The Bernese is one of four varieties of Swiss mountain dogs and by far the most popular of the bunch. It has evolved from old Molosser strains brought to Switzerland by Roman soldiers and East-European traders over 2000 years ago, among them some dogs of the Balkans, like the ancient Sylvans and Tornjaks. The breed is closely related to the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Appenzel Cattledog and the Entelbucher, all of which were likely nothing more than regional types of the same breed in the past. There is a strong probability that the Bernese Mountain Dog is one of the ancestors of the Saint Bernard and a few other Molossers, among which is also the modern incarnation of the Rottweiler, in whose revival programme it was employed in Germany, alongside other breeds.
This is an excellent farm dog, quite capable of withstanding a variety of temperatures. But most of all, the Berner Sennenhund is a sweet and affectionate breed, completely devoted to its family, making a wonderful pet. Unfortunately, this is a short-lived breed and is known to have a number of hereditary health issues. Although it doesn't look like it, the Bernese Mountain Dog is a competent watchdog and a good property protector. The head is broad and large, with a substantial muzzle and reasonably loose lips. The chest is deep and wide, the shoulders are quite broad and the legs are sturdy.
Its instantly recognizable tricolour coat needs to be jet-black with red to brown tan and pure white markings. Average height is around 27 inches.