Greater Swiss Mountain Dog vs Bulgarian Shepherd - Breed Comparison

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog vs Bulgarian ShepherdGreater Swiss Mountain Dog is originated from Switzerland but Bulgarian Shepherd is originated from Bulgaria. Both Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and Bulgarian Shepherd are having almost same height. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog may weigh 13 kg / 29 pounds more than Bulgarian Shepherd. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog may live 45 years less than Bulgarian Shepherd. Both Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and Bulgarian Shepherd has same litter size. Both Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and Bulgarian Shepherd requires Moderate maintenance.

Basic Information

Group:
Working dog
Working dog
Origin:
Switzerland
Bulgaria
Height Male:
65 - 72 cm
25 - 29 inches
65 - 75 cm
25 - 30 inches
Height Female:
60 - 70 cm
23 - 28 inches
63 - 72 cm
24 - 29 inches
Weight Male:
60 - 70 kg
132 - 155 pounds
45 - 57 kg
99 - 126 pounds
Weight Female:
55 - 70 kg
121 - 155 pounds
40 - 52 kg
88 - 115 pounds
Life Span:
10 - 12 Years
45 - 57 Years
Litter Size:
5 - 10
5 - 10
Size:
Large dog
Large dog
Other Names:
GSMD, Swissy, Sennenhund
Karakachan Shepherd Dog, Karakachan
Colors Available:
Black, white and rust
BlackWhiteTricolor
Coat:
Short and straight to medium length, coarse and wavy
Single
Shedding:
Moderate, Seasonal
Moderate
Temperament:
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Quiet, Responsive, Social, Territorial
Alert, Courageous, Independent, Intelligent, Loyal, Protective, Territorial
Grooming:
Moderate maintenance
Moderate maintenance
Trainability:
Easy
Moderate
Hypoallergenic:
No
No
Kids Friendly:
Yes
Yes
New Owners Friendly:
Yes
Yes

History

greater swiss mountain dogHailing from Switzerland, and one of its oldest dog breeds, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog has a dubious history in that there are a number of theories as to its origin. He is closely related to the Bernese Mountain Dog, Saint Bernard and Rottweiler.

Of all the theories, the one that says he is descended from large, mastiff-like dogs is a popular one. He used to be a herding- and guard dog, but also was used to pull carts of farm produce.

It was in the 1900s that the dog’s numbers started dwindling. In 1908, canine researcher, Albert Heim recognized the dogs as being large members of the Sennenhund type, a family of four breeds that includes the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.

He wanted to see the dogs recognized as a separate breed and the Swiss Kennel Club listed the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog in 1909.

In 1968 they were brought to the United States and a club for them was formed. The dog was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1995 with the dog being recognized as a member of the Working group.

bulgarian shepherdThe Bulgarian Shepard Dog comes from the ancient line of Molossers of Central Asia and Tibet, and the shepherds of the Balkans, Turkey and Caucasus. Among the oldest and most valued of the working dogs of Europe, the Bulgarian Shepherd breed was created by mixing the Balkan breeds with the dogs from Central Asia by the proto-Bulgarians around the 7th century. The Karakachanskoto Kuche was introduced to Bulgaria and accepted by the sheep herders. Mixing this breed in with the Balkan and Central Asian mix developed the Bulgarian Shepherd we know today. In the long run the original Karakachanskoto Kuche became extinct, replaced entirely by the Bulgarian Shepherd even in places where the new breed is still called by the Kuche name. Although the breeds are not the same, most of the dog world does not know the difference.

In Bulgaria however the Karakachan is a national treasure and the history of the breed runs deep. One Kuche could run up to 1200 animals and hundreds were used by the herdsmen in the mountains of Bulgaria. There were many regional types of Bulgarian Shepherds with very little difference between those types. These dogs were so prized by the shepherds that the dogs ate first before the people. The dogs however ate a vegetarian diet of milk, wheat, water and oats. The Bulgarian Shepherd lives a long life of often over 20 years. The Bulgarian Army made good use of these dogs early in the 20th century.

Following World War II, the wolves were close to extinction and property in Bulgaria was nationalized. There was no longer a need for a large force of working dogs. The Communist government exterminated large numbers of sheep dogs including the Bulgarian Shepherd. Only those species on government owned farms and in remote regions survived. When the government farms were disbanded in the early 20th century, these dogs were exterminated as well. Only those in the mountains survived. Commercial breeding of the Bulgarian Shepherd in the end of the century has resulted in controversy as other breeds came into the breeding program.

Use of breeds such as Sarplaninacs, Caucasian Ovcharkas, St. Bernards, Central Asian Ovcharkas and Bosnian Tornjaks in these programs resulted in Bulgarian Shepherd or Karakachans that were a lot different from the original breed. There is therefore some concern about the future of the breed in Bulgaria, yet they received official Bulgarian national recognition in 2000. Today’s Bulgarian Shepherd is a guard dog for both property and livestock.

The official standard for the breed came about in 1991 and in 2005 it was recognized by the Bulgarian State Commission for Animal Breeds. Only those dogs that meet this standard are considered “true” Karakachans. The Bulgarian Shepherds are willing to fight bears and wolves in defense of its family and flock. The dog is brave and loyal, dignified and powerful. They are recognized by both the Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA) and the Bulgarian Republican Federation of Cynology (BRFC) a member of the FCI.

