Everything You Need To Know About The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog


Dogs come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Some people like smalls dogs that can be carried in a purse. Some like medium-sized dogs to curl up on the sofa with, and some people like big dog breeds that are huggable, like a teddy bear. If you are a big dog aficionado, you may be interested in the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, A.K.A Swissy.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Where Does The Swissy Dogs Come From?

Rumored to be descended from a large breed dog brought to the Alpine region by Roman invaders, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is the forefather to the St. Bernard, the Bernese Mountain Dog, and the Rottweiler. Swissies were originally bred for farm work, such as pulling loads, guarding, and herding. By 1900, the breed had largely died out, partially due to mechanized equipment taking over the jobs formerly done by these dogs.

Personality of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog:

The Swissy makes an excellent family member for all types of families.  They are sweet, gentle, easy going, and excellent with children. The Swissy gets along well with other dogs and other types of pets. While the Swissy is protective of the home and his family, he takes to strangers quickly once he sees that they are welcomed by the rest of the family.  The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog matures at a rate slightly behind other dog breeds, taking two to three years to reach full maturity.

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog craves attention and affection from his human family.  They do not do well in a kennel or otherwise separated from people.  Swissies can have low energy and be seen napping frequently, but his desire to be and interact with his humans generally causes the Swissy to adapt his activity level to meet the level of his pet parents.  This is one pooch that does not want to be out of the loop.

One caveat to keep in mind, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog likes to follow, and needs a strong pack leader. They do not do well in a home without a leader.

Physical Attributes:

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog stands anywhere from 23½ inches at the shoulder in the shortest females, to 27 inches at the shoulder for males. They weigh between 80 to 130 pounds across both genders.  They are tri-colored, with a black body and red and white markings.  This is the AKC standard for the breed, but they also come in other colors, such as blue, white, and tan, or with only two colors, red and white.


The coat is short and does not mat or tangle easily  This cold weather dog does have a double coat that sheds year round, with more intense shedding in the spring and fall.  Routine brushing and bathing helps to minimize this.  This dog does not take easily to having his nails trimmed, and should be taught to accept this while still in puppyhood, to avoid problems when he is much bigger and stronger.

Overall, the Greater Swiss Mountain dog is loving, kind, and makes a great family pet.  If your family has room for this large, family-friendly dog, and you are prepared for the time and attention the Swissy will require, you will have a wonderful companion and family member in the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.

Photo Credit:  istockphoto.com

Do you own a Greater Swiss Mountain dog?