Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

  • Overview

    Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are the largest of the four Swiss working breeds. Males weigh between 110 and 145 pounds, and females weigh between 85 and 105 pounds. These large, hard-working dogs are confident and capable dogs who are protective and affectionate towards their owners.

    The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a lovable, loyal family companion who is happiest in active families of experienced large dog owners who can give him the training, exercise and companionship he needs.

  • Personality

    Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are known for being particularly sociable and amiable to meeting new people, but they must be introduced. These large dogs make excellent watch dogs, because they bark at all foreign noises and people until they've become accustomed to them. Once Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs make friends, they are friendly and tolerant. They are gentle and inviting around children. Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs need to feel as if they're part of the family. They don't like to feel neglected or be left out of family activity.

    Although Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are capable, active dogs who need plenty of space to roam and stretch out, they have energy spurts. If they burn off all of their energy through vigorous outdoor play or jogging, they can easily calm down and adapt to indoor life. They are strong-willed dogs who are confident in their own opinions, so they respond well to a dominant, firm trainer who will immediately establish the difference between positive and negative behaviors.

  • Coat Care

    Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs have short, straight hair that grows longer, wavier and coarser seasonally. The under coat is thick and lighter in color than the over coat. Most dogs are black, white and rust. Some come in shades of blue, white and tan or white and rust, but black dogs are preferred. They have black on the top of their back, on their ears, and covering the majority of their legs and tail. The checks are rust-colored with eyebrow-like thumb prints above the eyes. Rust appears on the legs and occasionally along the muzzle in between the black and white.

Brushing

Swiss Mountain Dogs blow their short, thick coats twice a year. They need to be brushed once or twice a week with a pin brush to remove dead hairs and keep their coat shiny.

Bathing

Bathe them once a month to keep the coat healthy and help loosen dead hairs.

Hair Clipping

Clipping or trimming your dog’s coat is far easier than you would ever imagine. With the right clipper, trimmer and scissors, giving your dog a haircut is easy on your wallet and your schedule.

Most dogs with short coats generally require occasional trims and tidying up in areas of excessive hair growth with trimmers or blunt scissors. It's always wise to take a dog for a short walk or exercise to calm them down before trimming. Remember to brush the coat first to remove tangles and mats. Use a trimmer or a scissors to even out areas around the tail, paws, sanitary areas and chest, as needed. When finished, the coat should lay flat and smooth against the body of most short-haired dogs.

Nails

Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.

Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience. As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.

You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

Eyes / Ears

Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.

It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Some short-coated dogs, like hounds and mastiffs, have large, sensitive ears that should be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. If you have a small dog, like an Pug, take special care to clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes to make sure they are comfortable. Dogs with facial wrinkles, like Pugs and Dogues de Bordeaux, be wiped down at least weekly to prevent infection.

Teeth

Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.