The Bernese Mountain Dog is an old breed, one of four tri-colored Swiss Mountain Dogs (Berner Sennenhund). The Bernese is the only long haired of the four breeds. They were originally multi-purpose farm dogs in the Canton of Bern, Switzerland. Some of their jobs on the farm included driving cattle (a style of herding), pulling carts (draft), watching over the farm, and being family companions. In the 1800's, they nearly became extinct. Franz Schertenlieb was instrumental in revitalizing the breed in the late 1800's. They were first brought to the U.S. in 1926 and became recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1937. They are now primarily a family companion. However, many of today's Bernese Mountain Dogs carry on the traits needed for the work their ancestors did. Across the U.S. you can find Bernese whom pull carts, track, herd, perform obedience, participate in agility, and work as active Therapy dogs.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are strikingly beautiful, intelligent, large working dogs, and family companions. The breed is known for being a gentle giant with a nice disposition, having good character, and being great with children is attractive to a growing number of people who are searching for an ideal companion dog.
The Bernese Mountain Dog does have a number of health issues to be aware of. While many are living into their teens, the statistical average lifespan is 7-8 years. Responsible breeders, the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America, the Berner-Garde Foundation, and researchers in the U.S. and world wide are committed to initiatives for improving the health and longevity of the breed. For more information on health, please see our Health Education page, the Berner-Garde Foundation, the BMDCA, and BMDInfo.org.