Switzerland is home to exciting and different landscapes. In the north, there is a plateau where most Swiss citizens live. To the South, there are the Alps and to the West the Jura mountains.
This landlocked nation is home to some pretty interesting dog breeds. Some breeds you’ve probably heard of, while others may be completely new to you.
Today we take a closer look at some of the dog breeds of Switzerland.
Bernese Mountain Dog
This is a sizable Swiss dog breed that most people are probably familiar with. The American Kennel Club officially recognized it in 1937.
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large, tri-colored dog. Its coat is mainly black but has patches of rust and white on the chest and face. They can grow to be 120 pounds, but don’t worry because the breed is good-natured. They do very well with children once socialized. They have also been used for pulling carts or wagons
While the Bernese Mountain Dog is a great companion, they do also have the lowest life expectancy of dogs their size. The average Bernese Mountain Dog lives to be seven to eight years old.
Bruno Jura Hound
This dog was bred in the western Jura mountains of Switzerland during the Middle Ages. It was used mostly as a scent hound. Usual fare would be a fox, hare, and even deer.
It is said that the Bruno Jura Hound is said to descend from the French Chien Saint Hubert. The Bruno Jura Hound does differ in size, though. They grow to be about fifty pounds and up to twenty inches tall.
The Continental Bulldog is a newer breed from Switzerland. In fact, it has only been officially recognized in Switzerland and Germany since 2005.
The breed was developed when a breeder of English Bulldogs grew tired of the common health issues to which they are prone. This breeder, Imelda Angehrn, wanted to make dogs that would be able to breathe easier. She also wanted moms to have easier births, as Bulldogs have huge heads when compared to the size of their bodies.
In 2001, the first Continental Bulldog was born. It is an accepted breed in its home country but is waiting for induction in the Fédération Cynologique Internationale.
Hunters have sought this Swiss hound for centuries. They were prized for their skill in hunting hare.
Today, they have been influenced after breeding with French hounds, but the breed was standardized in 1882. The standard included five different varieties of hound, but in 1933 the varieties were again standardized. This meant that the previous five different breeds were standardized into one breed that included five varieties:
- Bernese Hound
- Bruno Jura Hound
- Saint Hubert Jura Hound
- Lucerne Hound
- Schwyz Hound
The St. Bernard is probably the most famous dog breed that originates from Switzerland. Many people have an image of a St. Bernard with a small cask of brandy attached to their collar. This was never the case, but the St. Bernard is a helper in the cold. They have been used for the longest time to help wayward travelers find safety while trekking across the dangerous Swiss Alps.
These dogs are built for it too. They can grow to be up to 180 pounds. They also usually have thick fur that can be either tight and smooth or rough and dense. These dogs are imposing for sure. Luckily they are very gentle and sweet. They love children, but their size means they’ll need great socialization to make sure they don’t run anyone over with their kisses.
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
In its native land, the Swiss Mountain Dog is called the Sennenhund. These were originally farm dogs, and even their name comes from people called Senn. These were the Swiss alpine dairy and herdsmen.
These are very large dogs. They stand over 28 inches high and can weigh over 130 pounds. This breed is a gentle giant, though. They are very social, calm, and dignified. They’re not much of a beggar, but they crave their handler’s attention. Be sure you’re able to shower them with love, and they’ll be eager to please.
White Swiss Shepherd Dog
The White Swiss Shepherd Dog is said to originate from American White Shepherds. The American White Shepherd came from purebred white German Shepherds. Breeders were not allowed to register white German Shepherds in Germany.
Many of these white German Shepherds were exported to the US and Canada. And in 1966, the first American dog was sent to Switzerland. This stud was used to launch the White Swiss Shepherd Dog, and in 2002 it was officially recognized as its breed by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale.
Because the White Swiss Shepherd Dog has the same origins as the German Shepherd, they are said to be very similar, though the WSSD seems to be a much less aggressive and more relaxed dog.