The Bernese Mountain Dog originated in Switzerland, and is named after the Swiss capital city, Berne.
These large, friendly dogs were originally used as all-purpose farm dogs and excel at all kinds of jobs, including, guarding, herding sheep and cattle, and pulling heavy loads. Perhaps surprisingly, given their amiable personalities, the breed was also once used by the Romans as military dogs, accompanying their legions into battle.
The Berner Sennehund, as it is known in its native land, first came to America in 1926 and achieved AKC status in 1937.
With its striking tri-color coat, the Bernese is an easily recognizable dog. The coat is mainly black with rust coloration on the face and chest, as well as the lower legs and paws. The coat is thick and heavy, to withstand the freezing Alpine temperature, while the fluffy tail and folded ears also offer protection from the weather.
These are loyal, devoted and gentle pets who are exceptionally good with children and also get on well with other dogs and with non-canine pets. The Bernese is renowned for its happy disposition and kind nature.
The Bernese is a very playful dog which makes him an excellent choice for a family with kids. They are also very adaptable, meaning they’ll fit in to most living arrangements, as long as they are close to their human family.
The Bernese requires quite a lot of grooming. They are heavy shedders, with particularly heavy shedding occurring in the spring. Expect to brush your dog every day if you want to keep dog hair off your clothes and furnishings. When grooming your dog, pay special attention to cleaning the ears, which are susceptible to infections.
Bernese, unfortunately, have a very short lifespan, with a median 6-8 years. They are particularly prone to canine cancers, and also commonly suffer from a number of other serious health issues. Musculoskeletal ailments, like arthritis, hip dysplasia, and cruciate ligament rupture, are a particular problem with this breed. They are also prone eye and ear problems.
As with many large dogs, the Bernese can develop into a first class couch potato if it is allowed to. But the breed actually enjoys activity and is particularly fond of walking. You may even consider training your Bernese to pull a cart, as they were once bred to do.
A big plus point with this breed is their temperament. They are affectionate, loyal, friendly, balanced, and intelligent dogs with a genuine love of people. They respond well to reward based training, but can sometimes be a challenge to train because of their playfulness. It has been said that a Bernese remains a puppy throughout his life.
Good names for a Bernese Mountain Dog can be hard to find. The best advice is to search one of the online puppy names, sites, and my personal favorite is Puppy Names HQ. This site has thousands of excellent dog names, including a mega-database of male dog names to pick from.