History & Description

Bella's Swissy Reunion

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Buster showing his beautiful tri color markings
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, an early descendant of the large Mastiff-type dogs, was developed in the remote and isolated areas of Switzerland. It was adapted to general farm use as a herding dog, guard dog, and utilitarian draft dog. Of the four Sennenhund breeds developed in Switzerland, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is both the largest and the oldest. Though little known outside its country of origin for many years, it was instrumental in the development of both the Saint Bernard and the Rottweiler.

By the late 19th century, much of the work previously done by the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog was replaced by machines. In 1908, a Greater Swiss was shown to the famous dog expert, Dr. Albert Heim of Zurich. It had been assumed that the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog had already died out. With the urging of Dr. Heim, other specimens were located, and he called upon breeders to save this ancient Alpine dog. By 1910, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog was recognized by the Swiss Kennel Club.

The first Greater Swiss Mountain Dog was imported in the U.S. in 1968 and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America was formed to obtain wider recognition for this breed. In 1995, the American Kennel Club gave the breed full recognition status with a Working Group designation.

This is still a rare breed. In Switzerland just over 100 puppies are born a year. In the U.S. 575 puppies were registered in 2003 compared to the Laborador Retreiver which had over 150,000 puppies registered.


The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is characterized by its large, muscular stature and beautiful tri colored markings. Males stand approximately 25.5 to 28.5 inches and weigh from 105 to 140 lbs. Females stand 23.5 to 27 inches and weigh from 85 to 110 lbs. The Swissy is a great family pet with a gentle nature, great loyalty and wonderful disposition.

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Copyright 2002
Hillside Farms
BJ & Gary Schuler
750 Cowpath Road
Telford, PA 18969
Phone: (215) 723-8499    Fax: (215) 723-5621