AKC Standard Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

General Appearance

The Greater 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 25½ to 28½ inches: Bitches – 23½ to 27 inches. Body length to height is a 10 to 9 proportion. The body is full.


The top coat is dense, 1 to 1¾ inches long. The undercoat may be thick and sometimes showing.


Bold, faithful, willing worker. Alert and vigilant. Nervousness or aggressiveness should be severely penalized.


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 ear 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 breast bone. 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.


The 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.


The thighs are broad, strong, and muscular. The stifles are moderately bent and taper smoothly into 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.


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.


  • Any ground color other than black
  • Blue eye color