Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund

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            Detta skrev jag 2003 då den amerikanska databasen kom ut på nätet, hittade inte min svenska skrivelse utan lägger ut den här på engelska. 
Tyvärr fick den databasen problem och finns inte kvar idag vilket är synd men det finns en del andra liknande källor som är fritt att söka information på.


 Looking back is one way of going forwards....

When I first came across this database I became so inspired and spent hours looking out for old dogs. Many breeders and dog owners are looking into the future but for me it was a nostalgic trip back. When I first lay my eyes on a swissy for 30 years ago, I was hooked. It was not only to have a dog, it became a bit of obsession, and I could not get enough of collecting everything about this very special breed.
At that point here in Sweden, there where no problems the numbers of GSMD was only 25. The first GSMD in Sweden was a bitch Dana von Fryberg born 1964 she had 1 litter with a danish male Katla Sera Dadi in 1967 some of the puppies had long hair so the breeder did not take any more litters.

1972 went Kennel Tryggestads owner Greta Hammar to Switzerland to get GSM dogs, she was one of the first to bring in Bernese MD to Sweden back in the 50`s. She brought back 2 females Briska von Dreispitz and Daisy vom Buchsimoos and one male Ari vom Amtssitz and her first litter was born 1974. This was the beginning of GSMD in Sweden. Next import came 1974 Götz von Thumegg born in Austria 1972. 1975 came Caro von der Houzbrügg born in Switzerland. To start a new breed with 5 dogs was not easy and some of the dogs used then may not have been used today.
It was a hugh work to collect info about the backgrounds of these imported dogs. I had the opportunity by being a member in the swiss club to receive lots of info about the early dogs there.
Looking back on these first 5 Swedish dogs pedigrees I find 3 of the most used stud dogs in Switzerland Miggu von Fälliwald 43 litters/174 puppies, Judo von Fryberg 37 litter/141 puppies and Zarass von Fryberg 36 litters/150 puppies. Interesting to see when we today talk about inbreeding value, in some pedigrees of 4 generations (30 lines) the same male could appear 8 to 10 times.
I made pedigrees on paper for as much dogs I could find and made a register over the information I collected. When I made pedigrees at that time It really showed how close related the dogs where. The same dogs come up over and over again.

Today most people have interest in 3-5 lines back in the pedigrees; step away back to 6-8 and these dogs show up again. And with using this excellent database it’s no more hard work.
Maybe you think - why spending time to look back. During these 30 years so many more have been into this breed and hopefully everyone that cares will join in here with their informations and photos. Looking back is one way of going forwards - By looking in to the database and go back in line of your dog gives a lot of information how the breed have progress.
What is the progress of the breed today, what have happen during these 94 years since the Swiss club started.  By using the database and other sources on internet, see photos of dogs from the past, even if it’s impossible to be total sure only from a photo – can we say the breed looks different or better today?
The numbers of dogs in the world are much larger today, but still it is not so easy to find suitable dogs for breeding. I am not so impressed of show pictures, I prefer to see dogs in a natural habitat showing themselves. I am not sure the breed is better today, the difference is that we today have more tools to use and we know more about how to use them.
What is important to tell about a stud dog or a bitch, often the focus is on how the dog looks, titles and health status. For me when I look around the info sources, there is much more to be aware of. The background of the dog, parents, siblings and other offspring’s. What is the value of a good dog suitable for breeding?
Most of the dogs showing up for public eyes are the ones that are used for breeding. They are only a small % in the population, what about all the rest. Hopefully we will be able in this database to see more of all these dogs that are “only” a family member somewhere. They are very important for the whole picture of the breed.
From all my research I would say we still have the same as it was from the beginning. Many different types of GSMD. Size is one thing people talking about. The standard was made to be a guideline but the difference was much bigger. By collecting fact about weights and heights of old dog from Switzerland I can say that many people imagine the GSMD bigger then it really was. There are dogs with heads like rottweilers, St Bernhard  and bloodhounds and going back in the lines we can see where it came from.
Health -  This is the absolute hardest things to collect, and it is also the most important thing. There is no dog breeder in the world that is breeding only healthy dogs. I put breeders in 2 categories – One that keep records of their breeding and is open with the information. The other is the opposite – no info or no records more then the dogs they use. I have come across breeders with lots of litters saying we do not have HD, ED, OCD, and Epilepsy and so on and when I look closer I can see that many dogs are not X-rayed or have a health status. Looking to the health issues in the breed today we have the knowledge about most of the things that can show up. To breed is sometimes a gambling – you can get healthy dogs in one litter and then the same dog can give unhealthy dogs with an other male. Even if there is nothing wrong with the dogs used, it can be something behind them that makes the different. To keep a good record of the dogs and go back to see what info there is can make a big difference.
Coats and colours – The GSMD should have an undercoat, many of the shiny black dogs we see do not have that any longer. This can be because the living standard have changed for many dogs today living inside in too warm habitat. Colours – I am sure there where even from the beginning dogs with too much white. The standard is allowing more white on a GSMD then it does on the other 3 swiss dogs. Is it important! – many say no it is the last thing to be aware about. I do agree that health is the most important thing – I do not agree that colours are of no importants.
It was interesting to see and look back how the changing in colours appears from country to country. Today we have 2 standards, one here in Europe and one in the US. Maybe it’s not fare to compare, here in Europe we also have dogs with to much white. What more follow the white colour, long white socks on the forelegs make the brown marks disappear, and the black colour seems to be lighter with a pale brown colour going to fare up on the back legs. The white blaze going up over the skull and down to the neck or a white chest going wide up and around the neck. These marks make a different dog for me and it should be considering when people choose a partner for their dogs also. It is clear that the white colours are following the lines and it is one of the most easy things to get hold on by looking on photos.
Everyone that has been falling for a swissy have their own picture of what a perfect GSMD is for them. Maybe all these different looking dogs is the charm of the breed, if  you search around, go back in lines of your dog and compare, the past goes hand in hand with the future.
Going back to our Swedish swissies before I close this writing. In the 80´s we had more swissies and breeders then today and the breed is living on the edge now. It is much easier to travel with your bitch today and use a male outside the country. Unfortunelly there is not so many suitable bitches left and to bring in a puppy can be done but it is also more expensive and needs a larger interest. The numbers of dogs is going down and a fast counting would say we have about 200 dogs today. Many of these are also no longer young dogs and for the last couple of years the numbers of litters have been very low. Hopefully more people will open their eyes for the breed so we can enjoy meeting a Swedish swissy in the future as well.
One thing that is the same all around the world - having a swissy is to have a great four legged friend that makes your life different.
There will never be a perfect dog, the only goal must be to have healthy dogs and try to keep them within the standard so they look like a GSMD and have the right temperament.



© Swiss Dogs 2001