Known for centuries as hard-working farm dogs, they kept watch over property, drove small herds of cattle, and hauled carts. They were also the farmers’ loyal and valued companions. The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large and lovable dog breed that thrives upon the companionship of people. In the late 1800s, as the need for farm dogs decreased, enthusiasts were able to preserve the breed. The Bernese Mountain Dog was first brought to the US in 1926 and was recognized by the AKC in 1937. Affectionately called “Berners,” this working breed has a solid history as a Swiss farm dog and farmers’ companion. Today’s Berner is known as more of a companion than anything else, but the breed is well-suited to obedience trials, cart-hauling competitions and conformation.
Some of the best traits of the Berner are it’s gentle nature and ability to get along with children and other animals. This loyal breed is protective without being aggressive and playful without being too rough. Like most large-breed dogs, the Berner’s life expectancy is short at 6-8 years. However, this does not keep enthusiasts from continuing to love the breed. Instead, they work hard to promote veterinary medical research and to breed quality dogs with a goal to avoid hereditary diseases.