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The Bernese mountain dog has its origins in Switzerland and is a well recognised large breed dog. Until 2016 it was the only Swiss breed to make it into the top 10 most popular dogs in the country.

However it is now sitting at position 11 having been pushed out by the French Bulldog as the Swiss population are choosing smaller dogs such as the number one position chihuahua, the Yorkshire terrier and the Jack Russel.

Breed Statistics

  • Breed Group: Working Dog
  • Height: 23 to 27.5 inches at the shoulder
  • Weight: 30-60Kg
  • Life Span: 7 to 10 years

The Origins of the Breed

The Bernese Mountain Dog is also known as the  Berner Sennenhund.  It is one of four breeds of the Sennenhund type and takes its name from the Swiss Canton of Bern. The ancestors of the Sennenhund probably came over the Alps with the Romans and were used as cattle drovers. As they spread through Switzerland each community developed the type of dog most suited to its particular needs and so the four different types of this breed were established. The Swiss German name is derived from “Senne” which means alpine or pasture and “Hund” which mean dog. The breed was officially established in 1907 and later recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1937. Both UK and USA clubs classify the breed in the working dog group.

The Facts about the Breed

The four breeds of Sennenhund (from largest to smallest in height) are,

  • The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
  • The Bernese Mountain Dog
  • The Appenzeller
  • The Entlebucher Mountain Dog.

The Bernese Mountain Dog breed was originally developed as a draught dog for pulling carts for weavers in the Bern area. It was also used as a general farm dog for herding sheep and cattle and also for pulling milk and cheese carts. All four of the Sennenhund dogs have a thick black and tan coat with white markings on the paws, tail and chest.  Some people say that this represents the cross on the Swiss flag!

The Bernese Mountain dog is the only one of the Sennenhund to have a long coat. The breed is still used today as a working dog in alpine areas and can also be seen in summer taking part with its owner in traditional parades pulling a light cart. It is also a popular family dog accross rural Switzerland.

So Does this Dog make a Good Family Pet?

the Bernese makes an ideal family dog being a very sociable breed, loving human interaction and taking part in family activities with their owners. Their temperament is very stable. They are very affectionate, patient and especially good with children. Despite their size they are very active and take a lively interest in all that is going on around them. An optimum level of exercise per day would be around 5 – 7km but they are adaptable to shorter periods of less exercise with no adverse effects on their behaviour. They are also  happy to spend relaxing, quality time within their family.

Bernese are generally very willing to please their owners and are therefore fairly easy to train, especially when rewarded with treats. A Bernese quickly becomes a part of the family but can have a tendancy to attach itself strongly to one particular family member.

How Can The Woof Club Help You?

We would love to add a Bernese to The four legged Woof Club team – infact we would love to add all sorts of dogs to our pack – we love them all! Tell us which breeds are your favourites and why!. Don’t for get to Send us your videos and photos of your favourite pooch please!  If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to  contact us by submitting a form online or sending us an email at woof@thewoofclub.ch .

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