AKC Breed Standard



Official Standard of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog General Appearance: The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a Draft and Drover breed and should structurally appear as such. It is a striking, tri-colored, large, powerful, confident dog of sturdy appearance. It is a heavy boned and well muscled dog which, in spite of its size and weight, is agile enough to perform the all-purpose farm duties of the mountainous regions of its origin. Size, Proportion and Substance: Height at the highest point of the shoulder is ideally: Dogs 25½ to 28½ inches. Bitches 23½ to 27 inches. Body length to height is approximately a 10 to 9 proportion, thus appearing slightly longer than tall. It is a heavy boned and well muscled dog of sturdy appearance. Head: Expression is animated and gentle. The eyes are almond shaped and brown, dark brown preferred, medium sized, neither deep set nor protruding. Blue eye or eyes is a disqualification. Eyelids are close fitting and eyerims are black. The ears are medium sized, set high, triangular in shape, gently rounded at the tip, and hang close to the head when in repose. When alert, the ears are brought forward and raised at the base. The top of the ear is level with the top of the skull. The skull is flat and broad with a slight stop. The backskull and muzzle are of approximately equal length. The backskull is approximately twice the width of the muzzle. The muzzle is large, blunt and straight, not pointed and most often with a slight rise before the end. In adult dogs the nose leather is always black. The lips are clean and as a dry-mouthed breed, flews are only slightly developed. The teeth meet in a scissors bite. Neck, Topline and Body: The neck is of moderate length, strong, muscular and clean. The topline is level from the withers to the croup. The chest is deep and broad with a slight protruding breastbone. The ribs are well-sprung. Depth of chest is approximately one half the total height of the dog at the withers. Body is full with slight tuck up. The loins are broad and strong. The croup is long, broad and smoothly rounded to the tail insertion. The tail is thick from root to tip, tapering slightly at the tip, reaching to the hocks, and carried down in repose. When alert and in movement, the tail may be carried higher and slightly curved upwards, but should not curl, or tilt over the back. The bones of the tail should feel straight. Forequarters: The shoulders are long, sloping, strong and moderately laid back. They are flat and well-muscled. Forelegs are straight and strong. The pasterns slope very slightly, but are not weak. Feet are round and compact with well arched toes, and turn neither in nor out. The dewclaws may or may not be present. Hindquarters: The thighs are broad, strong and muscular. The stifles are moderately bent and taper smoothly into the hocks. The hocks are well let down and straight when viewed from the rear. Feet are round and compact with well arched toes, and turn neither in nor out. Dewclaws should be removed. Coat: Topcoat is dense, approximately 1-1/4 to 2 inches in length. Undercoat must be present and may be thick and sometimes showing, almost always present at neck but may be present throughout. Color of undercoat ranges from the preferred dark gray to light gray to tawny. Total absence of undercoat is undesirable and should be penalized. Page 2 of 2 Color: The topcoat is black. The markings are rich rust and white. Symmetry of markings is desired. On the head, rust typically appears over each eye, on each cheek and on the underside of the ears. On the body, rust appears on both sides of the forechest, on all four legs and underneath the tail. White markings appear typically on the head (blaze) and muzzle. The blaze may vary in length and width. It may be a very thin stripe or wider band. The blaze may extend just barely to the stop or may extend over the top of the skull and may meet with white patch or collar on the neck. Typically, white appears on the chest, running unbroken from the throat to the chest, as well as on all four feet and on the tip of the tail. White patches or collar on the neck is acceptable. Any color other than the "Black, Red and White" tri-colored dog described above, such as "Blue/Charcoal, Red and White" or "Red and White" is considered a disqualification. When evaluating the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, markings and other cosmetic factors should be considered of lesser importance than other aspects of type which directly affect working ability. Gait: Good reach in front, powerful drive in rear. Movement with a level back. Temperament: Bold, faithful, willing worker. Alert and vigilant. Shyness or aggressiveness shall be severely penalized. Summary: The foregoing is the description of the ideal Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. Defects of both structure and temperament are to be judged more severely than mere lack of elegance because they reduce the animal's capacity to work. Any fault that detracts from the above described working dog should be penalized to the extent of the deviation. Disqualifications: Any color other than the "Black, Red and White" tri-colored dog described above, such as "Blue/Charcoal, Red and White" or "Red and White." Blue eye or eyes. Approved: April 8, 2003 Effective: May 29, 2003





IS THE GREATER SWISS MOUNTAIN DOG RIGHT FOR YOU?

