Origin of the breed

Originating from a large district in Switzerland, “Berne”, the Bernese was typically used as a farm – herding – drafting dog.  It was not unusual to see a Bernese Mountain Dog pulling milk churns up the mountain side in his native country.  Today the Bernese is one of the best known and loved breeds in Switzerland.  Today, due to his even tempered and endearing personality, he is now favoured around the world as a much loved family pet.  The Bernese still often proves himself at obedience, agility and drafting.

Owning a Bernese is like owning a “people magnet”.  Once you have one, you will be stopped continually by passer-bys, wishing to pet and ask questions about the magnificent dog you have on the end of the lead.  At first he will be noticed for his size and striking and dignified appearance, they are strong, active and sturdy dogs.  His shiny black coat with flashy tan and white markings is a sight to behold.  On closer scrutiny, his temperament should live up to his looks and his friendly and outgoing disposition immediately captures the hearts of those around him and wins friends fast.  Many who indulge in one Bernese companion cannot stop at one!  This is a breed that will totally captivate you.  They are good watchdogs.  Children and Bernese mix readily, as long as children learn to treat them with respect and kindness.  Consistent with their background as farm dogs, Bernese typically get along well with other animals.

The long heritage of Bernese Mountain Dogs as working farm companions is reflected in their good dispositions, steadfast devotion to their people, and readiness to learn.  Human company is very important to them, and they are not pack or kennel dogs.

If you are prepared to give your heart and share your life with a dog, perhaps you have earned the right to have a Bernese Mountain Dog!!  There are many good reasons for wanting to have one, but it should not be thought that these dogs are for everyone.  Their large size must be considered.  They require exercise in keeping with their strength and activity.  They are not hard headed but have sensitive natures that must be treated with patience and kindness.  They are relatively slow maturing dogs, with long active, often boisterous puppyhood.

It is important to realise that a Bernese is typically a large dog.  They are not as large as breeds such as the Saint Bernard or the Newfoundland, but they are generally larger than a Golden Retriever, the Bernese is not all that dissimilar to a very large Border Collie.  Three kids and a Bernese in the back seat of the average car would not make for a comfortable day trip!  Measured at the withers dogs are 64-70cm (25-27.5 inches), bitches 58-66cm (23-26 inches).  Though appearing square Bernese Mountain Dogs are slightly longer in body than they are tall.  The Bernese Mountain Dog is a heavy dog, thick bodied and with strong, stocky lets.  Males are distinctly more massive than females.

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a striking, tri-coloured large dog.  He is sturdy and balanced.  He is intelligent, strong and agile enough to do the draft and droving work for which he is used in the mountainous regions of his origin.  Dogs appear masculine, while bitches are distinctly feminine.

Their expression is intelligent, animated and gentle.  The eyes are dark brown and slightly oval in shape.  The Bernese Mountain Dog is a dry-mouthed breed.  The temperament is self-confident, alert and good-natured, never sharp or shy.  The Bernese Mountain Dog should stand steady, though may remain aloof to the attention of strangers.

Today its good qualities as an easily directed working dog make if perfectly suited for the partnership in the family.  The Bernese Mountain Dog is absolutely the first choice for a reliable friend and protector of children, a guardian for the whole family, and an agreeable companion.