Everything about dog care, dog grooming and dog training

Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog is the most internationally known of the four Swiss mountain dogs, the others being the Great Swiss Sennenhund (or Mountain Dog), the Appenzell Sennenhund and the Entlebuch Sennenhund. It is used as both draught dog and companion in its country of origin, but elsewhere it is gaining popularity as pet and show dog. It is easy to train despite its size and strength, is loyal, affectionate and docile with both other animals and humans. It is a beautiful dog with something of the Collie in its appearance.

Origin and history

The Bernese has been used as both herder and draught dog for centuries, and many a visitor to Switzerland returns with a snapshot of a Sennenhund pulling a milk cart. The types of Sennenhund are named after the regions in which they were found. These have Mastiff characteristics and are believed to have Molossian ancestry. The St Bernard, Rottweiler and Newfoundland are also related.

Good points

  • Beautiful
  • Easily trained
  • Excellent watchdog
  • Good with other animals and people
  • Suitable as a pet

Take heed

  • No drawbacks known, but it is a big dog to have around the place


Height at the withers: dog 25-27V2in (63.5-70cm); bitch 23-26in (58.5-66cm).


Needs a reasonable amount of exercise and is not ideally suited to town life.

General appearance
Above medium size; a strong, active working dog; alert, well boned and of striking colour

Jet black with rich reddish brown on the cheeks, over the eyes, on all four legs and on the chest. Slight to medium-sized symmetrical white head marking (blaze) and white chest marking (cross) are essential. Preferred but not essential are white paws, the white not reaching higher than the pastern, and a white tip to the tail. A few white hairs at the nape of the neck and a white anal patch are undesirable but tolerated.

Head and skull
Strong with flat skull and slightly developed furrow; well-defined stop; strong, straight muzzle; lips slightly developed.

Bushy, reaching just below the hock. When the dog is alert, may be carried gaily, but should not curl or be carried over the back.

Short, round and compact.


Regular brushing will keep the coat in good condition.


Recommended would be 20-330z (587-936g) of a branded, meaty product with biscuit added, or 3-5 cupfuls of a dry food, complete diet, mixed in the proportion of 1 cup of feed to V2 cup of hot or cold water.