Generally, Swissys are quite easy keepers if a few basic recommendations are followed:


Generally, Swissys are quite easy keepers if a few basic recommendations are followed:

Dry food: Feed a high quality dog food such as Iams, Eukanuba, Science Diet, Nutro, ProPlan, etc. Most premium dog foods have products appropriate for the age and size of the dog, and many now have large breed puppy and adult formulas.

Swissy puppies should be fed a large breed puppy formula until they are at least 6 months but preferably 12 months old. It is recommended to feed puppies 3 times per day until they are about 6 months old. The quantity is adjusted in accordance with age and the pup's level of activity. Most Swissys will be eating about 5-6 cups per day by the time they are 6 months old.

Young and adult Swissys should be fed an adult or large breed formula at least twice daily. As with the puppy, an adult's ration must correspond with the dog's overall activity level. Many Swissy owners add a small amount of water to the food prior to feeding. A general recommendation is to limit vigorous exercise an hour or so before and after feeding.

Raw food (BARF) diet: If you decide to raise your Swissy on a natural diet of raw foods, be sure to follow nutritional guides such as the BARF (bones and raw food) diet advanced by Dr. Ian Billinghurst from Australia and other knowledgeable proponents of this feeding method. Remember, improperly formulated home made natural diets may be nutritionally imbalanced and could cause more harm than good. There are now many brands of commercially produced and correctly formulated raw food products available that take the experimentation factor out of raw feeding.

At Brush Creek, our Swissys are raised and maintained on Eukanuba. In addition, they regularly get raw knuckle bones, ground raw chicken backs, ground meat and ground up or cooked vegetables.


Opinions regarding the addition of supplements such as vitamins, minerals, herbal mixtures, nutraceuticals, etc. to a dog's regular diet vary widely, from outright advocacy over conditional support to complete opposition. There are some excellent books available on subjects such as natural health, holistic alternatives etc. Swissy breeders and owners who use supplements are also a good source of information.

Brush Creek Swissys are supplemented daily with Sodium Ascorbate (a form of Vit. C), Vit. E, an herbal supplement, Olewo carrots (pelletized dried carrots) and when needed, with digestive enzymes such as Fastrack and Universal Enzyme Formula.

Health Care

Veterinary care: Whether you choose a professional practicing conventional veterinary medicine or one active in the increasingly popular fields of alternative veterinary care such as holistic care, homeopathy, acupuncture and other natural healing methods, it is indispensable to have a good, reliable relationship with a veterinarian who is thoroughly familiar with large breeds, even better with Swissys.

Vaccinations: In recent years, veterinary schools have begun to develop new vaccination protocols and in 2006, the American Animal Hospital Association issued the "AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines for the General Veterinary Practice" based on the "lack of scientific evidence to support the current practice of annual vaccination and increasing documentation showing that overvaccinating has been associated with harmful side effects (..) such as autoimmune hemolitic anemia in dogs."

Obviously, these are general recommendations that do not apply to every and all dogs. Factors such as geographic location, living circumstances and activities have to be considered. Ask your veterinarian about the prevalence in your area of diseases not included in protocols such as the one recommended by AAHA.

At Brush Creek, we follow and recommend to our puppy buyers the AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines. We modify this protocol for our adults according to their activities such as involvement in dog events, pregnancies etc.

Internal and external parasite control: In most areas of the country, heartworm prevention is a must. Some of the monthly heartworm medications such as HeartguardPlus, Sentinel , Interceptor etc. also control other internal parasites such as roundworm and others. To date, all these medications require veterinary prescription.

Flea and tick control has become simple with the advent in recent years of once a month topical products such as Advantage, Frontline (available from veterinarians, catalogs and on-line), BioSpot (stores, catalogs, on-line), etc. In general, fleas are more of a problem in suburban settings while ticks prevail in rural areas.

At Brush Creek, we use Frontline, BioSpot and Ivermectin to keep our Swissys free of mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and heartworm. We usually start external parasite prevention in April and stop in October or whenever the first hard frost knocks out all those nasty little critters while heartworm prevention is given all year.


Swissys are quite low maintenance when it comes to grooming. Their short double coat does not require extensive care, but remember, Swissys will shed! So be prepared to get used to ever present Swissy hair in your home!

Coat: Weekly brushing usually is sufficient except during shedding time in spring when daily brushing and the use of a shedding tool such as the Furminator may become necessary. Unless you show your Swissy, bathing is recommended only every 2-4 months, unless of course the dog gets "skunked" or decides to roll in something not compatible with the human nose! Keep in mind that some tick and flea products such as BioSpot will loose efficacy with shampooing.

Nails: Keep your Swissy's nails short by clipping or grinding them with a grinding tool such as as a Dremel at least biweekly. Most Swissys do not like their feet to be handled, hence it is important to start to trim the nails of puppies regularly to get them used to the procedure. Remember, it is much easier to accustom a puppy to nail trimming than a fully grown irate adult! A Swissy initiated to nail clipping as a puppy might still not particularly like it as an adult, but at least he will tolerate it.

Ears: Like other drop-eared breeds , Swissys are prone to bacterial and fungal infections. Basically, this is a question of air circulation, since open or erect ears dry out better and provide less favorable conditions for bacterial and fungal growth. Watch for redness of the ear flap and the ear canal, excessive head shaking and ear scratching bad odor or a brownish-blackish discharge. In Swissys, the most common ear infections are secondary fungus or yeast infections caused by excessive wax build-up and moisture.

Check your Swissy's ears regularly. If the inside of the ear flap and tip of the ear canal are dirty, they can be cleaned with a soft cloth or cotton ball. You can carefully insert your finger into the ear canal but do not use a Q-tip as incorrect use can damage or push wax deeper into the canal. Commercially available ear cleaning solutions are available. Some veterinarians use their own cleaning mixtures.

At Brush Creek, we check our Swissys ears periodically. The cleaning solution we use is a recipe from our veterinarian. It is a solution of equal parts of white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and water. Vinegar helps to maintain the ph balance in the ear, alcohol is a drying agent.


Swissys were bred as hardy working dogs able to withstand inclement weather and moderate temperature variations in Western Europe. They lived outside and took shelter in dog houses, barns or whatever buildings were available. They worked in rain, snow, heat and cold.

Hence, Swissys do not have to live inside a home at all times. They will easily adjust to accommodations other than your couch or bed. However, we have to take into consideration the vast climatic differences in this country. Swissys will have to spend necessarily more time indoors in hot or humid Arizona or Florida than in more temperate Oregon or Pennsylvania. But Swissys will adjust to humidity and heat quite well as long as they have access to shade, a cool surface to lie on and plenty of water in a well ventilated area. And while they are used to cold temperatures, they are not arctic sled dogs and thus cannot be expected to behave as such.

Remember, where your Swissy sleeps is not nearly as important as where he is when you are at home and not sleeping, too!