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Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
History
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As stated in the name, this native of Switzerland is one of the earliest descendants of the large Mastiff-type dogs introduced to the Alpine by the ancient Romans. Developed in the remote and isolated areas of Switzerland, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog was adapted to general farm use as a herding dog, guard dog, and utilitarian draft dog. Of the four Sennenhund breeds developed in Switzerland, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is both the largest and the oldest. Though little known outside its country of origin for many years, the Greater Swiss was instrumental in the early development of both the Saint Bernard and the Rottweiler.

In the late 19th century, much of the work previously done by the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog was either supplied by other breeds of dogs or replaced by machines. In 1908, a Greater Swiss was shown to the famous dog expert, Dr. Albert Heim of Zurich. It had been assumed that the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog had already died out. With the urging of Dr. Heim, other specimens were located, and he called upon breeders to save this ancient Alpine dog. By 1910, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog was recognized by the Swiss Kennel Club.

J. Frederick and Patricia Hoffman imported the first of this breed to the United States after seeing them exhibited at a show in Frankfurt, Germany.

While growth of interest in the breed has been slow, it has been steady. In 1968, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America was formed for the express purpose of obtaining AKC recognition. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America stud book was transferred to the AKC on March 17, 1993, with an initial 1,300 dogs as foundation stock. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog was given Working Group designation and became eligible for full recognition status on July 1, 1995.





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