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Adopt a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Dog Breed

Picture: Kent and Donna Dannen


livestock dog, mastiff (draft/cattle)

Area of origin:


Original function:

draft dog, guardian

Average size of male:

Ht: 25.5-28.5, Wt: 105-140

Average size of female:

Ht: 23.5-27, Wt: 85-110

Other names:

grosser Schweizer sennenhund, Great Swiss cattle dog

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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Dogs Available on Petfinder Right Now

See more adoptable Greater Swiss Mountain Dog dogs available on Petfinder

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Dog Temperament

The Greater Swiss mountain dog is a sensitive, loyal and extremely devoted family companion. He is calm and easygoing, very gentle with children as well as other pets. He is protective, alert, bold and vigilant.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Dog Care

As befitting of a dog with working roots, this breed likes the outdoors, especially in cold weather. He needs daily exercise, either a good long walk or vigorous romp. When indoors, he needs plenty of room to stretch out. His coat needs brushing once weekly, more often when shedding.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Dog Health

Major concerns: CHD, gastric torsion, elbow dysplasia
Minor concerns: panosteitis, OCD, distichiasis, entropion
Occasionally seen: ectropion
Suggested tests: hip, elbow, (eye)
Life span: 10-12 years

Interested in the history of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog dog breed?

The Greater Swiss mountain dog is the oldest and largest of four varieties of sennenhunde, or Swiss mountain dogs; the other three are the Appenzeller, Entlebucher and Bernese. The breeds share a common heritage, probably derived from the mastiff or Molossian dogs of the Romans. These dogs were most likely introduced when the Romans crossed through Switzerland. Another theory is that the Phoenicians brought them to Spain around 1100 B.C. Whatever their origin, they spread over Europe and interbred with native dogs, eventually developing along independent lines in isolated communities. They shared the same work ethic, dividing their duties between acting as guardian of livestock and home, herder and draft dog. Many came to be known as metzgerhunde, or "butcher's dogs." Until the late 1800s, all these dogs, which share a common coat color pattern, were generally assumed to be of one breed or type. Only when professor Alfred Heim endeavored to study the native Swiss mountain breeds seriously did he discern consistent differences that allowed them to be categorized as four distinct breeds. The year 1908 can be regarded as the birth date of the Greater Swiss; in this year Heim spotted a magnificent shorthaired dog entered in a Bernese mountain dog contest. He considered the dog a separate breed, and dubbed him the Greater Swiss because of his resemblance to the sturdy Swiss butcher's dogs he had also seen. The breed grew very slowly in popularity, additionally thwarted by the two World Wars. Only in 1968 did the Greater Swiss come to America, with the first litter being born in 1970. In 1985 the breed was admitted into the AKC miscellaneous class, achieving full recognition in 1995.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

Shelters with Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Dogs

Some animal welfare organizations with Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs ready for adoption:

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