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 my choice.]

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

Hoberg's GSMD Adelboden Adventure CD BN RA 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.

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). He wrapped up the Rally Novice title (1st level) in three straight tests at the South Bay Kennel Club on August 5th and 6th, and the German Shepherd Club of San Diego County trials on September 3. He also finished the next level, Rally Intermediate, in three straight test 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 now has an RA title as well.

A really special treat this year (2023) in October was the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog National Specialty that 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.

Two more activities I hope to do with him when he is a little older are drafting (here for the Swissy-specific version) and pack hiking, but especially drafting. Both have the restriction that the dog must be at least 18 months old before he can start taking the tests since they both involve pulling or carrying a non-trivial amount of weight. Another part of the tests, however, are plain obedience exercises, so some tests will let you skip that part of the test if your dog already has a CD title, thus the emphasis in the previous paragraphs of achieving that level. For our current adventures in drafting, I've set up a drafting page to begin documenting some of the fun.

He did, however, give us a real scare over the Memorial Day (2023) weekend. He suffered a freak accident while we were giving him a bath outside. At one point we thought we might actually lose him, though he has pulled off a remarkable recovery. More details about the incident are here.

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. 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).

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Last update: 2023-10-28