The Bernese Mountain Dog is a striking. tri-colored, large dog. He is sturdy and balanced. He is intelligent, strong and agile enough to do the draft and droving work for which he was used in the mountainous regions of his origin. Male dogs appear masculine, while bitches are distinctly feminine.
The Bernese Mountain Dog, called in German the Berner Sennenhund, is a large-sized breed of dog, one of the four breeds of Sennenhund-type dogs from the Swiss Alps. The name Sennenhund is derived from the German Senne and Hund, as they accompanied the alpine herders and dairymen called Senn. Berner refers to the area of the breed’s origin, in the canton of Bern in Switzerland. This mountain dog was originally kept as a general farm dog. Large Sennenhunde in the past were also used as draft animals, pulling carts. The breed was officially established in 1907. In 1937, the American Kennel Club recognized it as a member of the Working Group.
This good-looking Swiss farm dog takes his name from the canton of Bern, where he likely originated. Berners helped farmers by pulling carts, driving livestock to fields or market, and serving as watchdogs. These days, the Berner is primarily a family companion or show dog, beloved for his calm and patient temperament. If you want a Bernese Mountain Dog, be prepared to do your due diligence to find him and put in plenty of effort training and socializing him once you bring him home.
This is a large breed. A Bernese puppy certainly looks snuggly and manageable, but he will quickly reach his adult weight of 70 to 120 pounds, more or less .
The Berner, as he’s nicknamed, has moderate exercise needs. In general, plan to give him a walk of at least a half hour daily, plus several shorter trips outdoors throughout the day. Bernese are individuals, so the amount of exercise they desire can vary.
To keep your Bernese Mountain Dog’s mind and body active and healthy, involve him in dog sports. Depending on the individual dog’s build and temperament, Bernese can excel in activities such as agility, drafting , herding, obedience, rally, or tracking. Organized sports not your thing? Take your Bernese hiking. He can carry his own water and treats in a canine backpack. Bernese also make excellent therapy dogs, having a gentle, mellow temperament as well as being the perfect height for standing at a bedside and being petted.
Though you might think of him as an outdoor dog, nothing could be further from the truth. Bernese Mountain Dogs love their people, especially children, and will pine without human companionship. They should certainly have access to a securely fenced yard, but when the family is home, the Bernese should be with them.
- Berners have numerous health problems due to their small genetic foundation, and perhaps due to other reasons yet undiscovered. Currently, the life span of a Bernese Mountain Dog is comparatively short, about six to eight years.
- Because of the Berner’s popularity, some people have bred dogs of lesser quality in order to sell the puppies to unsuspecting buyers. Be especially careful about importing dogs from foreign countries that have few laws governing kennel conditions. Often these dogs are bought at auction and little is known about their health history.
- Veterinary care can be costly because of the health problems in the breed.
- Berners shed profusely, especially in the spring and fall. If shedding drives you crazy, this may not be the right breed for you.
- The Berner likes to be with his family. He’s likely to develop annoying behavior problems, such as barking, digging, or chewing, if he’s isolated from people and their activities.
- When Berners are mature, they are large dogs who like to have a job to do. For those reasons, it’s wise — and fun — to begin obedience training early.
- Although they’re very gentle with children, Berners sometimes accidentally knock over a small child or toddler.
- To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they’re free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.
- Most Bernese are considered to have a dry mouth, meaning they don’t drool, but that’s not true of all of them. A Bernese with tight, or close-fitting, lips is less likely to drool than one with loose or hanging lips.
- The Bernese Mountain Dog’s tricolor coat is thick and moderately long with straight or slightly wavy hair. The coat sheds heavily.
- Berners are sensitive to heat and humidity. If outdoors, they need access to plenty of shade and fresh water.
- Comparable Breeds: Saint Bernard, Appenzeller Sennenhunde
- Hercules is Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s dog that he brought home from the Emmental region of Switzerland during a 2006 weeklong trip to discover his family’s roots in the country.
- Sasha was a Bernese Mountain Dog that followed a goat off of a cliff and managed to survive the fall as well as three days on an ice shelf waiting for rescue.
- A Bernese Mountain Dog character named Shep was voiced by Carl Reiner in the 2003 movie Good Boy!
- The characters Bryan (Andrew Rannells) and David (Justin Bartha) in the 2012 TV series The New Normal own a Bernese Mountain Dog named “Smelly”.
- Hola, the titular dog in Martin Kihn’s memoir Bad Dog: A Love Story, is a Bernese Mountain Dog.
- Ohly was a Bernese Mountain Dog who achieved notoriety in Canada after disappearing and then being found on Mount Seymour in a dangerous area known as “Suicide Gulley.” Members of North Shore Rescue, a local mountain rescue team, tracked, located and rescued Ohly.
- Benson was a Bernese Mountain Dog who features in the memoir, The Boy Who Got A Bernese Mountain Dog by Brook Ardon. Benson had a great temperament the breed is famous for, he lived near the beach in New Zealand.
- Quincey von Wiesmadern, has appeared in various videos with Hansi Hinterseer, an Austrian singer, entertainer and former member of the Austrian Ski Team.
- Hannah is the real-life inspiration for the protagonist of children’s books such as A Beach Day for Hannah and A Snow Day for Hannah by Linda Petrie Bunch.
- Argus and Fiona were two Bernese mountain dogs that were shot and killed when they entered a neighbor’s yard. The neighbor who shot the dogs admits that he was overreacting.A Pennsylvania state law states that humans are free to kill animals attacking domestic animals. The man feared a possible attack on his sheep, who were in their fenced off grazing area. Attacks on a neighbor’s farm had taken place and resulted in the death of several animals sometime the previous year, although the type of dog who ruthlessly attacked those animals was not a Bernese. However, since no attack was in progress at the time of the shooting, the shooter was charged with two counts of cruelty to animals and one count of recklessly endangering another person, the latter a result of there being a house within the possible line of fire. There were no residents at home at the time of the shooting. On September 11, 2013, the shooter was convicted on two counts of animal cruelty. He faces up to five years in jail for each count.
- Nico (2015) a recently adopted Bernese mountain dog became a hero when he saved two people who were being swept out into the ocean by a California rip current.