Greater Swiss Mountain Dog: Breed Facts and Temperament
Greater Swiss Mountain dogs are known for their large sizes, also being a confident breed of dogs. They have tremendous strength and love exercises that allow them to display their abilities. Over the years, they have been known for their helpful activities in many areas, making them insightfully resourceful dogs. They also make great watchdogs, due to their capacity and willingness to defend. Despite these areas mentioned about the Greater Swiss Mountain dog, there are important pointers that every potential owner needs to know to be able to handle such a large breed dog. If you desire a magnificent dog such as this, then this article is made especially for you.
History of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
There are many stories concerning the origin of the Greater Swiss Mountain dog, and the most common story told is that the Swissys came from the Molosser. The Molosser breed is a Mastiff-like dog that came with the Romans when they invaded the Alps twenty centuries ago. This led to the birth of the Swissys. The invasion generally spurred up an industrialization period, and many farmers required to get help with farming, and this is where the Swissy dogs were of great help.
There are several other theories that accompany the appearance of the Greater Swiss Mountain dog, of which say that they descended from the Phoenicians which carried along large breed of dogs with them, when going to settle in Spain, and with the presence of other dog breeds, the Greater Swiss Mountain dog was birthed.
The Greater Swiss Mountain dog is also regarded as one of Switzerland’s oldest breeds of dogs. The Swissys served majorly as guard dogs, as well as herding dogs and they were also declared to be one of the most populous dogs found in Switzerland, however, as time went on, their numbers gradually kept on reducing. This was in the year 1900, and this happened as a result of the degree of need in the area of farming.
In 1909, the Greater Swiss Mountain dog was documented in the Swiss Stud Book, after having been separately identified with its distinctive name, distinguishing it from its family breed. After this dog breed was documented in the Swiss Stud Book, its fame began to spread abroad in various corners of the world at a steady pace. After a few years, the Greater Swiss Mountain dogs were acquired in the United States, and a club, especially for this breed of dog, was formed.
Quick Facts About the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
- The Greater Swiss Mountain dog has a large size, and they are often times confused with other breed of dogs in its family breed. Nonetheless, this larger size resulted in the name ‘Greater’ in its distinctive identity.
- The Greater Swiss Mountain dog generally has shorter coats than other breeds as well.
- During the World War II, the Swissies dogs were used by the army. They were generally needed as draft dogs.
- The Greater Swiss Mountain dog is generally referred to as a rare dog breed. After the activities that occurred during the world war, their numbers declined in various ways, before they were acquired to the United States later in 1968.
- The Greater Swiss Mountain dog is a dog breed majorly used for farm activities back then. These activities include helping to move heavy carts, and adequately helping with the movement of cattle and dairy products. The Greater Swiss Mountain dogs were also good guard dogs during that time, doing incredibly well to secure environments and the people all around. Their size also an added advantage. These dogs were also adequate companions to families, rendering the Greater Swiss Mountain dog as an all-purpose type of dog breed.
- For a Greater Swiss Mountain dog, hot weather is not its best friend. This breed of dogs can’t handle extreme weather conditions, especially one accompanied with tremendous heat. This is a pointer that dog owners should consider because when such circumstances arise, shades should be found for the dog, alongside water that should be administered. It is also advised not to take your Swissy out when faced with such a weather condition, whether for exercising purposes, or for fun and games.
- The Swiss mountain dog was referred to as some point as the ‘metzgerhund’. This is basically translated to ‘butchers dog’. This was due to the fact that they were commonly used by the tradesmen in Europe for several activities.
- At a crucial point in time, the Great Swiss Mountain dog was considered the most popular dog in Switzerland, but specifically in the year 1900, with the availability of several equipment which could carry out the burdens of transporting items needed, there was no longer need for this breed, and their numbers reduced at a fast rate.
- Based on the long history that Greater Swiss mountain dogs have with helping out on farms and were draft dogs in World War II, they incredibly possess great amounts of strength. This breed was able to pull amounts of loads over 2500 pounds. This is also an important fact that potential owners should keep in mind concerning putting this dog on a leash. Proper training has to occur so that they can adequately behave when a leash is being used.
- The Greater Swiss Mountain dog has a tricolor coat with an addition of triangular shaped ears.
Things You Should Know About the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
It is essentially important to always ask the breeder on the health conditions that the puppies have or may possibly encounter. All dogs are prone to having some kind of ailment, and though they may not always occur in all of them, it is better to be aware than to be alarmed at trying times. It is advised not to listen to breeders that declare the pups have no health issues or tendencies to have as this clearly shows signs of dishonesty. Some of the health conditions that have been noticed in Great Swiss Mountain dogs are as followed:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia – This is an abnormal formation that leads to a crippling lameness disorder.
