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Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs
Questions to Ask Breeders


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Any Breeder should feel comfortable answering these questions.  If they do not, you should ask yourself "why?"

  • Do both parents of the litter have OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) Numbers proving they are free from hip and elbow dysplasia? Ask to see the documentation. Be advised that a dog will not be issued an OFA number until it is 24 months of age. You can confirm whether a dog has an OFA number by calling OFA(I-800-442-0418). Make sure you have the dog's REGISTERED name before calling.
  • What is the temperament of both parents? Are they active in obedience? Have they been trained to pull a cart? Are they active in Agility, Therapy Work, etc.? If you are able to visit the breeder In person, are their dogs easily manageable? Do they behave and act gentle with you and your children? Or, are they spooky, aggressive, or difficult to handle?
  • Ask about the eyes of both parents. Have they been certified clear of eye problems by CERF (Canine Eye Registry Foundation)? Eye problems reported in our breed are Distichiasis, Entropion, and cataracts.
  • Ask about the general health history of related dogs. Have any relatives died at a young age? If so, what was the cause?
  • How old are the parents of the litter? How many litters has the dam had? If you are looking for a dog to breed in the future, it would be important to ask if the dam is a free-whelper or if she has ever had to have a c-section. If a c-section was done, ask what the reasons were.
  • Ask if the sire and dam have produced puppies with any serious health problems such as hip dysplasia, OCD, and epilepsy. These are the main genetic problems found in this breed and all breeders should be forthcoming in discussing them with you. Ask the breeder how many litters they have produced. Be wary of any breeder who claims never to have produced ANY health problems.
  • Ask how the puppies are raised (in the home or in a kennel?). It is important that a puppy get proper socialization from its mother and siblings for at least eight weeks as well as regular exposure to humans and other animals.

Does the Breeder have a contract and health guarantee? Breeders should guarantee against hip and elbow dysplasia and any other debilitating genetic disease. At eight weeks, most problems have not surfaced. A conscientious breeder will make a reasonable guarantee to the buyer and make the buyer fully aware of his responsibilities. Guarantees on a pup's heath should not depend on whether that dog was bought as a show dog or a pet. Pets should also be guaranteed against life threatening disease.