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Origins of the Breed
The name Bernese Mountain Dog is a translation of the German "Berner Sennenhund," which means Bernese Alpine Herdsman's Dog. The breed's original name was Durrbachler, after an inn where these farm dogs were bought and sold. The modern breed was developed from dogs found in the countryside around
Bern, Switzerland. The original Berner Sennenhund was an all-around farm dog, used to guard the farm, drive the cows to and from their mountain pastures, and pull carts loaded with milk cans to the dairy. Today's Berners retain some of these instincts. The breed was rescued from near extinction by Professor Albert Heim around the turn of the century, and has developed slowly since then. In 1948 there was a significant outcrossing to a Newfoundland, which resulted in improving the temperament and increased the size. Berners are known to have first come to America in 1926, and possibly even earlier, but the breed was not recognized by the AKC even after intervention by the Swiss Kennel Club. A decade later, two more were imported from Switzerland and these dogs became the first of the breed to be registered with the AKC. The Bernese is a breed which needs human companionship, and should be made a part of the family. They are a gentle breed, very affectionate and extremely faithful. They make excellent children's companions and can get along very well with other pets. They make good watch dogs, but are not much of a guard dog. A Bernese can be quite reserved around people they don't know, but once they have accepted someone as a friend, they will remember them all their lives.


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