FCI-Standard N° 45
BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG
ORIGIN : Switzerland.
DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE OFFICIAL VALID
STANDARD : 25.03.2003.
UTILIZATION : Originally used as a guard-, draught-and cattle
dog on farms in the Canton Bern, today also family dog and versatile
FCI-CLASSIFICATION : 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
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.
IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS :
• 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
CRANIAL REGION :
Skull : Viewed from the front and in profile little rounded. Frontal
furrow hardly marked.
Stop : Well defined, but without being too pronounced.
FACIAL REGION :
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
Croup : Smoothly rounded.
Chest : Broad and deep, reaching to the elbows; forechest distinctly
developed; ribcage of wide-oval section extending as well back as
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.
General appearance : 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,
Upper arm : Long, set oblique.
Elbows : Close fitting; neither turned in nor out.
Forearm : Strong, straight.
Pastern : Seen from the side almost upright, firm; seen from the front
in straight line with the forearm.
Forefeet : Short, roundish; with well-knit, well-arched toes. Turned
neither in nor out.
General appearance : Seen from the rear straight and parallel, not too
Upper thigh : Long, broad, strong and well muscled.
Stifle : Distinctly well bent.
Lower thigh : Long and oblique.
Hock joint : Strong, well angulated.
Metatarsus : Set almost vertically. Dewclaws to be removed (except
in those countries where it is prohibited by law).
Hind feet : Slightly less arched than forefeet, turned neither in nor
GAIT / MOVEMENT : Sound and balanced movement in all gaits
covering a lot of ground; free stride reaching well out in front, with
good drive from behind; at the trot, coming and going, legs moving
forward in a straight line.
HAIR : Long, shining, straight or slightly wavy.
COLOUR : Jet black main colour with rich tan markings on the
cheeks, above the eyes, on all four legs and on the chest, and with
white markings 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 broad, unbroken white marking on throat and
• Desirable : white feet,
white tip of tail.
• Tolerated : small white patch on nape of neck,
small white anal patch.
Height at withers : for dogs : 64-70 cm,
ideal size : 66-68 cm.
for bitches : 58-66 cm,
ideal size : 60-63 cm.
FAULTS : Any departure from the foregoing points should be
considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be
regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect
upon the health and welfare of the dog.
• Unsure behaviour.
• Fine bones.
• Irregular set of the incisors provided that the bite remains
• Absence of any other theeth than 2 PM1 (premolars 1); the
M3 (molars 3) are not taken into consideration.
• Coat :
– Distinctly curly 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.
– White collar.
– Large white patch on nape of neck
(maximum diameter more than 6
– White anal patch (maximum size 6
– White markings on forelegs
reaching distinctly beyond half-way
of pasterns (“boots”).
– Disturbingly asymmetrical white
markings on head and/or chest.
– Black ticks and stripes within the
white on the chest.
– “Dirty” white (strong spots of
– Black coat with a touch of brown or
DISQUALIFYING FAULTS :
• Aggressive, anxious or distinctly shy.
• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural
abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• Split nose.
• Undershot or overshot mouth, wry mouth.
• One or two blue eyes (wall eye).
• Entropion, ectropion.
• Kinky tail, ring tail.
• Short coat, double coat (Stockhaar).
• Other than tricoloured coat.
• Other main colour than black.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles
fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed
typical conformation should be used for breeding.
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