Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Info

Helpful information about the history, traits and appearance

Brief Historical Summary

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a farm dog of ancestral origin which was used as a guard and draught dog and for driving cattle in the pre-alpine regions and in the midland areas around Bern. Originally he was named “Dürrbächler” according to the name of the hamlet and of the inn of Dürrbach, near Riggisberg, where this longhaired tricoloured farm dog was especially appreciated. In 1902, 1904 and 1907 subjects of this breed were exhibited at dog shows. In 1907 a few breeders of the region of Burgdorf decided to promote the pure breeding of this native dog by founding the “Schweizerischer Dürrbach-Klub” and fixing the characteristic traits of the breed in a first standard. In 1910, at the invitation of the Dürrbach-Klub” there were already 107 subjects shown by the farmers at this special event. From that day onward this dog, renamed “Bernese Mountain Dog” (following the example of other breeds of the Swiss Mountain Dogs), became rapidly known all over Switzerland and Southern Germany. Today, the Bernese Mountain Dog is well known and appreciated all over the world as a companion and family dog thanks to its striking tricoloured coat and its great adaptability.

General Breed Information

Behaviour and Temperament

Self-confident, attentive, vigilant, fearless in situations of everyday life, good-natured and devoted to his own people, self-assured and friendly towards strangers; of average and docile temperament.

General Appearance

A long-haired tricoloured working dog, of above medium size, sturdily built, yet agile; well balanced in all parts.

Important Proportions

Compact rather than long. Height at withers: length of body = 9:10.

Bernese Mountain Dog Appearance


General appearance: Strong. Skull viewed from front and in profile very slightly rounded. Facial-cranial depression (stop) well defined without being too pronounced. Frontal furrow slightly marked.

Nose: Black

Muzzle: Strong, of medium length; nasal bridge straight.

Lips: Not much developed; well fitting to the jaws; with black pigmentation.

Mouth: Strong, complete dentition; scissor bite.

Eyes: Dark brown, almond shaped, with well fitting eyelids.

Ears: Triangular shape, slightly rounded at the tips, set high, medium sized, in repose hanging flat and close to the head.


Strong, muscular, of medium length

BODY: Compact and sturdy

Chest: Broad and deep reaching to elbows; forechest well developed; chest and ribcage of wide-oval cross-section.

Back: Firm, straight and level.

Loins: Broad and strong.

Rump: Slightly rounded.

Belly: Not tucked up.

Tail: Bushy, reaching at least to the hocks; hanging straight down when at rest; carried level with back or slightly above when moving.

More Information

For more information, and answers to frequently asked questions, click here.