Keep in mind that all breeds of dogs have both their pros and cons. This website may help you understand more fully some of the pros and cons of a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. Other web sites such as the GSMD Club of America site can also be very helpful. Before you decide on a puppy make sure that you do both your homework and your field work. Your homework should be focused on what kind of pet is most suited for you and your lifestyle. Some people who want a pet rush out and get a dog with out considering the time, resources and commitment that is necessary to develop positive characteristics in their dog, first mistake. Others do their homework and decide that "at this time in my life I can only commit to a Gold fish". If after doing your homework you determine that you are ready to have a dog in your life then you have to consider what breed is right for you. Keep in mind this type of homework goes way past size, color, and markings. This is where the second biggest mistake is made. Sometimes people mistakenly believe the size of the dog is the most important aspect. "I have a small house so I need a small dog". They then go out and buy a small dog that is bred for hunting and subsequently likes to run. Months later, they say they have a "bad dog" because when they are gone all day and then come home the dog is so hyper. "He acts as if he just drank 10 cups of coffee". "He also has our cat and parrot frazzled". Yes size does matter, but it is not as important as looking at what the characteristics of the breed are. You might start by asking yourself and others; Why does this breed exist? What was the original purpose for this type of dog and what are they used for today? Once you do your homework then it is time to do your field work.
Dori Likevich wrote an article that is posted on the GSMD Club of America website that talks about puppy mills. In the article she talks about some pretty disturbing information:· "The average puppy mill houses between 75 and 150 breeding animals. · Hundreds of thousands of puppies are raised each year in commercial kennels. · Dogs are kept in wire runs for their entire lives, their feet never touching the ground, never allowed the freedom to run and play in the grass. · Rodents, fleas, and other pests plague the dogs almost constantly. · Their coats are matted and filthy. Ulcerated and missing eyes are not uncommon. · Fed the cheapest possible dog food, mixed with sawdust, the lack of nutrition causes tooth decay at an early age. Not only do their teeth rot, but also their jaws. · Many of the dogs lose feet and legs when they are caught in the wire floors of the cages. · Dogs in mills are debarked by ramming steel rods down their throats to rupture their vocal cords. · Females are usually bred the first time they come in heat and every consecutive cycle thereafter, until their bodies wear out. Then, they are killed. · Often there is no heat or air conditioning in puppy mills. The dogs freeze in the winter and die of heat stroke in the summer. Litters of puppies will bake to death on the hot wires of the cages. · Puppies that survive are taken from their mothers at 5 to 8 weeks of age and sold to brokers. Packed in crates, they're shipped by truck and plane, often without proper food, water or ventilation, to the 3,500 pet stores throughout the country selling puppies." This is awful stuff. No dog lover would ever knowingly support these sorts of practices but we do all the time or mills wouldn't be in existence. Make sure you do your field work. How were your puppies Mom and Dad raised? Meet your puppies parents (Sire and Dam), and spend some time with them. Ask the breeder about the Sire and Dams individual characteristics, personalities (temperament), health issues etc. Swissies are not a cookie cutter breed together they may look like a box of Oreo's (with a little peanut butter spread on them) but they are all very much individuals. And like they say the apple does not fall to far from the tree. The rest of your dogs genealogy is also important especially Grandparents. A rule of thumb might be the further you go back the less important the connection (but still important non-the-less). Once you have done your homework,and have done your field work now you can look at the particulars of the contract. The actual cost of the Swissie, no matter where you go, is generally within a few hundred dollars. Sometimes they are sold very cheap but you would have ruled out those places by having done your homework. Swissies are sold with full registration, partial registration, co-owner and even fostered. Swissie contracts should have health guarantees and return to seller clauses. The breeder of your Swissie should be available, willing and able to offer you support throughout the life time of your dog.