Mountain dogs are those that are usually used for herding cattle or sheep on big ranches or farms. These dogs are generally quite big in size, and can tolerate temperatures that are difficult for humans to function in, in the outdoors. Many of these dogs are also used in search and rescue missions in mountain ranges where it is difficult for people to carry out rescue operations. These dogs normally fall in the working category, and are bred for specific purposes.
Mountain dogs are not like our usual pet breeds. They cannot sit at home and do with a medium-sized yard to play in. These dogs need a lot of space; they are outdoorsy creatures, workers to be precise, and their care, diet, housing, and training all differ.
Read the following paragraphs to know more about the different mountain dog breeds.
1. St. Bernard
The breed that has been credited with saving more than 2,500 travelers lost in the snow was named for the Hospice du Grand St. Bernard in Switzerland, where the monks have bred these large dogs since the 17th century. The Saint needs lots of room indoors and out for regular daily exercise. This dog is great for children who won’t be bowled over by its size, and it’s an excellent watchdog.
2. Bernese Mountain Dog
Regarded by many as the most beautiful of the four breeds of Swiss Mountain Dogs, the Bernese is the only one with a long coat. Its ancestry traces to mastiff-type dogs of Roman times, which crossbred with local herding dogs to produce offspring smaller in stature but just as trustworthy and devoted.
The Great Pyrenees is an elegant, longhaired, gentle giant. Owners credit the Pyr with the ability to sense danger, thus determining the trustworthiness of individuals it encounters. A calm dog with dignity, the Pyr has guarded families and flocks in the Pyrenean mountains for centuries.
4. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, or Swissy to its friends, is one of the four breeds known as the Swiss Sennenhunde (others being Bernese Mountain Dog, Appenzeller and Entlebucher). The versatile Swissy drove cattle, protected their people and even fought in battle.
Believed to have descended from the Chukchi sled dogs of the Siberian Arctic, which had bred true for 3,000 years, these quick dogs were used to haul sleds and herd reindeer. They were able to travel great distances and work for long periods on little food.
6. Icelandic Sheepdog
The only dog native to Iceland, the Icelandic Sheepdog (also known as the Iceland Dog or Icelandic Dog) was brought to the country in the 9th century by the Viking settlers. This herding dog has adapted to the cold climate and extreme terrain of Iceland, making him invaluable to the people who live there.
7. Entlebucher Sennenhund
The smallest of the four Swiss Mountain dogs, the Entlebucher is smooth-coated and bobtailed. Its good herding instincts make the Entlebucher is a trustworthy watchdog and companion with a lively and attentive character.
8.Karakachan Bear Dog
This Nordic hunting dog originated in the province of Karelia, which is divided by the Russian-Finnish border into two almost equal parts. For centuries, it has been used by local farmers to hunt squirrel, partridge, mink, duck, lynx, wild boar, moose and more, but it is this dog’s ability to hunt the brown bear that won the breed its fame and name. The Karelian Bear Dog is courageous, independent and self-sufficient, yet it forms a strong bond with its owner.
9. Tibetan Mastiff
This dog was bred in the Himalayan foothills to guard flocks, and it has remained relatively unchanged because of its isolation and the need to produce a large, strong working animal. Because of its inborn protective instincts, the Tibetan Mastiff was also used as a guardian for mansion and monastery.
The Maremma Sheepdog has all of the attributes essential for an effective guard: strength, independence, stamina, courage and a strong sense of “ownership.” It is an independent dog that enjoys plenty of exercise and is best suited to a country home.