a close up of a dog in a field of grass

The Bernese Mountain Dog, also known as the Berner Sennenhund, is a large breed of dog that originates from the Swiss Alps. These gentle giants are well-known for their loyalty, intelligence, and striking tri-colour coat, but their history is just as fascinating as their appearance.


The Bernese Mountain Dog is believed to have originated from the Roman Mastiff, a breed that was brought to Switzerland over 2,000 years ago. These dogs were bred with local herding dogs to create a larger and stronger working dog that could handle the harsh conditions of the Swiss Alps. The Bernese Mountain Dog was primarily used as a farm dog to pull carts, guard livestock, and provide companionship to their owners.


Throughout the years, the Bernese Mountain Dog continued to develop into the breed that we know and love today. In the early 20th century, the breed almost went extinct due to declining interest and the rise of other dog breeds. However, a group of dedicated breeders in Switzerland worked to revive the breed by increasing its numbers and preserving its unique characteristics. These efforts paid off, and the Bernese Mountain Dog gained popularity in Europe and eventually made its way to the United States.

Significant Events and Figures

One of the most significant figures in the history of the Bernese Mountain Dog is Professor Albert Heim. He was a Swiss geologist and dog enthusiast who studied the various breeds of Swiss mountain dogs, including the Bernese Mountain Dog. Heim played a crucial role in promoting the breed and establishing a breed standard that is still used today. Another notable figure in the breed’s history is Franz Schertenleib, a Swiss breeder who is credited with saving the Bernese Mountain Dog from extinction in the early 20th century.

Today, the Bernese Mountain Dog remains a beloved breed around the world. They are popular family pets and also excel in a variety of activities, including obedience training, agility, and therapy work. Despite their gentle nature, these dogs still have a strong work ethic and are happiest when they have a job to do.

In conclusion, the Bernese Mountain Dog has a rich and fascinating history that spans over 2,000 years. From their humble beginnings as farm dogs in the Swiss Alps to their popularity as family pets today, these dogs have remained true to their roots as loyal and hardworking companions. Thanks to the efforts of dedicated breeders and enthusiasts, the Bernese Mountain Dog has survived and thrived throughout history, and we can only hope that they will continue to do so for many years to come.

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Author: Jane