- Panosteitis and osteochondritis dissecans of the shoulder – This is a painful joint disease caused by an inflammation that occurs on the cartilages of the joints.
- Distichiasis – This is a condition that arises when there is extra hair growing from the Meibomian gland, which results in pain, and the production of tremendous amounts of tears.
- Gastric torsion – This is a condition that arises in dogs where the stomach becomes twisted and rotates due to pronounced gas content.
Training should be started immediately a Greater Swiss Mountain puppy is acquired. It is advised to use positive techniques on swissys as they are generally very eager to learn. Training for a Swissy needs consistency. They are easy to train, however, they go through a long stage before reaching adulthood. Greater Swiss Mountain dog puppies tend to be overly active, and are hard to train to be calm at this stage. This is why it is not advised for a swissy puppy to be adopted with the presence of little ones at home.
Also, this breed is confident and bold in all circumstances, and may also have the tendency to pursue other animals. They take about four years before reaching adulthood, and this long process also means they are not as easily house trained as other breeds. On the other hand, when they reach full maturity, with proper training alongside all the necessary socialized aspects, the Greater Swiss Mountain dog develops a calmer nature, and one willing to protect its human family with ease and convenience.
Greater Swiss Mountain dogs take their exercise strategies just the way humans do. More especially, they like to associate it with the way their human family regards it. If a human takes certain activities to be optimally important, Swissys tend to be great partners for many occasions. Based on exercise levels, this breed of dogs require at least two walks in a day. This could also be substituted for a more pronounced type of activity for exercising the bones. Due to how active Greater Swiss Mountain dogs are known to be, adequacy in exercise levels helps them to sustain their lively lifestyles.
The lineage of this breed involves drafting, which could also be a great incorporation into their active lifestyle as an exercise strategy. They tend to love the activity as well as other related ones such as herding, hiking, and many others. Aside from this, greater Swiss Mountain dogs enjoy the fun moments involve in weight pulling. This is also contributed to the tremendous amount of strength they possess. Weight pulling is a suitable alternative for exercising, certain to thrill this breed of dog.
For quality nutrition, giving a Swissy adequate dry dog food is recommended. The recommended amount should be twice a day, and should be given at an adequate proportion of four cups. For Great Swiss Mountain puppies, they require a building up process to help them grow at a slow but steady pace, which means they require appropriate amounts of food to be able to sustain their growing yet large bodies. In this case, giving them food should be done in adequate rations, big enough to sustain their weight. This will also help to prevent the occurrences of many illnesses such as hip dysplasia.
It is also important to note that the amount of food that your Swissy should eat simply depends on a lot of factors, such as its weight, activity level, age, and many others. Considering this will help to identify the right quantity to suit the dog. A dog that has a propensity to undergo a lot of exercises and playful activities will need more food than the dog that stays indoors most of the time.
Grooming a Swissy is quite an easy task. If regular routines are put into place, a splendid outcome is guaranteed to be achieved. Due to the short length of coat that this breed of dogs have, taking care of it can easily be attained. The Greater Swiss Mountain’s coat is a thick double coat that can be brushed easily. Brushing this dog’s coat should be done weekly, as this helps to properly distribute the oil on the skin, and help to remove dirt and other particles. Greater Swiss Mountain dogs are known to shed at some certain seasons.
It is also important to have a shedding blade at hand to properly deal with the shedding occurrences. Brushing should also be implemented at this point in time in order to effectively manage the shedding processes. Other grooming routines should also be put into place as well. The dog’s teeth need to be taken care of adequately, alongside its nails. Veterinarian approved products should be used when grooming your dog in order to ascertain safety at all points in time. Bathing should not be a struggle for the Great Swiss Mountain dog, as the hair is at adequate length to be able to incorporate bathing techniques.
The temperament of a Swissy dog depends on a lot of factors that have either been put into place, or happened on a natural basis. This could be based on training, socializing, and hereditary factors. Great Swiss Mountain Dogs are outgoing and sociable, but also gentle, and kind to everyone. This breed of dogs are generally very confident even around strangers, and with proper training, are great guard dogs that will protect its human family.
Swissys can also be stubborn is occasions, but they respond extremely well to leaders who use positive methods of teaching. This breed of dogs are intelligent and highly observant, and will bark when they are suspicious of things around. For the best behavior to be attained by your Swissy, early training and socialization is important in order to polish the dog to be the best.