The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is believed to be in the ancestry of the Saint Bernard Dog and the Rottweiler.
Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund
Large Swiss Mountain Dog
Body: Massive and muscular, heavily boned and powerful with a deep chest, somewhat protruding breastbone and well-sprung ribs.
Coat: Dense outer coat and thick undercoat.
Color: Tri-color (black, red, and white) are accepted by the AKC. Other colors not accepted by the AKC include blue/charcoal and “red and white”.
Ears: Triangular-shaped, medium size, rounded at the tips and set high.
Eyes: Medium size, almond-shaped, brown color, black rims and close eyelids. Not deep set or bulging.
Feet: Short, round, and compact with arched toes.
Head: Large with a flat, broad skull, slight stop, large straight muzzle, and black nose.
Legs: Forelegs are straight and strong. Hindquarters are broad and powerful with moderately bent stifles, and well let down hocks.
Neck: Moderately long, strong and muscular.
Weight: Female is 85-110 pounds and Males are from 105-140 pounds
Height: 23.5 – 28.5 inches
Tail: Thick and straight, somewhat tapered at the point.
Recommended for experienced dog handlers
Can be aggressive towards other dogs
Not easily housebroken
The Great Swiss Mountain Dog is another of the “gentle giants”. He is massive in size, striking in appearance, powerful, stead-fast, and confident. He is the largest and oldest of the four Sennenhund breeds from Switzerland.
He is robust, athletic, energetic, and loves to play hard and work hard whether it’s romping in the snow, pulling sleds or herding cattle. He enjoys playing with children but should be supervised around toddlers due to his enormous size.
Michele Welton, author of Your Purebred Puppy says, “Swissies thrive on your companionship, though their determination to jump up into your face, shove their body against your leg, or slap a massive paw into your lap can be disconcerting.”
He can be obstinate and demanding of your attention. Early obedience training and continued socialization are an absolute must to keep him under control. An experienced dog handler is best for a dog of this size and strength who is capable of easily pulling large men to the ground.
Notes from owners:
Not a good breed for people who work 9-5. They thrive on being with their owner. They will follow you from room to room. I would consider them more of an inside dog because they want to be wherever you are. If you are outside gardening, they are happy to be outside but when you go in, you better take them with you.
They love attention and would be happy if you pet them all day long or until your arm fell off. Although they are large, they are very cautious around small children and the elderly. They also can play very nicely with small breed dogs. Mystic plays with a Min Schnauzer and never once did I hear the schnauzer yip from rough play.
Excellent guard dog. Basically not a barker but they will let you know when anybody is in your yard or at your door. They will also let you know when someone is jogging by even if it is the same person who jogs everyday at the same time.
AKC Group: Working Group
Originally bred for herding but also used for pulling milk carts, carrying back packs, as guard dogs and as draft dogs.
Care and Grooming
Exercise: Moderate daily exercise and play time is sufficient to keep him fit and happy.
Grooming: Brush one to two times weekly, more frequently during shedding season. Bath three to four times annually.
Life Expectancy: 9 – 11 Years
Entropion (eyelids turn inward)
CERF – for eyes
OFA – for hips, elbows and knees
Also ask about temperament testing.
Country of Origin
Switzerland – 1900s