Membership Information

Responsible Breeders' Perspective

Swissy FAQ


Golden Opportunities


Stud Dogs

Why should you get a puppy from a reputable Swissy breeder?

People who provide puppies for wholesalers probably like animals. But are they concerned where their puppies go? They don’t get to check references on homes; the pet stores have that option. And, unfortunately, money talks where they are concerned. A person just needs a credit card that works to qualify to buy a puppy. Even with the best intentions (or not), it appears that the mass producers (the puppy mill mentality) really don’t care where their puppies end up.

Even though the pet stores claim that the puppies get veterinary check ups and adhere to strict standards, how do the wholesalers guarantee their stock? Have countless of generations of dogs been studied for harmful traits that may inadvertently be passed down to succeeding generations? At the pet store, there is no information provided to the puppy buyer as to what health concerns there may be due to the puppy’s ancestry. And, since the mass wholesalers have no way of following their puppy’s progress, they also don’t have any idea what health problems are being produced.

Health screenings, such as OFA and CERF, are beneficial indicators of health in dogs, but as educated breeders know, this is only scraping the surface into genetic predisposition and diseases. There are certain cancers, immune diseases, skin problems and other serious conditions that may be present in a gene pool and cannot be assessed through screenings. Only by knowing the background of the relatives in the pedigree, such as the grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, can a breeder even hope to get a handle on what may surface later on as the puppy matures.

When looking for a puppy, we are advised to visit the sire and dam of the litter. And, while familiarizing ourselves with the traits of the parents, we also get to learn more about our prospective puppy through the feedback we get from the breeder. This could be the start of a long- term mentoring relationship with the breeder. The more we know about our puppy, with the added bonus of having the breeder as a lifetime mentor, the greater the chance of providing a long and rich life for our dogs. With puppies that come from mass producers, a buyer takes a bigger risk of obtaining an unhealthy puppy.

As a network of responsible breeders of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, we vouch to encourage buying from a dedicated guardian of the breed. Reputable breeders are willing to go out of their way to find a fitting home by screening; know what is behind their dogs; breed away from genetic disease. Most conscientious breeders try to improve upon a variety of issues that are relevant to the breed. This takes a lot of time and effort and is quite costly. We will always be willing to help, at any time and for any reason, to ensure that the puppy we bred will always have the quality of life we agreed to provide upon taking on the responsibility of breeding.

We get health evaluations on all of the dogs that we breed. This is not just regular shots and annual check-ups. This may include x-rays for hips, elbows, shoulders, and patellas. We get the eyes checked out for inherent diseases. PRA is a horrible genetic defect that will progressively cause a dog to go blind. So far, we’ve been lucky not to find this disease documented in our breed. But, we do find other undesirable eye defects within this breed. For instance, there is entropion, symptomatic dystichiasis and cataracts.

When we breed, we are looking into the backgrounds of not just our immediate dogs, but grandparents and aunts and uncles, so that we can try out best to avoid any health or temperament issues. We look to structurally improve our dogs so that they can move and function the way that they were originally intended to be when the breed standard was created. We want our Swissies to look like Swissies, act like Swissies, and not some new form of the breed.
Breeders in this club belong to various other dog-related groups. This gives our breeders a place to converse and learn and better their breeding programs. It helps to have long-term breeders with whom we exchange information and discuss both good and bad issues. In turn, we can talk to our puppy buyers about questions and concerns that they may have.

Reputable Breeder
• Puppies sold under contracts
• Health clearances/guarantees
• Pedigrees
• Long-term relationship
• Mentored through various clubs and knowledgeable breeders
• Breed to better or improve their own breeding stock. Breed to fit the standard in structure as well as temperament and working ability.
• AKC registered

BYB (backyard breeder)/Pet Store
• No contract means no responsibility on their part, you are on your own
• Possible unhealthy dogs being bred—genetic issues such as hips, elbows, eyes, cancer, patellas, OCD, as well as temperament are not being addressed. Temperament can include aggressive (with dogs or humans), shy or fear-biter.
• No idea of the pedigrees of the dogs they are breeding, no idea if they are “doubling” up on health or temperament problems. No known history of breeding stock.
• Once you buy that puppy, you will never hear from a BYB or Pet Store again. You are on your own to figure out what and how to do it. In a breed like Swissies, there are many vets. who have never seen one and may misdiagnose problems that are Swissy-related. There is no one to call for a reference or second opinion.
• No affiliation with any dog related club or group. Operate on their own and have no long-term breeders with which to network and exchange information. Most BYB in Swissies hardly even understand the breed or health issues related to the breed.
• There are many breeders who are selling Swissies with registrations other than AKC. This is a clear sign that this breeder did not get their puppy from a reputable breeder.

These are just some of the highlights indicating why you may want to purchase your puppy from a reputable breeder. Breeders show their dogs in conformation as well as in obedience, weight pulling, carting, herding and other events. The reason we may do this is to “test” our dogs and breed only those who have qualities that will help further and better the breed. We also enjoy working with our dogs and having a strong bond with them. We get to know our dogs better through working with them and can more readily see their faults as well as their strengths. This helps us find the right match for our bitches/dogs when we decide to breed. Most breeders try and improve on a variety of issues. This takes time and effort , dedication and lots of money.

Last updated:

November 10, 2010

Contact the Corresponding Secretary, Juanita Thrall Jones or by phone (954) 474-7188