Skip Navigation

Breed Information

Berner Sennen Hund or Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dogs (BMD's) are working dogs with origins in the farm areas of Switzerland and are named from the Canton of Bern. Historically they were used as general purpose farm dogs for their large hardy frames and their calm-natured, people-oriented temperaments made them ideal for driving cattle, pulling carts to market, watching the farm and being farmers companions.
General Appearance
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a sturdy large dog, they have a striking tri coloured coat, the ground colour is jet black, the other markings are rich rust and pure 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 with a white marking on the chest that typically forms an inverted cross. The tip of the tail is white with white on the feet being desired but is not essential and must not extend higher than the pasterns, the eyes are dark brown and slightly oval in shape with close fitting eyelids. The nose is always black, measured at the withers, dogs are 64–70cm and bitches are 58–66cm. The breed should be dry mouthed but not all Bernese Mountain Dogs are! A broad head which has a narrow furrow down the centre with medium sized triangle shaped ears, teeth must form a scissor bite and not be either over or under shot, these are major faults. The Bernese is a compact dog with a wide chest, the tail should extend to at least the hocks, when on the move the tail should not be carried high but in a straight line with the back.
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a highly versatile breed, dogs and their human companions enjoy competing in Shows, obedience, agility, tracking, herding and carting. They also make wonderful therapy dogs bringing cheer to others (see our notes on our female Madi). Individual dogs will be serviceable for these various activities depending on their aptitude, structure, character and temperament. Not every Bernese Mountain Dog will perform well in every event.
Health Problems
Like any pedigree dog or animal's Bernese Mountain Dogs can be prone to some health related problems, the main ones being hip and elbow dysplasia, heart, and some forms of cancer. Another health issue to look for can be eye problems like entropian, when looking for a puppy ensure you are given as much information on the health issues in the breeding line's from which the puppy is bred from.
Home environment conditions for the Bernese
The Bernese Mountain Dog does not as their name suggests need a vast area for living in, they are a very happy family and house dog, as long as you have a secure well fenced garden with plenty of shade your Bernse will be fine. However if you are a keen gardener with precious flower beds an area should be fenced off only for your Bernese as they do like to dig, esspecially when they are puppies. In the warm weather you must be careful that your Bernese does not stay in the sun as they soon become hot and can suffer from heat stroke very easy.
Moulting is a consideration, Bernese Mountain Dog's cast off their coat's seasonally with the exception of intact females that cast coat in conjunction with heat cycles. If hair in the home is a problem or you are allergy-prone, this breed is not the breed for you. The coat is relatively easy to maintain, a periodic bath and regular brushing will maintain a neat and clean appearance, there are many products on the market available to help keep our dogs coats clean. When grooming attention should be paid to ear care with regular cleaning and brushing, the ears tend to form knots very easy.
For those keeping a meticulous house, daily sweeping, dusting or vacuuming may be necessary during much of the year. And yes, you may find hair in your food!
« go back|print