Both Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and Bernese Mountain Dog are originated from Switzerland. Both Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and Bernese Mountain Dog are having almost same height. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog may weigh 15 kg / 34 pounds more than Bernese Mountain Dog. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog may live 4 years more than Bernese Mountain Dog. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog may have less litter size than Bernese Mountain Dog. Both Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and Bernese Mountain Dog requires Moderate maintenance.

Basic Information

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog(Sale)
Bernese Mountain Dog(Sale)
Working dog
Working dog
Height Male:
65 - 72 cm
25 - 29 inches
61 - 71 cm
24 - 28 inches
Height Female:
60 - 70 cm
23 - 28 inches
58 - 66 cm
22 - 26 inches
Weight Male:
60 - 70 kg
132 - 155 pounds
35 - 55 kg
77 - 122 pounds
Weight Female:
55 - 70 kg
121 - 155 pounds
30 - 50 kg
66 - 111 pounds
Life Span:
10 - 12 Years
6 - 8 Years
Litter Size:
5 - 10
5 - 15
Large dog
Giant dog
Other Names:
GSMD, Swissy, Sennenhund
Berner Sennenhund Bernese Cattle Dog - Berner, Bernese
Colors Available:
Black, white and rust
Short and straight to medium length, coarse and wavy
double, long, thick
Moderate, Seasonal
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Quiet, Responsive, Social, Territorial
Affectionate, Docile, Friendly, Gentle, Independent, Intelligent, Loving, Loyal, Playful, Quiet, Social, Stubborn, Sweet
Moderate maintenance
Moderate maintenance
Kids Friendly:
New Owners Friendly:


Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (Sale)

Hailing from Switzerland, and one of its oldest dog breeds, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog has a dubious history in that there are a number of theories as to its origin. He is closely related to the Bernese Mountain Dog, Saint Bernard and Rottweiler.

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Of all the theories, the one that says he is descended from large, mastiff-like dogs is a popular one. He used to be a herding- and guard dog, but also was used to pull carts of farm produce.

It was in the 1900s that the dog’s numbers started dwindling. In 1908, canine researcher, Albert Heim recognized the dogs as being large members of the Sennenhund type, a family of four breeds that includes the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.

He wanted to see the dogs recognized as a separate breed and the Swiss Kennel Club listed the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog in 1909.

In 1968 they were brought to the United States and a club for them was formed. The dog was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1995 with the dog being recognized as a member of the Working group.

The Bernese Mountain Dog comes from the Swiss Alps and is one of four separate breeds called Sennenhund or “Alpine pasture dog”. The Name Bernese Mountain Dog indicates the area of Switzerland that the dogs come from – the canton of Bern. These groups of dogs accompanied the dairymen and herders and they were farm dogs. They pulled carts, delivered goods from village to village. The Bernese Mountain Dog was part of this group along with: Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Appenzeller,Entlebucher Mountain Dog and the Bernese Mountain Dog. It is probably true that the Bernese Mountain Dog has been a part of farm life in the Alps for over 2000 years.

In some regions of the Alps, these dogs were called Durrbachhund after a small town named Durrbah and are said to be rooted in the Molosser breeds. Tin 1902 the Swiss Kennel Club recognized the Bernese Mountain Dog as a separate breed and the first breed club was founded in 1907 in the region of Burgdorf. The first standard for the breed was written and separated the 4 dogs into their own breeds. The Molosser is an ancient breed whose versatility and travels made it expressly influential in the developing of Mastiff dogs like St. Bernards, Great Pyranees, Mastiffs and Swiss Mountain Dogs like the Bernese.

However at the end of the 19th century famers and shepherds began to import other breeds of working dogs, while at the same time automated modes of transportation began to replace the farm dogs. Under these circumstances the number of Bernese Mountain Dog began to decline and the breed faced potential extinction. A group of people were gathered together to save the Berner, including Franz Schertenleib and Albert Heim. Still today the Bernese are in short supply and because of the need and desire to increase the numbers, some breeding practices have not been as good as they should have been. However, today’s Berner is a great family dog and he still loves to work. He is good at carting, herding, search and rescue, watch dog, tracking, and competitive obedience.

The Bernese Mountain Dog came to the US after World War I and was imported to Britain in the 1930’s. The AKC accepted the Berner as a new Working-Class breed in 1937. It was not until 1968 that the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America was formed. In 1981, the AKC accepted the club as a member and in 1990 they (AKC) adopted the standard used today to judge the Bernese Mountain Dog.

Swissies, as they are often referred to as, are large, robust dogs, standing at 65–72cm and weighing anything between 50 – 70kg, with the females being slightly smaller and weighing a little less.

He has big, rounded paws, medium length floppy ears, a broad chest and a long tail. This is a heavy-boned dog, strong while still being agile.

His dense, double coat is black, white and tan or rust, with black on top of the dog"s back, ears, tail and legs. There are two rust dots above each eye. The coat can be short and straight to medium length, coarse and wavy. The dog sheds throughout the year with a major shedding a couple of times a year.


The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a sociable canine, thriving on being part of a loving human family. While he used to be a working farm dog, today he is essentially a family pet, though he loves to still be busy.

