Breed profile: All about Bernese Mountain Dogs

Traditionally bred as all-purpose farm dogs, Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their sturdy builds and immense strength. They are incredibly affectionate and social companion dogs who love to spend time with their families. If you are considering bringing a Berner into your family, it is important to understand their unique personalities, potential health concerns, and grooming and exercise needs.


These large, sturdy dogs hail from the agricultural midland region of Switzerland, mostly around the city of Bern. According to the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America (BMDCA), Berners played a central role as farm dogs in an area known for dairy production. They were traditionally bred for driving cattle, accompanying cows to pasture, guarding farmyards, and serving as companions for farmers and their families. With their broad builds, Berners also have the ability to pull loads many times their own weight, making them valuable all-purpose farm dogs.

By the late 1800s, the numbers and quality of Bernese Mountain Dogs were dwindling in Switzerland. In 1907, however, breed enthusiasts formed a Swiss breed club. Berners soon became popular companion pets in Swiss households. In 1926, the breed was brought to the United States and caught on quickly, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). The AKC registered its first Berner in 1937.

Size and appearance

Bernese Mountain Dogs are considered large-sized dogs. They are big, powerful, and built for hard work. With regards to appearance, the coloring of Berners’ thick, silky coat is tricolored—primarily black with distinctive white and rust markings on the chest, limbs, and face.



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