Greater Swiss Mountain Dog: Breed Profile

Country of origin: Switzerland
Shoulder height: 60 – 72 cm
Weight: 55 – 65 kg
Age: 10 – 11 years
Color: black with red-brown and white markings
Use: guard dog, companion dog, the family dog

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is the largest of the mountain dog breeds and differs from the Bernese Mountain Dog – in addition to its size – also in its shorter coat. The Greater Swiss needs plenty of living space and ideally a duty as a guardian. Not suitable for city life.

Origin and history

Like the Bernese Mountain Dog, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog descends from so-called butcher dogs; Strong dogs that were already used in the Middle Ages by butchers, farmers, or cattle dealers for protection, as drovers, or as pack animals. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog was first introduced in 1908 as the “short-haired Bernese Mountain Dog”. In 1939, the FCI recognized the breed as an independent breed.


The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a three-colored, stocky and muscular dog that reaches a shoulder height of around 70 cm, making it the most prominent representative of the mountain dog breeds. It has a large, massive head, brown eyes, and medium-sized, triangular lop ears.

The characteristic coat pattern is the same for all mountain dogs. The main color of the fur is black (on the body, neck, head to tail) plus white markings on the head (blank and muzzle), on the throat, the paws, and the tip of the tail, and the typical reddish-brown tan on the cheeks, above the eyes, on the sides of the chest, on the legs and the underside of the tail.

Unlike the Bernese Mountain Dog, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog has a short coat. It consists of a short to medium-length, dense, shiny top coat and plenty of dark undercoats (stick hair).


Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are generally alert and fearless of strangers, affectionate, trusting, loving, and good-natured with their humans. Guarding the house and yard is in their blood, which is why they also show territorial behavior and only reluctantly tolerate strange dogs. They are alert but not barkers.

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is considered to be assertive and not very willing to subordinate – it is also said to have a certain stubbornness. With consistent training, careful socialization from an early age, and clear leadership, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a loyal and obedient companion and an ideal family dog. However, it needs close family connections and a job that caters to his protective instincts, ideally a spacious property to guard.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs love to be outdoors and enjoy going for walks. However, they do not require any extreme sporting activities and are not suitable for fast dog sports due to their size and weight. However, they have ideal prerequisites for the draft dog sport.

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is not an apartment or city dog ​​and is only suitable for dog beginners to a limited extent. Its short coat is easy to care for.

Ava Williams

Written by Ava Williams

Hello, I'm Ava! I have been writing professionally for just over 15 years. I specialize in writing informative blog posts, breed profiles, pet care product reviews, and pet health and care articles. Prior to and during my work as a writer, I spent about 12 years in the pet care industry. I have experience as a kennel supervisor and professional groomer. I also compete in dog sports with my own dogs. I also have cats, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

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