::Home:: ::About Us:: ::Dams:: ::Sires:: ::ROM:: ::Photos:: ::Through the Judge's Eye:: ::Breed History:: ::Breed Standards:: ::GSMDCA:: ::Health Issues:: ::Application:: ::Links::

:The AKC Standard:

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America developed this standard in the format required by the AKC and following the previous GSMDCA and an old version of the FCI standards. This has been in use since the breed was recognized by the AKC as per July 1, 1995.

:The FCI Standard:

This standard was developed by the Swiss Swissy club under the auspices of the Swiss Kennel Club on request from and following the format proscribed by the FCI, the "Federation Internationale Cynologique". The FCI is the umbrella organization for most national kennel clubs other than national organizations such as the AKC and the British KC. The FCI approved the current Swissy standard in April 1993.

About the Breed Standards

There are some significant differences between the two standards. Overall, the FCI standard is more detailed and more precise in certain areas. Since the GSMD is a Swissbreed, the standard in this country should follow as closely as possible the standard advanced by its country of origin. Recognizing the shortcomings of the current AKC standard, a committee of the GSMDCA is at present working on revising the standard. 

AKC Breed Standard

General Appearance:

The Great Swiss Mountain Dog is a draft breed and should structurally appear as such. It is a striking, tri-colored, large, powerful dog of sturdy appearance.

Size, Proportion and Substance: Height at the highest point on the shoulder is ideally:

Dogs: 25 1/2 to 28 1/2 inches        Bitches : 23 1/2 to 27 inches

Body length to height is a 10 to 9 proportion. The body is full.

Head: Expression is animated and gentle. The eyes are dark brown, medium sized, neither deep set nor prominent with closefitting eyelids. Eye rims are black. The ears are medium sized, set high, triangular in shape, gently rounded at the tip, and hang close to the head when in repose. When alert the ears are brought forward and raised at the base. The top of the eye is level with the top of the skull. The skull is flat and broad with a slight stop. The skull and muzzle are of equal length. The muzzle is blunt, not pointed. The muzzle is also strong and straight. The nose is always black. The lips are clean and as a dry- mouthed breed, flews are only slightly developed. The teeth meet in a scissor bite.

Neck, Topline and Body: The neck is of moderate length, strong, muscular and clean. The topline is level from the withers to the croup. The chest is deep and broad with a slight protruding breastbone. Withers are high and long. Body is full with a slight tuck-up. Ribs are well sprung. The loins are broad and strong. The croup is long, broad and smoothly rounded to the tail insertion. The tail is fairly level reaching to the hocks, carried down in repose and raised when excited. The bones of the tail should be straight.        

Forequarters: Shoulders are long, sloping and strong. They are flat and well muscled. Forelegs are straight and strong. The pasterns slope very slightly, but are never weak.The feet are round and compact with well arched toes. The dewclaws may or may not be present.        

Hindquarters: The thighs are broad, strong, and muscular. The stifles are moderately bent and taper smoothlyinto the hocks. The hocks are well let down and straight when viewed from the rear. Dewclaws must be removed. Feet are compact and turn neither in nor out.    

Coat: The top coat is dense, 1 to 1 3/4 inches long. The undercoat may be thick and sometimes showing. Color: The ground color is jet black. The markings are rich rust and white. Symmetry of markings is desired. Rust appears over each eye, on each cheek and on each side of the chest, on all four legs, and under the tail. There is a white blaze and muzzle. A white marking on the chest typically forms an inverted cross. The tip of the tail is white, and white is present on the feet with rust between the white and black on each leg. White patches or a collar is permitted around the neck. Gait: Good reach in front, powerful drive in rear. Movement with a level back. Temperament: Bold, faithful, willing worker. Alert and vigilant. Nervousness or aggressiveness should be severely penalized. Disqualifications: Any ground color other than black. Blue eye color.

Pictures Courtesy of Brush Creek Kennels

Back to top

Federation Cynologique Internationale (F.C.I.) Standard of the Great Swiss Mountain
Dog (Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund)FCI-Standard No. 58

Utilization: Originally watch and draught dog; present day also companion, guard and family dog.