He is generally friendly with strangers, but just like with all other dog breeds, he will need to be trained and socialized to turn him into an even-tempered, obedient dog, capable of getting on well with children and pets in the the home.

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large, lovable clown. He has a heavy build with a tri color- mostly black – coat. He should have a white chest and rust coloring on the front of his legs, the sides of his mouth, and above his eyes. His eyes should be dark and blue eyes are a disqualification. His coat is silky, thick and long. He has medium sized triangle shaped ears and a scissors bite. He has round toes and strong, straight legs, He is well suited to cold weather. His skull is broad and flat, his muzzle is straight and strong, his nose must be black, and he does not usually drool.

He is an imposing sight, but he is also as non-aggressive as any breed. He is strong, intelligent, and agile. He should have his dew claws removed. This breed should be self-assured, yet good natured and calm. He is welcoming to strangers and loyal to his people. He needs his people.

The GSMD or Sennenhund, as his name is shortened to, is a fairly healthy dog breed, with very few health issues.

He has an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years, and although not likely, he can suffer from minor problems such as gastric torsion as well as female urinary incontinence. If your female dog is dribbling urine in her sleep, there are a number of reasons that can be causing it - bladder infections, a medical condition or a weakened bladder with spayed female dogs.

It is certainly time to get your pet to the vet who will recommend a urinalysis.

Even though it is well known that cancer is the leading cause of dog deaths across the globe, the Bernese Mountain Dog is particularly prone to die of cancer. Half of all Berners compared with 27% of all dogs, die from cancer. The Berner’s life span is also shorter than most dogs his size. IT is also not just one cancer that attacks the Bernese Mountain Dog but rather at least 6 or more including mast cell, osteosarcoma, malignant histiocytosis, fibrosarcoma, and lymphosarcoma.They can also suffer from PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), hypoadrenocorticism, cataracts and histiocytic sarcoma. Another issue that plaques the Berner more than other breeds is musculoskeletal issues that cause mortality. This can include issues such as cruciate ligament rupture, arthritis and hip dysplasia. These types of aliments cause death in 6% of the breed while they are usually the cause of mortality in only 2% of all other dogs.


The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a robust dog and thrives on a diet of kibble to raw meat to some cooked home-made food such as chicken, brown rice and vegetables.

A serious issue with the GSMD is overfeeding, resulting in uncomfortable digestive problems and of course, obesity.


Your GSMD isn’t a dog that is going to require a lot of exercise like some of the other dog breeds there are, but still his working career of the past requires that he still be taken on daily walks, enjoys ball- and rope games and to go swimming.


Brush your dogs coat at least twice a week to remove loose hears. Other grooming aspects include cleaning the ears to avoid infection, clipping his nails and brushing his teeth at least twice a week.

If you’re not sure how to do all these things, there are useful accessories for dogs that allow you to do all this grooming on your own. Your vet can also show you how as these are all things that will require ongoing attention.


As with any large purebred dog, the Bernese Mountain Dog needs high quality food that will provide hi with nutrition and keep him from becoming overweight if fed properly. He is however a very large dog with a very large appetite. Watch his calorie intake. It’s ok to use treats if you fit them into the overall calorie intake for the day. Feed him smaller meals twice a day.

Health issues

As previously mentioned the breed has quite a few health challenges to deal with, cancer being the number one issue. The small genetic line is one of, if not the main, culprit in this high mortality rate and short life span of the Bernese Mountain Dog. In addition to the conditions mentioned above, they are also susceptible to bloat (stomach inversion). In addition, they face the conditions mentioned previously and should be tested for dysplasia of the hip and elbow, Von Willebrand’s Disease, Cardiac testing and an eye or ophthalmologist exam.

Exercise and games

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a gentle giant. They have a calm happy demeanor and they love to work. In fact, they need to work. They love children and will quickly give them cart rides. They compete in carting competitions and herding events sponsored by the AKC. They need exercise but not an extreme amount or intense type. A half-hour a day is enough for them. They love long walks or hiking. They are great companions for backpacking or camping. They are also good at tracking, rally, obedience, and agility.

The Swissy is an easy going dog and adapts easily into his human family’s lifestyle. He is big, but agile dog known for his gentle temperament.

While he loves the outdoors, he is a social dog and loves nothing more than coming indoors and being close to his human family.

He loves his family and won’t do well if left outside for days without human companionship. Treat him well and you’ll be rewarded with a loyal, loving 4-legged family member.

When reading the AKC standard for the Bernese Mountain Dog you will find that the breed is good natured and self-assured. They are not aggressive, shy or anxious. These are gentle, loving dogs. At the same time, they should be socialized to all kinds of animals, people and children when they are puppies. They are happy outside but need to live in the house with their people. They need exercise and play, and because they are so large, they need this outside. But when it comes to cuddling and sleeping they need to be indoors.

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They love children though you should be careful with small children because of the Berner’s size and their not being aware of their size at times. They are extremely loyal to their people and want to be with people. They are intelligent, and they want to please their people. At the same time, they are sensitive. They do not respond well to punishment or harshness. They are imposing but they are lovers at heart.