Frequently Asked Questions

This section contains only a few of the many question asked about Swissies, asked at various dog shows, neighborhood walks, and group outings.
Note: Please forward any questions (and answers) to include in this list to
Q/A Q and A Text
Q What kind of dog is that?
A It's a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.
Q Is that like a Bernese Mountain Dog?
A No, but they are related as each is one of four Mountain Dog breeds from Switzerland.
Q How big do they get?
A Males grow to 140 pounds, females to 110 pounds.
Q Do they shed?
A Yes.
Q Do they drool?
A Swissies are considered a "dry-mouth" breed, and do not drool. Any dog, however will drool when presented with Nathan's Brand? hot-dogs.
Q Are they good with children?
A They are wonderful with children, however due to their size, they are not well suited to a household with toddlers.
Q Is that like a Burmese Mountain Dog?
A No. And the correct name is actually a Bernese Mountain Dog.
Q Are they good watchdogs?
A Yes, however this is mostly due to their tendency to bark at strangers, and their size. They are not like a Doberman or German Shepherd Dog, in that they are not suitable for guard dog training. Most intruders will not want to deal with a large dog of any breed.
Q What are they bred for?
A Traditionally, they have been used in Switzerland for drafting, herding and watching the farm. This background is evident in the many Swissies that are earning titles in drafting and herding competitions, as well as competing in weight pull events. Swissies commonly earn Temperament and Canine Good Citizen titles.
Q What are their health concerns?
A Like all large breeds, they have tendencies towards joint problems such as hip displaysia. Bloat is a concern, and all owners should be aware of the symptoms and keep a bloat kit handy. A small percentage (less than 5%) of epilepsy is present in the breed.
Q Is that a rottweiler mix?
A No.
Q Do they need a lot of exercise?
A This breed needs moderate exercise. Frequent walks, short jogs are good for them. They should not be used for drafting or weight pull until they are at least 2 years old and have been tested and cleared for joint conditions. Due to their size and physical characteristics, owners should complete obedience and socialization courses with their Swissies so that they are easily handled when walking on leash.
Q Is that a Beagle St. Bernard mix?
A No. (Note: I am not making this up)
Q What are their personality traits?
A Swissies are very family oriented, loving and devoted to their owners. In return, they like to be included in day-to-day family activities. Their personality is such that until they are well adjusted to their routine, they should not be left alone for long periods of time on a regular basis, i.e., 5 days a week, 9 to 5. This typically means puppies, up to a year old, will be adversely affected by long periods of isolation.
Q Are they "outdoor" dogs?
A Swissies love the outdoors, but they should not be considered as a pet to keep entirely outdoors. Due to their devotion to their owners, they should be allowed to spend time inside with their owners.
Q Any other tips for prospective owners?
  • As with any large breed, while they are growing they need to be protected from debilitating injuries that can affect them throughout their lives. This means that they should never be allowed to jump from high places, such as the tailgate of a truck or station wagon, until their joints have matured.
  • Crate train your dog early. A dog should feel that their crate is a place to go when they need to feel secure.
  • Enroll your puppy in obedience classes. This will aid in socialization and behavior. The best classes are those which focus on training the owner to train the dog.
  • Never leave any dog, especially a large dog, unattended with small children.
  • Learn about plants that are poisonous to dogs, and keep them out of their reach.
  • Learn about foods that are poisonous to dogs, such as chocolate, and keep them out of their reach.
  • Become active in breed related clubs, and benefit from the knowledge of others who have been involved with the breed.