FCI Classification-Group 2: Pinscher and Schnauzer type, Molossian type, Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs

Section 3: Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs

General Appearance:

A tricolor, sturdy heavy boned and well muscled dog. In spite of his size and weight, he shows perseverance and mobility.

Important proportions:

Body length to height at withers 10:9
Depth chest to height at withers 1:2
Length of skullto length of muzzle 1:1
Width of skull to width of muzzle 2: 1


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

Head: Strong in relation to the body, but not heavy. Dogs stronger in head than bitches.

Cranial Region: Flat and broad. The frontal furrow which begins at the stop gradually fades out towards the top.

Stop: shallow

Facial Region:

Nose: always black. Nasal bridge straight, without furrow

Muzzle: strong, longer than its depth. Must not be pointed seen either from above or in profile

Lips: barely defined, close fitting. Color black

Teeth: complete, strong and regular scissor bite, The absence of just one (1) premolar (PM1 or PM2) is tolerated.  Absence of molars M3 not considered

Eyes: almond shaped, medium size, neither deep set nor protruding. Hazel to chestnut brown,with alert friendly expression. Lids close fitting

Ears: medium size, triangular and set on fairly high. In repose hanging flat and close to cheeks,but raised forward when attentive. Well covered with hair, both inside and out.

Neck: strong, muscular, rather thick set. No dewlap


Back: moderately long, strong and straight

Loins: broad and well muscled

Rump: long and broad. Falling away in a gentle slope

Chest: strong, broad, reaching to the elbows. Chest shaped like a roundish oval (seen in cross section); ribs neither flat nor barrel-shaped. Forechest well developed, noticeably broad

Belly: Belly and Hanks barely tucked up

Tail: fairly heavy, 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.



General: standing not too broad, straight and parallel seen from the front

Shoulders: 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


General: straight, parallel and not too closse when seen from the back. Hocks and feet turn neither in nor out. Dewclaws must be removed.

Thighs broad, strong and well muscled

Hocks: Strong and well angulated.

Feet: strong, pointing straight ahead, tight, with well arched toes and strong nails. 


Free, striding, even movements in all gaits. Far reaching free forward movement with good drive from hindquarters. When trotting, limbs move in a straight line when seen from front or back


Texture of coat:

Double coat consisting of thick medium lenght outercoat and dense undercoat. The latter as dark grey or black as possible. Short outercoat permisseble if there is undercoat.


Main color black with reddish-brown markings. The reddish-brown color is situated between the black and the white clean markings. The reddish-brown color is situated between the black and 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 along unbroken from the throat to the chest, also on feet and tip of 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 round the neck are tolerated.


Height at withers:

Dogs: 65 - 72 cm

Bitches: 60 - 68 cm


  • Any deviation from the above points must be regarded as faults whose assessment should be in direct relation to the degree of deviation.

  • Strong deviation from body proportion and size

  • Faults in construction

  • Lack of correct gender characterestics

  • Too fine or too coarse bone

  • Insufficient muscle

  • Too fine or heavy a head

    pendant lips (flews)

  • Ears set on too high, too low or too far back

  • Pincer bite
  • Over - or undershot mouth

  • Absence of more than one PM1 or one PM2

  • Entropion
  • Ectropion

  • Light eyes

  • Sway back

  • Badly carried tail

  • Bad angulation in front- or hindquarters

  • Splayed toes

  • Visible yellow brownish or light grey undercoat

  • Mismarkings:

    blaze too wide

  • White marking on muzzle which (clearly) reaches considerably further than the corners of the mouth
  • White pasterns, or hocks (="boots") reaching further than the pastern joints or hock joints
  • Noticably asymmetrical markings colors and markings not clean.

Disqualifying Faults:

  • Other than tricolor coa main color other than black

    wall eye

  • Short coat with missing undercoat

  • Serious faults in temperament (excessive aggression or


Back to top



Last Updated

December 28, 2009


P.O. Box 4603

Phone: 276-632-4969 | 276-638-6085

Email Address: cocooper@sitestar.net