FCI Standard Nr. 45
Bernese Mountain Dog
(Berner Sennenhund, Dürrbächler)

Translation: Mrs. Peggy Davis

Origin: Switzerland

Utilisation: originally used as a guard and draught dog and for driving cattle in the Kanton Bern; today also multi purpose family dog. FCI Classification: Group 2 (Pinscher and Schnauzer type- Molossian type and Swiss Cattle dogs), Section 3 (Swiss Cattle dogs), without working trial Brief historical summary: the Bernese Mountain Dog is a farm dog of ancestral origin which was used as a guard and draught dog and for driving cattle in the prealpine regions and in the midland areas around Bern. Originally he was named "Dürrbächler" according to the name of the hamlet and of the inn in Dürrbach, near Riggisberg, where this longhaired tricoloured farm dog was especially appreciated. In 1902, 1904 and 1907 subjects of this breed were exhibited at dog shows. In 1907 a few breeders of the region of Burgdorf decided to promote the pure breeding of this native dog by founding the "Schweizerischer Dürrbach-Klub" and fixing the characteristic traits of the breed in a first standard. In 1910, at the invitation of the Dürrbach-Klub, there were already 107 subjects shown by the farmers at this special event. From that day onward this dog, renamed "Bernese Mountain Dog" (following the example of other breeds of the Swiss Mountain Dogs) became rapidly known all over Switzerland and Southern Germany. Today the Bernese Mountain Dog is well known and appreciated all over the world as a companion and family dog thanks to its striking tricoloured coat and its great adaptability.

General appearance: longhaired tricoloured working dog, of above medium size, sturdily built, yet agile; well balanced in all parts.

Important proportions: compact rather than long, height at withers: length of body=9:10

Behaviour/ temperament: self-confident, attentive, vigilant, fearless in situations of every day life, good natured and devoted to his own people, self-assured and friendly towards strangers; of average and docile temperament.

Head: strong. Skull viewed from front and in profile very slightly rounded. Facial-cranial depression (stop) well defined without being too pronounced. Frontal furrow slightly marked.
Nose: black
Muzzle: strong, of medium length; nasal bridge straight.
Lips: not much developed; well fitting to the jaws; with black pigmentation
Mouth: strong, complete dentition; scissor bite.
Eyes: dark brown, almond shaped, with well fitting eyelids
Ears: triangular shape, slightly rounded at the tips, set high, medium sized, in repose hanging flat and close to head.

Neck: strong, muscular, of medium length.

Body: compact and sturdy
Chest: broad and deep reaching to elbows; forechest well developed; chest and ribcage of wide-oval cross-section
Back: firm, straight and level.
Loins: broad and strong.
Rump: slightly rounded
Belly: not tucked up
Tail: bushy, reaching at least to the hocks; hanging straight down when at rest; carried level with back or slightly above when moving.

Forequarters: forelegs standing rather wide apart; straight and parallel
Shoulders: shoulder-blades long, strong and well laid back, forming a not too open angle with the upper arm, well attached to the chest, well muscled
Pasterns: almost vertical, firm.
Feet: short, round and tightly bunched; well arched toes.

Hindquarters: seen from the rear straight and not too narrow; hocks and feet neither turning in nor out. Dewclaws to be removed.
Thighs: rather long, strong, broad and well muscled, with well bent stifles.
Hocks: strong, well angulated.

Gait/ movement: sound and balanced movement in all gaits covering a lot of ground; free stride reaching well out in front, with plenty of drive from behind; at the trot, coming and going, legs moving forward straight and parallel.

Hair: long, smooth and slightly wavy
Colour: jet black, with rich tan markings on cheeks, over the eyes, on all four legs and on the chest, and with white marks as follows:
- clean white symmetrical markings on the head: blaze extending towards the nose on both sides to a muzzle band; the blaze should not reach the tan markings above the eyes, and the white muzzle band should not extend beyond the corners of the mouth.
- Moderately large, unbroken white markings on throat and chest
- Desirable: white feet, white tip of tail
- Tolerated: small white patch on nape of neck, small white anal patch.

Size: males: 64-70 cm at whithers, ideal size: 66-68 cm
females: 58-66 cm at withers, ideal size: 60-63 cm

Faults: any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault which should be penalized in proportion to its seriousness and importance.
- light bone structure
- undershot or overshot bite
- absence of teeth other than 1 or 2 PM 1 (first premolar); M3 (third molar) not to be considered
- entropion, ectropion
- sway back, rump higher than withers, sloping backline
- curled tail, kink tail
- distinctly curled coat
- faults of colour and markings:
  • absence of white on head
  • blaze too large and/or muzzle band reaching noticeably beyond the corners of the mouth
  • large white patch on nape of neck
  • white collar
  • white markings on forelegs reaching distinctly beyond half-way of pasterns ("boots")
  • disturbingly asymmetrical white markings on head and chest
  • black ticks and stripes on white of chest
  • "dirty" white (strong spots of pigmentation)
  • black coat with a touch of brown or red
- weak temperament, aggressiveness

Disqualifying faults:
- split nose
- wall eye
- short coat, double coat (Stockhaar)
- other than tricoloured coat
- other than black main colour.

N.B.: male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.