Great Swiss Mountain Dogs have many attributes that make them a tremendous asset as tracking dogs. One of the many stories attributed to a Great Swiss Mountain Dog was one in which a farmer loaded up his cart with his wares and was about to go on his regular route to make deliveries, when he began to feel ill and went inside to rest, leaving his dog hitched to the cart. After having been ill that whole day, when he went outside that evening, he found his cart empty, and later was able to ascertain that his dog had realized it was time to make deliveries, had pulled the wagon the regular route, and allowed the farmer's customers to take their orders from the wagon. Nobody knows for sure if this story is true or not, but it is certainly a well known story and one in which anyone who is familiar with a Great Swiss Mountain Dog's tracking ability and intelligence could well believe.
Notably recognized as an easily trainable working class of canine, the Great Swiss Mountain Dogs are eager to please no matter what the task at hand. This ease of training their natural tendency to want to please their masters, their friendly, open natures, and their keen nose and supreme strength make them great tracking animals, and though not normally considered hunting dogs, their worth has been seen in many venues such as search and rescue and other areas as well.
As far as tracking is concerned, the Great Swiss Mountain Dog is the stuff of which legends are made. Consider Hannibal, the first member of the Rhode Island Search and Rescue team. After being trained, Hannibal became one of the best known, most respected, and most beloved of canine heros. He is credited with finding bodies trapped beneath frozen lakes, returning children lost in the wilderness to their homes, and even bodies lost in the ocean. Hannibal was truly a hero and spent his last night of life rescuing a group of children who were lost.
Certainly Hannibal is among the best known Great Swiss Mountain Dog trackers, but the breed as a whole is well known as being superior at tracking. The fact that Swissies love to play games makes their tracking of small prey animals almost a given.
Great Swiss Mountain Dogs love to track squirrel, chipmunk, and other small animals. As noted in their ability to sniff out lost people, their keen sense of smell and naturally observant natures make them extremely adept at tracking and catching their prey as well. The natural athletic tendencies of Great Swiss Mountain Dogs and speed and agility equally increase their value as canine trackers no matter which facet of tracking to which you are referring.