6 Wonderful Dog Breeds from Switzerland

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The Swiss have a rich history in dog breeding, with a strong tradition that dates back centuries. In the early days, farmers would often own one or two dogs to guard their farms and provide companionship. However, it wasn’t until the late 1800s that several breeds became standardized through selective breeding. These included the Appenzeller Sennenhund, Bernese Mountain Dog, Entlebucher Mountain Dog, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, and the St. Bernard. These breeds originated in Switzerland but have since gained popularity throughout Europe and America for their exceptional abilities as herding and guard dogs. Each breed has its own unique characteristics and traits that make them well-suited for specific roles. Whether it’s herding livestock or providing protection, these Swiss mountain dog breeds continue to be beloved companions for many people around the world.

How do Swiss dog breeds differ from other breeds around the world?

Swiss dog breeds are known for their loyalty, intelligence, and versatility. They are bred to endure the harsh Swiss climate and terrain, making them hardy and adaptable. These breeds often excel in working roles such as search and rescue, herding, and guarding.

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1) Appenzeller Sennenhund aka Appenzeller Mountain Dog

The Appenzeller Sennenhund is a dog breed from Switzerland that was originally used as a herding and guard dog by the Appenzeller people. The dogs were named after the canton of Appenzell where they originated. In 1979, they became known as the most endangered breed in Europe because their population declined to only 15 individuals. In the 1980s, a foundation was created to help preserve the breed and they have since become a bit more popular among other countries as a household pet. Despite having been the most popular of all the Swiss Mountain Dogs for a time in the late 1800’s-they are probably the rarest today. These dogs can reach up to 22 inches in height and 70 pounds in weight.

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2) Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog (aka Berner Sennenhund) is a magnificent breed that hails from Switzerland and has a long history in herding cattle and farm work. These dogs are known for their large size and stunning tri-color coat, which adds to their undeniable beauty. Originally bred to work in the Swiss Alps, they were utilized for moving cattle and pulling carts. However, over time, they have gained popularity as family pets and therapy dogs. Despite their heavy build, Bernese Mountain Dogs require daily exercise to keep them happy and healthy. They particularly enjoy playing with children or other canines, making them an excellent choice for families. With their growing popularity worldwide, these dogs have become one of the most well-known Swiss mountain breeds. Standing at a height of up to 27.5 inches and weighing as much as 115 pounds, they are truly impressive creatures.

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3) Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a versatile and impressive breed, known for its exceptional sense of smell and tracking abilities. Originating from Switzerland, it is one of four Sennenhund breeds that have a rich history of being used as guard dogs, draft workers, herders, and companions. Today, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog has gained popularity in America as both a working breed and a companion. It made its way to the United States in the late 1960s and was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1995. With a height reaching up to 28.5 inches and weighing as much as 140 pounds, this large breed of dog commands attention with its powerful presence. Its coat is short and showcases a striking combination of black, white, and rust coloring. Whether serving as a loyal working partner or providing unwavering companionship, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is truly a remarkable breed.


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4) Entlebucher Mountain Dog aka Entlebucher Sennenhund

The Entlebucher Mountain Dog has gained recognition and popularity not only in Switzerland but also throughout Europe and America for its exceptional herding abilities. These tri-color dogs are known for their striking black and tan coats with white markings, which complement their sturdy build. Originating from the Entlebuch region of Switzerland in the early 1900s, these dogs were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2011. Despite being the smallest of the four Swiss mountain dogs, they can reach a height of up to 21 inches and weigh as much as 65 pounds. With their short double coat and physical prowess, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are perfectly suited for any and all herding tasks.

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5) St. Bernard

The Saint Bernard is a breed of large working dog that originated in the Swiss Alps. Named after the Great Saint Bernard Pass, where they were originally bred, these dogs have a long history of serving as rescue and search dogs in the treacherous mountain terrain. The Saint Bernard’s impressive size, strength, and keen sense of smell make them well-suited for these roles. Throughout history, they have been credited with saving countless lives by locating and rescuing lost or injured travelers in the snowy mountains. Today, while their role as rescue dogs has diminished, Saint Bernards continue to be beloved family pets known for their gentle nature and loyalty. With their imposing presence and friendly disposition, they make excellent companions and are often seen participating in various dog sports and events such as obedience trials and cart-pulling competitions. Their enduring popularity is a testament to their storied history and versatile abilities. These gentle giants can reach a height of 30 inches and weight as much as 180 pounds.

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6) Berger Blanc Suisse

The Berger Blanc Suisse, also known as the White Swiss Shepherd, is a beautiful and intelligent dog that has a rich history and diverse range of uses. Originating in Switzerland, this breed was developed from white-coated German Shepherds in the early 20th century. Initially bred for their working abilities, Berger Blanc Suisses were commonly used as herding dogs, search and rescue dogs, and even as guide dogs for the visually impaired. Over time, their gentle temperament and striking appearance made them popular as family pets and show dogs as well. Today, Berger Blanc Suisses continue to excel in various roles such as therapy dogs, obedience competitors, and companions. With their loyal nature, versatility, and stunning white coat, it is no wonder that the Berger Blanc Suisse has gained a devoted following around the world. They can reach 26 inches in height and 90 pounds in weight. The Berger Blanc Suisse is recognized as the FCI but not by the AKC as they view the breed as a non-standard color German Shepherd.

Dog Breeds From Switzerland-Final Thoughts

Switzerland is home to a variety of dog breeds that have gained recognition for their unique qualities and characteristics. From the intelligent and gentle Swiss Mountain Dog to the calm and heavy-built Bernese Mountain Dog, these Swiss dog breeds have proven to be loyal companions and reliable working dogs. With their origins as farm dogs in the Alpine mountains, they possess the strength and endurance necessary for a range of tasks.

Whether it’s herding livestock or providing companionship to their owners, these large breeds are known for their intelligence, making them highly trainable and adaptable.

If you’re looking for a gentle dog with a calm temperament and a loving nature, exploring these Swiss dog breeds might just lead you to your perfect pup!

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