strong and straight front legs, and the thick, tapering tail is normally carried down when relaxed and higher when alert. The rather flat and broad head has a large muzzle that is blunt and straight, a black nose, medium-sized highset ears, almond shaped eyes and a wise and dignified expression. The topcoat is short and hard with a thick undercoat that sometimes shows, and the colouring is usually black with white and rust markings.


Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are active yet calm dogs with social natures. They are well suited to family life as long as they receive enough room to exercise, and make loyal, loving and devoted pets that are eager to please. These intelligent dogs are quick learners but they can also be rather stubborn, determined and difficult to housebreak, and may also try to eat just about anything whether it is edible or not. For these reasons they are best suited to those with some experience of dog ownership rather than novices. Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs get along well with children and will be both devoted and protective of them, but as these are large dogs they are not suitable for smaller kids. Early socialisation is required around other pets, and some dgos will get along well with them fine, whereas others may chase smaller animals and will be aggressive with strange dogs. As they are territorial dogs, their reactions to strangers will vary from friendly to reserved to even aggressive. Because of this they should always be introduced to any newcomers, afterwhich they will quickly warm up to those accepted by the family. As these dogs are fiercely loyal and protective over their families, they make good watchdogs.

History & Skills

Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs originate from Switzerland, as is suggested by their name, and are descendants of Roman Mastiffs. Developed to assist farmers and herdsmen with their daily chores, they were used for all sort of tasks, such as cart-pulling, guarding and herding livestock, and as general guard dogs. The breed almost became extinct when their work was taken over by other breeds or machines. Although still fairly rare, these days they have become popular family dogs and are reasonably responsive in obedience rings.

Breed Specific Ailments

Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs tend to live between 9-11 years and are generally a healthy breed. Some of the health concerns that have been noted in this breed include gastric torsion, hip and elbow dysplasia, thyroid problems and eyelid disorders.


Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are medium shedders that mainly shed twice a year and relatively lighty in between these periods, which means that they may not be best suited to those with allergies. Grooming is moderate and the coat will only need brushing once or twice a week to keep it in good condition and remove any dead hairs, although this will need stepping up during periods of heavier shedding.

Exercise & Environment

Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are pretty versatile and are even suitable for small homes such as apartments, despite their great size. They are sensitive to overheating and prefer cooler climates, and are suitable for yard life. These dogs need moderate exericise in the form of a daily walk and regular play in a yard or garden area, and preferably these should be undertaken during the cooler parts of the day without overdoing things, especially during hot weather to avoid the dangers of heat stroke.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

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