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Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (Working Group)

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is an absolute teddy bear. Full of love and affection that makes the perfect house pet, this dog is ideal for families that not only want a dog that can be trusted around children, but also one that makes an imposing watchdog. They are a sensitive breed, extremely loyal to its owners, and gentle with other pets in the home.

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A Brief History Of The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Switzerland is the original area of origin for this breed and the first function of the dogs were used as guardians and draft dogs. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is said to be the largest and oldest of the four types of Swiss Mountain Dogs in existence. The other three are the Bernese, Appenzeller, and the Entlebucher.

One theory of the breed’s bloodline is that they were derived from Molossian dogs or the Mastiff, which were used when the Romans crossed over into Switzerland during the Ancient times. Other researchers claim that the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog came from the Phoenicians when they brought them into Spain sometime during 1000 B.C.

Regardless of the specific truth behind the dog’s bloodline, we have watched them spread throughout Europe in great numbers to become interbred with various native dogs. Eventually, they developed through independent lines and small communities, still remaining excellent guard dogs, draft dogs, and herders.

All of these dogs were known as “Metzgerhunde Dogs” and shared common physical appearances. Therefore, they were assumed to be the same breed type. Up until the latter part of the 1800s did these dogs become separated into four distinct types by the research of Professor A. Heim. He noticed that there were more specific differences in these dogs than what was assumed.

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog was finally claimed as its own breed in 1908 but it took some time for them to become popular, especially with the disaster of two World Wars. In 1968, the breed made its way to the United States and was officially recognized by the AKC in 1985 as a member of the Miscellaneous Class, then onto the Working Group in 1995.

Upkeep Requirements For The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

As a member of the Working Group, this breed thrives on roaming the great outdoors in search of something to do, particularly in colder climates. Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs need plenty of daily exercise which can be met by a vew brisk walks on the leash or long hikes through nature’s trails.

If need be, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog can live outside, as they have a high tolerance for cold temperatures, but like all pets that thrive on human companionship, it is best for them to sleep inside with the family at night. Grooming requirements consist of only a once-a-week brushing. When shedding, a daily brushing is best.

Health Concerns

The average life span of a healthy Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is between ten and twelve years. The only major health problem that runs common in the breed is CHD. Minor issues include seizures, panosteitis, gastric torsion, female urinary incontinence, shoulder OCD, distichiasis, and splenic torsion.