Before You Buy

Before you decide this is the right breed for you….

Have you done the following?

If you have said yes to all of the above items, and still desire to find out more about the breed, then contact as many breeders as possible and plan to be patient. Often times the breeders do have waiting lists for puppies and responsible breeders do not breed to meet demands. Always look for a puppy from a responsible breeder. Talk to and/or visit with as many breeders as possible. You will want to stay in contact with your breeder for the lifetime of your pet. For a listing of Swissy breeders’ web sites click here.

Make sure you are purchasing an AKC registered Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. Many puppy mills will use other pet registries where reputable breeders use AKC to register their puppies.


Ask your potential breeder about the following:

  • Have parents been x-rayed and cleared of hip and elbow dysplasia? Ask to see proof
  • What is the temperament of the parents? Meet the parents whenever possible
  • Ask about eye certification of the parents (OFA Eye Clearance). Ask to see the proof
  • Ask about the longevity of the parents as well as close relatives
  • Ask about bloat and splenic torsion
  • Ask about any known bleeding disorders
  • Ask about epilepsy and if there are any relatives in the pedigree that have it;
    • Good breeders will know the background of their dogs and will know how much epilepsy is in the pedigree. Bottom line is every Swissy line has epilepsy somewhere in the background. Quality breeders will know where it is and will try to breed away from it.
  • Ask if both parents are AKC registered on a full, breeding registration
  • Ask how puppies are raised, (home or kennel). Socialization to humans is very important

Does the breeder have a contract? Ask for a copy and read it and be honest with what you are looking for in your puppy. A responsible breeder puts each puppy in the best possible home. If you get a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, please be a responsible pet owner! Realize that these are big, strong dogs that require obedience and socialization.

More things to think about:

  • The temperament should be calm and steady, often bold. A Swissy is athletic, but does not need hours of exercise. However, you need to be prepared that some are high energy and may need a productive outlet for that energy
  • Swissies love humans, but often jump, shove their body against and have large paws that they are willing to demand attention with. They will naturally want to pull even when on a leash
  • Many are watchdogs with a fierce bark. They can often scare people (especially children) when they announce visitors…or in some cases announce that your neighbor has visitors
  • Most accept your guest with a happy tail wag, however, some are more wary, shy, spooky or aggressive. Early socialization is essential
  • Some Swissies have a high prey drive and will chase children and other animals
  • The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is related to the Rottweiler, Mastiff, St. Bernard and the other Swiss Mountain Dog breeds.

Consider getting pet health insurance. Many issues that can happen to a Swissy are expensive. We recommend the following plans (click on image to visit site):

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance          Embrace Pet Insurance

healthypaws-ogo                            bybembracepetinslogo

Research your potential puppy’s family history at the GSSH site:

bybgsshwwdglogo    GSMD Pedigree Data Base


To learn a bit more about the breed, watch the Animal Planet special on them, but please keep in mind this is a TV special and contains trained Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs.