Boasting 2,000 year old ancestry that witnessed the Roman invasion, the Bernese Mountain Dog has its origins in the Swiss Mountains where it was traditionally utilised in herding, general farming and carting. The breed was also typically used as a watchdog in the Canton of Berne region and features in numerous paintings of the 18th century that associate the breed with such work. It is generally believed that the mastiff-type breeds - used by Caesar's troops to guard supplies - were selectively bred with native flock-guarders, thereby bringing the Bernese Mountain Dog into existence. Ever since, dogged efforts have been made to preserve the breed.
Considered one of the most beautiful of dog breeds, the Bernese Mountain Dog possesses a dense, tricolour coat in rich colour variations of black, white and rust. Besides this, the breed is recognised for its high-set triangular ears, strong, straight muzzle and stocky body. A working dog by nature, the modern Bernese Mountain Dog is popularly employed in tracking and herding, search and rescue, competitive obedience, and guarding. Despite its inherent hunting and guarding instinct, the breed does not exercise a loud or incessant bark, but remains actively vigilant to change and threat.
A dog of impressive size and stature, the Bernese Mountain Dog weighs a healthy average of 34-40 kg for a female dog, and 50 kg for a male dog. The life expectancy of the breed is approximately 12 years, although there are great variations and this figure is entirely dependent on care shown. A great breed choice for compatibility with children, the Bernese Mountain Dog is gentle, obedient to instruction, companionable and playful, whilst being inherently protective of its family.
Generally a healthy and resilient breed, the Bernese Mountain Dog is susceptible to a number of breed-specific health complaints, including cancer, mast-cell tumours, hip and elbow dysplasia and eyelid problems. Additionally, the breed is prone to easy weight gain, so feeding your dog human foods is not encouraged for this reason.