The Labernese is a combination of a purebred Bernese Mountain Dog, a farm dog from the Swiss Alps, and a Labrador Retriever, which were bred as working dogs by fishermen in Newfoundland. The idea was to take the best from both breeds and create a near-perfect dog to help the blind and disabled. The Mira Foundation started developing the breed in the 1990s and began an official breeding programme around a decade later. The foundation was named after a female Labrador, Mirabelle, one of the first guide dogs trained by the founder Éric St-Pierre. They use top bloodlines and have a strict breeding standard to ensure their dogs have the right temperament to work with the disabled. Both parent breeds are known for their intelligence, gentleness and tolerance and have long been used as working dogs. The Labrador Retriever, which were originally known as St. John's Dogs, are best known as guide dogs but are also used in narcotics and search and rescue. The Bernese Mountain Dog, affectionately called the Berner, were used as guard dogs and to drive cattle originally for over 2000 years in the Swiss Alps. Their ancestry is likely to include the Molosser, a Mastiff style dog that the Romans brought with them in the first century B.C. Berners arrived in England and America some time after the first World War. The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America was founded in 1968 while the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America became a member club of the American Kennel Club in 1981. Both parent breeds are good companion pets who thrive on human interaction and they also excel in dogs sports and competitions.