The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund), also known as Swissy, is the largest of the four Swiss Sennenhund breeds, the others being the Berner (Bernese Mountain Dog), Appenzeller and Entlebucher.
Its expression is animated and gentle. Its height at the highest point of the shoulder is ideally 25.5 to 28.5 inches for males. Females will have heights of 23.5 to 27 inches. Body length to height is approximately a 10 to 9 proportion, thus appearing slightly longer than tall. They are known for their majestic beauty as well as their working dog drive.
The ancestors of the Great Swiss Mountain Dog are frequently described as butcher’s or slaughterer’s dogs. They were strong, tricolor, sometimes black and tan or yellow dogs, popular with butchers, cattle dealers, manual workers and farmers, who used them as guards, droving or draught dogs and bred them as such.
This dog is primarily a Draft and Drover breed and should structurally appear as such. It is a striking, tri-colored, large, powerful, confident dog of sturdy appearance. It is a heavy boned and well muscled dog which, in spite of its size and weight, is agile enough to perform the all-purpose farm duties of the mountainous regions of its origin.
The breed is a sociable, active, yet calm and dignified dog, and loves being part of the family. A large but gentle breed, they are very friendly to people of all ages. It is good with other pets, canine or non-canine, yet territorial enough to keep away any predatory foes.
Swissies are strong, intelligent, affectionate dogs. They are obedient and have the ability to solve problems when left alone, making them an excellent choice for a watch dog.
They are wonderful family members, but do require obedience training and a lot of socialization. Anyone considering adding a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog to their family needs to be willing to research the breed, breeders and health concerns completely.
They are slow to mature, both physically and mentally. “Puppyhood” may last 2-3 years. The objective in training this dog is to achieve a pack leader status.
Swissies will stay out in the backyard, but must be brought indoors at times to be with they family. They will do okay in an apartment. However, moderate exercise is needed to keep them mentally and physically fit.
The Swissy is attractive breed and needs relatively little grooming to maintain its beauty. When it comes to grooming the coat of the breed, it simply needs to be brushed once weekly, although you will have to brush more often during shedding season. These dogs are medium shedders, and shed more heavily on a seasonal basis, which means that they may not be best suited to those with allergies.
The life expectancy of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is around 8-10 years, and there are various health problems and disorders that are linked to the breed. This includes bloat and torsion, OCD, HD, thyroid problems, spleen problems, digestive problems, and eyelid disorders.