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Crooked Creek Ventures

Various Swissy Articles including Is the GSMD the Right Dog for You? and 21 Ways to Love Your Swissy

Food for Thought

Dogs are living beings who deserve/need excercise, discipline and love.  A dog is the most loyal friend any human could ever hope for.  Please think about the reasons for getting a dog, before you actually get one.  Nothing could be worse, than to have to surrender your most loyal friend to a shelter.  Please, please take the time and make a wise decision.

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a wonderful breed.  However, it is not the breed for everyone.  The Swissy is a large dog, and although loving, can easily knock young children over.  The Swissy is a working dog.  They need you to be their dominant leader, as they often have a stong herding/prey drive.  They also require A LOT of discipline, socialization,and excercise.  They prefer to be with their humans at all times.  If you aren't the type to have a 100 - 150lb shadow, the Swissy likely isn't the dog for you.

Swissy's shed, and can take a long time to house train.  They have a big bark and will let you know when something isn't right, until you tell them it's "OK".  Swissy's also have several serious health issues, described below.

At Crooked Creek we strive to be honest above all else.  We don't know it all and likely never will, education is an on going pursuit!!  In an effort to produce dogs of sound temperment and correct structure according to breed standard, our dogs have their hips, elbows, shoulders, eyes and thyroids cleared before any breeding.  They will also attain their CKC championship when possible.

We are members of the Canadian Kennel Club, and follow their breed standard (see below). The CKC breed standard differs from the AKC standard. It (CKC) closely resembles the original Swiss Standard.  The Swissy is a rare breed, especially in Canada, hence there isn't a National breed club here yet, but when there is we will be members of that also!

Update:  We are currently working to establish a breed club in Canada and I (Laura) am on the board of directors.  I would like to Thank Sandy James for getting the ball rolling and including me.

Health Concerns

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, like every breed, is not free of health issues.  Common, but not limited to, are:

- Hip and Elbow Displaysia,

- Shoulder Osteochondrosis,

- Female Urinary Incontinence,

- Distichiasis and Entropian,

- Lick Fit,

More serious:

- Epilepsy,

- Bloat/Torsion of Gastric Dilitation Volvulus -LIFE THREATENING

- Splenic Torsion -LIFE THREATENING

No breeder can guarantee their dogs free from genetic health problems, but good breeders will do all they can, by way of screening tests and pedigree study, to ensure they are breeding healthy, quality dogs.  There are certain bloodlines that are prone to throw epilepsy down through the generations. For more indepth explanations of the above health concerns, please visit the OFA web site.

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America also has information.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.  If we don't have the answer for you, we will put you in contact with someone who does!!

Breed Standard

Canadian Kennel Club Official Breed Standards


Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Origin & Purpose

The ancestors of the Greater Swiss Mountain dog are the powerful tricolour dogs referred to as "Butcher Mastiffs" whose ancestors had in the past been widely spread across Europe, bred as guard, draught or droving cattle dogs. In 1908, Dr Albert Heim was present at a show and saw two short-haired Bernese Mountain Dogs and immediately recognized them as survivors of the larger Butcher Mastiff that were in the verge of extinction. In 1912, the Swiss Greater Mountain Dog club was formed to implement a breeding program to restore the breed. Today these dogs are also bred in other European countries, they are especially appreciated as family dogs due to their calm reliable temperament.

General Appearance

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a draft and drover breed and structurally should appear as such. It is a tricolour, sturdy, heavy boned and well muscled dog. In spite of his size and weight, it is agile. The difference between the sexes is distinctly obvious.


Self-confident, alert, watchful and fearless in everyday situations. Good natured and devoted towards people familiar to him. Self-assured with strangers. Medium temperament.


Height at the withers:

Males: 25 inches to 28 inches (65 cm to 72 cm)

Females: 24 inches to 27 inches (60 cm to 68 cm)

Important Proportions

-Body length (measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock) to height at withers = 10:9

- Depth of chest to height at withers = 1:2

- Length of skull to length of muzzle = 1:1

- Width of skull to width of muzzle = 2:1

Coat & Colour

Coat: Double coat consisting of thick, outer coat of medium length and dense undercoat. The latter as dark grey or black as possible. Short outer coat permissible if there is undercoat.

