German Shepherd vs. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog? - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 07-20-2014, 01:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default German Shepherd vs. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog?

Hey everyone,
I've been a long time lurker, and have been trying to decide between a german shepherd or a rottie for a long time now. If everything goes according to plan, I should be financially sound to afford a dog within the year, and have been allowing myself to do some more research on dogs. I just recently discovered a new breed I have not heard about before.
I am looking for a medium-large sized dog that will have natural guarding instincts. I have a hard time sleeping at night, and I believe I will feel more comfortable with a "guard dog". I do not expect this dog to protect me in any way shape or form, it will only be a family dog.
Previously I was leaning towards getting a german shepherd because most people are fearful of rotties, and I do not associate german shepherds with a negative stigma(Rotties also drool). The downside to gsd's are their energy level. I am a fairly active person, but would prefer a dog who can relax at home when I'm feeling lazy. I do run roughly 3 miles a day, but would prefer a dog with a smaller exercise requirement.
Has anyone had experience with Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs? They seem like a very nice mix of large dog, good personality and they do not drool. I would love to hear from someone with experience with both gsd's and gsmd's. I like the idea of teaching the dog to pull carts, and can easily see myself carting either dog.
This will be my first dog, but my current job is a children's case manager. I have a lot of experience with behavior modification involving children, and expect at least some of that knowledge to transfer over.
The reason I am considering a GSMD over a GSD are:
less energy
shorter hair
larger(I just feel more comfortable with larger dogs)
However, I have read that GSD's are very eager to please, which is ideal for a first dog.
To cut this long post rather short, if anyone has experience with either, which do you believe would be a better first dog?
I have worked at a vet's office, and had family dog's, just never had a dog that was "mine".
Also my wife and I never plan to reproduce, so children are not a factor.
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Old 07-20-2014, 01:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would have kept the Swissy I transported last year if I could have. She was a sweet heart. She would have tried to be a lap dog if she hadn't been crated while I drove. The family who dumped her are idiots (they got a new puppy and didn't want to deal with her stress-related gastro issues).

Not an expert but Swissy's are LARGE dogs. Much bigger than a Rott or a GSD. They do drool and gastro issues are pretty much a given.

If you go with a Swissy be just as careful about breeders. They have been picked up by BYBs and mills and they have enough issues when responsibly bred, never mind when they are just being produced for money.
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Old 07-20-2014, 01:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My cousin had a greater Swiss for 11 years. He had a fabulous rottie before that. He did not like the greater Swiss as much as he liked the rottie but part of that was because he felt the energy level was too low in the greater Swiss. So that sounds like it might be a fit for you. He did not find them is easy to train but that could've been a individual dog thing too.
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Old 07-20-2014, 01:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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From what I've read GSMD's are considered a dry mouth breed. Is that wrong?
That is another difficult thing I have discovered with GSMD's is there is not a lot of resources for finding good breeders. I've found a forum for them, but it is not nearly as active as this one is.
I've always heard that GSD's have a ton of health issues as well, so I considered breed specific health problems to be a draw on both. Would you consider GSD's to have less health problems?
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Old 07-20-2014, 02:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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A solid well bread gsd should not have any health problems however there are no guarantees. Like humans every dog is different. Gsd as a breed are more energetic than most others, however I find that exercising there mind wears them out more than physician exercise.
Find a good breeder, tell him what your after.
And gsd's don't drool much at all
Hope that helps


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Old 07-20-2014, 02:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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knew a lady that had Great Dane (from rescue) and Greater Swiss Mt Dog . Lovely animals - but consider http://www.cherishedswissies.com/breed_info.hm

Put in the same genomic type "mastiff" in the Ostrander's canine genome study , and mentioned in von Stephanitz's book page 89 - 91 (91) . He thanks Prof Heim for pictures and comprehensive essay .
He writes about the curly tail , the pendulous, small and triangular ears, the wolf-claws , even doubles (dew claws rear) wide skull and powerful head --- traits associated with the Wurtemberger land race herding dogs incorporated as one of the 4 strains forming the GSD.
Page 91 von Stephanitz says "the impression of a real shepherd dog type. Anyone acquainted with the South German , particularly Wurtemberg, working shepherd-dogs, has certainly seen dogs resembling them employed with the flocks."
He makes further comments on page 33 about "genetic obedience" the "aptitude and clever initiative" held in common quote "one might write the same about our own shepherd dogs"
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Old 07-20-2014, 03:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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here is Ostrander's canine genomic study graph which places GSD and Bernese and Greater Swiss Mountain dog in the same "mastiff" group http://genome.cshlp.org/content/15/12/1706/F2.large.jpg
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Old 07-31-2014, 10:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I know somebody with a female GSMD. My 7 month old GSD has played with her a few times as she has a really stable temperament and doesn't mind his rough style of play or his repeated efforts to climb on top of her.

I am not as familiar with the GSMD breed standard BUT if it is anything like this dog, then there is a world of difference between them and GSDs. She is very, very sweet and more friendly with strangers than Hans. But she also seems to have like 1/10th of the energy that he does. Doesn't really care to run around or give chase much, seems to prefer short walks around the neighbourhood rather than going on off leash hikes or runs, etc. She has no guard dog behaviours that I've noticed at all, though she is fairly enormous so that may be a deterrent in itself. Really a lovely family pet, but a bit too low-key/lazy for us so wouldn't fit our active lifestyle as much as Hans does. Though there are many days when I wish he'd just take a chill pill, haha.
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Old 07-31-2014, 10:59 AM   #9 (permalink)
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GSMD cannot go jogging. Short lifespan like giant breeds.
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Old 07-31-2014, 11:02 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d4mmo View Post
A solid well bread gsd should not have any health problems however there are no guarantees. Like humans every dog is different. Gsd as a breed are more energetic than most others, however I find that exercising there mind wears them out more than physician exercise.
Find a good breeder, tell him what your after.
And gsd's don't drool much at all
Hope that helps


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