Introduction

by The Hyperink Team

This chapter is a free excerpt from A New Owner's Guide to Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Every boy should have two things: a dog, and a mother willing to let him have one. Anonymous

Bernese Mountain Dogs are large dogs with strong, sturdy figures and gleaming coats. Although they’re classed as working dogs, their gentle temperament combined with their loyal and affectionate nature make them excellent companion pets.


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Every boy should have two things: a dog, and a mother willing to let him have one. Anonymous

Bernese Mountain Dogs are large dogs with strong, sturdy figures and gleaming coats. Although they’re classed as working dogs, their gentle temperament combined with their loyal and affectionate nature make them excellent companion pets.

Via Vicky & Chuck Rogers

According to Dog Training Central, it's generally believed that the breed developed from the Mastiff-type dogs introduced to Switzerland by the Romans. They were primarily used as working farm dogs until the beginning of the 20th century, when a decline in their numbers inspired Swiss farmers from the hamlet of Bern to resuscitate the breed.

They were introduced to the United States by Isaac Scheiss in 1926 and were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club until 1937.

Physical Characteristics

Although they could never be described as diminutive in stature, Bernese Mountain Dogs don’t rank among the largest breeds in the world. They are best known for their thick, tri-color coat and distinctive chest marking that is often likened to an inverted Swiss cross.  

According to the American Kennel Club, the double coat of a Bernese Mountain Dog has a wooly underside and thick, wavy topcoat. The breed is black with rust accents appearing above the eyes, the underside of the tail and on the legs. Bright white markings are present on the chest, at the tail tip and between the eyes.

According to PetWave, male Bernese Mountain Dog will grow to between 25 and 27.5 inches tall (shoulder to paw). Bitches are smaller with a height between 23 and 26 inches. Depending on sex, the dog’s weight at maturity will vary between 70 and 115 pounds.

Bernese Mountain Dogs and You

The size of a Bernese Mountain Dog, particularly in the case of the larger males, can make this breed intimidating to potential owners. While it’s important to judge each dog on its own merits, in general the Bernese Mountain Dog has a steady temper and easy-going nature. They’re typically calm and peaceful dogs, although some males can harbor a tendency to be aggressive toward other male dogs.

They will form strong bonds of love with the entire family, but are likely to favor one particular master.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are highly sociable dogs and love having contact with people. They often fare best in a family environment in which they’re allowed inside the house and can’t cope well if left alone for extended periods of time. Separation anxiety in particular can be a real concern with this breed.

For these reasons, the ideal Bernese Mountain Dog owner will have plenty of time to commit to interaction with his or her pet and enough patience for constant obedience training. The breed is moderately active and will need at least one 30-minute walk a day, so they’re not well suited to owners who are physically limited. They’re relatively inactive when indoors, but leaning on people for attention is sometimes an issue.

According to BMD.org, the typical lifespan of a Bernese Mountain Dog is just six to nine years.

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