Our passion for Service Dog training started nearly two decades ago with experience working with three different service dog organizations in various roles. We regularly get asked if Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs or Lowchen make good service dog prospects. While we strive to breed and raise dogs with disposition and foundation ideal for service work, training dogs is not without challenges. Here’s some details on both breeds.
Do Greater Swiss make good service dogs? In general, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are NOT an ideal breed for service work. Though, their larger size and history of pulling carts lends themselves to being physically built for mobility work. They are a sentinel breed that can make them difficult to use for public access. They can alarm to things that they find “out of order,” and it is more common for them to escalate emotions rather than de-escalate emotions making psych work more challenging. Some also have more “stranger danger” than others. This is good as they may ignore strangers in public, or it might not be good if the handler is unconscious and the dog deems all strangers as foe. *At most, Greater Swiss may bark at strangers. More than that is unacceptable temperament.
However, there are individual Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs that can be very successful service dogs. Identifying those individual Greater Swiss Mountain Dog puppies that may be ideal for service work is a highly involved task. *With that said, we have seen successful Greater Swiss Service Dogs. Read this article for more in depth information about the breed’s temperament.
If you are set on having a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog as your next service dog prospect, here’s some tips on finding a breeder who raises puppies with temperaments appropriate temperament, a breeder who is capable of evaluating puppies for service work, and tends to have dog with the appropriate temperament.
- Anyone can claim that they sell dogs to service dog homes. Do take note that the vast majority of accountable Greater Swiss breeders will redirect homes to look at other breeders that are more appropriate for service work. If you come across a breeder who is eager to sell a service dog prospect, please dig deeper into the breeder’s ability to evaluate a dog, understanding of the requirements to be a service dog, and raises puppies to have the best chance of being a successful service dog.
- Look for evidence that the breeder is socializing the puppies appropriately.
- Talk to the breeder in depth about service dog legal protections. Red flags are breeders who do not know the difference between service dog, emotional support dog, and therapy dog.
- Many people on the Internet will claim that they have a Greater Swiss Service dog when in fact, they mean that they have an emotional support dog (ESA). Greater Swiss can make excellent ESAs, as there are little to no training requirements.
- Some individuals will claim because their dog might fetch objects or open the dog, the dog is a service dog. While the dog may be helping with a task at home, our expectation of working service dogs is to be reliable in public.
Are Lowchen good for service work? *Lowchens can make wonderful service dogs, particularly medical alert, because they are extremely attuned to their humans, great problem solvers, and quite biddable. Their small size, robust health, and non-shedding qualities make them an ideal candidate for many non-mobility tasks. Read this article for more in depth information about the breed’s temperament.