I’m constantly asked “how did you choose a Swissy?” or “what breed would work best for me because of [this]?” I’ve found most people already have a breed in mind and just want validation from someone else regarding the breed they want.
Here’s the thing-
The dog you want is not always the dog you need.
From the beginning process of figuring out the breed for me until Anakin came home was roughly 13 months.
That’s well over a year into planning Anakin coming home. A Swissy was not a whim for me nor should it be to anyone else considering bringing home a large breed dog.
Now, how did I narrow things down?
It started out with three categories:
- Things I Need
- Things I’ll Compromise On
- Things I Absolutely Don’t Want
Under each category I filled in basic traits that were important and pertained to me. Once that was filled in I did basic Google searches like “dogs over 70 pounds” or “large dogs with short life spans”. From there I filled in the chart with the breeds I had found.
Now this process wasn’t fast. From start to finish my chart took about 2.5 months. I’m not saying you should take this long, this is just how long it took me to become comfortable with all of my options.
Once I had my center breeds (the ones who met all of my criteria) it took me another 2 weeks to finally land on Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.
Okay. I finally had my breed. My new problem was how do I go about owning one?
A breeder was the obvious choice.
Going through the AKC seemed the best option. Through them I found the national breed club webpage with breeder’s broken down by state. Staying within my state wasn’t an issue since I was willing to travel for my puppy.
From a very lengthy list I narrowed it down to three breeders in no particular order. This process took me a solid two months. Narrowing down the breeders wasn’t something I took lightly. This person would be in my life in some capacity for the next 13-15 years of my dog’s life.
One breeder never called me back. Another wasn’t comfortable selling to a service dog home. To say I was dreading and nervous about talking to my final top three breeder was an understatement… Luckily, her and I hit it off. (Obviously if you followed my recent trip to visit her in her new home.)
After speaking with her I visited her and her husband at a Swissy event. From there another visit when the puppies were 7 weeks old with a final visit during their temperament testing.
Thirteen months from start to finish. The wait was long but doing this the right way has paid off in the long run.
I’m incredibly happy with my dog and the relationship I’ve cultivated with my breeder is invaluable.
I’m not saying you have to take this long to plan your next dog. I’m not saying this is the process for you. What I am saying is pick the dog you need, not the dog you want.