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Breed History:

The Bernese Mountain Dog is one of a group of four Swiss working dogs known as Sennenhund, (sennen being an alpine herdsman). Their ancestors probably came over the Alps with the Romans and were used as cattle drovers. The Bernese is the second largest in size being 23 to 27+ inches high at the withers and the only one with a long coat. Although the Bernese is called a mountain dog it should not be confused with the Pyrenean.
As they are working closely with their owners, whether driving cattle to and

from the alpine pastures, guarding the farm, pulling small wagons or carts or

as avalanche dogs, the Bernese makes an ideal family dog only wanting to be

with its owners and to take part in every activity. Their temperament is very

stable being very affectionate, patient and especially good with children.

For all their size they are very active and take a lively interest in all that is

going on.
The dogs should be between 64 and 70 cms (25.2 to 27.6 inches) and bitches

between 58 and 66 cms (22.8 to 26 inches). Weights approximately 80 to

120 lbs for dogs and 70 to 100 lbs for bitches. The Bernese is not considered

a giant breed but is quite late maturing. They usually reach their full adult

height by about 15 months but can take a further 2 or 3 years to reach full


They do not make particularly good kennel dogs, preferring to live and spend time with their owners living in a family environment. They love to be with people and be given affection; however they are not constantly on the move in the house, demanding objects or retrieving objects to be thrown for them. When visitors arrive at the house they may bark and demand attention from them but after a little while they will settle down and rest - a valuable attribute in a house dog. The amount of exercise an adult Bernese requires varies between 1 and 5 miles daily, depending on his fitness and how he has been reared. They are very accommodating and if the owner is not feeling well, they will accept the fact that their exercise has to be temporarily restricted, they do not become neurotic about such things. Common sense is needed when the dog is very young as a fast growing dog can quickly tire and needs plenty of rest periods. You will get plenty of attention when out with your Bernese and this can be as tiring for a puppy as it is initially flattering for you.

Bernese are generally very willing to please their owners and therefore fairly easy to train, especially when rewarded with treats. A Bernese quickly becomes a part of the family and most owners soon wonder how their lives were ever complete without one.

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Unfortunately, similar to other large breeds, Bernese are prone to certain health conditions. In particular you should be aware of any health conditions that can be carried to puppy from its parents and grandparents, such as, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, cancer and any problematic behaviour.

While puppy is still growing it is important not to overwhelm him with exercise, but ensure light and regular walks. This, as well as, healthy diet and not over feeding your puppy can help to avoid hip and elbow dysplasia.

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