Bernese mountain dog history – let’s dig the burrow deeper

Bernese mountain dog history runs back to thousands of years. These are a crossbreed between the large farm dogs lived in the mountains of Switzerland and mastiff-type dogs known as Molosser. Romans brought those Molossers with them 2000 years ago to Switzerland. Bernese are known for their robustness. Therefore, they were working dogs from the beginning. Bernese mountain dogs who are also known as Berner Sennenhunds, lived in Canton of Bern, which gave them their name. Their striking coat made them exceptional among other Swiss breeds like Appenzeller Sennenhund, the Entlebucher Sennenhund, and the Greater Swiss Mountain dog.

Early Bernese mountain dog history

These energetic canines were working in farms pulling carts and taking care of the cattle in the pastures across Switzerland. They were terrific as both a companion and a helper since the beginning of Bernese dog history. Farmers who could not afford to buy horses had Bernese to transport their dairy products like fresh milk and cheese. Dogs pulled the loaded carts from the mountain tops to the villages in the valleys. Not like horses, they were inexpensive to buy and easy to maintain. Bernese were also excellent watchdogs for farmers. The enormous strength they get from their broad and muscular built made them capable of pulling heavy loads. Those were even a few times heavier than their weight. 

Re-birth of the breed

By the late 1800s, Bernese mountain dog numbers started to decline. The quality of the breed also fell, with them becoming almost extinct. However, the Bernese lovers did not give up on the species. Dog keepers and breeders like Franz Schertenleib, Professor Albert Heim, and Gottfried Mumenthaler looked across the country for an excellent specimen of the breed. Luckily, they were successful in bringing them back from extinction.

A Swiss breed club for Bernese mountain dogs was formed in 1907, recognizing them as a merit-worthy breed. Dog clubs had a significant impact on conserving different dog breeds with their breeding standards. Bernese mountain dogs were back in the households and farms chasing cattle after this rough patch in their history. The dog shows held by the club brought back their popularity. The shows also draw these working dogs closer to the family environments making for legged family members. 

These magnificent mountaineers went to America in 1926 to write their history in America. As they are natural challenge takers in learning new things, they adapted to the American surroundings well and sooner. By 1937 the American Kennel Association accepted the breed. However, the two world wars had a negative impact on the spread of this dog in America. Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America, formed in 1968, re-claimed the popularity of the breed.  Throughout the Bernese mountain dog history, this pure breed had served humankind for generations all over the world. They made a lovable companion and a helper. Thanks to the dedication of the people throughout history, the world still has these endearing Bernese Mountain Dogs beside us as truthful companions.

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