The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog: A Complete Guide

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The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog may not be the first breed that leaps into your mind when contemplating getting a dog, but that is in itself a travesty.

The name itself tells you where they were first bred, and it should be no surprise to discover that they were initially intended to be a working breed.

Also, this is not a small dog, so if you are looking for something even of average size, then this is not the dog for you.

However, do not allow its size to put you off considering this as a potential pet for your family. Instead, this is a wonderful breed that is going to provide you with a sense of real loyalty and love.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Puppies – Before You Buy…

A Greater Swiss Mountain Dog looking up at you
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog can be a wonderful family dog.

As with any breed, there is a need for you to be aware of certain things before you bring a puppy into your home.

This becomes even more important when you are talking about a dog of this size and stature.

You have to be honest with yourself as to whether or not you can handle a dog of this size and power.

That is not to say that they have a bad temperament, as they don’t, but you need to be equipped to simply deal with the size.

This is undoubtedly a strong dog, and it may not be the best breed to have if you have never trained a dog yourself before.

They are intelligent, and if you are not secure in your position as the alpha of the pack, then there could be some issues.

However, there are undoubtedly several real positives associated with this breed.

What Price are Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Puppies?

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog puppies are not too common as they are certainly a bit more of a selective breed. Unfortunately, that can push the price up for a puppy.

As with any breed, the price varies depending on the lineage and where you are located. The stronger the pedigree for the dog, then the higher the price climbs.

In general, a show or companion dog is going to cost you anywhere between $1500 and $2300 in the United States.

In the UK, you could find that you have to pay as much as £2000 for a puppy that has a strong pedigree.

How to Find Reputable Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Breeders?

An adult Greater Swiss Mountain Dog looking to the side
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is fearless and will always protect you.

There are a couple of sensible approaches to take when trying to find reputable Greater Swiss Mountain Dog breeders.

The first is to contact the Kennel Club as they should always be your initial port of call. They have a list of breeders that they recommend for a wide array of breeds, and this is no different.

By doing this, you know that you are getting a breeder that values the pedigree aspect and does things in the correct manner.

The other main option is to contact other owners or clubs in order to discover the names of breeders that they have used themselves.

This kind of personal recommendation is going to make life easier, and if they are serious about the breed, then they will only tell you about the best breeders around.

3 Little-Known Facts About Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Puppies

As most people have never heard of this breed, most of the facts surrounding them will be new to the majority of people.

However, it is still a bit of fun to identify three strange facts that you could never have dreamt up yourself.

  • They were bred as an all-purpose farm dog.

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog was initially bred to work on a farm. They would be watchdogs, herd animals, and to show how strong they are, they would also pull carts which is crazy.

Of course, they were also companions, but the idea of a dog pulling a cart is just out of this world.

  • They don’t like the heat.

One thing that this breed cannot handle is the heat. During the summer they struggle, so you have to provide them with a cool shaded place to hide, lots of water, and even air-conditioning if you have it.

  • Even puppies can be strong.

A puppy is still going to have an amazing amount of strength compared to other fully grown dogs.

It does mean that you need to train them from the earliest possible opportunity or taking them for a walk is going to prove to be rather difficult.

There are so many things that could be said about this breed, but we will cover the key points throughout the rest of this guide.

Physical Traits of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

An adult Greater Swiss Mountain Dog towing a baby Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are very handy.

The physical traits of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog are where this breed really does stand out from the crowd.

The only way it can be described is that this is an imposing breed, and it does come across as being exceptionally powerful.

This breed has a typical tri-color fur, and they are heavy-boned. This does give you an extremely strong appearance with a strong neck and hindquarters.

Their head is large, and unlike other dogs of this size, they do not drool.

They have a wide chest and strong legs, which was required for all of the hard work that they were forced to undertake.

Overall, this is indeed an imposing dog, and it is one that has been purely bred for its sheer strength. However, it is also amazingly agile at the same time.

How Big is a Full-Grown Greater Swiss Mountain Dog?

A full-grown Greater Swiss Mountain dog is an impressive specimen. In general, the male is always going to be both taller and heavier than the female, but even she is not exactly a small dog.

