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The Bernese Mountain Dog AKA The Berner Sennenhund

Updated on February 18, 2012

Berner Sennenhunds

Categories of solid-built, large dogs, Molossers hounds include many breeds that have all descended from one stock root including the Berner Sennenhund or the Berner Sennen Hound.

The name comes from Molosia, and ancient Greece sub region called Epirus where large sheep dogs were called Molossus.

Typically, Molossers have pendant ears, heavy bones, short necks that are well-muscled and a muzzle that is short.

Even if Molossers are utilized for rescue and search just like Saint Bernards and Newfoundlands, many are utilized as guarding dogs because of their natural instincts to guard and their deep voices.

Breeds like the GreaterSwiss Mountain Dog have also been utilized as carting dogs.

Its descendant the Bernese Mountain Dog is one of four Sennenhund-type dogs from the SwissAlps.

Derived from the German 'Senne' or 'hund' dog, the name came about as these dogs went with dairymen and alpine herders called Bernese which referred to the location of the origin of the breed, in Switzerland's Canton of Bern.

Originally, these dogs were farm dogs and in the past these were also used for puling cards and draft animals.

Officially, the bred was established in the year '07 and thirty years later, the AKC recognized it as a working group member.

Just like other Sennen hund varieties, the Bernese Mountain Dog is a heavy, large dog with a tricolored distinct coat, white and black chest and markings that are rust colored on the sides of the mouth, above the eyes and in the front legs. Ideally, there needs to be a white 'Swiss cross' on the chests from the front-view.

Typically behind the neck, a Swiss Kiss is a white mark but may be part of the neck-area as well. Full rings would not meet the standards of the type.

On average, these dogs need to be between eighty-eight and one hundred twenty pounds, with males slightly bigger than the females.

Disqualifications that are listed by the American Kennel Club include ground color other than black and blue colors of eyes. Exact coat color and pattern are also considered important.

The four Sennenhund breeds include the Entlebucher Mountain Dog, the Appenzeller Sennenhund, the Bernese Mountain Dog or Berner Sennenhund and the Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund or the GreaterSwiss MountainDog.

A descendant of wolves, historically this breed was used as farm dogs. Aside from being guards for property, this dog was also used for driving dairy cattle away to pastures of alpine.

Bernese Mountain Dogs health studies in Canada, the United States, Britain and Denmark indicate that this breed is quite short-living in comparison to other similar size breeds and in general, dogs that are purebred.

In Denmark there is a 7-year longevity as well as in Canada and the United States. In the studies made in the United Kingdom the life span is about eight years.

The calm temperaments of this breed make them great for wagon or cart-pulling, which are tasks they originally did in Switzerland. Properly trained, they can give kids rides on carts and are great for kiddie parties.

The coats of this breed has somewhat rough outlines but in texture, not harsh at all. Their fairly dense undercoats and weather and dirt-resistant coats will require good brushing. Because shedding happens all year round, fur drifts come with the territory.

According to standards of the breed, Bernese Mountain Dogs should not be particularly shy, anxious or aggressive.

Rather, they should be placid, self-assured, docile or good natured. Individual dog temperaments can differ but not all breed samples have been bred according to the standard.

All dogs this large need to be socialized well while puppies and given regular activities and training throughout their life.

Being at heart outdoorsy dogs, the Bernese is well behaved indoors as well. They need exercise and activities but do not have a lot of endurance.

They are able to move with speed in amazing bursts for their sizes when they have motivation. They also enjoy hikes and like being near their owners.

This breed is intelligent, stable, faithful, loyal and affectionate. Majority are friendly towards other dogs and people.

Often, they get along with horses or cats and do not respond well to treatment which is harsh. They love to please their owners and thrive on treats and praise.

The breed is good and sweet overall with children and have temperaments that are stable, loving and patient. These dogs are slow to mature and can display tendencies that are like puppies even when they are almost three years old.

Almost three times as other breeds, Bernese Mountain Dogs tend to get musculoskeletal issues with the most common being arthritis, osteochondritis, hip dysplasia and cruciate ligament ruptures.

In other words, you may need to include dog wheelchair accessibility and ramps in the design of your house when your dog shows signs of these issues.

When caring for this breed, it is important that they get enough exercise. Daily long walks are essential and the dog should be taught to heel behind you and never in front.

This is so that the dog will not be misled into thinking that he is the alpha male but rather, his owner is

Cool climates are preferred by this breed. Small yards are sufficient although they will also do fine in apartments if walked daily.

These dogs are large, muscular and sturdy with a slight stop on their broad flat skill. Their blunt muzzles and back skulls are about equal in length and their teeth meet in a scissors-bite.

The lips and nose are black and their eyes are shaped like almonds and medium in size. With triangular ears, they have a level topline and straight front legs.

They have compact, round feeds and broad, deep chests. They have a thick base tail which tapers at the point near the hock. Claws are sometimes removed and they have thick undercoats.


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    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      I also love these dogs but have only come across one ever.

      He was so gentle with the children but also a great guard dog.

      Great hub again;take care and enjoy your day.