Most of us think of cows with bells around their necks when we think of Swiss animals, not dogs. But there are actually so many great Swiss dog breeds that are popular in their home country and around the world.
As you might imagine from the mountains, pastures, and said cows, many of these pups were bred for hard work on farms. A good majority of them are hardworking, used to spending time outdoors and they make wonderful family pets.
So which of these amazing dogs is best suited to your family and circumstances? Read on to find out everything about the different dog breeds.
11 Beautiful Swiss Dogs
Move over clocks and chocolate, this blog is all about beautiful Swiss pups! Which one is going to be your favorite?
Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dogs are undeniably one of the most beautiful, fluffy, and adorable Swiss dog breeds there are. These amazing black, brown, and white dogs are very affectionate with their families and get on really well with kids. They can be silly and love to play – making them great growing-up companions.
These pups are also loyal and caring and often get called nannies by their families. They’re good around other dogs too and love to make friends with everyone.
The Bernese Mountain Dog was first bred to work on farms around Bern (hence the name) and they really are incredible workers. They have a thick double coat that allows them to stay out in the Swiss Alps in all weather conditions. They have moderate exercise needs so half an hour a day of fun outdoors will be enough for these pups.
Saint Bernards are massive Swiss dogs that are famously amazing with children (just like Beethoven)! Male Saint Bernards can weigh up to 180 pounds and they’re very strong – so they’re not for everyone.
These amazingly patient, affectionate, and intelligent dogs need early socialization and training, mainly due to their size rather than anything else. A dog of that size that hasn’t been well-trained may become problematic.
There are two varieties of Bernese Mountain Dogs: short-haired and long-haired. Both need weekly brushing to keep their coats slick and healthy. They’ll shed much more during the shedding season and you can expect to brush them daily.
As the epitome of Swiss dogs, there are quite a few dogs on this list that look like Saint Bernards!
The Swiss Hound is an ancient breed that’s not actually recognized by the American Kennel Club. It is, however, recognized by the FCI. These scent hounds are everything you’d expect from a hound that was bred in the Swiss mountains. They are very good hunters and will chase after rabbits, foxes, deer, and even boars.
They’re medium-sized dogs that are active and need a good amount of outdoor activity a day. Of course, they’ll love hunting, but they’ll also benefit from long walks and runs. They have relatively short coats that need to be brushed weekly. Their long (and very cute) hound ears should be checked regularly for wax build-up and debris that could get infected.
They’re calm dogs that like to be part of a relaxed household. You might find that your Swiss Hound bonds with one member of the family over others.
Small Swiss Hound
Yes, you are right. Small Swiss Hounds are basically small Swiss Hounds. They look very similar but just have shorter legs! They were actually bred from Swiss Hounds to cover smaller terrain and hunt smaller animals.
Just like their bigger brothers, Small Swiss Hounds are gentle dogs that are very friendly and like working as part of a group. They’re curious, intelligent, and affectionate towards friends and family.
They, too, need to be kept entertained through lots of outdoor activity and mental games. They’ll benefit from dog classes as well as lots of socialization around other pups and humans.
White Swiss Shepherd
White Swiss Shepherds are wonderful, agile dogs that look a lot like German Shepherds – except, of course, they’re all white. Like other breeds on this list, these pups are not recognized by the AKC but they were registered with the Kennel Club in October 2017.
And there’s no wonder they have such a strong resemblance to the German Shepherd as they’re actually descendants! For a long time, white was considered faulty for a German Shepherd based on health worries and breeders wanted to create a white, wolf-like pup that would be healthy and happy. And that’s the Swiss White Shepherd!
Like other shepherd pups, these dogs are very intelligent and highly trainable. They’re hard workers and can put their minds to almost anything. They need plenty of exercise (2 hours a day) and won’t like living in an apartment. They’d be happiest with a home in the Swiss Alps with plenty of sheep to look after, but if you can’t offer them that, a good-sized backyard will do!
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
As far as Swiss breeds go, this is one of our favorites. Dependable, cute, caring, and very strong, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are the whole package! These dogs are large and males can weigh up to 140 pounds! That means that, even though they’re amazing and loyal pups, you need to think carefully about whether you can provide for a pup of this size.
As with other Swiss dog breeds, Greater Swiss Mountain dogs were originally farm dogs. They’re hard workers and like being useful. They don’t need lots of exercise but they do like time wandering around outside. If you’re looking for a walking companion or a pup to take on hikes, then the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is perfect.
Entlebucher Mountain Dog
This is another tri-colored dog that originally grew up in the Swiss mountains. Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are usually white black and tan, although they can also have yellow markings. They shed a moderate amount and will need weekly brushing.
This medium-sized dog was bred to herd cattle in the Swiss pastures and mountains. They’re independent dogs that don’t mind their own company, especially if there’s work to be done.
