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Greater Swiss Mountain Dog


Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Facts

  • Group
  • Working
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 23.5" - 28.5"
  • Weight
  • 90-150
  • Lifespan
  • 10 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • Moderate - This breed enjoys typical daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Difficult to Train
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Moderate
  • Colors
    • Tri-color (white/tan/black)
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Can be trained as a watch dog or guard dog
    • Good with children
    • Ok outdoors
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

grosser Schweizer sennenhund, Great Swiss Cattle Dog, Swissy


The greater Swiss mountain dog was developed in remote and isolated areas of Switzerland.

Date Of Origin

It is believed that this breed is descended from the large molossers brought to Switzerland by the Romans in the first century B.C., although another theory states that they arrived many centuries earlier with Phoenician traders.


The greater Swiss mountain dog is believed to be the oldest of the Swiss breeds created from crosses of Roman mastiffs and local Swiss dogs. This breed may be a progenitor of the Saint Bernard. It was used as an all purpose guard and draft dog by farmers and merchants but dwindled in numbers after the invention of the car. It served as a military dog during World War II, but following the war the breed came close to extinction. It first arrived in the U.S. in 1968 and has gained popularity since.


The greater Swiss mountain dog is a large, muscular dog that is slightly longer than it is tall. There is a large head with a flat, broad skull; a broad, strong muzzle; and a medium size, triangular drop ears. The almond shaped eyes are dark brown and the nose is black. The tail is long and tapered. The double coat has a thick undercoat and short, dense outer coat. The coat is tri-colored with a black base and white and rust markings.


This is a faithful, devoted and stable dog, that is territorial, alert and watchful but never aggressive.


Its specific work is as herd dog and stable guard, however, it has been used very successfully as a body guard and for pulling a cart. It is reputed to be a dog that never sleeps, and, in fact, it is attentive day and night, ready to leap to its feet at the slightest noise. Because of its good temper, its patience and the ease in which it can be trained, the greater Swiss mountain dog has become a popular companion dog.

Health Concerns

Bloat, epilepsy, hip and elbow dysplasia, OCD

Additional Information

This dog will do best in a rural or suburban home with an active and dog experienced owner.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

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