Tell me about Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.


too old to eat- any more KD
Barked: Mon Nov 5, '12 8:16am PST 
No, I have not changed allegiances..gsds are my heart breed. I'm posting for my sister in law. She has been doing some research into the breed, but has a few questions.
First..they are dog people. They had a Saint before, and their last dog was a Golden Retriever.
What she needs help with is finding a GOOD breeder in Canada..preferably on the West coast. She also wants to know how *drooly they are. After Gus, she doesn't want a really *jowly, drooly dog. She also wants to know how they would do in heat. They have a place in the city..where it is temperate, but they also have a vineyard/property where it gets very hot in the summer. There is lake access, so the dog can cool down. Which brings up her final point...do they enjoy water (as a general rule)? Or do they prefer to pant on the shore?

Member Since
Barked: Mon Nov 5, '12 10:17am PST 
My concern about GSMDs would be general temperament. I know alot of people assume that because they look like Bernese Mountain dogs, then they are probably alot alike. But, that's really not the case with these guys.

GSMDs are a very guardy, sharp breed and they're often reactive to other dogs. They tend to be rather serious on the whole, which is fine if that's what you're looking for. I've *heard* they take a long time to get to know someone before they decide if that person is worthy of their friendship. They're a "hard" breed unlike Bernese mountain dogs, who are sweet and rather like a big golden retriever.

They're also not a tight lipped breed, so I'm sure there is probably some drool you'd have to deal with, although probably not as much as a loose lipped mastiff.

Typically, they do better in colder climates and have double coats, but I'm sure that with the right care they'd be fine if someone made sure they had shade. I don't know if they're big on water. I do know they make great carting dogs.

I don't know what the health problems are like, but the gene pool is pretty small, so I'm sure there are things to worry about, but a breeder would be able to tell you more. I know that Bernese mountain dogs often die early of osteo sarcoma, but I don't know if that's true for Swissies.

Good luck.

Will Work For- Food
Barked: Mon Nov 5, '12 2:00pm PST 
I know a good breeder in Alberta. I will p-mail you the info.

Swissies are very much a family oriented dog. Although a bit sharper than the Bernese (Bernese are not tri-coloured Goldens as our guest poster suggested) they should be confident but not agressive. The should be well socialized with other dogs and animals.
Swissies are considered a dry mouthed breed, so excessive drooling shouldn't be an issue.
They have the usual health problems of large breed dogs but have an average lifespan that is generally longer than the Bernese. I know bloat is a big concern in the breed. I am not sure about cancers in the breed but just to clarify, the big cancer in Berners is Histiocytic Sarcoma not Osteosarcoma (although they can get bone cancer the rate is not higher than any other large breed).
I am sure Swissies would have a tough time in really hot weather - a large dog with a black double coat usually means they will be hear sensitive. I have no idea if they like water though.

Edited by author Mon Nov 5, '12 2:13pm PST



too old to eat- any more KD
Barked: Mon Nov 5, '12 3:30pm PST 
Thanks Bosley..I was hoping you'd chime in. That would be awesome if you could p-mail the breeder's name. We still have family in Alberta, so that could work. She also doesn't mind having to wait for a puppy. Sadly, their Saint was a genetic mess & became quite aggressive, so she refuses to make the mistake of rushing in again. The heat could be a non-issue...they have enough land to make sure there is adequate shade/shelter..plus they do have a/c in the house. She will be happy to hear about the non-drool issue. We went to a few picture sites together & that is what we both noted..but I said I would get it straight from the swissie jowlslaugh out loud
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Mon Nov 5, '12 3:42pm PST 
Did want to chime in that some of the languages/descriptions of the Swissie are harsh by design as some sort of a protective approach for those who might consider them simply a short coated version of the Berner. They are harder...but not hard in the wide scheme of things....require good socialization, early training. But they are not what I would consider a "gale warning" breed as long as it is digested that they aren't Berners.

Don't really drool, as long as the structure is there.

Follow Bosley's read re the breeder. Sorry about the Saint, but that's par for the course when they are not selectively bred. That's as old as the hills....it's just about a trait that a Saint not selectively bred will have problems with aggression. Glad they are not gun shy after the experience smile