Is the Swissy right for me?
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a fun and entertaining breed to have around, but please consider some of the following facts when deciding if a Swissy is right for you.
To properly train a Swissy it takes time and patience. Does your lifestyle properly allow you to train and raise a working dog? A working dog is bold, faithful, and hard working breed.
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a large breed that requires space. They also need moderate exercise and stimulating exercise. Being a true working breed, they do best having a job or purpose. Swissy’s are not lazy dogs that lay around all the time.
Swissys love their families and being around them. They don’t do well in a kennel or confined situation. They enjoy being in the center of the activity and getting most of the attention. The Swissys enjoy the winter weather, but don’t like being left out in the cold weather. They can also be suited well in the warm weather being provided with a kiddy pool.
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a very alert, attentive, and watchful. Swissys are barkers and at times they can get loud and obnoxious, but it is usually on special occasions. They have a natural protective instinct to guard their family and home. They will bark at people walking by, guest, people they see all the time, but it usually doesn’t last very long unless they don’t like what is going on.
Since Swissys are very attached to their family they also do well with children. With small children there should always be supervision due to their size. A Swiss could accidentally push a child over or take them out with their happy tails. Both need to learn respect for each other.
A Swissy should be fenced in if they are out in the back yard. This is for their own safety since they have a strong prey drive. You don’t want your dog or puppy to get hit by a car.
It is best to crate train you’re Swiss to keep him safe during the day or night when you are not there to supervise him. The crate is like a den for your Swissy. Swissys are not an easy breed to house train as some other large breeds. They can be very stubborn and take up to 6-12 months to get potty-trained.
The greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are strong dogs. Keep in mind they are draft dogs that are trained to pull and cart. Not only are they very powerful, but they also are very strong- willed. They can be difficult to leash train because they love to pull. This can cause a problem for children and some adults trying to walk their Swissy.
The temperament of a Swissy can vary from each individual. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is not a good choice for a first time dog owner. The majority of the Swissy have great personalities, but they need to be sure they know their place in the family hierarchy. This can keep dominance behaviors to a minimum. With proper positive training the Swiss can learn a lot and have a lot of fun with obedience. Swissys should start their training between 12-16 weeks of age and well into their adult age. The Swiss need socialization with a lot of people, animals, and new situations at an early age.
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is very slow to mature both mentally and physically. They need the time to mature slowly due to their large size. You want to minimize any growth issues that could happen. The Swiss are prone to major orthopedic conditions such as hip dysplasia, OCD, and elbow dysplasia. There are other major concern regarding this breed like gastric dilation (bloat) which is an emergency situation and epilepsy. All of these conditions can be costly to treat and manage.
The average yearly veterinary expense can vary between veterinary clinics. It depends on the vaccines that are required around your area. Generally, they require Heartworm/Lyme tests and medications, vaccines, which range from 1-3 years, and any other preventative care. The cost can run for one dog from $200 per year to thousands of dollars in emergency surgical procedures. The vaccines that are recommended depending on the area you live in. Rabies is given every three years after the first puppy shot. Distemper/Parvo is given every three weeks starting at 6 weeks of age and ending around 16 weeks of age. At the one year booster it becomes a three year vaccine. The Lyme, Leptosirosis, and Bordetella vaccine are all yearly vaccines that are elective vaccines. There are more vaccine reactions with these shots, but they are important vaccines.
Even though they are a short coated breed the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog does shed!! They have a double-coat, with a medium top coat and a soft under coat. The undercoat sheds all year round and they blow their coat twice a year. One great trait about their coat is it is a wash-and0wear coat. No matter how dirty a mud hole they find to lay in, once it is dry the dirt falls right off and their coat returns to its original condition. Most Swissys carry no coat odor.
There are many different foods that are recommended for the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. Any large bred dog should be fed a high quality large breed food. Make sure you read the label closely to make sure it has real meat and it is the first ingredient; be in the mid-20% on protein levels, and about 15-18 % fat. Keep away from generic food this may cause your puppy to grow to fast and cause growth issues.
The average life span of a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog can be between 8-12 years. The average waiting period to get a puppy can range from four months to one year. This depends on the location, availability, and breeder you choose. Show or Companion puppies will generally sell from $1500.00 to $2300.00. The only difference between a show quality and companion could be anything from color variations to size. A companion puppy does not mean you are getting any less of a dog it just has a trait the breeder doesn’t want to breed into their program, but should not cause any heath concerns. Some people don’t want to put the time and money into showing their puppy. It depends on your life style and time available to take your dog to shows all year long. Companion puppies are just as much fun in the obedience ring, agility ring, or playing in your back yard.
If you are interested in a show puppy are you ready to breed your Swissy? The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is know for whelping problems and often requires cesarean sections. They are not easy to breed. This again you will run into a major financial issue. The cost of breeding and a C-section can run up to $2000.00 and over.
If after reading this you feel that this is the breed for your lifestyle, then the best thing you could do is start contacting breeders and other Swissy owners to meet the breed in person. Also, you will want to do as much research as possible on the breeder and the breed. Make sure you know the right questions to ask the breeders. Good luck in your search.