Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Breed Profile: Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is of the mastiff type, which means big, strong and jowly. Swissys are tri-colored (black, tan and white) with a short double coat.  Yes, they shed.

The GSMD is the largest of four Swiss breeds originally used as draft dogs, drovers and all around farm dogs.  In World War II, the Swissy carried military supplies in either back packs or by pulling carts, for the Swiss Army.

Swissys are home bodies. They are unlikely to wonder off except, perhaps, to check out the neighbor's livestock.  This is not a breed that is content to be left alone for long periods.  Swissys want to be with their people, whether hanging around the house, tending the garden, or running errands.

True to their mountain heritage, the GSMD is fond of snow and not tolerant of hot weather.  Like other large deep chested breeds, the Swissy is at risk of the dreaded bloat.  Interesting observation by a Swissy breeder:  personality plays a role in bloat victims.  An easy going Swissy is less likely then a more intense Swissy to have a bloat attack.  (Could be it's like the old Type A and Type B theory for heart attack victims).

Swissys are wonderful family dogs.  They are gentle and protective of children but aren't snippy about it.  Their usual manner of protection is to place themselves in between a loved one and a stranger.   The worst thing to be said about living with a Swissy; he'll get in your way because he wants to be near you.

Swissy Manifesto

- I will alert you to important happenings large and small, by throwing my head back and exclaiming, "baroo" .
- I'd rather use my nose to poke people than to sniff them out.
- Sure, let's exercise.  But remember:  I'm not a sprinter;  I'm a stroller.

Next Breed Profile:  Cavalier King Charles Spaniel!

see some nice pics at

sources:  An Introduction to the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog by Shannon Hennigan
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America (


  1. Oh no, not a "baroo"! My sister's little white dog has become a howler and since my world revolved around normal doggie barks, I'm not sure I can handle the strange howling. Yapping is preferred over howling, but "baroo" sounds like it could prematurely tip me into an emergency care
    Thanks for an informative post!

  2. Smiles to you! My Malti-poo must think he's one of these fellows.

  3. Sounds like the kind of dog you should have, William. He loves snow.

    Oh, that's're a cat man.