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Breed of the Week Bernese Mountain Dog

Welcome to today’s short form podcast, it’s Monday so you all know what that means, today’s episode is breed of the week. I’m your host Nicole Forto, today we are talking about the Bernese Mountain Dog. The Bernese Mountain Dog is known for its calm kind disposition and strong body. They have been recognized as a breed with the American Kennel Club since 1937. Often recognized for its sweet and affectionate nature but they were originally sought after for their incredible hard work.

This drafting dog originates from Switzerland and has roots traced back and in connection to Roman mastiffs from the seventeenth century within Europe and Asia. They are one of four breeds linked to the Sennenhund-type dogs. Sennen meaning alpine pasture in German and hund meaning hound. Bernese Mountain Dogs were alpine herders and accompanied their farmers along their mountainous pastures with the larger ones used to pull carts full of cheese and milk. 

Bernese or Berner in German comes from where they were traced to originate being, the Canton of Bern. These mountain dogs were used for all ranges of work on farms from being a livestock guardian to driving cattle. They were recognized in Europe as an official breed in 1907, today they are classified within the working dog group and are on a steady increase in popularity.

The breed standard is a tri colored large dog known for its strength, stamina, and intelligence. A Bernese Mountain dog comes as a black, white, and brown dog, measuring from paw to shoulder between 25 and 27.5 inches.

Females can range a bit smaller at 23 – 26 inches in height. They have a thick double coat great for the mountainous regions where they are from. Their coats can be long and wavy or straight. While in a show ring the desired eye color is brown Bernese Mountain Dogs have been reported to have blue eyes. They even can come in bi eye color with one being brown and the other blue.

These markings in appearance however disqualify them within a show ring setting. Bernese dogs have a higher than normal chance for cancer than other breeds. Nearly half of all recorded Bernese mountain dogs die from some form of cancer whereas about twenty-seven percent of dogs in general die of cancer.

Berners are a naturally sweet and affectionate breed, they are highly pack oriented and love to work alongside you. They are great family dogs and can handle small children and babies better than most breeds.

Berners have low defense drives and an even prey drive, they are instinctually protective, alert, and highly intelligent. Their intelligence may cause some obstinate behavior in training especially during their adolescent stage but they are much quicker to give in to direction than other working breeds. They can have a higher than average energy capacity but are capable of relaxing and napping when it’s necessary.

Bernese Mountain Dogs today are deemed great family pets, they can laze around as couch potatoes but also enjoy working alongside you in some capacity. Working Berner’s are ran through competition obedience, herding activities, search and rescue, therapy and service work, and still used for drafting. More now for fun things like adventures in the wilderness with their owners or in parades pulling carts or sleds.

If you’re interested in a dog that can adapt to your lifestyle then a Bernese Mountain Dog is the dog for you! I hope you guys are enjoying these dives into breeds, if there is a breed you’d love for us to cover reach out on any of our socials. For Dog Works Radio, I’m Nicole and I’ll catch you guys in the next episode.


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