How many Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are in the United States?

To complement the recent Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Health Survey on the OFA website (, I’ve created a graph of American Kennel Club registrations by year broken down into dogs and litters.

*1995 was the first year of registrations for the GSMD. There were not 931 dogs born that year. Many of those dogs (adults mostly) were registered for the first time with AKC in 1995. It is more representative of the number of actual Swissies in the US as opposed to number of puppies only. *There are some dogs that are not registered. I’m would make a very rough estimate of 5-15% based on the number of people I know with registered / unregistered dogs. You can make your own estimates and apply them to AKC’s records.

*Not all dogs are registered because people forget to register their dogs or the “breeders” don’t find registration valuable.

Flying Home with Your Puppy

Flying home with a puppy, even with the post COVID and new airline animal regulations, can be stress free with a little preparation. Roman Reign puppies are Puppy Culture raised, logging many hours riding around in a vehicle and traveling in an airline bag. They are either paper trained or litter trained by the time they go home.

Our recommended airlines are Delta (and their partners) and Southwest. Do note that Delta requires puppies to be at least 10 weeks for flying. You will book a flight, round trip from your selected airport to MSP. We typically recommend flying in and then flying out the same day for ease, but spreading it across two days is fine too. We also recommend at least 90 mins between your flight landing and the departure flight so we have ample time to meet you in passenger pick up.

Once you have booked your flight, you will call the airline to book your pet on the flight home. The reservation agent will typically ask of the species, age, breed, weight of dog, type of carrier, and size of the carrier. Most carriers have the sizes listed on the product information. For those who do not already have a carrier, we can get one for $20 or so for you to take home. The typical size of those are 18 x 10 x 10 inches.


If you are looking to purchase a carrier for regular trips (i.e. multiple uses), our favorite is the Sturdibag size large or extra large. These bags are not inexpensive, but they are worth it. I try to find them used on local resale sites or ebay. The extra large will fit under the plane seat. If the airline representative questions it, you can easily use your hand to show that the top is flexible.

When you arrive at the MSP airport, we will pick you up, go to a local coffee shop or park, talk you through all the supplies, and drop you off at the airport. We will provide litter or paper pads for the trip home. We will feed your puppy on the normal schedule, but we do recommend withholding food until you arrive home so your puppy doesn’t need to make a bowel movement at the airport or on the plane.

When you arrive back at the MSP airport, you will check in at the desk for your airline. Most airlines will not allow you to use the online check in for a flight with a dog. You will need to pay the pet fee at the counter as well. For Delta, you will have to go to the Agent Assist counter as opposed to the regular check in counters. Some agents will ask for proof of age when checking in, and you can use the vaccine record or vet exam record that contains the date of birth.

When you go through security, you will go through whichever way your ticket allows. When you enter the screening area, you will put all your items through the screening process, put your dog carrier on the counter, and then take your puppy out of the bag. It is easiest to take out the puppy at the very last minute so you’re not trying to juggle your luggage and a new excited puppy.

Carry your puppy through whatever security device you are required to go through. Sometimes, they’ll want to do additional screening on your items. Things that seem suspicious going through screening are odd shaped dog chews, bags of dog food, and copious amounts of hair brushes. When you get through security, put your puppy in the carrier, gather your things, and head over to your next destination, a flight lounge, the bar, or the gate.

When at the airport, I try to attract as little attention to my dog as possible. Well-meaning bystanders can sometimes cause you trouble. There are a fair share of people in the world who have uninformed opinions about the role of dogs in our society, the role a dog should play in your life, where you should get a dog, how a dog should be traveling on a plane, what kind of carrier is appropriate for a dog, and some sort of Karen disorder. Some of these people will start a rallying cry to the airline representatives to refuse you to board with your puppy. It is best to just avoid getting into the middle of a fight or having to change your plans because someone else can’t mind their own business.

At the MSP airport, there is a dog relief room inside the secure area. If you do not want to use  that room, you can put down a pad on the floor in the human bathroom. I usually go into the handicap stall if it is not occupied.

Your puppy can usually go several hours without having to use the bathroom, but you’ll want to offer the opportunity to relieve him/herself before each leg of your flight home. After boarding, you’ll want to remove all unnecessary items from the carrier like a leash. You can allow your puppy to have a bully stick if you like. On the flight, your puppy will likely sleep for hours. If your puppy gets too warm in the bag, you’ll want to open up the carrier vents to allow air circulation. If your puppy whines, you can slide your feet under the bag and rock your puppy back to sleep if needed. Upon arrival, give your puppy an opportunity to use the bathroom.

Upcoming Weight Pull Jan 23-24th!

The IWPA Weight pull will be on Jan 23-24th at SouthPaws Playschool, 2324 South Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX. 

You may also sign up online to reserve your spot here (Novice dogs only):  You will pay the entry fee on the day of the event.  Dogs competing for titles should not use the online sign up. 

If you are interested in the IWPA sanctioned weight pull competition (Sunday), weigh in will be at 9:00am. Pulling starts at 10:00.  Weigh in NOT required for novice rounds. You may enter any of the novice rounds up to the time it begins.  Please see for specific rules in the competitive rounds.  Novice teams should be treated like training rounds.

Weight pull general info:

Any dog can participate and earn a title through IWPA for weight pulling.

What’s the fee? Free for spectators. $10 for novice rounds – enter when you get there. Consider novice rounds a training session and a chance to see if your dog enjoys it. I will have harnesses for you to use. Most dogs take to a harness quickly. $25 for competition rounds.

What can my dog get out of weight pulling? Physical activity, confidence building, socializing, and improving their relationship with you.

What do I need to train my dog to do before then for weight pull? The come or recall command. Your dog should have basic control.

What’s the most weight a dog has ever pulled? The most I’ve seen is 50000 lbs.  Most dogs in healthy condition can pull 10x their body weight without any additional physical training.

When do I enter? On the day of the event. Novice can enter any time before the round begins. Professional/competition rounds must be entered and weighed in before the start of the pull.

Who can participate? Anyone and any breed. No registry or club membership required.

What should I bring? Your dog on leash and yourself. Camping chair and crate if desired. I will have harnesses available for dogs 20 lbs to 160 lbs.

My dog is small. Is there anything for us to do? Yes! Even the “little” ones can weight pull. There have been Jack Russells and Italian Greyhounds that pull with success!

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