But Wait! That's not a Flat-Coated Retriever - Rüdi


The newest member of our clan is Rüdi (or Ruedi, for the umlaut-impaired — like the AKC!), a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, aka Swissy. (While there is no “Lesser” Swiss Mountain Dog, the Bernese Mountain Dog, the Appenzeller Sennenhund, and the Entlebucher Mountain Dog are the other three related Swiss mountain breeds. A nice comparison picture, in the order above, is in the Wikipedia article on Swiss mountain dogs).

Why a Swissy? Because I (Mike) decided I'd like a dog of “my own”, and that I'd like a “big ol’ farm dog” type of dog. Swissies certainly fit that description, since we expect him to be about 130–140 lbs when he's full grown.

[For the flat-coat people out there: No, Julie is not changing breeds! Flat-coats will always be in our home. The addition of a Swissy is Mike's choice.]

Rüdi was born on June 29, 2022, and his official name is

Hoberg's GSMD Adelboden Adventure CD BN RE FDC CGCA TKN
[Sire: GCHG CH Northwoods Breaking The Law]
[Dam: Snowy Mountain's Majestic Mia]

He was named in honor of some of my very distant Berner Oberländer ancestors, some of whom were named Rudolf (or Rudolfus), and/or lived in Adelboden. Thanks to his breeder, Rüdi is in the big Swissy database, “Grosse Schweizer Sennenhunde World Wide Database”; his page is Dog ID 51462 if you are interested in the particulars.

We are showing him in Conformation and doing lots of activities together. He got his first point toward his championship by going Best of Breed a couple of days shy of turning 8 months at the Silver Bay show on February 26, 2023. At the Puppy show at Bakersfield on March 30, he even pulled Working Group 4. That one does not count for anything since it was a puppy show, but it was a good experience for him. In a show that really did count, he was selected Best of Winners at the Conejo show on April 22 (not Best of Breed, but best of the non-champion dogs). That was a 3-point “major”, so a really good day for us. He is continuing to do well in the breed ring; he is up to 12 points (as of October 26, 2023) — he just needs a second major to complete his Champion title.

In keeping with my desire to have a “big ol’ farm dog”, one of the titles I really wanted to get on Rüdi, and preferably have it be his first, is AKC's Farm Dog Certified title. To my delight, he passed the two tests back-to-back at the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America herding trials in Chino on April 28, 2023. He was definitely a little too interested in the penned-up sheep, but he came when called and passed with flying colors.

As part of the preparation for drafting (see a few paragraphs down), Rüdi is also competing in the obedience and rally rings. The introductory obedience title is Beginner Novice, and he passed three tests in a row—two at the Channel City show on June 3rd and 4th, 2023, and the third at the Bahia Sur show on June 18. He definitely has a problem with the concept of heeling, but his scores improved every test, so I'm really happy with that. He has now completed the next level, Novice, where he passed two runs at the Harvest Moon cluster of shows October 19-22, 2023, then squeeked by for his third pass at the National Specialty on October 23, so he also has his CD title. (But we still really need to work more on healing …) CD was the main obedience goal since basic obedience is a core component of the drafting tests in which I am eager for him to participate.

We're also working on the rally side of obedience (the main difference other than a bigger variety of test elements is that I get to talk to him the whole way through the test); I find rally to be a lot of fun. He wrapped up the Rally Novice title (1st level) in three straight tests at the South Bay Kennel Club on August 5/6, 2023, and the German Shepherd Club of San Diego County trials on September 3. He also finished the next level, Rally Intermediate, in three straight tests at the Bakersfield Obedience Training Club and Skyline Dog Fanciers Club of San Mateo County trials in mid-October. He even pulled off a Rally Advanced (entirely off-leash) in his first attempt at the Del Valle Dog Club of Livermore trials (two days after finishing RI at Skyline), then followed with a second pass at the Swissy Nationals. Number three came at the Kennel Club of Riverside trials the day before he turned 16 months, so he earned his RN, RI, and RA titles all within the space of three months.

After trying to refine some of his basic skills and training him for some new, more difficult signs, we started our quest for a Rally Excellent title at the Silver Bay show on February 24, 2024 — or at least I thought we did. Silly me, I forgot that in the not-so-fine print in the rally rules that the Excellent A class, which I had registered for since it is generally for new dogs and new handlers (i.e. people like me and Rüdi), that dogs who have already earned a CD title (i.e. like Rüdi, even though it doesn't seem like it) are not eligible. Two and a half weeks later I got a letter from AKC indicating that he was ineligible for that class and that they were withdrawing his qualifying score. Sigh. Three weeks later, now properly registered in Excellent B, he pulled off two very decent scores at the Del Sur show on March 16/17, and squeeked by with a third pass at the German Shepherd Club of San Gabriel Valley trials on March 23 for his RE title.

A really special treat in October, 2023, was that the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog National Specialty was held in California for the first time in 20 years. I set up a standalone page to describe a few of our exploits there.

Three more activities I will do with him now that he is old enough are drafting (click here for the generic AKC description), pack hiking, and weight pull, but especially drafting. All have the restriction that the dog must be at least 18 months old before he can start taking the tests (weight pulls allow limited participation from 14 to 18 months) since they involve pulling or carrying a non-trivial amount of weight. Although Rüdi is now a bit past 18 months, we might wait a little longer before doing the tests since his growth plates are still open and we don't want to risk injury while he is still maturing.

For our current adventures in preparing for drafting, I've set up a drafting page to begin documenting some of the fun.

Some pictures of Rüdi are now located in the photo gallery. For additional fun, AKC.TV was recording during his very first show in Palm Springs in 2023 when he was 6 months old. Since he was the only Swissy, he got to go into the Groups where his performance was recorded for posterity. You can watch him during the January 7 show with me “handling” him (I'm not sure my skills were up to that lofty label, but fast forward to 29:03), and the January 8 show where Julie was handling him (considerably better, go to 18:36). He managed to do a repeat at the 2024 Palm Springs show. On Sunday he earned Best of Breed over two other Swissies, so you can watch him 1 year later at 18 months in the January 7, 2024 video clip (at the 19:02 mark).

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Last update: 2024-01-21