I'm just wondering, does anyone else here have a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog? I know they are pretty rare, so I'm not really expecting too many people to jump up and say they have one, but I just thought I'd ask.
You're the first, I think. I've got the only Filas so far, and we've got a Dogo Argentino and a Cane Corso here, too. There are probably a few other rare breeds that I just can't remember right now - oh, there are a couple of Shar Peis.
I was very close to getting a Swissy! When my dog died in 99, I was going to wait and put deposits down on a male and a female pup from a breeder near Columbus (Cant remember the name right now). We lasted a whole two weeks before a friend told us about his ex girlfriend having 13 pups to adopt out, and the next day, we had two of them. We kind of hit the jackpot on one of them, the male, King( picture a small (60 pound) black and white doberman), is one smart dog, not in a trainable sort of way, he seems to be an "Evil Genius" (the puppy training place called him that), who doesn't really care about food, or toys, he wants to interact with other dogs and/or people and play with them, very very roughly. He's been the heathiest dog I have hever had, by far, at least to age 5 and a half. Molly, the female, is a grey (faded black) and white dog, very pretty in the face, with some so far untreatable skin problems. She also lost in the hip lottery too, King's are both OFA good, her's are poor. So far, they havent bothered her at all, so who knows?
Getting back to GSMD's, a neighbor had one, Bob, about 20 years ago. My Lab and him were big buddies until Bob suddenly died one day, at age 8. I wanted one from then on, but I seem to have good luck with mutts, so..
Ratboy, I don't know if you've been reading about it in some of the other threads, but one of the most common causes of skin problems is diet - typically diet related allergies. I've heard great things about a food called Canidae as far as getting a handle on these conditions.
The best info I've ever found about this kind of thing, too, is at www.greatdanelady.com . I've learned TONS of important things from reading on her site.
I've spent a ton of money on all kinds of stuff, switched food, etc, even cooked some stuff up on the stove and they all did the same thing, nothing!
I give her the spot on flea stuff all year round and that seems to help a little bit, and keeping the house as humid as possible in the winter does help a little too, more than anything else I have tried. The last stuff I gave her was some sort of herbal stuff that gave her amazing amounts of gas and didn't do anything anyways.
Right now, she has all her coat, nice and shiny, and it will get even better and thicker until it starts getting cold out, then as soon as we turn the heat on, the scratching begins until the A/C comes on, then she's ok again.
Try the simple trick of giving her a dose of old fashioned cod liver oil on her food. It does wonders for their skin, especially if the itching and drama is caused by the dry air in the winter. My skin itches in the winter from the gas heat! And I don't even have A/C in my old Victorian house; I don't need it with all the high ceilings, trees and the big attic fan, and I don't want it because it - well, it just smells wrong and I don't like being locked up in the artifical environment. I love having my windows open wide with the breeze coming through. The house fan I installed in the attic pulls the hot air up and out the attic vents and everything stays comfortable. And the dogs and I don't itch in the summer! I haven't even charged the A/C in my little 200,000 mile 318i I drive for work.
Try the cod liver oil. It's cheap and there's no reason for it to cause gas. You need to keep it up for at least a couple of months, although you may seem some change in a week or two. It certainly won't hurt anything, and the EFAs in the cod liver oil are excellent for overall cardiovascular well being.
I love the Greater Swiss. They are so beautiful. I actually was wanting a Bernese Mountain dog for a while, but it is really too hot for one where I live (in the summer at least). My husband is from near Boston and I told him if we ever move up north I definently want a Bernese Mountain dog. Or a Swissy. I also love the Newfoundland too. Here is a good site for the Bernese Mountain dog (good pics):