Breed Bernese mountain dog
Original name Berner Sennenhund (Dürrbachler)
Origin Switzerland
Group FCI II (FCI standard 45), section 3, without working trial
Utilization Family dog, versatile working dog, guard dog. In the past they were used for cattle herding and traction of dairy carts.
Lifespan 8-11 years
Appearance Strong physical build, large, atractive, of firm and strong bones; chest is wide and deep. In spite of his weight and size he is agile. Head is strong, harmonious with proportions of body, but not too massive. Back is wide, firm and in straight line. He stands wide and stable. Legs are straight and parallel. Tail is bushy, reachig at least to the hocks. Coat is long, shining, straight or slightly wavy. Eyes are dark brown, almond-shaped and of lively appearance.
Color/markings Three-colored - dominant black with yellow-brown tan on cheeks, above eyes, under tail, on all four legs, on chest and with white markings on head (clean white symetric mark on head - wider toward muzzle on both sides; white marks should not reach brown tans over eyes, white marks should not reach above corners of lips), moderately wide, uninterrupted white mark from underside of neck-throat and on chest, white paws and white tip of tail are desirable.
Coat/hair Long, thick, straight or slightly undulate with undercoat. Explicitly curly hair or hair without shine is undesirable.
Care Rather demanding. Bernese mountain dog has thick undercoat, which must be groomed regularly. He needs thorough grooming at least once weekly.  Hair falls out abundantly within time of change. Besides grooming, bernese mountain dog also needs regular care of teeth, ears and paws. 
Height Males: 64 - 70 cm (ideal betwen 66-68 cm)
Females: 58 - 66 cm (ideal betwen 60-63 cm)

Weight from 40 to 56 kg
Temperament self-confident, attentive, fearless in daily situations; good natured and very committed to owner; confident and phlegmatic to strangers; middle temperament and obedient
Activity Middle acitve dog; There is all depending on owner and weather - they very badly put up with heat and very warm weather. They like walks and trips in nature. We can also walk with them in hills/mountains, but after supplemented 1st year of age. They need at least two long walks daily.  Majority of berneses love water and they like to swim.
Guard dog Good; He is protecting his territory and he announces a stranger with bark, many people gets scared of him because of his large and strong figure. Bernese mountain dog is not aggressive dog in any way. He accepts a stranger right away when his owner also do that.
Protection Very protective to own pack - family.
Ingenuity High; he has large will to work.
Training ability If we motivate bernese correctly, he is capable of training in almost all disciplines. They are mostly very guidable and they learn very fast, but some of them can be very stubborn. He is ideal for schooling of classical obedience and rally obedience. Because of weight, he is less appropriate for agility and rescuing. They can be excellent therapeutic dogs because of their calm nature.
Attitude towards children If we get them used to children, they are excellent companion for children. But we also must teach children of correct handling with dogs. We must pay attetnion with small children, because they can knock them over due to their weight and clumsiness.
Attitude towards other animals Tolerant and very kind. But some males can be dominant or even agressive to other males because of incorrect upbringing or lack of socialization. It is necessary to adjust them to all animals from the beggining - puppy age.
Attitude towards strangers Confident, trusting, phlegmatic. Shyness prior to people in untypical for breed.
Character Extraordinarily attached to family, stable, confident, kind, faithful, sometimes stubborn, outgoing, fearless and not aggressive.
Home environment Bernese will be happiest in house with garden. This isn't a dog that he will spend whole days alone in dog house/ kennel. He necessarily needs human closeness, that is why he will want to be there, where you will be. If you won't make acess inside the house possible for him, you should maybe think about some other breed. Dog house can be excellent solution for time, when we are at work. Bernie also easily adapts to life in apartment building, but with assumption that he has at least 4 regular daily walks (puppy even more). Because of thick undercoat they tolerate cold weather very well - winter is their dearest season. But on the contrary they very hardly tolerate very warm weather, in hot days we must assure them cold place in house and garden.
Suitable owner Consistent education and evidently set frontiers are needed. We must control dog psychically and physically. Aggression may not be used at handling a dog. Special experiences aren't needed, but I'm recommending to all new owners, that they take part in training at cynologic assiociation. Owner should be middle active.
Possible behaviour problems Because of lack of socialization, incorrect upbringing or wrong mating combination there can appear aggression, dominance, fear form people or new situations. Aggression or shyness are untypical for breed and such dogs are excluded from breeding. If bernie isn't kept busy he can become "destroyer" or he can start barking all the time.
Possible health problems Hip and elbow dysplasia, entropium and ectropium (inward and outward turned eyelids), cancer (most frequent is malignant histiocytosis), allergies, fragment within shoulder joint (OCD). Breeding permission requires x-ray of hips and elbows. Dogs with signs of hip and elbow dysplasia are excluded from breeding. Before you decide to buy a bernese puppy, make certain of x-rays resullts of mother and father of litter and eventual diseases that appeared at parents.
Advices

If you are deciding to buy a bernese puppy make certain that puppy has a pedigree. Do not buy purebred dog without pedigree, because such does not exists. There are usually puppies without pedigree because father or mother of litter don't have breeding permission for certain reason.

Puppy may not overburden until he is one year old - walk in hills/mountains, racing up and down stairs and uncontrolled play with adult, heavy dogs is not recommendable. Within this time let's socialize puppy and introduce him to different situations, people, animals... Only like this he will become an excellent companion.

Training I'm recommending that you start training your puppy at the same time you get the puppy - it's never too soon!!! Because of tender character we don't train bernese with corection, but with positive motivation. We reward correct behaviour. At home we set frontiers to puppy. In cynologic association they will indicate to you how to correctly train and socialise your puppy. Therefore I recommend visit of puppy school and later courses of basic obedience.

 

Avtor: Tina Belc in Urša Kos