The Bernese Mountain Dog, also known in its homeland as the Berner Sennenhund, is one of several mountain dog breeds originating in Switzerland, although it is the only one with a long, silky coat. At times known as the Gelbbacker (“yellow cheeks”), the Vieraugen or Vieraugli (“four-eyes”) or the Durrbachler (a district in Berne), this is an ancient breed, accepted into the American Kennel Club’s Working Group in 1937. The Bernese Mountain Dog is a sturdy, striking, symmetrically marked tri-colored breed that remains strong and agile enough to do the draft and droving work for which it originally was bred. These are watchful, confident, friendly, sensitive and companionable dogs that thrive in cold climates. They make excellent family dogs and form close bonds with their owners. They should be aloof to strangers but never shy and are especially gentle with children.
The male Bernese Mountain Dog should stand 25 to 27 ½ inches at the withers, with bitches being 23 to 26 inches in height. The average Bernie weighs between 80 and 110 pounds (the females are lighter and smaller than the males). These are jet-black, longhaired dogs with rich russet markings on the legs, cheeks, over each eye and on either side of a snowy white chest. White feet and a white tail tip are highly desired.