The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is the oldest of the all Swiss Breeds, although not nearly as popular as its counterpart Bernese Mountain Dogs. The breed was developed in rural central Europe, the Greater Swiss Mountain dog was bred to be the poor farmers jack of all trades. Their work load included pulling carts, herding, and guarding the property. Thus, the reason why the current standard calls for a "confident dog of sturdy appearance.. agile enough to perform all purpose farm duties." From this group of all purpose farm dogs came blood lines that contributed to both the development of both Rottweilers and St. Bernards. However as technology flourished, the once most popular dogs in Switzerland dwindled down to a very small breeding stock. By the twentieth century, the breed was rare. However, due to the passion and vigilance of Albert Helm the breed was kept alive. During World War II, the Breed's versatile character was demonstrated as they were used as draft dogs for the Swiss Army. In 1945, it was approximated that only 350-400 dogs were still in existence. The lovable breed was first brought to the United States in 1968 by J. Frederick and Patricia Hoffman. For a more comprehensive History, consider reading "The History of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog" by Hans Haber.
As any breed does, Swissies have their fair share of health concerns. Like most large breeds, bloat and stomach torsion are concerns. Additionally, Swissies deal with epilepsy, cancers, and dysplasia. A broader list with specific details are located on the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America's site. All of my dogs go through an array of health screenings before they are bred. They are all registered on the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals site, and are screened for common eyes problems through a CERF exam. Breeding quality healthy dogs is our number one priority. WIth this being said, we can not guarantee anyone a healthy puppy. And if someone does, they are lying to you. Unfortunately, I, nor anyone else, can control genetics. The only thing we can do is to take the proper precautions, through screenings and tests, while evaluating breeding stock. A lot of the aforementioned health concerns are carried through recessive genes, which unfortunately cannot be foreseen. As responsible AKC Breeders of Merit, we cannot guarantee you a healthy puppy but we can show you evidence of the parents of health screenings in addition to always using a sound breeding sense.
We strive to produce dogs that best embody the American Kennel Club's Standard, which was formulated by the national club to best emulate the original foundation of the breed. The standard demonstrates a canine that would be fulfill the breed's original purpose.
Swissies are versatile dogs that can be comfortable in numerous lifestyles. They are perfectly happy to go on a long pack hike with you, or equally as happy to lie on the couch. Given that they are a working breed they do require a fair amount of physical activity, however afterwards they might be as eager to relax as you are. This flexibility in lifestyle make them amazing family dogs. Their guard dog instincts are often demonstrated through the protection of their homes and owners, as are their herding instincts with packs of children. A swissy can make the perfect addition to any responsible family, who realizes the responsibility and time commitment that comes along with getting one. This includes a thorough understanding of both the temperament of the breed itself, and the possible health risks.
Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs