About Us

As of May 2016, my Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs and I are relocating to Rutherfordton, North Carolina, in the Western part of the state, after spending the last dozen years in Fairfield County, Connecticut.  I have been involved in the sport of dogs since the 1970's, growing up in a home that bred and showed Old English Sheepdogs.  That experience informed much of who I am today, as both an owner and breeder of dogs.  In 2004, I welcomed my first Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and my life was forever changed.  Although I am a breeder who shows and participates in events my dogs, I am equally if not more committed to educating the public about Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs...the sheer joy these dogs can bring to ones life, as well as the heartache.

I hope you'll find this website a bit different from most GSMD breeder sites on the internet.  First, I write about myself in the first person.  None of this 
"Kristin did X" or "Kristin thinks Y".  I prefer to tell you directly what I think, what I do, and why.  You will not read phrases like "At Aegis, we believe" or "All Swissies at Aegis..." on my website.  There is no "we" here.  And Aegis is not a place, nor is it a philosophy.  It's just a word used in the registered names of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs bred by me, to help identify their roots and where they come from.  Aegis is not accountable to anyone.  I am.   Second, and most importantly, I am not here to sell puppies, or even sell you on this breed, but rather to provide a realistic and balanced picture of what owning a Swissy means.  

  

I do NOT operate a "kennel" in any way.  My dogs are my family, cherished pets and friends who live in my home, sleep on the bed, come to work with me, etc.  I will not keep more dogs than I could provide with that amount of love and attention.  I do show my dogs and have been fortunate to enjoy much success for such a small and focused breeding program.  And I will have a litter of Greater Swiss Mountain Dog puppies on occasion, but only to preserve and improve this breed. As a breeder, my focus will always be on producing Swissies of exceptional quality (not quantity) -- Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs of type, temperament, health and soundness.  You can read more about my "breeding philosphy" and practices here.  

Because I do keep very few Swissies with me in my home, I work closely with a small handful of HOBBY breeders who share my standards and practices.  I also will occasionally place show quality puppies in companion homes who think it might be fun to own a show dog and are flexible enough to allow their dog to be shown, by me, to it's championship.  Females placed in such homes will never be bred, unless both of us desire to do so and work closely together.  Breeding a female Swissy can be fraught with risks, and I would never force someone to breed their girl and put her at risk.  Breeding is not something that should be done without the close mentoring of an experienced breeder.

While many Swissy breeders will rotate out breeding stock when their breeding careers are over (used up, in other words) to make room for fresh "stock", my retired Swissies continue to live with me -- I value them ALL equally as my friends and companions, and cannot imagine giving them up after all they have given to me over the years.  My love of dogs and interest in this breed is driven by passion, not profit.  That has always been the case, and always will be.

Although these dogs are incredible, beautiful companions who have immeasurably enriched my life, I also have known the heartbreak of Swissy ownership, particularly when my beloved Axel lost his battle with epilepsy in a violent, tragic end.  There is no feeling as helpless as watching your dog seize to death before your very eyes.  Unfortunately epilepsy is a very serious problem in this breed, one that is often discussed in hushed whispers if it's spoken of at all.  More often, these dogs are swept under the carpet like dirty little secrets.  Axel will never be forgotten, as you will clearly see as you explore this website.  The risk of epilepsy exists in ALL pedigrees, so no breeder or owner is immune. That does not mean that all breedings are equally risky, but sadly there is little to no cooperation among breeders these days, and many are left to fly blind when making breeding decisions.  The situation will only get worse, until all breeders own up to the epilepsy they're producing and we can get a handle on which dogs and pedigree combinations present the greater risks.

I encourage everyone who is even remotely considering the addition of a Swissy to your family to please do your research.  Get to know the breed, meet many in person, before you decide this is the breed for you.  And talk to numerous breeders before you commit to a puppy (don't be afraid to ask the tough questions).  It will be much more gratifying to wait for the "Right" puppy, as opposed to the puppy "Right Now."  This is a big commitment, one you'll hopefully be making for the next 10-12 years, so being thorough and informed in your decision making process will pay huge dividends and hopefully bring not only a new family member into your home but a caring and dedicated breeder/mentor into your life as well.

 

 

 

 

    

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