Bernese Mountain Dog

Other names/Nicknames:
  • Berner Sennenhund
Country/Date of origin:
  • Switzerland
  • 100 BC
  • Females:  23 to 26 inches
  • Males:  25 to 27-1/2 inches
  • 87 to 90 pounds
  • A very dominant, take-charge animal.
  • Pleasant to be around.
  • Cautious with strangers.
  • Loyal and steadfast.
  • A serious nature is innate.
  • Does not fawn.
  • Learns slowly but it retains what it is taught.

One of four tri-colored dogs from the Swiss mountains, the Bernese is the only long-haired member of the quartet.  It is the only one of the four that is not a herding dog.  It was bred in the area around Berne as a draft animal.  Its primary job was to haul milk (down the mountains) to market, but it is also a superb guard dog and will drove cattle when necessary.  This dog, of the mastiff family, is a descendant of dogs that invading Roman soldiers brought as livestock guards and drovers 2,000 years ago.  This is the most popular of the four breeds.

Body Type:
  • Have a rather compact build for their size.
  • The tail is of medium length and is carried low.  It is not altered.
  • The ears hang slightly forward and are held next to the face.  They are not altered.
  • Long and slightly wavy, without being curly.  It is exceptionally thick.
  • Color is very important.  There is only one permissible:  jet-black, with deep tan or rust markings on all legs.
  • A white blaze on the head (extending between the eyes) and a white chest marking (known as a cross) are essential.
  • White paws are preferred.
  • Moderate to heavy grooming needed.
  • Seasonal shedding is heavy.
Health and Wellness:
  • Hip dysplasia.
  • Elbow dysplasia.
  • Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD).
  • Meningitis.
  • Histiocytosis.
  • Histiocytic sarcomas.
What you should know:
  • Nicknamed the bear cub.
  • If used to guard cattle, the Berner is a tyrant.  It keeps all its charges in line with a firm paw.
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