Bernese Mountain Dog
The BMD is one of four Swiss Mountain breeds under the collective name of Sennenhund which means Herdsmans dog. The other three are the Great Swiss, the Appenzeller and the Entlebucher. The Bernese is by far the most popular worldwide and is the only long coated breed of the group. It originated as a general purpose farm dog from the middle region of Switzerland near the Canton of Bern and was originally called the Durbacher from the town of that name.
In the l940s Newfoundland blood was introduced to the breed which improved temperaments as well as adding size and substance. The first importation to Britain took place in the l930s but this was a very small group which died out during the Second World War.
The next importation was in l969 and has proved popular with approaching 1,000 registrations per year at the present time.
The breed is above medium size, tricolour in colour and in outline it can be said to resemble a larger, more muscular version of the Golden Retriever.
They should be fairly laid back, gentle in disposition and agreeable with other animals including cats, but they can also be good watchdogs in that they will alert you to a strangerís presence without incessant barking and/or aggression. They make excellent family dogs and are at their best with close human contact. Although not many are competitively trained, the breed is certainly trainable and willing in the right hands.
As a long coated breed, the coat needs regular brushing which prevents matting and coat infestations.
Ears need to be checked regularly as some are prone to ear problems but as with all dogs, good animal husbandry is essential.
The breed is no more prone to illness than any other but there are certain traits that need to be watched.
Hip Dysplasia can occur and more seriously elbow dysplasia. Entropion and ectropion occur but rarely, as do epileptiform seizures.
The breed is sadly not long lived with average age at death under 8 years with cancer being the major killer.