History

Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are thought to be one of the oldest dog breeds of Switzerland. Although the history of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is not known for sure and has more than a few theories as to how they came to be, the most popular one is that they descended from large dogs that were similar to the Mastiff. It is assumed that Roman Legions brought these dogs to the Alps. These dogs, like their ancestors, were used for herding, guarding and as draft dogs.

Temperament

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, also known as the Swissy is a sweet and gentle dog that loves to please their owner. They are smart and can sometimes be stubborn, but their loyal personality will make up for it. They will be friendly to strangers that are welcomed into your home but will make good watchdogs as they are very alert, protective of their home and will use their powerful and loud bark to let you know when something’s not right. They have bold, confident personalities and may prefer to make their own decisions instead of following yours. This is why they need kind owners that can confidently show leadership and become leaders of the pack.

Health

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog can have health problems that affect most large-breed dogs. This includes orthopedic issues, although overall the GSMD’s orthopedics tend to be good for a large breed. Gastric Dilation Volvulus, or “bloat”occurs more often in this breed than in other breeds and is a life-threatening medical emergency. This article by Karen Conant is a great introduction to the breed and in determining if a Swissy is the right dog for you. The American Kennel Club and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America are also great resources to learn more about this wonderful breed.