In the Beginning
My husband and I fell in love with Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs when we got our first Swissy puppy in 2003. Little did we know at the time that our little puppy, Barney, would lead us into a whole new world of "all things dog" and change our lives forever.
It began when we picked up our little Barney and I promised his breeder that I would show him in conformation. I didn't know anything about showing dogs, but I wanted that puppy so bad I would have promised anything! But still, a promise is a promise and after all, how hard could it be to run around a ring with your dog on a leash? So, when Barney was 6 months old, off to the show ring we went.
Rut-row! My first show ring experiences were humbling at best. I quickly realized that there was much more to this dog showing thing than I initially thought and I was totally unprepared. I needed to learn... a lot!... and I needed to learn quickly. So what to do?
I decided that the fastest way to learn would be to surround myself with dog people and immerse myself in dogdom. And so, as a travel agent, I combined my business with my new-found love of all things dog and created the K9 College Cruise. The K9 College Cruise features seminars at sea conducted by a faculty of experts on a wide and always changing variety of dog topics. Now in it's 11th year, the event has surpassed anything I could have imagined. It's highly attended by breeders and dog performance enthusiasts from all across the United States, Canada and abroad. It's been a totally rewarding experience for me and a phenomenal educational opportunity for everyone who attends. My mission was accomplished!
Our Life with Swissys
Since 2003, we've added more Swissys to our family and have spent many years showing dogs, raising puppies, training dogs, and continuing to study all aspects of our canine children. We sold our home of 25 years in 2006 and moved to a property where our dogs would have more room to run and play. We call our home SwissKiss Farm, but calling it a "Farm" is admittedly a stretch. We don't operate a farm, we just have 4 fenced-in acres for our Swissys to enjoy. But there's a barn on the property so we decided it could qualify as a "Farm". (Anyway, SwissKiss House just doesn't sound good!)
We don't have a kennel at SwissKiss Farm. Our dogs are first and foremost treasured family members who live with us, sleep with us, and travel everywhere with us. We would never have more dogs than we could accommodate in our home or more than we can give individualized attention and training to.
Our Breeding Program
After diligent preparation and careful thought to the responsibilities we assume as breeders, we started our own breeding program. Our goal is to contribute, in our own small way, to the betterment of the breed we love by producing puppies who are sound in Body, Mind, and Spirit.
We strive to produce dogs who conform to the AKC breed standards, are structurally sound and able to perform the jobs that Swissys were initially bred to do. A sound dog will be able to do whatever is asked of him, whether it be in the conformation ring, performance sports, or a family pet. Breedings are chosen very carefully based on health clearances, pedigrees and our personal knowledge of each dog.
The temperament of the Swissy is just as important as his structure. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog should never show any signs of aggressiveness and should not be timid and fearful. Temperament is influenced by two factors: environment and genetics. Which factor has the greatest influence is debatable, but we believe it's the environment in which the puppy is raised, particularly during the first 16 weeks of his life, that has the greatest impact on his temperament.
We are extremely diligent about raising our puppies. While they are with us for the first 8 or 9 weeks of their life, we go to great lengths to expose them to as many different people, sounds, surfaces, smells, textures, and experiences as is possible to squeeze into that short timeframe. When they go to their new homes, we require our puppy buyers to continue an outlined socialization regimen during the next 8 weeks of their puppy's. life. You can learn more about our puppy raising philosophy on the Puppy Raising page of our website.
We influence the genetic factor of temperament by breeding only to dogs who we personally know to have sound temperaments.
Ahhh... the spirit of the Swissy!. It's what has captured our hearts. Every dog has a unique spirit, or personality. No two are alike. Their personalities are as varied as people's. But there are certain traits that constitute the essence of the breed that we strive to reproduce. A dog who is structurally sound and mentally stable should be confident and outgoing, perhaps even bold. He'll be unafraid to face any new situation. He'll be inquisitive, eager to learn and happy to do whatever you ask of him... from performance sports to snuggling on the couch and anything in between. He'll be a trusted and loving family companion who will surely steal your heart.
Sound Body, Sound Mind, Sound Spirit... These are our goals.
We are members of:
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America
Mid-Atlantic Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club
Chesapeake & Potomac Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club