Description

greater swiss mountain dog puppySwissies, as they are often referred to as, are large, robust dogs, standing at 65–72cm and weighing anything between 50 – 70kg, with the females being slightly smaller and weighing a little less.

He has big, rounded paws, medium length floppy ears, a broad chest and a long tail. This is a heavy-boned dog, strong while still being agile.

His dense, double coat is black, white and tan or rust, with black on top of the dog's back, ears, tail and legs. There are two rust dots above each eye. The coat can be short and straight to medium length, coarse and wavy. The dog sheds throughout the year with a major shedding a couple of times a year.

Temperament:

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a sociable canine, thriving on being part of a loving human family. While he used to be a working farm dog, today he is essentially a family pet, though he loves to still be busy.

He is generally friendly with strangers, but just like with all other dog breeds, he will need to be trained and socialized to turn him into an even-tempered, obedient dog, capable of getting on well with children and pets in the the home.

bulgarian shepherd puppyA massive, powerful and muscular Molosser, the Bulgarian Shepherd is strong, agile, powerful and fast. They are intelligent and reliable. They have a long, thick, harsh coat in white with patches of black. Their skull is massive and broad with a furrowed forehead. The muzzle is massive as well while the nose has wide nostrils and is fairly large. It has close fitting, thick lips with strong, scissor bite jaws. The Bulgarian Shepherd’s eyes are deep, oblique and small. They are either hazel or dark. They have an intelligent and confident, yet firm almost grim expression.

Their ears are low set, small and v-shaped. They sit close to the head which sits on a powerful but short neck. They have a broad back, well-muscled body with a deep chest and long, rough tail. Their gait is a trot with a spring in their step. There are two types of coats – longhaired and shorthaired with no undercoats.

Health Problems

greater swiss mountain dog dogThe GSMD or Sennenhund, as his name is shortened to, is a fairly healthy dog breed, with very few health issues.

He has an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years, and although not likely, he can suffer from minor problems such as gastric torsion as well as female urinary incontinence. If your female dog is dribbling urine in her sleep, there are a number of reasons that can be causing it - bladder infections, a medical condition or a weakened bladder with spayed female dogs.

It is certainly time to get your pet to the vet who will recommend a urinalysis.

bulgarian shepherd dogThe breed itself is known to be healthy but they do face some of the usual health issues of the massive, giant breeds. This includes knee and elbow dislocation; hip dysplasia; bloat; entropion and osteosarcoma. All of these conditions require medical intervention, but bloat and osteosarcoma are the deadliest. Bloat needs immediate attention and osteosarcoma is a deadly bone cancer.

Caring The Pet

Diet:

greater swiss mountain dog puppiesThe Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a robust dog and thrives on a diet of kibble to raw meat to some cooked home-made food such as chicken, brown rice and vegetables.

A serious issue with the GSMD is overfeeding, resulting in uncomfortable digestive problems and of course, obesity.

Exercise:

Your GSMD isn’t a dog that is going to require a lot of exercise like some of the other dog breeds there are, but still his working career of the past requires that he still be taken on daily walks, enjoys ball- and rope games and to go swimming.

Grooming:

Brush your dogs coat at least twice a week to remove loose hears. Other grooming aspects include cleaning the ears to avoid infection, clipping his nails and brushing his teeth at least twice a week.

If you’re not sure how to do all these things, there are useful accessories for dogs that allow you to do all this grooming on your own. Your vet can also show you how as these are all things that will require ongoing attention.

Feeding

bulgarian shepherd puppiesThese are large dogs with large appetites, but you want to keep them lean and active. Feed them at least twice a day with a high quality large or giant dog dry food. Four to five cups of food per day is the maximum.

Health issues

Patellar Luxation – a floating kneecap or dislocated knee. Will cause lameness.

Bloat - distended or twisted stomach. Can cause death.

Osteosarcoma – bone cancer must be treated immediately as it is potentially fatal.

Entropion – eye issues when the eyelid turns inward and damages the eye.

Hip Dysplasia – May cause lameness and arthritis.

Exercise and games

The Bulgarian Shepherd needs a good amount of exercise every day. Remember this is a working breed and they need a job. Long walks every day are essential for his well-being.

Characteristics

greater swiss mountain dog dogsThe Swissy is an easy going dog and adapts easily into his human family’s lifestyle. He is big, but agile dog known for his gentle temperament.

While he loves the outdoors, he is a social dog and loves nothing more than coming indoors and being close to his human family.

He loves his family and won’t do well if left outside for days without human companionship. Treat him well and you’ll be rewarded with a loyal, loving 4-legged family member.

bulgarian shepherd dogsThis is a working dog, intelligent and independent guard dog. Reserved around strangers but loyal and devoted with his family. Tolerant of children in their family if they were raised with them. Not only will she defend human family members, she will guard and defend household pets as well. He is quite capable of making her own independent decisions. These are very intense guard dogs that will respond aggressively if they think their people are being attacked.

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