As you know, now in Switzerland there are four breeds of dogs, which are considered a local treasure. And one of the oldest and most popular is the Great Swiss Mountain Dog. They resemble the Appenzeller Mountain Dog breed, but still have certain differences.
It is believed that they were brought by Roman legionaries during the time of Octavian Augustus (3rd century AD), or rather, not by themselves, but by their ancestors, from whom modern Swiss dog breeds originated. Their warlike ancestors resembled today’s mastiffs, were large, fearless, and utterly loyal to their masters. Among the local population, they have gained great popularity due to their strength and versatility, as well as due to their endurance and intelligence.
Local residents used these dogs for a variety of purposes – as guards for livestock, as guards for the house, as a hunting companion, and even as a draft animal. And everywhere they showed themselves in the best possible way, although, until today, they are used as shepherd dogs, and sometimes harnessed to a garden cart.
Until 1908, they were not considered a separate breed, however, the breeder and dog researcher Albert Heim, being an honorary member of the Swiss Kennel Club, once saw two large dogs at an anniversary evening, which the owner called the short-haired Bernese mountain dogs.
Despite the unusual name, Albert understood that these dogs belong to the mountain dog family, although they have a somewhat peculiar appearance. He became involved in their popularization, breeding and assignment of the status of a separate breed of dogs. Literally a year later, in 1909, a new breed was included in the Swiss herd book – the Great Swiss Mountain Dog.
The Swiss mountain dog has a large build, a wide, massive chest and a wide, heavy bone. This breed has tremendous physical strength, powerful jaws and gains muscle mass well. Paws slightly shorter than average, muscular, strong, long tail, usually drooping. The neck is thick, but not short, the muzzle is square, the ears hang down on the sides of the head to the cheekbones. The color combines black, brown and white.
The Swiss Mountain Dog character is balanced, friendly and open. We can say that this is a big and strong kind-hearted person who adores children. But, do not flatter yourself – if it occurs to you to offend a child from the family of this large and strong dog, or to offend its owner, you will have a hard time. For his family, the great Swiss Mountain Dog will give his life, if necessary, since the instincts of the protector of this breed are extremely strong, and have roots that go back centuries.
They are very fond of various types of activity, walks, workouts, games, and thrive in the company of their loved ones when they feel that they have an important place in the life of their family. These dogs need to know that they are needed, they cannot just uselessly spend days lying on a soft pillow next to a bowl of food.
An ideal place to maintain a large Swiss – a private house with its own yard. Although the breed is highly active, it is nevertheless a large dog that also loves to spend time outdoors – that says it all. On the other hand, they can by no means be called hyperactive – rather, the periods of activity and rest alternate with each other, due to which the dog has a harmonious and full-fledged character.
Strangers are perceived with caution, but if they see the location of the owners, they act accordingly. They love to play with other dogs, cats are perceived normally if you teach them to be present from an early age. The Swiss Mountain Dog is perfect as a guard dog, as it is quite territorial and has a suitable disposition. Plus – instincts and intelligence.
In any case, the Swiss Mountain Dog is a great companion for everyone, young and old. He has a developed mind, and therefore lends itself well to learning and even needs it, as this will make his life more interesting and give food for the intellect.
The Swiss Mountain Dog requires training and training, also because this dog feels an inner need for self-development and training. Such training should take place regularly, with constancy, and the process of maturation of the personality takes from 2 to 3 years. This means that you will have enough time to form the character of the dog in the right way.
If you try to simply break the personality of the animal with the help of pressure, force and rough domination, firstly, this can lead to disastrous consequences, and secondly, it will be simply difficult to do due to the peculiarities of the character of this breed. Therefore, it is better for you to be patient, and gradually, guided by kindness, take the position of an authoritative leader in the consciousness of the animal.
The Mountain Dog breed needs both behavior correction and team training. Developed intelligence allows you to master both simple, basic and complex commands with a lot of distractions. Of course, you need to start with simple things, moving on to more complex ones as your pet grows older.
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog needs to be brushed regularly, about once a week, and the animal should also be bathed once a week. Be sure to keep your ears and eyes clean by checking them after walking, and remember to trim your nails. The Swiss Mountain Dog has a great appetite and can eat almost anything. But it is better to make sure that the animal has the highest quality and correct food as possible.
It is believed that this breed is quite healthy for its size – many other large dogs have much more problems. Among the diseases to which the Swiss Mountain Dog is susceptible are:
- dysplasia of the hip joint;
- dysplasia of the elbow joint;
- urinary incontinence;
- distichiasis – the presence of additional eyelashes along the eyelid;
- entropion – twisting of the eyelid;
- lick-up – unrestrained licking, when the dog literally licks everything, from its own limbs to the walls or the floor (observed in 17% of the tested dogs);
- expansion of the stomach;
- torsion of the spleen;
- spleen tumors.