8 Swiss Dog Breeds: An Overview (With Pictures)

Switzerland. Famous for the Alps, fairytale castles and villages, its chocolate, and its gorgeous dogs. A number of the Swiss dog breeds are mountain dogs that originated in the Swiss Alps as farm dogs. However, several other unique Swiss breeds were bred for different jobs.

Here’s our list of 8 Swiss dog breeds:

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1. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog
Image Credit: brando, Flickr

The Bernese Mountain Dog is the most popular Swiss dog at the American Kennel Club and ranks 22 out of 196 dogs. The Berner is in the Working Group and originated in Bern, Switzerland as herders and guarders of livestock.

Berners are large, sturdy dogs with very thick double coats in a beautiful tricolor of black, white, and rust. They are intimidating to look at due to their size, but they are very affectionate, sweet, and calm dogs that are known for their gentleness with children.


2. Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard
Image Credit: Garry Knight, Flickr

The Saint Bernard might not be the most popular Swiss breed, coming in at 48 at the AKC, but it is the dog that is most associated with Switzerland. They also fall into the Working Group and were bred to rescue pilgrims and travelers attempting to cross a treacherous pass in the Alps from avalanches and deep snowdrifts.

The Saint Bernard is a large, powerful dog with thick coats that come in a variety of colors but are most famous for their white with brown patches and black masks. They are patient, intelligent, and friendly dogs that are also very gentle with children. Here’s an interesting fact: the Saint Bernard has never worn a barrel of brandy around its neck.


3. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Image Credit: Stonnie Dennis Dog Photography, Flickr

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is one of 4 Swiss mountain dogs and is 74 on the AKC’s breed popularity list. Another dog in the Working Group, the Swissy was bred as a farm dog and are the largest and oldest of the Alpine mountain dogs.

Swissies are very large and powerful dogs with a short, double coat that, like the Berners, comes in a tricolor of black, white, and red. They are dependable, devoted, and gentle dogs that will make an amazing addition to a family that has the space for the Swissy.


4. Entlebucher Mountain Dog

Entlebucher Mountain Dog
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The Entlebucher Mountain Dog is the 157th most popular dog on the AKC list and is in the Herding Group. The Entlebucher (pronounced ENT-leh-boo-cur) is the smallest of the mountain dogs that were used to guard and move herds in the valley of the Entlebuch River.

The Entle is a compact and robust dog with a short double coat that also sports similar tricolors as the Berner and the Swissy in black, white, and tan. They are smart, loyal, and energetic dogs that will do best with older children and are happiest when they are kept busy with a job to do.


5. Appenzeller Sennenhund

Appenzeller Sennenhund
Image Credit: Finy, Pixabay

The Appenzeller Sennenhund (also known as the Appenzeller Mountain Dog) is in the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service, which provides record-keeping for dog breeds not currently registered with the AKC. The Appenzeller was used to herd cattle and protect the home in Appenzell, Switzerland. While commonly found throughout Switzerland and parts of Europe, it is a rare breed in North America.

The Appenzeller is a medium-sized dog with a shorthaired double coat that is also tricolored in black, white, and brown. They are fearless, highly energetic, and very intelligent dogs that need lots of exercise and won’t do well in an apartment.

The following dogs are recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale  (FCI), otherwise known as the World Canine Organisation. It is a federation that recognizes 353 breeds and is based in Belgium.


6. Swiss Hound

swiss hound
Image Credit: Radomir Rezny, Shutterstock

The Swiss Hound is in the FCI classification of Scenthound, and it also belongs in the medium-sized hound section. The Swiss Hound has ancient origins and goes back to the time when Switzerland was occupied by ancient Rome. They were used primarily for hunting.

The Swiss Hound is medium in size with a long muzzle and long, hound ears and has a short, smooth coat. There are 4 different hounds in the Swiss Hound category that come in a variety of colors; the Bernese Hound (white with black patches and tan markings on the face), the Jura Hound (black with tan legs and muzzle), the Lucerne Hound (white with blue speckles, black patches, and tan markings on the face), and the Schwyz Hound (white with orange patches). They are energetic, sensitive, and calm dogs that form a strong bond with their owners.


7. Small Swiss Hound

Small swiss hound
Image Credit: cynoclub, Shutterstock

The Small Swiss Hound is also in the FCI classification of Scenthound and falls into the small-sized hound section. The Small Swiss Hound was bred to cover smaller hunting grounds that were too small for the larger hounds with longer legs.

The Small Swiss Hound is similar in appearance to the Swiss Hound but is smaller and with shorter legs. There are 4 different hounds within the Small Swiss Hound group, which have the same names and colors, as discussed in the above Swiss Hound section. They also have a similar temperament and are friendly, calm, agile, and have no aggression.


8. White Swiss Shepherd

White Swiss Shepherd
Image credit: Shutterstock, Marry Kolesnik

White Swiss Shepherds fall into the FCI classification of Sheepdog and Cattle Dog and is a newer breed of Swiss dogs. They were bred from North American white German Shepherds in the 1970s but are used for herding only.

The White Swiss Shepherd has the look and build of a German Shepherd, but with a medium to long length double coat, that is pure white. They differ in temperament from the German Shepherd as well; the White Swiss Shepherd is not aggressive and is active, friendly, and gentle.

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Conclusion

Swiss dog breeds are as beautiful and unique as the country they come from. There is a small number of Swiss breeds that did not make the list because they were not recognized by a kennel club or are extinct. Living in the Swiss Alps has given them thick, double coats and strong bonds with their family, making them wonderfully loving and protective companions.


Featured Image Credit: fred12, Shutterstock