By Karen Conant

You've probably heard all of the great attributes of these striking, loyal companions, but please consider the following facts when deciding whether the GSMD is the right breed for you: ·Properly raising a Swissy takes time. Does your job and lifestyle allow for the commitment to properly raise and train a working dog? Read on and then determine whether or not a Swissy matches your lifestyle. ·Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are a large breed and require space. They also require moderate activity and regular exercise. A true working breed, the Swissy is most content when he has a job or purpose. Swissys are not lazy, lay--around-the-house dogs. ·Swissys are most content in the company of their families. They are not well suited to kenneling and confinement away from the activities of the household. Though capable of withstanding the elements, the Swissy's nature is best suited to being a family member and house companion. ·Swissys are alert and vigilant. This means that they will bark at neighbors, guests, and just about anything going on in the neighborhood! They have a natural protective instinct to guard home and family. ·Most Swissys like the company of children, but NO large dog should be left unattended with young children. Due to the Swissy's robust size and active nature, they can easily topple children unintentionally. ·Swissys have several major health problems to consider. In addition to the common orthopedic ailments of large breeds, such as OCD and hip dysplasia, the GSMD is afflicted by a very serious condition known as Gastric Dilation Volvulus, or "bloat". This is a life-threatening medical emergency that is all too common in our breed. Epilepsy is another very serious health concern. All of these conditions can be costly to treat and manage. ·Swissys are strong dogs! They are powerful in physical strength and strong-willed and can often be a challenge to leash train. Swissys love to pull. Keep in mind that children (and for that matter some adults!) may have a difficult time walking a Swissy throughout the neighborhood. ·Because many Swissys have a well developed prey drive, they require a fenced yard for safe containment. A neighbor's cat or unsuspecting squirrel can become the target of chase! ·Swissy temperaments vary but are overall quite complex due to their working dog nature and development. Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are NOT a good choice for inexperienced or first time dog owners. In the hands of an experienced owner, the Swissy can be a wonderful family companion. ·Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs were originally bred as draft and guard dogs. Like many working breeds, the Swissy has a tendency for dominant temperaments and behaviors. In addition, Swissys tend to be "social climbers". Practicing effective pack leadership is necessary to prevent dominant behaviors from becoming problematic. Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs must learn their place in the family social hierarchy. This takes time, effort and a good dose of patience. ·GSMDs require diligent socialization at an early age. This means meeting many new people and being introduced to many new situations. Socializing a Swissy is a commitment not to be taken lightly. Some GSMDs may exhibit dog aggression, particularly intra-sex aggression in intact animals. ·Swissys are slow maturing both mentally and physically. Because of orthopedic concerns related to large breed dogs, great care must be taken to prevent injury during growth stages. Despite their sturdy build, the breed is, in effect, quite fragile during these growth periods. The Swissy is not a breed that can sustain unlimited exercise or activities such as jogging at a young age. ·Swissys shed!!! A common misconception is that the short coat of the GSMD sheds very little, and nothing could be further from the truth. The Swissy has a thick undercoat which sheds continually throughout the year and requires regular grooming. · If you are interested in breeding, you should know that the GSMD is prone to whelping difficulties and often require cesarean sections. They are not easy to breed! · Finally, Swissys need TRAINING! Prepare to devote the time and energy to ensure your dog has all of the "tools" it needs to become a good citizen. This article may be reprinted in its entirety - anywhere, anyplace and anytime - in effort to educate the public about the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. IS THE SWISSY RIGHT FOR YOU? By Karen Conant