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Greater Swiss Mountain Dog |Switzerland|

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog |Switzerland|

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is the largest and oldest of the four Swiss mountain-dog breeds and has been influential in the development of other breeds, such as the St. Bernard and Rottweiler. Given their size, strength, and gentle nature, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog was frequently used for draft purposes on small holdings and farms, as well as for herding and guarding livestock and for guarding the homestead. Today, “Swissies” compete in a number of sporting events that reflect their history, including draft and weight pulling, as well as rally, herding, tracking, and agility. These are lovely dogs that thrive in a lively home.

History

Two theories, equally plausible, account for the origins of this ancient breed. The first attributed to mastiff-types introduced by the Romans when they began invading the Alps from 57 BCE. Alternatively, some historians believe that the seafaring Phoenicians took large mastifftypes with them when they settled the Iberian Peninsula from roughly 1100 BCE, and that these dogs migrated eastward influencing many of the large Continental European breeds. In the harsh Alpine region, the mountain breeds developed specific traits, and were in turn bred for their working functionality. Due to their size, Swissies were often used for driving cattle and smaller livestock, and were used to do many other jobs on small farms. As farming methods changed and machinery took over, the dogs began to decrease in number. In 1908 Swiss Professor Albert Heim, a breed expert, pushed for the breed to be recognized as distinct from other mountain dogs, and they were accepted as the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog in the Swiss Stud Book. Although they are rare both in their homeland and abroad, they are supported by dedicated enthusiasts.

Swissies take at least two years, and often more, to reach physical and mental maturity.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog |Switzerland| Greater Swiss Mountain Dog |Switzerland| Greater Swiss Mountain Dog |Switzerland| Greater Swiss Mountain Dog |Switzerland| Greater Swiss Mountain Dog |Switzerland|
From Dogs Unleashed, Copyright by Tamsin Pickeral, licensed through ContentOro, Inc and used by arrangement with Thunder Bay Press

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