These cattle dogs are protective of their human and furry friends and exceptionally loyal to those they love. They need to be part of a family that understands how to deal with a self-confident pooch. With that and plenty of training, you’ll have a fun, loyal, affectionate, and hard-working dog as part of your family.
Blink and you might mistake the Appenzeller Sennenhund for the Entlebucher Mountain Dog. And, as another tri-colored Swiss dog breed, you wouldn’t be the first.
Unlike other Swiss doggos on this list, the Appenzeller Sennenhund has lots of energy and therefore needs lots of daily exercise. They’ll love running, chasing, and playing and need lots of space to explore. They’re definitely not a breed for you if you live in an apartment.
They’re very good guard dogs and work really hard. They’re generally great farm pups so herding, driving, watching, and pulling are also skills of theirs.
Appenzellers are very trainable dogs thanks to their willingness to learn and their naturally obedient nature. They respond well to positive reinforcement and fun training sessions. Their reward can be a good run around or a long walk!
The Bruno Jura is perhaps one of the lesser-known Swiss dogs, but they are adorable, mellow, intelligent, and outgoing. These Swiss hounds were bred to hunt and like to be part of a pack. They’re also good watchdogs and love to protect the important people in their lives.
They’re easy to train and adore pleasing their owners. They’re sensitive but not overly so, but it’s still best to use positive reinforcement. They are relatively adjustable dogs and don’t mind when their routine is changed a little.
Because these pups are wonderful hounds, they do have a strong prey drive. Cats and other small pets could be a problem in the home and we also recommend keeping your Bruno Jura on a leash when out on a walk.
The Continental Bulldog is a relatively new breed and one of the pups on this list experts know the least about. Unlike other Alpine mountain dogs that were bred on farms, the Continental Bulldog is the result of an ethical breeding plan.
For years, many have been concerned with the welfare of the British Bulldog. A shortened snout, deep skin folds, and a unique body shape mean British Bulldogs are at a higher risk of suffering from health conditions and illnesses. Breeders in Switzerland wanted to change that.
These adorable dogs have many of the same qualities as a British Bulldog, but you can rest assured knowing they’re that little bit healthier. They’re affectionate, funny, strong, and a good choice for first-time dog owners. They’re great companion pooches and the perfect family pet!
Unfortunately, these large and powerful dogs are now extinct, although many think that they were one of the contributing breeds to other dogs on this list such as the Saint Bernard! This ancient breed dates back as far as 500 BC and, for a while, was thought to be the largest breed in the world.
Experts think these enormous dogs went extinct due to excessive crossbreeding. At the time, it was very common for breeders to try to develop new species that were bigger and ‘better’ than the rest.
As is common with other Mastiff breeds, Alpine Mastiffs were gentle, despite their enormous size. They were usually calm but were bred for hunting and war so could also be exceptionally strong and confident when needed.
What Are The Most Popular Swiss Dog Breeds?
Swiss breeds are popular farm dogs and family pets around the world. Due to the size of many of them, they’re not a good choice for everyone, but they can be exceptional dogs in the right circumstances.
The Bernese Mountain Dog and the Saint Bernard are two of the most famous and popular Swiss dogs. Their size, beauty, and notoriously fluffy coats are what people love about them! That, and their favorite nanny dog from the film!
What Are The Rarest Swiss Dogs?
I guess, because it’s actually extinct, we’d have to say the Alpine Mastiff is the rarest Swiss breed on the list. However, out of the ones that do still exist, the Appenzeller Sennenhund is not a common pup in North America. They are, however, more commonly found in Switzerland.
Because of their popularity, it’s usually easier to find Bernese Mountain Dogs and Saint Bernards in America than many others on the list.
What Are The Origins of Swiss Dog Breeds?
Many of the dog breeds on this list were first bred for work. Be that herding, driving, or hunting, their natural mountainous habitat made them the perfect dogs for long days out in the pastures or guarding the farm.
But that isn’t to say that all Swiss dogs were bred for life on the farm. The Continental Bulldog is a pooch that was bred from English Bulldogs in an attempt to make them healthier.
There are so many amazing dog breeds from Switzerland that vary greatly in appearance, temperament, exercise needs, and grooming.
Whenever you adopt a pooch, whether it’s one of these Swiss dog breeds or not, it’s important to consider how well they would fit into your home and lifestyle. Many of these dogs have confident personalities that need an experienced owner.
Likewise, many are very big and need to be trained accordingly. When you make a choice, it’s vital you research a good breeder so you can be sure you’re getting an ethically bred and happy puppy as a pet!
Have you got a Swiss pup in your home? What advice would you give someone thinking about adopting a similar breed?
I’m Charlotte, a content and copywriter from the North of England and currently living in Berlin. Animals have always been a huge part of my life, so writing about dogs is a total pleasure! I love all kinds of dogs and their cheeky personalities, but I’d have to say Weimaraners are my favourite!