Description: The Greater Swiss Mountain dog is a large and muscular dog, with a tri-colored coat. Their coat should have a black base with white and rust marking, symmetrical marking are preferred by breeders. They have straight legs with compact and round feet. They can weigh between 90-140 pounds and stand 24-29 inches, with males being on the larger size. They have a deep chest with a level top line. Their head is broad and flat with a square muzzle, their ears are triangular in shape and lie close to the head, with eyes that are almond shaped and hazel or chestnut in color.

History: As the name would suggest the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog was developed in Switzerland, and is thought to be descended from the Roman Mastiffs, brought to the area more than 2000 years ago. They are the largest and the oldest of the four Sennenhund Breeds. They were used as guard dogs, and as working dogs, at one time having the nickname 'the poor mans horse' they were used to pull carts and to guard and heard livestock. It is thought that it was the rise in machinery that brought about the demise of the dog. However, it's thanks to, Dr. Albert Heim, who 'rediscovered' the breed in 1908 and worked to revive their numbers, that they are arround today. They were recognized by the AKC in 1995, but to this day remain a rare breed.

Temperament: The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog makes a great family pet and will be very devoted. They have an easy-going nature and will happily welcome, family and friends. They also make good watch dogs, and will bark if they hear or see something that shouldn't be there, however they do not make good guard dogs as they are not at all aggressive. They are slow to mature, taking 2-3 years, and have a habit of chasing small animals, something they should be trained not to do from a young age. Overall though they are a happy dog, that enjoys family life and has an even temperament.

Health Issues: Similarly, to most large dogs, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is prone to bloat and hip dysplasia and other digestive problems. They are also at risk of developing epilepsy, with an American survey showing that 98% of them carry the gene for epilepsy, though, due to their low numbers, the actual number of dogs with epilepsy is not known. They can also suffer from distichiasis, which is where they have extra eyelashes. Their lifespan like their health issues cannot be accurately measured due to their low numbers, but is thought to be around 10-12 years. Grooming: The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is easy to groom, they are an average shedder and, a simple brush down with either a rubber brush or a hard bristled brush should be all that's needed. Bathe them only when necessary though a simple brush or wipe down should suffice.

Living Conditions: Overall the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog prefers cooler climates, but will be fine as long as it's not too hot. They would do fine in an apartment, though a small garden would be more than suitable. They are not inactive, but they are definitely not hyper-active dogs. Only moderate exercise is needed, however a good long walk once a day would be perfect.

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