Greater Swiss Mountain DogCare

The dense double coat is an easy keeper but also a shedder.

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.

nutrition &FEEDING

Depending on the size of your dog as an adult you are going to want to feed them a formula that will cater to their unique digestive needs through the various phases of their life. Many dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large and giant breeds.

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a large breed and has a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. What you feed your dog is an individual choice, but working with your veterinarian and/or breeder will be the best way to determine frequency of meals as a puppy and the best adult diet to increase his longevity. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.


The breed's short coat needs little maintenance beyond regular weekly brushing and the occasional bath to keep them clean and looking their best. Grooming can be a wonderful bonding experience for you and your pet. Their strong fast-growing nails should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or grinder to avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking. Their ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris which can result in an infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.

coat length Short
grooming Occasional Grooming

energy &EXERCISE

Happily, this canine Hercules, whose feats of strength are proverbial, is blessed with a friendly nature. Neither shy nor aggressive, Swissies approach life on an even keel. That’s not to say Swissies are 140-pound marshmallows: They’re alert, protective watchdogs confident enough to stare down any threat. Usually, though, a Swissy’s idea of fun is pulling a wagon full of kids around the front lawn. Swissies are excellent family dogs, but acquiring a pet of such size and strength is a major commitment.

energy level Some Exercise

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog &HEALTH

Like all breeds there may be some health issues, like hip and elbow dysplasia and eye disease. GSMDs may be affected by bloat, a digestive disorder of the stomach. Make sure to educate yourself about this potentially fatal condition by educating yourself on the symptoms of bloat. Call your veterinarian immediately if you see any symptoms. GSMDs Some dogs may be faced with these health challenges in their lives, but the majority of Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are healthy dogs. The GSMD was originally bred to live and work in the alpine regions of Switzerland. Because of the breed's characteristic large size, black color and thick undercoat, Swissies do not tolerate high temperatures well. If exercised for prolonged periods in hot, sunny conditions, a GSMD can fall prey to heat prostration or heatstroke.

During the summer months, walks and other exercise should be planed for either early or late in the day, avoiding the hottest midday hours. A Swissy should have a sheltered place to escape from the heat of the day, and in some areas the only suitable daytime refuge may be inside an air-conditioned house. Working with a responsible breeder, those wishing to own a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog can gain the education they need to know about specific health concerns within the breed. Good breeders utilize genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies.