Greater Swiss Mountain Dog


The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a breed of dog developed in the Swiss Alps. The name Sennenhund is in reference to people called Senn or Senner. They were the dairymen and herders of the Swiss Alps. While the origin of the Swissy is not definitely known, the dogs are almost certainly the result of indigenous dogs mating with large Mastiff type dogs brought to Switzerland by foreign settlers. The remote valleys of Switzerland were more or less isolated from world history for three centuries, beginning in 1515. Specific dog breeds were created through inbreeding and the puppies were given to family members and neighbors.

Physical Appearance

Male Swissies range in height between 25.5- 28.5 inches at the shoulders, with females ranging between 23.5-27 inches tall. Males tend to weigh between 120-155 pounds and females between 100-115 pounds. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog has a gentle and animated expression. His eyes are almond shaped, and will vary in color from hazel to chestnut. They are medium in size and are neither protruding nor deep set within the sockets. His ears are medium in size and are set high. They are triangular in shape, gently rounded at the tip. They will hang close to the head when relaxed. When the dog is alert, the ears are raised at the base and brought forward. His skull is broad and flat with a slight stop. The Muzzle is blunt, large, and straight. It most often has a slight rise before the end. His double coat has a dense outer coat of about 1.25 to 2 inches long, and its textures can range from, straight and fine, short to wavier, longer, and coarser; the undercoat is thick. The standard calls for a black, white and rust dog, but they do come in various other colors including, white and tan tri-color, blue, and rust and white bi-color.


The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a happy, jovial strain who adores people and craves attention as well as physical contact. They are able to be the ideal family pet for some, but aren’t the breed for all. The Swissy has a strong personality and desires a master with strong leadership abilities. The Swissy is most happy when he cannot be domineering to a master he trusts. In the absence of this type of master, behavioral problems will arise. The Swissy needs a job to do. Obedience training is important with this particular strain. Swissies are slow to house-train, however the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is intelligent. A trained Swissy loves backpacking, trekking, walking, pulling weight, swimming, and hauling. Their action level varies. Most are active for brief periods of time followed by resting. They require a moderate amount of exercise. The Swissy makes a superb watchdog. He appears intimidating, and he is alert, protective, and mindful. Swissies certainly will sound the alarm when they sense anything is different and tend to discover everything in their environment. They do not generally bark continually, although they are proficient communicators, using a heavy, booming, intimidating bark. All these are unbelievably social animals. They are kind, sensitive, and instinctive. They genuinely wish to be a member of your beloved family. A strong bond is desired by this dog with his master. They’re able to be stubborn, but generally are eager to please, thriving on focus and praise. They are caring and are protective of kids. Swissies who grow up around kids do particularly well with them. They like to play and are considered to be gentle with children. Nonetheless, all these are large, powerful dogs, who are able to inadvertently knock a toddler (or a grown up) on his behind, so interactions needs to be supervised. Some Swissies possess a herding instinct and might try to herd children or creatures that are smaller. Some pursue small animals, although many Swissies live peacefully with cats. Swissies usually enjoy the organization of other dogs and love to play, but some display dog aggression, particularly toward dogs of the exact same gender. Swissies are reserved at other times and may be boisterous occasionally. They are adaptive to distinct lifestyles, but must understand their place in the family hierarchy. A happy Swissy is funny, bold, friendly, faithful, willing, obedient, and powerful. They can be serious, but also have a silly side. However they have been always faithful and loving.


The average lifespan of the breed according to a US survey is 6.75 years. For its size the breed is relatively healthy. Some common health issues found within the breed include; urinary incontinence, eyelash issues such as distichiasis, lick fit, epilepsy, abdominal issues such as gastric torsion (bloat), elbow and hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, and rage syndrome.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog