- The Bernese mountain dog is one of the family of Swiss mountain dogs, or Sennehunde.
- The breed's origin is undocumented, but it may have descended from Roman mastiff-type dogs that were crossed with native Swiss flock-guarding dogs after the Roman invasion of Switzerland.
- The cross produced a strong, cold-resistant dog that could work as a draft dog, guardian, drover and general farm dog.
- Because no concerted effort was made to continue them as a breed, few remained by the late 1800s. These were found in the valleys of the lower Alps.
- Professor Albert Heim promoted the dogs throughout Switzerland and encouraged their revival. The breed was dubbed the Bernese mountain dog.
- The first Bernese came to America in 1926.
- The AKC recognized the breed in 1937.
Bernese Mountain Dog Behavior Concerns
- Makes a devoted and easygoing companion.
- Gentle and good with children, but may not be playful enough for them. As with all large dogs, dogs and children should always be supervised.
- Tends to be somewhat aloof toward strangers.
- Fairly friendly toward strange dogs.
- Good with other pets.
- Learns quickly.
- Somewhat sensitive.
- Does best with reward-based training using food rewards.
Bernese Mountain Dog Suggested Exercises
- Makes a calm and well-mannered housedog.
- Requires daily exercise in the form of a moderate walk or short jog.
- The Bernese mountain dog enjoys cold weather, but doesn't do well in warm weather.
- Obedience training is essential not only for control, but for the mental exercise it provides.
Bernese Mountain Dog Grooming
- Coat is moderately long, either slightly wavy or straight.
- The coat needs only occasional brushing, once or twice every week, more often when shedding.
- Shedding is above average.
Suggested Bernese Mountain Dog Nutritional Needs
- Bernese mountain dogs tend to stay in good weight or be slightly overweight.
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.
- Puppies should be fed a large-breed growth food, which slows their growing rate but not final size. This may decrease the incidence or severity of hip dysplasia in adults.