In our journey towards becoming breeders, we have also learned about the efforts of GSMD breeders to promote health, sound structure, ideal temperament, longevity and viability of the breed. We plan to continue this effort through seeking OFA clearances, including eyes, shoulders, elbows, and hips, as well as participating in any relevant testing for suspected genetic conditions within the breed. There are currently no proven specific genetic diseases within Swissies, though there are some known minor genetic eye conditions. Large breeds in general are more susceptible to joint dysplasia, bloat, and osteosarcoma, so these are also being studied within the breed. Rates of illness in Swissies for pretty much all of these diseases do not currently exceed the averages within the general dog population. Swissies in particular DO appear more susceptible to splenic torsion, often associated with bloat, but a genetic component has not been established.
Additionally, while the incidence of epilepsy, specifically idiopathic (no known structural or environmental cause) epilepsy, has not yet been demonstrated to be more common in Swissies than in the rest of the general canine population; when it does occur, it is often more severe and challenging to manage. For this reason, many breeders do their best to avoid breeding dogs that have epilepsy or have produced puppies with epilepsy, though given the age of onset can be after a dog has been bred multiple times, this can prove challenging.
To view ongoing and past research initiatives through the AKC Canine Health Foundation for our breed, click on the following link and select "Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs" to view all past and present research initiatives. Some studies have remained inconclusive and therefore no formal publications have been made.