The Bernese Mountain Dog - Standard and History
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Brief History of the Bernese Mountain Dog Breed:

Following is some information on this beautiful breed, we also encourage anyone thinking of owning a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy to research this breed on the internet and be thouroughly informed before looking for a breeder. Web sites such as http://www.canismajor.com/dog/bernese.html will give you valuable insight as to the breeds good and bad points. Also we encourage potential puppy owners to be very selective as to the breeder they choose, this link will give you some of the questions you should ask a breeder before buying a puppy from them http://www.qualitydogs.com/choosingbreeder.asp. Remember, the initial cost of a puppy is insignificant in comparison to the heart ache and costs you will incur if you select a puppy from a non-reputable breeder!

The Bernese Mountain Dog, also known as the Berner Sennenhund, is one of four varieties of Swiss mountain dogs. The other three are the Appenzeller Sennenhund, the Entlebucher Sennehund, and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. Of the four breeds, the Bernese is the second largest (the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog being the largest) and the only one to have a long coat. It is believed their ancestors were Mastiffs that were brought into Switzerland more than 2,000 years ago by the Roman army as herding and war dogs. Inter-breeding with local farm dogs created a somewhat smaller, not as aggressive, but equally trustworthy dog. Originally, the Bernese was used to drive livestock and to pull carts of produce, primarily in Berne, Switzerland where he is known as Berner Sennenhund. The breed was brought to North America in the mid-1920's. The breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1937 and the United Kennel Club in 1948

Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Standard

General Appearance
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a striking. tri-colored, large dog. He is sturdy and balanced. He is intelligent, strong and agile enough to do the draft and droving work for which he was used in the mountainous regions of his origin. Dogs appear masculine, while bitches are distinctly feminine.

Size, Proportion, Substance
Measured at the withers, dogs are 25 to 27½ inches; bitches are 23 to 26 inches. Though appearing square, Bernese Mountain Dogs are slightly longer in body than they are tall. Sturdy bone is of great importance. The body is full. Females generally weight between 90 and 100 pounds and males between 95 and 125 pounds.

Head

Expression is intelligent, animated and gentle. The eyes are dark brown and slightly oval in shape with close-fitting eyelids. Inverted or everted eyelids are serious faults. Blue eye color is a disqualification. The ears are medium sized, set high, triangular in shape. gently rounded at the tip, and hang close to the head when in repose. When the Bernese Mountain Dog is alert, the ears are brought forward and raised at the base; the top of the ear is level with the top of the skull. The skull is flat on top and broad, with a slight furrow and a well-defined, but not exaggerated stop. The muzzle is strong and straight. The nose is always black. The lips are clean and, as the Bernese Mountain Dog is a dry-mouthed breed, the flews are only slightly developed. The teeth meet in a scissors bite. An overshot or undershot bite is a serious fault. Dentition is complete.

Neck, Topline, Body
The neckis strong, muscular and of medium length. The topline is level from the withers to the croup. The chest is deep and capacious with well-sprung, but not barrel-shaped, ribs and brisket reaching at least to the elbows. The back is broad and firm. The loin is strong. The croup is broad and smoothly rounded to the tail insertion. The tail is bushy. It should be carried low when in repose. An upward swirl is permissible when the dog is alert, but the tail may never curl or be carried over the back. The bones in the tail should feel straight and should reach to the hock joint or below. A kink in the tail is a fault.

Forequarters
The shoulders are moderately laid back, flat-lying, well-muscled and never loose. The legs are straight and strong and the elbows are well under the shoulder when the dog is standing. The pasterns slope very slightly. but are never weak. Dewclaws may be removed. The feet are round and compact with well-arched toes.

Hindquarters
The thighs are broad, strong and muscular. The stifles are moderately bent and taper smoothly into the hocks. The hocks are well let down and straight as viewed from the rear. Dewclaws should be removed. Feet are compact and turn neither in nor out.

Coat
The coat is thick, moderately long and slightly wavy or straight. It has a bright natural sheen. Extremely curly or extremely dull-looking coats are undesirable. The Bernese Mountain Dog is shown in natural coat and undue trimming is to be discouraged.

Color and Markings
The Bernese Mountain Dog is tri-colored. The ground color is jet black. The markings are rich rust and clear white. Symmetry of markings is desired. Rust appears over each eye, on the cheeks reaching to at least the corner of the mouth, on each side of the chest, on all four legs, and under the tail. There is a white blaze and muzzle band. A white marking on the chest typically forms an inverted cross. The tip of the tail is white. White on the feet is desired but must not extend higher than the pasterns. Markings other than described are to be faulted in direct relationship to the extent of the deviation. White legs or a white collar are serious faults. Any ground color other than black is a disqualification.

Gait
The natural working gait of the Bernese Mountain Dog is a slow trot. However, in keeping with his use in draft and droving work, he is capable of speed and agility. There is good reach in front. Powerful drive from the rear is transmitted through a level back. There is no wasted action. Front and rear legs on each side follow through in the same plane. At increased speed, legs tend to converge toward the center line.

Temperament
The temperament is self-confident, alert and good-natured, never sharp or shy. The Bernese Mountain Dog should stand steady, though may remain aloof to the attentions of strangers.

Disqualifications
Blue eye color.
Any ground color other than black.