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Bernese Mountain Dog

Quick facts

Bernese Mountain Dog AKC Group: Working
Height: Male: 24-28 inches, Female: 23-27 inches
Weight: Male: 85-110 pounds, Female: 80-105 pounds
Colors: tricolor (black, brown, white)
AKC recognized in: 1937

Native to the Swiss Alps, the Bernese Mountain Dog is also referred to by the Swiss-German community as the Berner Sennenhund or simply the Sennenhund. In layman's terms, this translates to "alpine pasture dog".

First registered as a breed in 1910, these working dogs originated from the Canton of Bern, Switzerland, where herders and dairymen kept them as all-purpose farm dogs. Berners would guard property and drive cattle long-distance from farms to alpine mountain pastures. Strong enough to do the drafting and droving work for farmers, larger Sennenhunds were utilized to pull carts.

Very striking in its tricolored appearance, the Bernese Mountain Dog can best be described as strong, sturdy, and agile. Off-square, its body is longer than tall.

Its lovely black coat has markings of white on the chest and feet and markings of russet or tan on the legs, on either side of the muzzle, and over both eyes. It's quite remarkable how these markings are distributed symmetrically.

These markings have given the Sennenhund that identity of having a white Swiss Cross on its chest and a Swiss Kiss behind its neck. Thus, it's no wonder at all that American viewers everywhere have voted the Bernese Mountain Dog as the most beautiful dog breed ever!


Bernese Mountain Dog Summary
Affection five paws
Cold Tolerance five paws
Ease of Training four paws
Energy level two paws
Exercise Requirements two paws
Friendliness : Children five paws
Friendliness: Other Animals four paws
Friendliness: Other Pets five paws
Grooming Requirements three paws
Heat Tolerance one paw
Playfulness three paws
Protection Ability three paws
Watchdog Ability three paws

Entrusted to pull carts and drive cattle, it's quite obvious that Sennenhunds are very calm and gentle in temperament. Nowadays, they can be trained to pull wagons for children and join community parades. A winner of titles and trials, the Berner has never lost its skill and ability as a reliable draft dog.

Berners also exhibit that innate herding instinct, so they will be naturally protective and watchful over their owners. This quality makes them ideal guardians of the home and family companions.

Never temperamental in nature, purebreds are basically friendly, good-natured, and self-assured. They will be docile in the home and placid toward strangers.

To make Berners follow this standard behavior, they must be trained and socialized when young. They love being praised and rewarded with treats. Active creatures, they like to be kept busy with training all their life.

Health and Exercise

The Bernese Mountain Dog has a life expectency of between 6 and 8 years. Unfortunately, this breed is extremely susceptable to cancer, including osteosarcoma, fibrosarcoma, and lymphosarcoma.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are also subject to certain conditions, including:

  • Hip Dysplasia - Where the thigh bone does not fit snugly into the hip joint. This can lead to severe lameness or arthritis. A dog diagnosed with hip dysplasia should never be bred, as this is an inherited condition.
  • Gastric dilation-volvulus, or bloat - this is a life-threatening condition where the stomach becomes distended with gas or air, and then twists. This can happen with all deep chested dogs, especially if they eat their meal rapidly or drink large volumns of water. If this happens, it is extremely important that you get your Bernese Mountain Dog to a vet immediately.

Well-behaved as they are, Berners are dogs for the outdoors, so give them plenty of air and exercise. They will enjoy long walks and hikes but not so much exuberant play.

Aside from its sweet and even temperament, its smooth and silky coat is a Berner's best asset. Weather and dirt resistant as it is, this coat will need a weekly brushing to keep it in fine shape. When it's shedding, you will also need to run a drag comb through this coat daily.

Visitor Comments

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