Colour: Typically tricolour. Main colour black with symmetrical, reddish brown (tan) markings and clean white markings. The reddish-brown colour is situated between the black and the white markings on the cheeks, above the eyes, on the inside of the ears, on both sides of the forechest, on all four legs and underneath the tail. The white markings are on the head (blaze and muzzle), running down unbroken from the throat to the chest, also on the feet and the tip of the tail. Between the blaze and the reddish/brownmarkings above the eyes, a band of black should remain. A white patch on the neck or a white collar around the neck is tolerated.



Strong corresponding to the body, but not heavy. Dogs stronger in head than bitches. Skull: flat and broad. The frontal furrow beginning at the stop gradually runs out towards the top. Stop: hardly pronounced. Nose: black. Muzzle: strong, longer than its depth. Must not be pointed, seen either from above or in profile. Nasal bridge straight, without furrow. Lips: barely developed, well fitting. Black pigmentation. Not pendulous. Jaw/Teeth: strong jaws; complete, strong and regular scissor bite. The absence of two teeth (premolar 1 and/or premolar 2) is tolerated. Absence of the molars 3 (M3) is not taken into account. Eyes: almond-shaped, of medium size, neither deep set nor protruding. Hazel to chestnut brown, with alert, friendly expression. Lids close fitting. Eye rims dark. Ears: of medium size, triangular and set on fairly high. In repose hanging flat and close to the cheeks, but raised forward when attentive. Well covered with hair, both inside and outside.


Strong, muscular, rather thick-set, without dewlap.


Straight and parallel when seen from the front, set rather broad.

Shoulders: shoulder blade long, strong, well laid back, close-fitting to the body and well muscled, forming a not too obtuse angle with the upper arm. Forearm: heavy boned and straight. Pasterns: firm, seen from the front in straight line with the forearm; seen from the side almost vertical.


Slightly longer than it's height at the withers. Back: moderately long, strong and straight. Loins: broad and well muscled. Croup: Long and broad. Gently sloping. Never higher than the withers or abruptly slanting. Chest: strong, broad, reaching to the elbows. Seen in cross section, the ribcage is roundish oval shaped, neither flat nor barrel-shaped. Forechest well developed. Belly and underline: belly and flanks barely tucked up.

Hindquarters: Straight and not too close when seen from the back. Metatarsus and feet turning neither in nor out. Dewclaws must be removed except in countries where their removal is forbidden by law.

Upper thigh: fairly long, broad, strong and well muscled. Stifle: forming a distinctly obtuse angle. Lower thigh: fairly long. Hock: strong and well angulated. Feet : strong, pointing straight ahead, with well-knit, well arched toes and strong nails.


Set-on harmoniously following the croup, fairly heavy and reaching to the hocks. Pendulous in repose; when alert and in movement carried higher and slightly curved upwards, but never curled or tilted over the back.


In all gaits, balanced movement with good reach. Free stride reaching well out in front with good drive from the hindquarters. At the trot, coming and going, legs moving forward in a straight line.


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.

- Unreliable behaviour

- Absence of any teeth other than 2 PM1 and/or PM2 (Premolar 1 or 2). The M3 are not taken into account. Level bite.

- Light eyes. Lids not close fitting

- Coat & Colour: visible yellow-brownish or light grey undercoat. Colour and markings not clear.

- Mismarking

- Absence of white markings on the head; blaze too wide

- White markings on muzzle reaching distinctly beyond the corners of the mouth

- White pasterns or hocks ("boots") reaching beyond the pastern joints or hock joints

- Noticeably asymmetrical markings


- Serious faults in temperament (fear, aggressiveness)

- Overshot or undershot mouth, wry mouth

- Entropion, Ectropion

- One or two blue eyes (wall eye)

- Short coat without undercoat

- Long coat

- Other than tricolour coat

- Main colour other than black

- Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified

Note:  Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

Crooked Creek Ventures
P.O. Box 984
Magrath, Alberta T0K 1J0
Phone/Fax: 403-752-6001

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