One of the best-recognized large friendly dog breeds in the world is a type of dog that has its roots in the Swiss Alps.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most interesting facts about Bernese mountain dogs, a good-natured companion to have around.
1. It’s one of 4 breeds of Swiss mountain dogs
The Bernese mountain dog is a large breed of dog that is one of 4 breeds of Sennenhund.
This breed originates in the Swiss Alps and more specifically in the region around Bern, the capital of Switzerland.
The 3 other Sennenhunds dogs have a similar appearance and are:
- The greater Swiss mountain dog – Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund.
- The Appenzeller Sennenhund – The Appenzeller mountain dog.
- The Entlebucher mountain dog – Entlebucher Sennenhund.
The easiest way to distinguish this dog among its family members is that they are the only of the 4 breeds that have long coats.
2. The name of these dogs refers to their original occupation
As you probably noticed, Sennenhund is a German word and refers to the original occupation of this dog.
These amazing companions were originally used to join both alpine herders and dairymen who delivered milk and other goodies.
One of these was a so-called “Senne,” a type of pastry popular in Alpine regions and especially in the Swiss Canton of Bern.
Another name often used to describe this dog breed was “cheese dog,” a reference to the delivery of cheese.
3. The breed was established in the early 20th century
The other main occupation of the dog was to be used as a general farm dog. They are very suited to guide dairy cattle along the mountains and to support herders who delivered dairy to people’s doors.
Because they were pretty common in the town of Dürrbach, they were sometimes referred to as “Dürrbachhund” or “Dürrbach dog” as well.
The roots of this particular dog breed go back to ancient times as they are descendants of a large dog referred to as the “Roman mastiffs.”
Even though mastiffs are large and powerful dogs, just like the Bernese mountain dog. They do have a short coat and quite a different appearance.
It wasn’t until the early 20th century that the breed was created and the first breed club was established named the “Schweizerische Dürrbach-Klub.”
The efforts of these original breeders resulted in the breed officially being recognized in the year 1912.
4. How big are Bernese mountain dogs?
These are very large dogs and especially heavy as well. The average height of these dogs at the shoulders is:
- Males: 64 to 70 centimeters (25 to 27.5 inches)
- Females: 58 to 66 centimeters (23 to 26 inches)
The average weight of these dogs is:
- Males: 35 to 55 kilos (80 to 120 lb)
- Females: 35 to 45 kilos (75 to 100 lb)
5. Are Bernese mountain dogs great pets?
This particular dog breed is one of the most popular pets in German-speaking countries. This obviously means that these are great pets for a couple of reasons.
They are considered to be very friendly and not aggressive towards strangers. That’s why they were the perfect companion for dairymen on their daily route.
These dogs are also considered to be good-natured and not particularly shy, which means they are welcoming toward strangers.
One of the most important facts about Bernese mountain dogs is that these animals do require a lot of exercise or training routines.
They aren’t meant to sit inside the house all day, so daily walks will be required for them to release their energy. On the other hand, because these are heavy dogs, their stamina isn’t the greatest as well.
So yes, they are increasingly becoming more popular as pets and are some of the friendliest companions you can have around.
More interesting facts about Bernese mountain dogs
6. Apart from serving as the companion of Alpine herders and dairymen, these large dogs were also sometimes used for pulling carts.
That’s why they are now officially classified as “draft animals” or “working dogs,” a domesticated animal that is trained to perform certain tasks.
7. One of the best ways to recognize this dog breed is because of its distinctive color patterns. They have a tri-colored coat, mostly black.
They also have a white chest and rust-colored markings above their eyes. The white area around their noses has the shape of a horseshoe as well, while the white coat on their chests has the shape of a Swiss Cross.
8. Even though these dogs are great companions inside the house, their natural habitat is outdoors, and thoroughly enjoy hiking. During hikes, they stick close to their owner as well.
9. While they are generally friendly towards strangers, the same applies to other dog breeds. They seemingly enjoy playing with all types of dogs, regardless of their size.
10. Bernese mountain dogs are amazing family dogs and love to play with little children. They don’t mind children crawling over them and bond extremely well with all members of the family.
11. After this dog breed was established in the early 20th century in the Swiss Alps, it spread quickly across the world. It was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1937.
12. This particular breed is growing fast in popularity in the United States. While they were still listed as the 32nd-most popular breed in 2013, they were listed as the 22nd-most popular breed in 2020.
This growing trend clearly indicates that these beautiful dogs are some of the best pets in the world!