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Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

GreaterSwissMountainDog

A Bold Sweetheart

Alert, sensitive, trusting

Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are easygoing, loyal, and calm, giant dogs. Swissies are very gentle with children and other pets, but have a strong herding instinct that can impact how they interact with small children and animals. With strangers they are ordinarily timid, but can be territorial and protective as well. They are great dogs for active singles, outdoor enthusiasts, families with older children, and experienced dog handlers. Daily exercise involving a long walk or a vigorous game is excellent for these dogs.

Understanding their unique needs will help keep them healthy and create a strong bond between the two of you. Explore this page to learn more about the breed’s history, health concerns, characteristics, and care needs.

Breed Details

Height:23-29 in. Weight:85-140 lb Lifespan:10-12 years

Size
5

1=small 5=large

Grooming requirements
1

1 = little grooming - 5 = much grooming

Energy level
2

1 = low energy - 5 = high energy

Ease of training
4

1 = difficult - 5 = easy

Affection toward owners
3

1 = independent - 5 = very affectionate

Friendliness toward strangers
2

1 = shy - 5 = very friendly

Routine Care: Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are large, smart dogs with lots of energy, so keep their mind and body active, or they'll get bored.

Grooming: They have low grooming needs. Brush their coat as needed, at least weekly.

Dental: Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week.

Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!


Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are a large working breed, confident and devoted. They are also a sweet and easy-going family companion.

Positive Traits:

• An excellent companion, family, or working dog

• Eager to please and responsive to training

• Good watchdog with a loud bark

• Energetic, active, and athletic

• Outgoing and friendly personality

• Trusting and affectionate

Negative Traits:

• Can be rambunctious and rowdy, especially as a younger dog

• Exhibits signs of separation anxiety if left alone too much

• May have a tendency to bark excessively 

• Strong herding instinct can lead to chasing cars and small animals

• Doesn't do well in the heat

• Can be difficult to housetrain

Whether you are considering adding a new Greater Swiss Mountain Dog to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Greater Swiss Mountain Dog will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

By exploring the health concerns specific to the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert. 

Some health issues a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog could encounter:

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is the oldest and largest of the Swiss working dogs. They were brought to the Alps of Switzerland over 2000 years ago by the Romans. The Swissy is a multipurpose farm dog originally bred to herd cattle, pull carts, and serve as a watchdog. Due to their great strength and size they were nicknamed “the poor man’s horse.” They are a social dog that craves attention from their family and can be dependent on them. The Swissy is gentle with children, happy, and playful.

Consult with a veterinarian if your Greater Swiss Mountain Dog shows signs of the following:

  • Dry heaving or a large, tight, painful abdomen

  • Pale gums, labored breathing, weakness, or sudden collapse

  • Swollen lymph nodes or glands, unexplained weight loss

  • General reluctance to run or play

  • Cloudiness to eye lens

  • Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting

  • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

  • Pain or straining to urinate, bloody urine

  • Urine leakage when sleeping or lying down

  • Soft, non-painful bulge near the belly button

  • Care

    Routine Care: Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are large, smart dogs with lots of energy, so keep their mind and body active, or they'll get bored.

    Grooming: They have low grooming needs. Brush their coat as needed, at least weekly.

    Dental: Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week.

    Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!


  • Characteristics

    Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are a large working breed, confident and devoted. They are also a sweet and easy-going family companion.

    Positive Traits:

    • An excellent companion, family, or working dog

    • Eager to please and responsive to training

    • Good watchdog with a loud bark

    • Energetic, active, and athletic

    • Outgoing and friendly personality

    • Trusting and affectionate

    Negative Traits:

    • Can be rambunctious and rowdy, especially as a younger dog

    • Exhibits signs of separation anxiety if left alone too much

    • May have a tendency to bark excessively 

    • Strong herding instinct can lead to chasing cars and small animals

    • Doesn't do well in the heat

    • Can be difficult to housetrain

  • Health Concerns

    Whether you are considering adding a new Greater Swiss Mountain Dog to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Greater Swiss Mountain Dog will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

    By exploring the health concerns specific to the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert. 

    Some health issues a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog could encounter:

  • History

    The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is the oldest and largest of the Swiss working dogs. They were brought to the Alps of Switzerland over 2000 years ago by the Romans. The Swissy is a multipurpose farm dog originally bred to herd cattle, pull carts, and serve as a watchdog. Due to their great strength and size they were nicknamed “the poor man’s horse.” They are a social dog that craves attention from their family and can be dependent on them. The Swissy is gentle with children, happy, and playful.

  • Watch Out For

    Consult with a veterinarian if your Greater Swiss Mountain Dog shows signs of the following:

    • Dry heaving or a large, tight, painful abdomen

    • Pale gums, labored breathing, weakness, or sudden collapse

    • Swollen lymph nodes or glands, unexplained weight loss

    • General reluctance to run or play

    • Cloudiness to eye lens

    • Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting

    • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

    • Pain or straining to urinate, bloody urine

    • Urine leakage when sleeping or lying down

    • Soft, non-painful bulge near the belly button

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Discussions

Share your thoughts and experiences, ask questions, or just show your love for the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog breed here!

Select Another Breed

To view the sources for the information listed on this page, see our Dog Breed Guide Reference page.

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