Greater Washington Greater Swiss, Inc. 

Code of Ethics

I. Focus

As a conscientious breeder of quality Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs (GSMD), I hereby promise to breed with an emphasis upon working ability and other outstanding qualities of character of this draft breed, as well as upon appearance. It is mandatory that a Code of Ethics be subscribed to by those who are concerned with the propagation of physically, mentally and temperamentally sound GSMDs of proper breed type. I further promise to diligently acquaint the general public with the contents of this Code so that they may not become innocent partners in nor victims of improper breeding practices.

Consistent with the above, I will agree to breed discriminately and only upon strong evidence of the possibility of finding suitable homes for the resulting puppies. I understand and agree that to breed indiscriminately may lead to over-population and contribute to the deterioration of the GSMD breed.

II. Record Keeping

If I breed my bitch or use my stud dog in service, I agree to keep accurate records of stock, matings and pedigrees and register my dogs with the American Kennel Club.

I agree to fill out and submit a Health Survey to the Health Committee of the GSMDCA, the National Club, as often as requested , for each dog that I own or co-own. I will include my name and the name of the dog on the survey. I agree to permanently identify (tattoo and/or microchip) all GSMD, in my residence, owned or co-owned by me.

III. Breeding

I shall breed only after a careful study of the AKC Breed Standard for GSMD. I will understand the historical uses and descriptions of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs, as well as the basic principles of genetics, and the pedigrees involved.

I shall not knowingly breed any bitch or stud to any GSMD that has itself or is known to have repeatedly produced one or more of these possible heritable conditions, including but not limited to the following life-altering disorders: Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Entropion, Ectropion, Symptomatic Distichiasis, Epilepsy/idiopathic seizure disorder of any type, Monorchidism or Cryptorchidism

Further I shall not knowingly breed any dog or bitch which has any disqualifying fault such as: Any ground color other than black, Blue eye or eyes or any serious fault such as: Excessive Aggressiveness, Excessive Shyness, Non-Reducible Umbilical Hernia, an under or overshot bite.

Further, if, to the best of my knowledge, I should breed from lines in which any of the above occur, I will disclose this to my buyers.

I will also disclose to my buyers any incidence of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Kinked Tail, Bloat, Paneosteitis, OCD or Popping Hock Syndrome in any breeding or related GSMDs. I disclose these afflictions as a precaution as these are conditions that tend to occur in large deep-chested and fast-growing breeds of dogs and MAY have a hereditary association that has not as yet been firmly established by the medical community.

I agree to use for breeding only those GSMD which have OFA Normal hip & elbow X-rays with certification numbers, current CERF Cleared for Breeding status (CERF Testing must be done at least every two years on breeding animals) no disqualifying faults and no radical departures from the official AKC GSMD standard. It is suggested that all GSMD have a TT, CGC, TDI or be working toward a performance title.

As owner of a bitch, I will breed only normal, healthy, mature bitches which are OFA & CERF certified. I will not permit my bitch to produce more than one litter in any year. I will not breed my bitch if I do not believe she will successfully whelp naturally and raise a litter healthy puppies. I will not plan to deliver GSMD by Cesarean Section for my convenience nor will I breed a bitch whom I believe will need to be C-sectioned nor one which has been C-sectioned more than two consecutive times.

As the owner of a stud dog, I will breed only normal, healthy, mature dogs which are OFA & CERF certified. I will refuse stud service to any bitch which does not have OFA & CERF certification, which has disqualifying faults, or which I consider to be in poor health, or which I consider to be a poor prospect to whelp naturally and raise a litter of healthy GSMD puppies. I will use a written contract for all stud services.

I will not permit my stud dog to sire more than three litters in any calendar year (January 1 through December 31), for at least the first 2 years of his breeding career, thus giving me the opportunity to evaluate his first offspring before breeding this stud dog again. For the purposes of restricting the use of stud dogs, a litter consists of 4 or more puppies, therefore a stud dog may be bred additionally if any of the three services produced less than four live offspring. No proposed breedings may be carried over from year to year.

IV. Health

I agree to maintain good standards of health, sanitation and care for my dogs and puppies born into my home, including proper veterinary care. I further agree that proper health includes regular contact with people and exposure to the outside world. I will not separate a bitch from her puppies until they are at least 5-6 weeks of age, unless it is for medical reasons. I further agree that I will not allow a puppy to leave for its new home unless it is at least 7-8 weeks old and only then with full knowledge that they are healthy and have had the required medical inoculations and care. I understand that socialization between the bitch and the puppies in her litter is very important and I will do everything in my power to enable the bitch to interact with her puppies for at least part of each day until the day they are removed to their new homes.

V. Sales & Information to Buyers

I will refuse to recommend or sell to breeders who do not conform to this Code, or to dog wholesalers, laboratories, or pet shop retailers. I will not donate a GSMD for raffle purposes or sell or place a dog in any home if I have reason to believe that the puppy or dog will not be properly cared for.

I will use a sales contract or written agreement with any sale or purchase involving a dog. To the best of my ability, I will state clearly to a buyer whether the puppy or dog being sold is potentially a show or pet type.

I will give buyers of puppies or adult dogs accurate health, breeding and registration records and at least a four generation pedigree. Registration papers may be withheld on a dog which is suspected of carrying a serious fault, until the dog has been proven otherwise or rendered incapable of reproducing (proof required per veterinarian's letter).