For their height, then the male will tend to be between 25 to 29 inches tall while the female is 23 to 27 inches tall.

For their weight, then the male will often be in the region of 105 to 140 pounds while the female is in the region of 85 to 110 pounds.

What is the Life Expectancy of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog?

The life expectancy of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is slightly lower than the average at somewhere between 10 to 11 years.

This is in direct comparison to several other dogs of this size. Do note that some sources indicate that their life expectancy can be less than this.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Some individuals may expect this breed to be quite fearsome, but look beyond the size and you will get a different picture.

Instead, what you have here is a dog that has been bred well to ultimately produce an intelligent and evenly tempered dog.

They are even very gentle especially with their family, but due to their sheer size, they could knock over a small child by accident.

They can have a stubborn streak, and it takes a strong owner to train and deal with them. They will have their own individual ideas as to what they want to do, so being strict is essential.

They are very alert to what is going on at all times. They will bark when they discover something different or amiss, and that is why they can be so good as a watchdog.

Even though they are so large, they do crave attention and to be with their owners. They love contact with you and are extremely enthusiastic.

Puppies can be quite boisterous, so you do have to train them as early as possible to prevent this from becoming an issue.

Their energy comes in stages. They will love their walk, but will then enjoy having a nap for some time after it.

This breed is certainly intelligent, and you need to be aware of this when training them. Thanks to their strength, you need to train them to respect their leash as a puppy or you will be in difficulty later on.

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog’s Diet

Thanks to its sheer size, you would be correct to expect that the diet for the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is larger than the majority of breeds out there.

However, that doesn’t mean that you can just feed it anything that you want.

Instead, there is an even greater need to be careful with what you feed them. This is already a dog that weighs a lot, so you must avoid making them obese or their joints will not be able to cope.

A puppy should be kept on the same regime as set by the breeder for around the first 12 to 18 months.

They require steady growth to help their skeleton, and changing this routine could have a negative impact. Do not seek to provide your puppy with a raw diet as that is too difficult to control.

As an adult, feed them three times a day and use a high-quality food that can provide them with a healthy source of protein.

Once they are fully grown, you can then introduce a variety of vegetables and fruits as well as lean meat.

Their main food source should be kibble with moderate levels of both fat and protein. Do try to push your budget as much as possible as cheaper kibble has too many fillers that are of no use.

You should also check the calcium levels in what they are eating as that too can help their joints and help to prevent problems later on in life.

How Much Exercise Does a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Need?

Considering it was bred as a working dog in the Swiss Alps, this is a breed that does require a reasonable amount of exercise.

It has quite good stamina for its size, and that does translate into its exercise regime.

This dog is not for an apartment. They need outdoor space to roam around in as well as a moderate amount of exercise.

You should take them on two walks each day for at least 30 minutes on both occasions. This should be less when they are a puppy to prevent excessive pressure from being placed on their joints.

They do love to go hiking with you, and also enjoy obedience trials which can be another option for exercise. They will also love pulling things, and there is even a competition since that is what they were bred for.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Health and Conditions

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog does tend to be quite prone to a number of key health conditions. Of course, there is no guarantee that your dog will fall victim to them.

Before getting your puppy, or even adopting an adult dog, there are some questions that you should be asking. Also, you need to determine if the parents have been checked out for many different health conditions.

The main ones to be aware of are:

This does seem like a lengthy list, but most of them are related to degenerative diseases thanks to their sheer size. Being careful with the amount of exercise they get can help to reduce the chances of them happening.

My Final Thoughts on the Greater Swiss Mountain DogA Greater Swiss Mountain Dog dog breed

A Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is big in both size as well as personality, but at the same time, it can be a wonderful family dog.

Not only will it be fearless and protect you, but this is one large cuddly dog that loves to be pampered.

Yes, they are strong, but there is undoubtedly a soft side to them as well when it comes to their owners.

They will enjoy playing with you and will happily nap by your side when they want to rest.

Do remember that they are not fans of heat, and nor are they any good for in an apartment due to their size and need to explore things in the outdoors.

Ultimately, it is a shame that this breed is not as well-known as they are a truly wonderful breed that will be loyal and caring towards you and your family.

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