SWISS MOUNTAIN DOGS
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
|How big will a Swissy
Swissies are the largest of the four Swiss Sennenhund. The males generally
weigh between 105-140 lb. and stand approximately 25-28 inches at the shoulder. Females
are slightly smaller and weigh between 80-110 lb. and are 23-27 inches tall at the
shoulder. Each dog is different, your breeder and veterinarian can help you decide what
weight is appropriate for your individual dog. Swissies are slow to mature and usually do
not reach their full size until they are 1 1/2 - 3 years old.
What is their
Swissies are naturally confident, friendly dogs who
are happiest when spending time with their families. They should be neither fearful nor
aggressive. Proper socialization from an early age is very important. Most Swissy puppies
are very active but as adults they are generally calm dogs who require a moderate amount
Are Swissies easy
Swissies generally respond best to firm but gentle training using positive reinforcement
methods rather than physical punishment or heavy corrections. They can be stubborn at
times but generally are eager to please, thriving on attention and praise. 'Clicker'
training or food training usually works quite well for most Swissies.
|What type of
health problems do Swissies have?
share the same health concerns as other large breeds, such as dysplasia (hip &
elbow), Osteochondritis dessicans (OCD, shoulder) and bloat, as well as epilepsy
and entropian(eyes). To reduce the risk of having a dog afflicted with either hip
or elbow dysplasia it is important that both parents have had there hips and elbows
certified by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). You should always verify that
both the sire and dam have OFA #s by calling the OFA at 1-573-442-0418 You will need the registered
names of the dogs you are checking on. OCD is a condition affecting the shoulders that may
be a genetic condition. If a parent has OCD there may be an increased chance of a dog
developing this condition. You should be aware that hip replacement surgery or the surgery
to correct OCD generally cost in excess of $950.
What is commonly referred to as Bloat is Gastric Dilitation-Volvulus. The dogs stomach
fills with air, swells up and then torses. The torsing (or twisting) cuts off the blood
and oxygen supply to vital organs and unless the dog is given immediate medical treatment
death will occur. Bloat is seen in all breeds with deep chests it is and especially in the
larger breeds. All Swissy owners MUST take the time to learn about bloat prevention and
What type of
food and how much does a Swissy eat?
Generally speaking, an adult Swissy will eat about one 40lb bag of premium dog food each
month. Swissies should be fed a low protein, high quality food throughout their lifetime
including puppyhood. Too high a protein level can cause too rapid a growth rate thereby
possibly causing some growth related problems. Swissies should never be allowed to get fat
since this can cause undue strain on their joints and other will impair their health.
Do Swissies drool?
No. Swissies are considered a dry-mouthed breed and do not drool any more than Labradors
Do they shed?
shorthaired, Swissies have a thick double coat. Most Swissies will shed
heavily in the spring when they lose their thick undercoat. Regular brushing and
occasional bathing will help to reduce the amount of hair shed throughout the year, but
some shedding will still occur.
they good with children?
Swissies can make wonderful family pets but as with any breed they cannot be expected to
be good with children unless they have been raised that way. Likewise, children should be
taught from an early age to respect your dog and treat them with kindness. Even though
Swissies are usually very gentle dogs they are a large breed and must be supervised when
playing with children.
Are they good with other
Swissies should be able to get a long
well with other dogs as well as many other animals. Proper socialization to other animals
is just as important as socialization to people and should begin at an early age. It is
recommended that you enroll your Swissy in classes where they can meet new dogs as well as
learn basic household obedience. If raised with cats or other animals most Swissies should
not have a problem with them.
|How much space do
they require--a big yard?
Actually Swissies do not need as much outdoor space as some smaller dogs do. The typical
suburban yard is adequate for most Swissies. Swissies are indoor dogs and do not like to
be left outside alone for extended periods of time. They prefer to be with their families
whether indoors or out. A fence is important and many breeders will require you to have
one. Due to the size of an adult Swissy a four to six foot high fence is recommended.
much exercise do they need?
Normal puppy play should be enough exercise for a young Swissy. As adults Swissies do need
regular exercise but it can be as simple as a walk in the evening or a game of fetch in
the backyard. The important thing is to make sure that they get enough exercise without
overdoing it. Because they are still growing it is inadvisable to jog with your Swissy
until it is mature.
Do they chew?
All puppies chew. As adults Swissies are not
generally 'chewers'. They are usually quite content with a variety of safe chew toys like
large Nylabones or Vermont Chewmen.
Each dog is different but in general Swissies are
not known as bad barkers. Swissies are quick to bark at anything new and different in
their environment such as a car in the driveway or a delivery truck. They can also have a
'calling' bark where they will bark in order to get people to pay attention to them.
they easy to housetrain?
Swissy puppies can take a long time to housetrain. It is not
at all uncommon for it to take until the dog is 7-9 months old before being really house
trained. Most puppies can be crate trained by 3-5 months and this will help in the overall
process of house training. Swissies take a very long time to physically and mentally
mature and as a result they can take longer to house train.
FAQ by Ellyn Signet.
All Rights Reserved
picture credits to Andrea Lage and her puppy Emma v. Wmelsdorf
also pictured Elsa, Fenne, Hatti, and Buck