Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound)

18-33 lbs
Small Swiss Hound, Berner Niederlaufhund

The Small Bernese Hound is only one of four Small Swiss Hounds; sometimes referred to as Bassets or Dachbrackes. The Berner, as they are lovingly referred to by their owners, was bred to track small game within valleys of mountains. The Small Bernese Hound is the only Swiss Hound that can have wire hair or smooth coats. They are determined dogs when on the hunt and that can translate into stubbornness when learning how to live within a family home. They do need a strong leader to show them that they are not the boss of the house. Generally, they are a happy dog and love to play.

purpose Purpose
history Date of Origin
9th Century
ancestry Ancestry
Swiss Laufhund, Various Ancient Hounds

Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound) Health

Average Size
Male Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound) size stats
Height: 13-18 inches Weight: 18-33 lbs
Female Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound) size stats
Height: 12-17 inches Weight: 18-33 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Skin Allergies
Minor Concerns
  • Ear Infections
  • Elbow Dysplasia
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Drug Allergy or Sensitivity
Occasional Tests
  • OFA
  • Blood And Urine Analysis
  • Yearly Physical Examination

Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound) Breed History

The Small Bernese Hound originated in Switzerland as part of a group of four smaller scent hounds. They are a medium sized dog that was used to hunt big game and hunters were very impressed with their hunting prowess. There are not many written documents that date back to the 9th century when the Small Bernese Hound was believed to have been developed. There were paintings that have survived from the 9th and 10th century that depicts the Small Bernese Hound as a leaner hound than it is today. This breed was used extensively by Swiss Alpine hunters for more than nine hundred years because of their excellent sense of smell, smaller size and ability to hunt larger game. In the early 20th century, Switzerland created hunting preserves in different regions, limiting and reducing the size of available hunting grounds. The Small Bernese Hound was bred even smaller to accommodate the smaller hunting areas; larger hunting hounds were too large and fast for these new hunting preserves. The Small Bernese Hound was bred to the smaller Swiss Laufhund to reduce their size and make them more suited for hunting with the newly designated hunting preserves. In 1905 the Swiss Niederlaufhund Club (SNLC) was founded and the Small Bernese Hound was included in this club. The Small Bernese Hound became increasingly popular through the 1930s and was called by many enthusiasts as the greatest hunting dog in the world. They are mainly found within the Swiss Alps and in surrounding cities, they are considered to be a rare breed because they are only found in such a small area and their numbers are relatively low. 

Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound) Breed Appearance

The Small Bernese Hound is a medium sized hound that can be either wire-haired or short-haired. The wire-haired variety has a harsh coat that does not have an undercoat. They do have a small beard and eyebrows giving them a wizened look. The short-haired variety has a short, smooth coat with a slightly denser undercoat. Both varieties come in tri-color only. A tri-colored dog has a white base or body with big black spots and then tan markings on their chest, cheeks and eyebrows. If entered in shows, small tan markings are allowed on their legs and around their anus. They can have a black mantle rather than black spots. Their skin is pigmented black under the black coat and is marbled under the white coat. They have a long, narrow head with long ears that are set low and farther back on their head. Their nose is broad and always black. The Small Bernese Hound has dark brown eyes and a happy, exuberant expression. 

Eye Color Possibilities
brown Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound) eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound) nose
Coat Color Possibilities
pied Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound) coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound) wiry coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound) Breed Maintenance

The Small Bernese Hound does not require extensive grooming. The wire-haired variety does not shed often because there is no undercoat, the short-haired variety will shed slightly seasonally when their undercoat loosens and comes out. When grooming use a slicker brush or natural bristles brush. A metal comb is needed for the wire-haired variety to comb out their beard and remove any food particles or dirt. Groom them once a week to keep their coat healthy. Because the Small Bernese Hound is prone to skin allergies do not over-bathe them and do not use a harsh shampoo. The wire-coated variety should be bathed with a shampoo formulated for wire coats. Only bathe when needed, every few months, and be sure to rinse them thoroughly with warm water. They do have ears that hang and should be cleaned weekly. After cleaning, dry them carefully so no moisture can become trapped. Their toenails will need to be trimmed every few weeks. 

Brushes for Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound)
Slicker Brush
Slicker Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound) requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound) Temperament

The Small Bernese Hound is called by many a free spirited hound. They are loving, happy-go-lucky dogs that make great family companions. They do need a strong leader within the home since they have a strong hunting instinct. Early socialization and training is needed to ensure they fit well within a family home. The Small Bernese Hound is not recommended for apartments or homes with small yards. They are a vocal breed and can easily become a nuisance barker if left alone for too long. These dogs do need a significant amount of exercise to keep them happy and healthy. Provide plenty of toys to keep them busy when you cannot be with them to prevent any destructive behavior from occurring. The Small Bernese Hound does well with children and will play for hours in the backyard with children. They also like other dogs but do need timeouts when they become overly stimulated. Being a scent hound, they may not like small pets such as ferrets, rabbits or guinea pigs. They are also unsure around strangers and will be aloof.

Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound) Activity Requirements

The Small Bernese Hound is an active, athletic breed. They must have regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally fit. They do want to please their owners so dog sports would be a good way to bond and get the exercise needed. Long daily walks or jaunts through the dog park are also great options for your Small Bernese Hound. They are a scent hound and will constantly have their nose to the ground while out and about, be sure to watch that they do not get into trouble by following a scent trail. Playtime in the backyard can also wear them out when you do not have the time or energy to go for a walk or visit the dog park. 

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
10 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes
activity minutes

Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound) Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2.3 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$1.20 - $1.40
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$34.00 - $45.00
food bag monthly cost

Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound) Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound) size stats at six months
Height: 9.0 inches Weight: 12.0 lbs
Female Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound) size stats at six months
Height: 8.0 inches Weight: 12.0 lbs
12 Months
Male Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound) size stats at 12 months
Height: 12.5 inches Weight: 20.5 lbs
Female Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound) size stats at 12 months
Height: 11.5 inches Weight: 20.5 lbs
18 Months
Male Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound) size stats at 18 months
Height: 15.5 inches Weight: 25.5 lbs
Female Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound) size stats at 18 months
Height: 14.5 inches Weight: 25.5 lbs

Berner Laufhund (Small Bernese Hound) Owner Experiences

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