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Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
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Origin / History Originally, the Greater Swiss Mountain dog was used as a herding dog. Later on, though, dogs of this breed were used for draft. To this day, there are still farms that utilize these dogs for pulling dairy or cheese carts to the market, although this is done mostly for ceremonial purposes. These dogs were quite popular before the advent of mechanised vehicles. By the start of the 20th century, this breed was believed to be extinct or was near to being so.

In 1908, Franz Schertenlieb entered his Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs in the jubilee conformation dog show of the Swiss Kennel Club because he knew that Dr. Albert Heim, an expert in native Swiss dogs, would see them. Dr. Heim was very glad to find living specimens of the breed and suggested to the members of the Swiss Kennel Club to do all that they could to find enough specimens of the breed to start a breeding program.

The selection process was very meticulous, requiring that all puppies be reexamined as adults before being certified as acceptable for breeding. Due to this, the increase in number of these dogs was slow

Appearance Greater Swiss Mountain dogs are strong, large and muscular. They have straight and strong front legs with compact, rounded feet. The chest of these dogs is deep and broad. The head of these dogs is large, with a flat, broad skull that has a slight stop. Their teeth meet in a scissors bite. These dogs have eyes that feature intelligent expressions, and may be chestnut or hazel in colour. They have medium-sized, pendant ears that are triangular in shape and hang down the sides of their head. It's important for the nose and lips of these dogs to be black in colour. These dogs have an outer coat and a dense undercoat.

Colours The coat of these dogs should be black with some patches or markings of red and white.

Temperament These dogs are watchful and protective, making them great watch dogs. Being territorial, it's important for these dogs to be introduced properly to people they have just met for the first time. They will, however, warm up to individuals that their family accepts. These dogs love human companionship and should be treated as part of the family. They are great with children and can even get along well with other family pets.

Height and Weight The height of these dogs range from 23.5 to 28.5 inches, and their weight is approximately 130 to 135 pounds.

Common Health Problems Like many other deep-chested, large dogs, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are susceptible to bloating and getting afflicted with hip dysplasia. These dogs may also have distichiasis, a condition in which additional eyelashes appear along the edges of the dog's eyelids. These extra eyelashes may scratch the dog's eyes. Although this isn't a major concern, there are instances in which the dog has to undergo surgical procedures to remove the eyelashes. Some lines of this breed also show susceptibility to digestive disorders and epilepsy.

Living Conditions Dogs of this breed can be kept inside apartments just as long as they are given enough exercise. It's still best, though, for these dogs to be provided with at least a small yard where they can do some physical activities.

Exercise Requirements Moderate amounts of exercise will do for these dogs, but they still need to be taken out for long daily walks to satisfy their primal instinct for walking.

Training Requirements Although dogs of this breed can get along well with other canines and household pets, they should be taught not to chase. Firm but gentle training methods are advisable for this breed. Owners should also socialize these dogs well at a young age.

Life Expectancy These dogs have a life span of approximately 10 to 11 years.

Grooming Dogs of this breed are easy to groom and care for. Owners just need to brush the coat of these dogs regularly to aid in the shedding process.

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More Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Information: Check out our Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Clubs and links to more informative websites dedicated to the breed.

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