Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are striking tri-colored working dogs with big size and big personalities to match. From the AKC standard, we say around our house often, "alert and vigilant" and "bold and faithful". They are all these qualities and more.
You will now find a lot of information about the breed in general out on the internet, which wasn't the case when were finding our first Swissy! Some things we want to emphasize here include:
-Swissies are big dogs, so even with a great temperament, they require a commitment by the owner to training. They can easily knock over a toddler with a friendly tail wag and no one wants a mis-behaving big dog jumping on them. They are pullers and so early and consistent training is important to have a good working relationship with your dog.
-Swissies are not tri-colored labs or golden retrievers. Besides being bigger, they have a different temperament. They are "alert barkers" and it is normal for them to bark at strangers, or even people they have met before. They were originally bred as an all-purpose farm dog. You don't want your farm dog just accepting and tail-wagging at every person that comes on your farm. So, even with a good temperament, a Swissy will be a more challenging dog to handle and train then other family-friendly breeds. Remember - they are alert and vigilant, and bold! They are also faithful and do make wonderful family pets including for children.
-Meet a Swissy! Or two, or three, or four, or more! This is the best way to learn more about the breed. Did you know its free to attend dog shows (almost all of the time)? There is usually a charge for parking, but otherwise, you can attend the show for free. Reading a dog show program can be hard for newbies - we arrived at our first show about 15 minutes AFTER the Swissies were all done showing and were lucky enough to meet quite a few anyway. You can find a list of dog shows at www.infodog.com. If you are wanting to attend a show in California and want to meet us, let us know and we can help you plan to attend. Upcoming Shows Here
- Some people think Swissies are hard to house train. We think that it is normal for a big dog, who is a little slower to mature physically at least, to take many months to really understand that its good to go potty outside and ONLY outside and that its bad to go inside. We have crate trained all our Swissies and we believe we can help you reach success. However, ideas that 12 week old puppies "should know better" are just totally off-base. Just like kids, each individual animal will also learn at its own pace, and your role and how well you do in it will make a big difference. We have had dogs that have made one or two mistakes inside only, those who made ten mistakes a day, and everything in between. Mostly more the good experiences.
Some other places that we recommend learning about Swissies are the AKC breed standard and also websites for Swissy clubs.
- AKC Breed Standard: www.akc.org/breeds/greater_swiss_mountain_dog/index.cfm
- Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America: www.gsmdca.org/
- Cascade Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club: www.cascadeswissyclub.com/