About The Breed

A little History and information on the Bernese Mt. Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog is known in its native Switzerland as the Berner Sennenhund, which literally translated means Bernese Alpine Herdsmen’s Dog. Bernese Mountain Dogs have historically worked as drovers, draft dogs and watchdogs in the farmlands of the canton of Berne. Their ancestors are thought to have been first brought to Switzerland more than 2,000 years ago by invading Roman soldiers. Brought to the United States in 1926, the Bernese Mountain Dog joined the AKC “Stud Book” in 1937.

So you want to own a Bernese Mountain Dog?

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large friendly dog originally developed in Switzerland, to pull cheese and milk carts and to drive cows. A Bernese Mountain Dog should be groomed at least every two weeks. They require moderate exercise, making them excellent house dogs. Eager to accompany master and family everywhere, the Bernese Mountain Dog makes a faithful and devoted friend.

For More Information, contact the National Breed Club Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America

Breed Standard Bernese Mountain Dog Working Group

General Appearance

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a striking, tricolor, 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. Dogs appear masculine, while bitches are distinctly feminine.

Size, Proportion, Substance

Measured at the withers, dogs are 25 to 27½ inches; bitches are 23 to 26 inches. Though appearing square, Bernese Mountain Dogs are slightly longer in body than they are tall. Sturdy bone is of great importance. The body is full.

Head

Expression is intelligent, animated and gentle. The eyes are dark brown and slightly oval in shape with close fitting eyelids. Inverted or everted eyelids are serious faults. Blue eye color is a disqualification. The ears are medium sized, set high, triangular in shape, gently rounded at the tip, and hang close to the head when in repose. When the Bernese Mountain Dog is alert, the ears are brought forward and raised at the base; the top of the ear is level with the top of the skull. The skull is flat on top and broad, with a slight furrow and a well defined, but not exaggerated stop. The muzzle is strong and straight. The nose is always black. The lips are clean and, as the Bernese Mountain Dog is a dry mouthed breed, the flews are only slightly developed. The teeth meet in a scissors bite. An overshot or undershot bite is a serious fault. Dentition is complete.

Neck, Toppling, Body

The neck is strong, muscular and of medium length. The topline is level from the withers to the croup. The chest is deep and capacious with well sprung, but not barrel shaped, ribs and brisket reaching at least to the elbows. The back is broad and firm. The loin is strong. The croup is broad and smoothly rounded to the tail insertion. The tail is bushy. It should be carried low when in repose. An upward swirl is permissible when the dog is alert, but the tail may never curl or be carried over the back. The bones in the tail should feel straight and should reach to the hock joint or below. A kink in the tail is a fault.

Fourquarters

The shoulders are moderately laid back, flat lying, well muscled and never loose. The legs are straight and strong and the elbows are well under the shoulder when the dog is standing. The pasterns slope very slightly. But are never weak. Dew claws may be removed. The feet are round and compact with well arched toes.

Hindquarters

The thighs are broad, strong and muscular. The stifles are moderately bent and taper smoothly into the hocks. The hocks are well let down and straight as viewed from the rear. Dew claws should be removed. Feet are compact and turn neither in nor out.

Coat

The coat is thick, moderately long and slightly wavy or straight. It has a bright natural sheen. Extremely curly or extremely dull looking coats are undesirable. The Bernese Mountain Dog is shown in natural coat and undue trimming is to be discouraged.

Color and Markings

The Bernese Mountain Dog is tricolor. The ground color is jet black. The markings are rich rust and clear white. Symmetry of markings is desired. Rust appears over each eye, on the cheeks reaching to at least the corner of the mouth, on each side of the chest, on all four legs, and under the tail. There is a white blaze and muzzle band. A white marking on the chest typically forms an inverted cross. The tip of the tail is white. White on the feet is desired but must not extend higher than the pasterns. Markings other than described are to be faulted in direct relationship to the extent of the deviation. White legs or a white collar are serious faults. Any ground color other than black is a disqualification.

Gait

The natural working gait of the Bernese Mountain Dog is a slow trot. However, in keeping with his use in draft and droving work, he is capable of speed and agility. There is good reach in front. Powerful drive from the rear is transmitted through a level back. There is no wasted action. Front and rear legs on each side follow through in the same plane. At increased speed, legs tend to converge toward the center line.

Temperament

The temperament is self-confident, alert and good-natured, never sharp or shy. The Bernese Mountain Dog should stand steady, though may remain aloof to the attentions of strangers.

Disqualifications

Blue eye color. Any ground color other than black.

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