Breed standard

FCI-Standard N° 45 / 05. 05. 2003 / GB


(Berner Sennenhund, Dürrbächler)

TRANSLATION : Mrs. Peggy Davis, revised by Elke Pepper.

ORIGIN : Switzerland.


UTILIZATION : Originally used as a guard-, draught-and cattle dog on farms in the Canton Bern, today also family dog and versatile working dog.

CLASSIFICATION F.C.I. : Group 2 Pinscher and Schnauzer type-Molossoid breeds- Swiss Mountain and 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 of Dürrbach, near Riggisberg in the Canton Bern where these long-haired tricoloured farm dogs were especially numerous. In 1902, 1904 and 1907 specimen of this breed had already been exhibited at dog shows, and in 1907 some breeders of the region of Burgdorf decided to promote the pure breeding of these dogs by founding the “Schweizerischer Dürrbach-Klub”, and fixing the characteristic traits of the breed. In 1910, at a show in Burgdorf where many farmers of that region brought their Dürrbächler dogs to, already 107 specimen were shown. From that day onward this dog, renamed “Bernese Mountain Dog” following the example of the other breeds of Swiss Mountain Dogs, became rapidly appreciated all over Switzerland and in the neighbouring parts of Germany. Today the Bernese Mountain Dog is well known and appreciated all over the world as a family dog thanks to its striking tricoloured coat and its great adaptability.

GENERAL APPEARANCE : Longhaired, tricoloured, strong and agile working dog, of above medium size, with sturdily built limbs; harmonious and well balanced.


  • Height at withers : length of body (measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock) = 9 : 10, rather compact than elongated.
  • Ideal relation of height at withers : depth of chest = 2 : 1.

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT : Self-confident, attentive, vigilant, fearless in every day situations; good-natured and devoted to his own people, self-assured and placid towards strangers ; of medium temperament, docile.

HEAD : Strong. In size balanced to general appearance, not too massive.


Skull : Viewed from the front and in profile little rounded. Frontal furrow hardly marked.

Stop : Well defined, but without being too pronounced.


Nose : Black.

Muzzle : Strong, of medium length; nasal bridge straight.

Lips : Close fitting; black.

Jaws/Teeth : Strong, complete scissor bite (molars 3 (M3) are not taken into consideration). Pincer bite accepted.

Eyes : Dark brown, almond-shaped, with close fitting eyelids. Neither too deep-set nor prominent. Loose eyelids are faulty.

Ears : Medium-sized, set high, triangular in shape, slightly rounded at the tips, in repose hanging flat and close to the head. When alert, the rear part of the set-on is raised while the front edge of the ear remains close to the head.

NECK : Strong, muscular, of medium length.


Topline : From the neck running slightly downwards to the withers in a harmonious line, then running on straight and level.

Back : Firm, straight and level.

Loins : Broad and strong; seen from above slightly less broad than the chest.

Croup : Smoothly rounded.

Chest : Broad and deep, reaching to the elbows; forechest distinctly developed; ribcage of wide-oval section extending as well back as possible.

Underline/belly : Slightly rising from chest to hindquarters.

TAIL : Bushy, reaching at least to the hocks; hanging straight down when at rest; carried level with back or slightly above when moving.

LIMBS : Strong bones.

FOREQUARTERS : Forelegs seen from the front straight and parallel, standing rather wide apart.

Shoulders : Shoulder blade long, strong and well laid back, forming a not too obtuse angle with the upper arm, well attached to the chest, well muscled.

Upper arm : Long, set oblique.

Elbows : Close fitting; neither turned in nor out.

Forearm : Strong, straight.