Great Swiss Mountain Dog

FCI standard Nº 58

Origin
Switzerland
Translation
Mrs. C.Seidler, revised by Elke Peper
Group
Group 2 Pinscher and Schnauzer- Molossoid breeds- Swiss Mountain- and Cattle Dogs
Section
Section 3 Swiss Mountain- and Cattle Dogs
Working
Without working trial
Acceptance on a definitive basis by the FCI
Friday 13 August 1954
Publication of the official valid standard
Tuesday 25 March 2003
Last update
Monday 05 May 2003
En français, cette race se dit
Grand bouvier suisse
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund
En español, esta raza se dice
Gran boyero suizo
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd
Grote Zwitserse Sennenhond

Usage

Originally watch- and draught dog. Nowadays also companion, guard- and family dog.

Brief historical summary

In 1908, at Langenthal, on the occasion of the jubilee show to mark 25 years of existence of the “Schweizerische Kynologische Gesellschaft” (Swiss Kennel Club) SKG, two short-haired Bernese Mountain Dogs were presented to the great promotor of the Swiss Mountain Dogs, Prof. Albert Heim. He recognized them to be representatives of the old, vanishing, large Mountain Dog or butcher’s dog, whose ancestors had in the past been widely spread across Europe, bred as guard-, draught- or droving-cattle dogs. In 1909 they were recognized by the SKG as a separate breed being registered in volume 12 of the Swiss Stud Book. In 1912, the club for “Grosse Schweizer Sennenhunde” was founded in order to promote this breed and keep it purebred. The first standard was published by the FCI not before February 5th, 1939. 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

A tricolour, sturdy, heavy boned and well muscled dog. In spite of his size and weight, he presents endurance and agility. The difference between the sexes is distinctly obvious.

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.

Behaviour / temperament

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

Head

Cranial region

Head
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.

Facial region

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.
Jaws and 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.

Neck

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

Body

Body
Slightly longer than its height at the withers.
Back
Moderately long, strong and straight.
Loin
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.
Underline and belly
Belly and flanks barely tucked up.

Tail

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.

Limbs

Forequarters

Generality
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.
Pastern
Firm, seen from the front in straight line with the forearm; seen from the side almost vertical.

Hindquarters

Generality
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.
Lower thigh
Fairly long.
Stifle
Forming a distinctly obtuse angle.
Hock
Strong and well angulated.

Feet

Strong, pointing straight ahead, with well-knit, well arched toes and strong nails.

Gait and movement

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.

Coat

Hair
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-brown markings above the eyes, a band of black should remain. A white patch on the neck or a white collar around the neck are tolerated.

Size and weight

Height at withers
For males 65 – 72 cm, for bitches : 60 – 68 cm.

Faults

• 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 and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

General faults

 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 :
 Visible yellow-brownish or light grey undercoat.
 Colour and markings not clear.
Mismarking :
 Absence of white markings on the head; blaze too wide.
 White marking 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.

Disqualifying faults

 Serious faults in temperament (fear, aggressiveness).
 Over- 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.

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.

Bibliography

http://www.fci.be/

 

Detailed history

We know in France only one Swiss Mountain Dog, the Bernese, who is a dog with long hair, black, fire and white. There are, however, three others, also tricolor but short-haired, including the Great Bouvier, which, as the name suggests, is the one with the tallest stature. Swiss Bouviers, despite their morphological differences, have a common origin. Although some believe that dogs of this type already existed in prehistoric Switzerland, by virtue of the discovery of skulls of dogs comparable to those of the Bernese, this hypothesis remains unconvincing, and it seems that the ancestors of the Bouviers were rather imported. in the region by the Romans. Swiss dogs would descend from large Asian mountain dogs, generally known by the generic name of "Tibetan Mastiffs".

First of all, Phoenician and Greek navigators spread in the Mediterranean basin these Molossers originating from Persia, Assyria and perhaps even India or the Himalayas. Xerxes then Alexander the Great made them famous and formidable war dogs. As for the Romans, who received them as an inheritance, they of course made them fight in the arena, and they joined them to their legions, to go to the assault of the barbarians or to keep their military posts, but also like dogs of conduct herds. In fact, an army as organized as theirs never moved without assuring itself of its food autonomy and, to do this, was accompanied by herds of oxen and sheep.

The Roman troops have thus largely contributed to make known these dogs of great size and strong character, which also come from Berger de Beauce in France and Rottweiler in Germany. The Bouviers reached the Swiss valleys via the passes of St. Bernard and St. Gotthard. Their presence is attested in particular in Vindonissa (today Windisch), one of the capitals of Roman Helvetia, where we found some remains.

