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                 Bernese Mountain

Bernese Mountain Profile

Other Names:  Berner, Berner Sennenhund, Bernese Cattle Dog

Country of origin: Switzerland

Dog Group Kennel Club:  Working

General Appearance:

The Bernese Mountain Dog is known by its tri coloured appearance with thick soft silky coat.This breed is a seasonal heavy shedder. Their coats are soft and silky with a thick under-lay. Bernese Mountain Dogs are large, strong and active.  They are strong, sturdy dogs with tremendous bone and power of the shoulders and long balanced strides. They reach their full adult height at about 15 months but can take another 2 or 3 years to reach full maturity. They are working dogs but are also seen as family dogs.


Black, tan and white.


Bitch             58-66cms

Dog               64-70cms 


                            Min                  Max
Bitch             32kg (71lbs) 46kg (101lbs) 
Dog               37kg (82lbs) 54kg (119lbs)


In general, Bernese Mountain Dogs are kind and friendly and get on with other dogs and pets as long as they are introduced to other animals at an early age. They are kind natured dogs that are great with children as a family pet, that love to get involved in all family activities. They are also very protective if necessary and will bark to advise the arrival of visitors but will calm down soon after. They are also trainable, calm and patient but do require exercise.


Far reaching and well balanced.

Care and Training:

Bernese Mountain Dogs will need grooming daily and may need more attention in their heavier shedding seasons, this will reduce the amount of shedding. Bathing is recommended .The hair between the pads should be trimmed regularly.

The Bernese Mountain dog is an inteligent breed and are easy to train if done so at an early age. If training is left to late then they can become a boisterous, uncontrollable dog who thinks he can do exactly as he pleases! Willing to please and relatively easy to train to an acceptable level. They are extremely sensitive and will not respond to harsh or heavy-handed training methods

Overall Exercise:  60 - 80 minutes per day.
Puppy exercise should be kept to a minimum so that the bones can form properly and can become strong.They should be trained to walk on a lead until at least 1 yr old then they can be allowed off the lead for free-running exercise.

Feeding Requirements:

As puppies, it is imperative that you stick to the breeder's recommended diet sheet in order to prevent skeletal defects and bone and joint problems.

Exercise: Med

Grooming: Med

Noise: Med

Personal Protection: High

Suitability As Guard Dog: Medium

Level of Aggression: High

Compatibility With Other Animals: Medium

Suitablity for Children: High

Often Docked? No

Average Litter size: 4-10

Life Expectancy (yrs) 7

Health issues: Due to a small genetic pool, the Bernese Mountain Dog carries the increased risk of genetic disorders, such as stillborn puppies. These problems include hip & elbow dysplasia, hereditary eye diseases, autoimmune diseases, cancers, aortic stenosis and kidney problems.
Other health issues may include von Willebrand's disease, skin and coat problems, thyroid disorders . Bloat is a health issue to most dogs, being the second largest killer of dogs other than cancer, but Bernese Mountain Dogs can be particularly susceptible to it because of their deep chests.

History:  The Bernese Mountain Dog can trace their ancestry to the Roman invasion of Switzerland over 2,000 years ago. The Mastiffs of Rome were crossed with the native flock- guarding dogs which produced a breed that was able to withstand severe weather, such as in the Alps. The breed was subsequently named for the canton of Berne in the central farmlands of Switzerland, the region in which it was developed. The Bernese Sennenhund holds the resemblance of Newfoundlands, Rottweilers, and Saint Bernards, all of which are believed to have played a part in the development of the dog. These dogs are believed to have ancestry from the Molossus dog of ancient Greece and Rome. The Bernese Cattle Dogs were used as guard dogs and draft dogs in Caesar's army. After this, the breed was mainly used as an all-purpose dog for farming, herding, pulling carts and other farm jobs. In the 1800s the breed almost became extinct if it were not for Herr Franz Schertenleib and Zurich professor Albert Heim who worked with the breed to revive it. Schertenleib had heard stories of the dog from his father, and went in search of the dog that was soon to be extinct. After finding the species, Heim joined him in his efforts and the breed was brought back. The Bernese Mountain Dog was brought to the U.S. in 1926. In the 1930s, a few bloodlines of these dogs were bred to be more of a guard dog that was fierce looking rather than a happy family pet, therefore resulting in some unreliable temperament in those specific bloodlines, but not in all Bernese Mountain Dogs. This led to the common inbreeding of Berners, which resulted in many genetic disorders that still perpetuate today. Today the Bernese Mountain Dog's popularity has grown largely in Europe as well as the U.S. Bernese Mountain Dogs can still be seen pulling carts up the Switzerland mountainsides. Today in America they are used at many charity events, at shows, and as a gentle family pet.


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