The Bernese Mountain Dog, lovingly known as the Berner, is one of four ancient Swiss Sennenhund Breeds. He is the only one that possesses long, flowing fur and his personality is second to none. The Berner ancestry most likely stems from a cross between the farming dogs of the Swiss Alps and the Molosser, which is a Mastiff style dog that the Romans brought with them in the first century B.C. This combination would account for the large heads and gentle personality of the Berner, paired with their amazing work ethic and strength. While the Bernese Mountain Dog was originally used as a farm dog that accompanied flocks, pulled carts, and guarded the home, they are typically just used as companion dogs today. They are excellent around children and very easy to train, yet their need to always be with the family can create issues if separation is too frequent. The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large dog with long, tri-colored fur. He has a large head and paws, and will need to be groomed frequently to keep the shedding under control. Just like with most dogs, bringing a Berner puppy into the home will be a lot of work. But with consistency, training, and patience you will end up with an excellent, hard-working dog that makes for a wonderful companion.
There are four distinct breeds that make up the Swiss Sennenhund group: The Appenzeller Sennenhund, the Entlebucher Sennenhund, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, and the Berner Sennenhund (Bernese Mountain Dog). The Bernese Mountain Dog is the only one out of this group to have long fur. While these dogs have all been around since ancient times, it was only in the year 1902 that they truly became recognized. The Swiss Dog Club sponsored a show that drew attention to the Swiss dogs and two years later, in 1904, at an international show in Bern, the Bernese Mountain Dog obtained its name. It was in that same year that the Bernese Mountain Dog was actually recognized as a breed. In 1936, two British breeders discovered the beautiful Berners and began to breed them in England. By the time 1937 rolled around, the AKC had accepted the Bernese Mountain Dog into the official Working Class category. Ever since then this large, gorgeous breed has been working their way into the people’s hearts. While the Bernese Mountain Dog was originally used as a hard working farm dog up in the Swiss Alps, they are most commonly enjoyed now as companion animals. These gentle giants are energetic, alert, and easy to train. Despite their slightly troublesome need to be around their humans at all times, these dogs make excellent family pets and are wonderful to have around small children.
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large breed that has a beautiful tri-colored coat which consists of black draped over a white chest, with brown accents. White can usually be found on the toes and tip of the tail, but perhaps the most distinguishing feature is the white blaze that travels up the forehead into a point. These dogs have large, soulful brown eyes that tend to have a slight droop to them but are always full of life. As the Bernese Mountain Dogs have Mastiff ancestry, the Bern has a large head with large floppy ears. A proud posture and sturdy build define the body of a Bernese Mountain Dog and their large paws are a given due to their large size. Males are very masculine and wider, while the females are of a slightly slimmer build and structure. There is no doubt that with one of these dogs, people will be turning their heads wherever you go!
As a long haired dog, the Bernese Mountain Dog does require frequent brushing. They shed consistently throughout the year and of course, seasonally. If you brush your dog a couple times a week, the coat will be shiny and clean, therefore shedding dirt without too much of an issue. This is great because you don’t need to bathe your Berner often, unless of course he gets especially dirty. Otherwise, 4 to 5 times a year will suffice. The best tools for grooming your Bernese Mountain Dog are a stainless steel pin brush, a slicker brush, and a stainless steel comb with fine teeth. Other than regular brushing, keeping your dog’s nails trimmed and their ears clean is extremely important. Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to dental disease, so it is important to keep their teeth clean either with toys and sticks or regular brushing. One of the other major issues that Berners can experience is obesity. Because of this, it is vital to not overfeed your dog, no matter how big he may be getting. Always pay attention to food recommendations and speak with your vet about the best diet for your Bernese. That way you both can live a full and happy life together.