The Great Bouvier is undoubtedly the direct descendant of the type of herding dog that has spread the most in Switzerland, leaving traces in the history. We know, for example, that a part of the victories that the Confederates won against the Habsburgs and against Charles the Bold is due not only to their skill in handling the crossbow, but also to the large dogs that escorted them.

In addition, there is an edict of the mayor of Zurich, Hans Waldmann, dating from 1489, which reveals the local spread of this dog and its popularity in rural areas. Indeed, this edict, which required the disappearance of this animal on the pretext that it harmed the game and the vineyard, triggered a wave of protests among the cowherds, cheese makers and farmers who had made their favorite companion. Also, despite the use of force, Hans Waldmann could not enforce his rules.

Until the middle of the nineteenth century, the Great Bouvier was part of the Swiss landscape, and he was gladly entrusted with the care of cows, sheep and even goats, and the man was walking around the pasture accompanied by his dog, who He understood very well how much he would have to contain the flock during the day and knew that he would have to bring home any animal leaving the assigned territory, without the shepherd or cowherd having to intervene. to search for the cow whose name was only indicated to him, or to maintain discipline in the stable.

Elsewhere, he became a draft dog, pulling a small cart loaded with cans of milk, because in Switzerland as well as in Belgium, canine traction was very widespread. A dog of the Great Bouvier's stature easily managed to shoot up to 300 kilos of load, easily competing with the horse and being more docile than a donkey.

In the countryside, he was generally entrusted with the guard of the farm, and in the markets, peasants, horse traders or butchers made use of his power and his authority to lead and maintain the cattle which, once torn from their pastures, panicked easily.

Despite his many abilities, Swiss cynophiles showed indifference for the Great Bouvier, as for other Helvetian Bouviers: "We saw in them only vulgar dogs butchers, countrymen," said Fred Rufer. It is true that the peasants were not very concerned about the selection of these dogs, which was due only to the maintenance of the traditions and the isolation of the valleys. In addition, the development of technical progress helped, the Great Bouvier and other "Swiss cottage dogs", as they are sometimes called, became scarce, and, at the time when the Swiss Cynological Society was born, in 1883, breed lovers Pure people were primarily interested in foreign dogs.

However, some personalities happily searched for specifically Swiss dogs, as was the case of Professor Albert Heim and Franz Schertenleib, from Berthoud, Emmental. The latter, in memory of his father's praise of the magnificent long-haired dogs, undertook to search for them: about 1880, he was able to present some specimens found at Dürrbach, in the canton of Berne, which were recognized as being purebred by Professor Heim. Encouraged by this first success, Schertenleib continued his research and brought back two years later a tri-colored shorthair subject. The teacher immediately made the connection between this specimen and the war dogs that accompanied the Confederates in the fifteenth century. He therefore identified it as the dog once spread in the countryside and called it Grand Bouvier Switzerland. A little later, these two specialists characterized the Appenzell Bouvier and the Bouvier of Entlebuch (Canton Lucerne). Professor Heim continued to play a major role until the 1920s, advising Swiss cynophiles.

It must be confessed, however, that only the Dürrbachler (named after the hamlet where he was discovered), called the Bouvier Bernois in 1913, has known, both in his own country and abroad; some development. The Great Bouvier, which did not possess the rich coat of the Bernese and the Saint Bernard surpassed in stature, had only a modest destiny.

The Great Swiss Mountain Dog has great qualities. Without reaching gigantic proportions, it imposes by its strength and its size. Note that the latter, initially 70 cm for the male, was subsequently slightly downward and is currently contained between 66 and 70 cm, thus finding that of the Bernese. The Great Bouvier reassures and protects with as much vivacity as attention his family and his territory, without terrorizing passers-by. One must not fear any gratuitous acts of violence on his part: he will not bite a stranger, nor will he disturb the neighborhood by incessant barking. Finally, he combines a vigilance of every moment with a calm at any test.

This dog obviously requires a minimum of firmness and perseverance, on the part of the one who would like to control it and inculcate a basic education. But the Great Bouvier is a much more docile and manageable dog than most Great Dane dogs and mountain dogs, and even the Bernese Mountain Dog. He retains everything, thanks to his extraordinary memory, and obeys all the demands of his master whom he venerates. Thus, the impressive and dissuasive size of this dog combines with its receptivity to education and training to make it an active and effective defender.

The Great Bouvier is sufficiently balanced and sociable not to have imperatively needed a country environment and vast spaces. It adapts very well to a garden and regular walks. However, if a rather sedentary way of life is not contrary to his temperament, he nevertheless particularly appreciates the work and the activity: one can, for example, train him to the tracking, the research and the report of object, or even hitch it to a small vehicle with which, safely, it will take pleasure to walk small children. He is indeed a real "nanny", very patient and gentle, but we do not think of touching his protégés, because it could become terrible.

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