The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog!

The Great Swiss Mountain Dog is the biggest of the four Swiss Sennenhund breeds. Although relatively a new breed, it is also the oldest among the four. Also known as the Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund or simply Swissy, it has a large, muscular stature that is agile enough to perform farm duties of the mountainous regions of its place of origin. The skull is flat and broad with medium sized ears, almond shaped eyes with an expression that is animated and gentle. The topcoat is dense with an undercoat that may be thick and sometimes showing. This breed almost became extinct when much work they performed was supplied by other breeds or by machines. It is still fairly rare at present.

Some Quick Facts:

Life Expectancy:
9-11 years

Energy Level:
Average; territorial

Living Conditions:
Flexible; prefers cooler climate.


Exercise Needs:
Evening walks. Sensitive to overheating.

Breed Group:


24 to 29 inches

90 to 130 pounds

Standard Hair Colors:
Black with rich rust and white markings.

National breed club:
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Skills

The Swissy was originally used by farmers and herdsmen to assist them with their daily chores such as pulling carts and guarding livestock. It was a herding dog, a guard dog and a utilitarian draft dog. Today, it has become a popular family dog and is quite responsive in the obedience ring. Its talents include tracking, watch dogging, guarding, carting and competitive obedience.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Personality

A Swissy is quite territorial probably due to the original work given to it. It should be introduced to newcomers but will quickly warm up to those accepted by the family. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is protective but not aggressive even to other pets. It has been proven to be an excellent companion for children and prefers to be treated as part of the family. As a watchdog, it is alert and vigilant. It is also a faithful and willing worker.

Exercise Needs

Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs need regular moderate exercise. It can take the form of daily evening walks or regular play in the backyard. They should get enough exercise without overdoing it especially during hot weather to avoid the dangers of heat stroke. Occasional vigorous activities such as hiking or cart pulling will help to keep the dog fit.

Living Conditions

Apartment life can be suitable for a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. A small yard is even better. They show preference for cool climates.

Grooming Requirements

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog regularly sheds twice a year and sheds fairly light in between. Regular brushing once or twice a week is sufficient to minimize shedding and keep the skin and coat healthy.

Health Issues

Generally, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a healthy breed but health concerns may include gastric torsion, hip and elbow dysplasia and eye anomalies. Cancer is not common but is among the most frequent causes of death.

If you liked this dog… would enjoy having a Saint Bernard. Also a very large dog like the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, it was also developed in Switzerland. It is credited for having saved thousands of human lives as it accompanied monks who searched for people lost in the snow. It is named after Saint Bernard of Menthon who founded an inn and a monastery in an alpine pass.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog


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