The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog was developed in Switzerland as an all-purpose farm dog. They were needed as draft dogs to pull heavy carts, as drover dogs to move herds of dairy cattle, as watchdogs, and also as family companions. They are thought to be one of the oldest of the Swiss breeds, and their ancestors played a key role in the development of the Rottweiler and St. Bernard.
Their history as a draft dog makes Swissys natural pullers, and their strength is impressive. The average Swissy is capable of pulling a load of 3,000 pounds or more, so walking politely at the end of a leash can be a challenge. From the time he’s a puppy, it’s important to teach your Greater Swiss Mountain Dog how to behave properly when he’s on a leash.
Swissys tend to match their activity level to that of their human family, but need at least one or two walks a day. However, to keep your dog in peak condition, consider a more vigorous schedule of exercise. The working spirit and versatile background of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog makes them super partners for many different activities, including drafting, which is the pulling of a cart or wagon. Other sports your Swissy might enjoy are agility, backpacking, herding, hiking, or obedience trials.