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AKC Meet the Breeds: Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

American Kennel Club, Inc. (c) 2011

Large, sturdy and confident, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (GSMD or "Swissy") is a draft and drover breed - robust and agile enough to perform farm work in very mountainous regions. As a working dog, Swissies like having a job to do and enjoy participating in hiking, carting, obedience trials, herding, weight pulling, and backpacking with their owners. The breed's short, dense coat is black with symmetrical rust and white markings.

A Look Back
Developed in the remote and isolated areas of Switzerland, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog was originally used for draft work, livestock management (herding and guarding) and as a farm sentinel. The breed was assumed to have died out by the late 19th century, as their work was being done by other breeds or machines, but they were rediscovered in the early 1900s.

Right Breed for You?
The "Swissy" is a social dog that enjoys being a member of the family.
Owners should be patient with housetraining; dogs may grasp the concept in a few weeks, but it can take many months for them to become reliable. Daily exercise is necessary, but should be moderate due to their large size and dark, thick coat, which can cause them to overheat in high temperatures. Coats need to be brushed once or twice a week.

  • Working Group; AKC recognized in 1995.
  • Ranging in size from 23 1/2 to 28 1/2 inches tall at the shoulder.
  • Cattle driver.

AKC Meet the Breeds is a registered trademark of the American Kennel Club, Inc.

Comments (1)

  • Melissa76 13 Feb, 2012

    As the owner of a GSMD I can say this is a wonderful family dog! He loves to play with children and other dog's. He wants to be part of the family. He's happier being wherever you are as opposed to just outside by himself. But he also won't make a fuss about it (unnecessary barking). It's 100% true about the house breaking! He's now a year and 4 months and just had an "accident" a week ago. You have to be very patient but it's worth it. They do mature slower than the average breed.