One of the most beautiful of Swiss dogs, used by the weavers of Berne as a draught dog, and also employed in herding sheep and cattle. He is still occasionally harnessed to a light cart, which he enjoys pulling, often to the delight of the small children riding inside.
The Bernese carries the traditional Swiss colouring of black and tan with white markings. The breed can be traced back to the Roman invasion of what we now call Switzerland some 2,000 years ago. Caesar’s troops, which were always on the move, needed dogs to guard their supplies, and the mastiff types they brought with them eventually mated with local flock-guarders, from which the Bernese evolved with an ability to withstand the severe weather of the Alps.
The name is taken from the canton of Berne, and the Bernese has also attracted other less flattering names, such as Gelbbacken (Yellow Cheeks) and Vieraugen (Four Eyes), while the association as a draft dog also earned the breed the name of ‘Cheese Factory Dog’.
He is of imposing stature, and the striking tricolour markings of his soft, silky coat add to his impressive appearance. Never aggressive, he is a gentleman, kind and courteous, well-mannered and affectionate. Not a noisy dog, but obedient and easily trained, he makes a perfect companion for children and a devoted family pet.
Vulnerable Native Breed
How much exercise?
Up to 1 hour per day
Length of coat
How much grooming?
More than once a week
Town or Country
Type of home
Minimum Garden Size
Under 10 Years
* If you are asthmatic or have an allergy, you should consult your medical advisor before considering obtaining a dog. More information can also be found on
the Kennel Club website
The Working Breed Group
Over the centuries these dogs were selectively bred to become guards and search and rescue dogs. Arguably, the working group consists of some of the most heroic canines in the world, aiding humans in many walks of life, including the Boxer, Great Dane and St. Bernard. This group consists of the real specialists in their field who excel in their line of work.