Activities & Titles
(click on the underlined links for more information on each activity)
Drafting goes back to the historical roots of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog breed. Working for a living, the Swissy pulled heavy carts from the dairy farms of Switzerland to market to allow the farmer to sell their goods. Today we celebrate the history of our breed through Draft tests designed to mimic the types of obstacles a working Swissy may have had to negotiate while pulling a cart. Standing calm in harness and working steadily, dog and handler team demonstrate their proficiency to work as a team to negotiate a set course and earn various levels of Draft titles.
Weight Pulling demonstrates the physical brawn of the Greater Swiss Mountain dog and the strength of heart this breed exhibits to please its master. Working away from the handler with no physical contact allowed, the dog must start a cart from a standing position and pull the cart a total of 16 feet. Swissys show off sheer physical strength and earn titles as proof of their willingness to work. Swissys have demonstrated extreme abilities and the current record pull stands at over 4000 pounds.
Strap on a pack and join the fun! Pack Dog hikes offer an opportunity to get back to nature amongst the support and encouragement of other Swissy owners. Hike intensity will vary with terrain, but this is a sport that most Swissys can excel in with just a little effort put towards preparation. Dogs need to be fit and ready to carry 20% of their body weight over a 10 mile trail. Owners must be fit enough to tag along.
Conformation is the judging of breeding stock amongst each other and against the Breed Standard. Dogs are evaluated to determine their value in the breeding programs across the country. Dogs compete first and foremost for their Championship Title, but many go on to compete as a Champion for National rankings. The GSMDCA offers special recognition for dogs ranking in the top 10 in breed and all-breed points, as well as special ranking systems rewarding owner handlers and breeder/owner handlers.
Dogs and handlers enter obedience trials to demonstrate their ability to complete various tasks amongst a high level of distractions. Competitive obedience offers a very stylized manner of skill in performing on lead and off lead control. Dogs are judged on different skills at different levels. Beginning levels evaluate heeling skills, the recall and stationary exercises. Intermediate levels expand to evaluate retrieving and jumping. Advanced levels include off lead heeling and control at a distance without verbal commands, directed retrieving, scent discrimination and directed jumping.
Rally is a "relaxed" form of obedience. Many of the skills required are the same, but rally offers the ability to maintain verbal communication from handler to dog. While Obedience is very "formal", rally is much more "informal", with a relaxed rather than precise heel position. Rally can provide a good starting point for handlers/dogs to move on to excel in obedience. If you are not sure about obedience, Rally is a fantastic place to start!
The Swissy is bred to not only posess brawn, they are also bred to be remarkably agile for their size. Swissys continue to demonstrate their ability on the agility course with their ability to run the course clean and under time. We hope to see more and more Swissys venturing into the agility ring in the future. 2009 marks the first year that agility will be available in conjunction with our National Specialty and we hope to see plenty of Swissys on the course as well as in the ring!
Strong herding instinct stems from the historical purpose of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. Though bred to function as a draft dog, the Swissy was truly multi-purpose and was also used to manage livestock (primarily dairy cattle) in the mountains of their native Switzerland. Swissys demonstrate these abilities through herding trials with various types of livestock.
Tracking demonstrates the ability of the dog to follow a human trail over various terrains and distances. Tracking is a formalized demonstration of Search and Rescue abilities as dogs follow an aged human trail and signal any objects that may have been dropped along the trail. Tracking takes some dedicated training but most dogs can succeed if trained. Very few Swissys have ventured into the Tracking venue, but those that have prove their abilities.
©1996-2009 Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America
The Versatility and Working titles are designed to spotlight dog/handler teams that work together in a wide variety of events. They are awarded in recognition of the accomplishments of GSMDs in a wide range of activities: conformation, obedience, drafting, weight pulling, packing, stock work, and other activities in which certification is earned.
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America