I will adhere to the terms of my sales agreement or written contract with the buyer, following the general practice of breeders that any puppy sold as a show prospect, which subsequently develops hip dysplasia or a disqualifying defect shall be: (1) replaced by the breeder with another show prospect puppy or (2) returned to the breeder who will then refund the sales price or (3) retained by the buyer, with the buyer's money being refunded by the breeder to the extent of the difference between the price paid and the price of pet puppies sold from the same or similar litters, after the breeder has received veterinarian's certification that the dog has been rendered incapable of reproducing or (4) any other mutually agreeable alternative made between the buyer and breeder.

I will urge my puppy purchasers to provide proper puppy socialization training and later obedience training.

I will recommend to my puppy purchasers that they render incapable of reproducing any dog which has developed disqualifying or serious faults.

I will educate my puppy purchasers as to the nutritional and environmental needs of GSMD. I will make them aware of the symptoms of Bloat/Torsion and possible precipitating causes.

I will describe to my puppy purchasers the symptoms of epilepsy, especially the "fly-biting" or "head-shake" type seizures which may not be noticed as easily as the typical "gran mal" seizure. I will urge any GSMD owner witnessing any type of seizure in their dog(s) to seek experienced veterinary guidance and medication for the afflicted animals, which must be rendered incapable of producing.

I will discuss any incidence of OCD (Osteochondritis Dessicans) in my breeding dogs and educate my puppy purchasers so they will carefully feed, exercise and not over-supplement puppies of this giant, fast-growing breed so that they may possibly avoid inducing the onset of OCD symptoms. I will also educate my puppy purchasers about the possibility of young growing puppies developing Paneosteitis (Inflammation of the Long Bones) and the probable causes and treatments.

I will urge my puppy purchasers to provide to me or to a health committee of the national club a yearly health critique/survey of their Swissy.

As a breeder, I will make every effort to see that all dogs will have an adequate home and will be properly cared for. I agree that a dog is a life-time commitment and I will be a source of support and information to anyone who receives a dog from me for the life of that dog, and will be prepared to take the dog back if the need should arise.

VI Advertising

I agree that my advertising, oral and written, shall be factual and not worded so as to attract undesirable buyers, or to encourage the raising of GSMDs as an easy money scheme. No price should be given in public advertising of GSMDs.

When I advertise a breeding/litter or individual dog for sale or service, I will include the complete OFA hip and elbow numbers, CERF information and GWGS Code of Ethics Breeder either with words or symbol.

VII Conduct and Sportsmanship

I shall conduct myself at all times in a manner which will reflect credit upon me and the breed, regardless of the location or circumstances, but especially when attending dog shows or trials, whether as an exhibitor or spectator.

I agree that I will not have members of my household participating in activities that are contradictory to the principles set forth in this Code.

If I should become aware of the maltreatment, misuse or need for relocation of any GSMD, I will notify any or all of the following for resolution of the problem: a GSMDCA and/or GWGS club member actively involved in GSMD Rescue, a member of the Board of Directors of either club, the correct authorities in my area, and the breeder (if known).

VIII Violations/Recourse Committee

The incoming Board of Directors shall appoint at its first Board meeting a three member Violations and Recourse Committee (VRC) and one alternate member, for a two year term. Written charges of violations of this Code by a member may be sent to any member of the Board of Directors. The Board member will send the allegations to the VRC within two weeks of receipt. The VRC will investigate and report its findings to the Board of Directors within two months of receipt of the charges and may recommend any or all of the following levels of discipline:

1. Public Warning (a member may not receive more than one warning in a year's period without incurring further disciplinary action).

2. Probation, a member on probation may not promote nor have their breeding(s) advertised or in any way recommended by any other Code of Ethics member during the entire length of the probationary period (time set according to the severity of the transgression)

3. Expulsion. A breeder that is expelled for violation of this Code of Ethics and was a signatory of this Code of Ethics may not continue to be listed as a Code of Ethics breeder in any publication, and must resign from any office held within the GWGS, Inc. and/or from the Club itself. Re-application to be reinstated may not occur sooner than 2 years (24 months) from the date of the original expulsion.

4. A monetary fine (determined by the violations committee and approved by the Board), which shall be awarded to the GWGS Rescue League

A fifty dollar fee will be required from any person bringing charges. If the charges are upheld, the fee will be refunded. If the charges are dismissed, the money will be retained by the GWGS.

It is understood that from time to time situations may arise where special problems or circumstances should be considered in order to accommodate a conscientious member who is trying in good faith to comply with this code. If a member has a compelling reason for proceeding with an act that might otherwise result in violation of this Code, the member should provide a written request with a full explanation to the Board. The Board will immediately submit this request to the VRC and the VRC will decide promptly whether to approve or deny the request and will notify the member in writing and include a letter of opinion which explains their decision. A copy of this letter shall be kept in the permanent records of the Club. For approval to be granted it must be shown that to make an exception would not compromise the health of the dogs concerned, resulting puppies or the breed as a whole. If a member, through no fault of his own is in violation of any of the provisions of this Code, he may have the Committee review the matter and make recommendations.

If a litter is produced through the act of a violation of this code the puppies shall receive limited registrations and be sold only with full disclosure to any buyers as to the nature of the violation resulting in their birth. The Violations Committee may require additional retribution on a case by case basis.

I hereby promise that I the understand and will abide by these rules