Skip to Content

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Size: Giant

Weight: 130 - 135 lbs.

Height: 23" - 29"

Life Span: 10 - 11 years

Health Problems: Hip dysplasia; bloat; distichiasis (abnormal origin of eyelashes along the lid margin causing irritation of the eye); trichiasis (eyelashes turning inward toward the eye causing irritation); epilepsy; digestive disorders

Origin: Switzerland; Ancient Times; 1900s

Also Known As: Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund, Great Swiss Cattle Dog, Large Swiss Cattle Dog, the Swissy

Group: Guardian / Herding

Category: Companion Dog, Competition, Obedience Work

Exercise Needs

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is an energetic working dog with moderate exercise needs. As with all large and giant breeds, do not over-exercise, particularly with young dogs or puppies. Over-exertion may injure growing bones and joints.

Grooming Needs

No special grooming requirements.

Temperament

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is eager-to-please, loyal and gentle. The breed is watchful and protective, but not overly-aggressive. It prefers to be with people all the time. It tends to bark at strangers -- but once introduced to a newcomer, will quickly make friends. The breed can sometimes cause trouble with other dogs, but is interacts well with other household pets (if raised with them from an early age). "Puppyhood" in the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog lasts longer than in other breeds -- up to 3 years. Physical and mental development is therefore slow, which can be frustrating for some owners."

Compatibility with Kids

Good with children.

History

Thought to be a descendant of the Roman Mastiff, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog hails from the farming villages of the Swiss Alps. Originally used for helping out around the farm, including drafting and tracking, as well as a watchdog and guard dog. The breed was fairly rare until the early 1900s, when breeders Franz Schertenlieb and Albert Heim collected enough of the animals to revitalize the breed. The Swissy was first introduced to the U.S. in the 1960s.

Pet Facts

Prefers cool climates. Nicknamed "the poor man's horse" due to excellent drafting abilities. "