Country of Origin: Switzerland
Height: 23–27.5 inches
Weight: 80–110 pounds
Coat: Thick, soft, silky, fairly long; slightly wavy or straight
Colors: Tricolor (black, rust, white)
Registries (with Group): AKC (Working); UKC (Guardian)
ORIGIN AND HISTORY
The Bernese Mountain Dog is one of four varieties of Swiss Mountain Dogs, which include the Appenzeller Sennenhunde, the Entlebucher Mountain Dog, and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. The breed was named after the area in Switzerland where he was developed: Berne. The breed traces back to the Roman invasion of Helvetia (Switzerland) 2,000 years ago. It is likely that Caesar’s legions brought mastiff-type dogs prized for their guarding ability who crossed with native flock-guarding dogs able to withstand the severe weather of the Alps. The Bernese Dog became a general farm worker and flock guardian and was used by the weavers of the Berne district as a draft dog. On market day, these great, patient dogs would be seen pulling carts piled high with dairy products or woven baskets into the villages.
If the Bernese Mountain Dog looks like a black bear from a distance, up close he’s really a teddy bear—friendly, easygoing, and extremely huggable. While the even-tempered Berner retains his watchdog instincts and is alert to anyone or anything that may be moving in on his family, he is never fierce or aggressive. The breed is boisterous in puppyhood and retains a playful, outgoing personality as he grows up—some say he is slow to mature. He loves children and makes an excellent family dog.
- Exercise: The playful yet lumbering Berner needs his exercise but is content with several strolls around the block. Many Berner owners do draft work and carting with these large dogs, which keeps the Berner fit and happy.
- Grooming: The Berner’s double coat sheds—and sheds a lot seasonally. He needs to be brushed several times a week to remove dead hair and allow for new growth. He looks great after a bath, although his double coat takes time to dry.
- Life Span: 7 to 10 years.
- Training: Focused on his family and quick to learn, the Berner takes well to training. He is sensitive, so gentle, positive training is essential. He is fairly eager to please and is up for trying most things that involve being with his owners.
Excerpted from World Atlas of Dog Breeds, 6th Edition. © 2009 T.F.H. Publications, Inc. Used by Permission.