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The AKC says Swissies descend from war dogs brought over the Alps by Julius Caesar’s legions. The Swiss utilized these mastiff-types when breeding their Alpine mountain dogs, or Sennenhund. Of these, Swissies are the oldest and the largest (or, the “greater”). In remote mountain passes they toiled as all-around farm-and-pasture hands, specializing in hauling loads of meat and dairy to market in smartly outfitted dogcarts. The Greater Swiss is closely related to the Bernese Mountain Dog and is a component breed of the Saint Bernard and Rottweiler.
Why I got a swissy. We live on a church camp with 43 acres in the Ozarks with some small livestock. We had a Standard poodle for almost fourteen years and when we lost him we wanted a farm dog to help watch the animals but we also had to have a friendly dog that was good with children for the campground. We started looking at greater swiss mountain dog puppies. The swissy is a perfect fit. I consider them the ultimate farm dog. They bark when strangers show up and have such a striking appearance and voice, They have actually kept people in their cars who didn’t know them. they didn’t realize they were just asking them to get out and play. They are big strong dogs but have no record of aggressive tendency. They love people and each other. They train well to farm life and are excellent companions. On top of all this they are an absolutely gorgeous dog. When my dogs are with me, I can count on questions and comments about the breed. It doesn’t bother me or them a bit. They are an awesome breed and they love to meet new people too. This may make it sound like getting a swissy will be a piece of cake. Dog ownership is a big responsibility. Every puppy takes work. I have an acquaintance that offered to give me his big beautiful, love bug, golden lab because it was tearing stuff up. I explained to him that labs are teenagers for about two years and have terrible teething and chew stuff up to deal with that. When he is grown the dog is probably going to be a great dog but it takes an investment of time. While swissies are insanely cute as puppies, they are also puppies. They are known to be slow in house training. They are very confident dogs and require an experienced hand to train. I have had very good success training my swissies, but I have had dogs most of my life, and I love dogs and I enjoy working with them. If you have not had experience training dogs it will be important for you to enroll in obedience classes for at least the first year or two of your puppies life. They think differently than we do and need a firm, loving, consistent hand. I recommend clicker training to get your puppy listening and understanding what you want. A rolled up newspaper is not effective at all, especially with a swissy. I will have more on this later in my blog. Swissies health also needs to be watched for things that are common to all large breeds. Stomach torsion is a problem that can be offset by multiple smaller feedings a day, and elevating the bowl for easier eating and digestion. Joint problems can be assisted by not letting your young puppy do a lot of jumping and with a healthy diet. The greater Swiss mountain dog was almost lost as a breed until breeders in Europe began an intensive program to save the breed. Unfortunately, this means that the gene pool for swissies is relatively small. In essence they are all just a few steps removed from each other. This means that a close watch needs to be kept on the lineage. Too much line breeding has given some of the swissies problems with epilepsy. A dog with epilepsy should never be bred and young bitches should not be bred until they are old enough to tell if they are going to have any issues. A good diet is also important for swissies. You make a huge investment of time and money in your new swissy, Dog breeders need to watch this carefully. don’t buy the store brand food which is essentially ground corn and fat.
Thank you for taking the time to get acquainted with our kennel and our dogs. If you have any other questions, please call or text, I love to talk about the greater Swiss mountain dog.
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22072 State Highway U, Irondale, Missouri 63648, United States
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Roger & Sharon Mertens 573-550-0008
22072 State Highway U