Bernese Mountain Dog
|Bernese Mountain Dog
4-year-old norwegian male Bernese Mountain Dog
|Country of origin
|Classification and breed standards
||Group 2 Section 3 #45
||Group 6 (Utility)
||Group 3 - Working Dogs
|Not recognized by any major kennel club
|This breed of dog is
The Bernese Mountain Dog (also called Berner Sennenhund or
Bouvier Bernois) is a versatile
or farm dog
originating in the
canton of Berne
A tri-colored dog of medium size, the “Berner” (as his friends often call
him) stands 23 to 27.5 inches (58-70 cm) at the
breed standards for this breed normally specify no weight, but the usual
range is 70 to 110 pounds (32-50 kg). The breed is instantly recognised by its
distinctive tricolour pattern: body, neck, legs, cranium and ears black; cheeks,
stockings and eyespots rich tan, toes, chest, muzzle, tail tip and blaze between
the eyes white. The pattern is rigid and varies only slightly in the amount of
white. A perfectly-marked individual gives the impression of a white “Swiss
cross” on the chest, when viewed from the front in sitting position. The eyes
are an expressive dark brown.
The Bernese coat is slightly rough in outline, but not at all harsh in
texture. The undercoat is fairly dense; the coat is quite dirt and weather
resistant. A good brushing every week or two is sufficient to keep it in fine
shape, except when the undercoat is being shed; then daily combing is in order
for the duration of the shed.
Berners are outdoor dogs at heart, though well-behaved in the house; they
need activity and exercise, but do not have a great deal of endurance. They can
move with amazing bursts of speed for their size when motivated; stray cats and
similar intruders must beware of the Berner!
The Berner temperament is a strong point of the breed. Affectionate, loyal,
faithful, stable and intelligent, Bernese Mountain Dogs make wonderful family
pets. They are very trainable provided the owner is patient and consistent in
training; Berners need time to think things through. Although the breed is
stable in temperament, patient and loving, a Berner who has really lost his
temper is a fearsome thing; given cause for attack they are swift, powerful and
efficient. It is said that the breed is descended from the
molossus war dogs of the
anyone who has witnessed an angry Berner will have no trouble believing that
Female and male Bernese Mountain Dogs
The breed’s genetic base is somewhat narrow, so
hereditary diseases and
inbreeding depression are major issues. Several kinds of
osteosarcoma) commonly affect Berners;
problems are other major health issues for the breed. Many litters contain
stillborn young, a major indicator of inbreeding depression.
Although slow to mature, the Berner is not particularly long-lived. The Swiss
say, “three years a young dog, three years a good dog, and three years an old
dog.” Today even nine years may be slightly optimistic; certainly a ten-year-old
Berner is a very old one. In fact, surveys around the world show that the
average lifespan is seven years, primarily as a result of the prevalent
occurrence of cancers.
The breed originated in Swiss farm villages where it was used as a cowherd, a
draught dog to haul carts containing milk cans and farm goods, and a flock
guardian. It nearly disappeared in the late 1800s but was rescued around the
turn of the century by a determined Swiss
Herr Franz Schertenleib.
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