Bernese Mountain Dog: The Swiss Working Dog

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Few dog breeds have gained the “all-around dog” title in their name. And the Bernese Mountain dog, or the Berner Sennenhunde, has proven itself throughout history what a working dog should be. Berner Sennenhunde is versatile to do pretty much any job thrown at them by their owners. These large and sturdy dogs are always eager to please their owners and are willing to do any task given at them.

Berner Sennenhunde’s History

Bernese Mountain Dog: The Swiss Working Dog
Bernese Mountain Dog: The Swiss Working Dog

Originated from the cold regions of eastern central Europe, especially in the Swiss Alps, these pooches are suitable to work in cold conditions. Particularly on the high-altitude pastures and farms of Switzerland and other neighboring countries, such as Austria and Germany.

Berner Sennenhunde’s heritage, together with other 3 Sennenhund breeds. The Appenzeller Sennenhund,  Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, and Entlebucher Sennenhund. Way back 2000 years ago from a cross between the Roman Molosser or Mastiff-type dogs and the common Swiss farm dogs. For thousands of years, these robust pooches have been pulling carts, herding sheep and livestock. Guarding the herd or the property of their owners and are treated not just a valuable partner at work, but also an indispensable companion.

By the late 1800s, their population declined and almost went extinct due to improvements in farming technology. Replacing these hard-working pooches with advanced farming implements and machinery for fast and efficient production. In the early 1900s, Franz Schertenleib, a dog fancier, made efforts to revive the breed and from that point onward, Berner Sennenhunde’s bounced back from near extinction to the adorable, well-known breed that we knew today.

Tri-Colored Beauty

Bernese Mountain Dog: The Swiss Working Dog
Bernese Mountain Dog: The Swiss Working Dog

Aside from its large, robust, tough-as-nails build, Berner Sennenhunde has this striking, distinctive coat that makes it unique among the other Sennenhund breeds.

They have this three-colored coat:  

  • lustrous black for most of the body,
  • copper-rust colored marking for the legs,
  • around the eyes and underside of the tail,  
  • white markings on the chest,
  • the tip of the tail and between the eyes

Which is flowing and wavy at the same time. Their coat have 2 layers, the soft inner layer and along the outer layer. That sheds all year round, and heavy shedding usually occurs during the spring season.

Knowing Berner Sennenhundes

Bernese Mountain Dog: The Swiss Working Dog
Bernese Mountain Dog: The Swiss Working Dog

Due to their large size and intimidating looks, one will think that these dogs are vicious and ruthless. But in reality, they are very affectionate, gentle and intelligent dogs that are known to be very friendly and peaceful even to strangers. Berner Sennenhunde is very protective of their owners, but they are not very aggressive compared to other breeds of dogs. Also, they are commonly peaceful and shy, sometimes towards everyone he meets.

Just take note that male Bernese is aggressive towards other male dogs. Bad habits, like excessive shyness or too much aggressiveness, can be avoided by training them at an early age. For these large pooches are known to mature physically first before having a mature mentality.

Caring and Loving Them

Bernese Mountain Dog: The Swiss Working Dog
Bernese Mountain Dog: The Swiss Working Dog

Basic care, like regular trimming of their nails, cleaning their ears and weekly baths are needed. Just take note that since these dogs have a thick, long coat, they need constant brushing and grooming of regularly to avoid any mats and tangles. Extra work is needed to groom them during the spring, where the shed heavily.

Just like any other large and active dogs, they need frequent walks and exercise to keep them in shape. Also, Bernese dogs are used to cold climates and transitioning them to hot places will result in excessive shedding or even heat stroke.

Since Bernese dogs grow rapidly in their first seven months of age, they are prone to bone disorders and issues which can cause injury. They need a low-calorie diet to keep them from growing rapidly. Also, make sure to have all his vaccinations to avoid any breed-specific issues like Willebrand’s Disease, hypothyroidism, and other diseases. Like canine distemper and Canine Parvovirus. A regular visit to the vet is optimal in securing your dog and doesn’t have any hidden illnesses or diseases.

Bernese Mountain Dog: The Swiss Working Dog
Bernese Mountain Dog: The Swiss Working Dog

Conclusion

Overall, Bernese Mountain dogs are perfect for owners who live an active lifestyle, where they can exercise and vent out their excess energy. Aside from their original roles as a working dog, they work as a great companion, especially for children. Having a gentle, hard-working giant to aid you in your daily work and as an affectionate companion who will always be there for you, and totally makes you feel that the  Berner Sennenhundes is the best dog that will complete your life.

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