Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Profile

by Dr. Chris

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog

AKC Group: Working Group

The Bernese Mountain dog makes an excellent family. A large dog that was originally used by farmers to pull carts and other heavy equipment through the Swiss Alps.


The Bernese Mountain Dog has had a long history in Switzerland with images of the dog appearing as early as the 17th century. It was often depicted in religious paintings of the period. Sometime in the 19th century it again began to appear, this time in written descriptions as the traditional farming and herding dog used throughout the Alps. At the beginning of the 20th century the dogs began to gain in popularity as professional dog breeding and dog shows made the breed known. Thanks to many Sennenhund enthusiasts, the Bernese Mountain dogs were one of the oldest breeds recognized by many kennel clubs around the world.

Physical Features

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a very large dog yet, in a way, very fragile with an unfortunately short life span. If one word was used to describe this dog it would be "loyal." It is also one of the oldest, most beautiful breed of working dogs to be recognized by kennel clubs in the world today. It stands about 24-28 inches tall and weighs about 85-110 pounds. Its extra long coat comes tri-colored: black/tan/ white or black/ rust/ white and has a huge blaze of white on its chest. It has a smallish head with V- shaped drooping ears.


The Bernese Mountain Dog is gentle, loyal. It lives to please. Not dominant if it perceives itself as lower in the pack hierarchy. Being bred for the mountains and for guarding livestock it makes a very good protector. Not a very playful because it has a tendency to be lazy. It is friendly toward dogs in the house and outside.

Common Health Problems

Hip dysplasia, bloating (a gastro intestinal malady. If the dog begins to drool and vomit frequently, take right to vet); cancer; life-span: it has dropped over the years from 10-12 years to 6 to 8 years.

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