Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Magazine - Showsight


By Mary Alice Eschweiler


he Bernese Mountain Dog is a breed in the Working Group which originated in the mid- lands of Switzerland. It has been known as

the farmer’s companion in the the Canton of Bern, working as a companion, watch- dog, cart puller or draft dog, and has been known to herd small numbers of cows. Th ese tasks have been the reason for the breed’s amiable temperament which has translated into a gently, large, loyal com- panion with relatively low energy levels. Th e Bernese Mountain Dog is charac- terized by its large size, generally 23-26 inches, 80-100 lbs for females, and 25 -27 ½ inches, or 90-120 lbs for males. Th e coat is shining black and long and easy to keep clean with weekly brushing. Th e black coat is accented with white and tan markings on the face, chest and legs. Th e attractive markings are what often intrigue those to the breed, but it’s the sweet nature and character of the dog that are far more important to those who have owned them. Although known locally to the Bernese farmers, toward the end of the 19th cen- tury, the breed was nearly extinct. A group of Swiss farm dogs were sought out and exhibited in 1904. By 1908 the breed was recognized in Switzerland. Breeding for speci fi c characteristics re fi ned the breed. Th e breed was slow to get established in the United States, being fi rst recognized by the American Kennel Club with a pair of dogs in 1937. Th ere were only a few litters every year thereafter until American fanci- ers formed the Bernese Mtn. Dog Club of America (BMDCA) in 1968. Because of its sensitive nature, the Ber- nese Mountain Dog makes the ideal fam- ily dog. Life is best for this dog when it is with its family. Although they adapt well to cold and rainy weather and abso-

lutely love snow, they much prefer to be wherever their owner is, whether indoors or out. Caution must be taken in hot cli- mates. Both because of the long coat and the black color which absorbs heat, the Bernese Mountain Dog is not suited for extreme heat. Moreover, they do not do well as kennel dogs. Th ey get along well with other animals, but they are closely bonded to their human. Th ey require regu- lar exercise but are not high energy dogs. Many dogs have excelled in the obedience,

agility and tracking venues being able to endure the rigor of those sports but they are not natural retrievers. What they do love to do is pull carts! Th e BMDCA has the largest draft tests program in the world with many enthusiasts earning their titles. Puppies grow quickly into large dogs. Because of this, good socialization, manners and basic obedience skills should be taught from the beginning of the dog’s life. Most Bernese Mountain Dogs begin to settle into their mature low-key nature around the age

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