History and Standard of the Bernese Mountain Dog

Footnotes from the Judges Education Committee

The FCI categorizes the BMD in Group 2, "Cattle Dogs." It is basically comparable to our Working Group as it contains breeds such as Boxers, Great Danes, Newfoundlands,Schnauzers and Pinschers. The BMD is listed with Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs.

Dr. Paschoud was the President of the Standards Commission of the SKG and FCI and was the author of the current standard. The statements made in the book are also found on the FCI web site and the Natural History Museum web site.

References were sent of present day dogs "herding" in the United States and Canada. It is difficult to find sources that state the breed was used for sheep or goats in any historical Swiss records. How does one make a biographical reference to a lack of information on herding? None was found.

There are numerous references to the dogs being used for getting cattle to the fields and back in the midlands of Switzerland.

Dr Paschoud, in the Introduction to the book: "Swiss Cattle Dogs were originally used to help the farmer to drive his large cattle from their stables to the fields and to guard them while they grazed. These dog also guarded the farmhouse, and the two larger breeds were also used to carry burdens, or were harnessed to two-wheeled milk carts."

Under the section for Bernese Mtn. Dogs: A brief historical summary: "The Bernese Mountain Dog is a farm dog of ancestral origin which was used as a guard dog and draft dog and for driving cattle in the prealpine regions and in the midland areas around Bern."

Mrs. Egg-Leach, an English woman, refered to the dog as a weaver's cart dog. Mrs. Baertschi questions the use of a dog as such as her experience was that the dogs were used to pull milk.. Perhaps Mrs. Egg-Leach knew a few weavers who used their dogs but never met anyone in her travels that used the dogs for milk or cheese. Does this example mean that the dogs were solely used as weavers' dogs? No. But we can conclude that the dog was used a draft dog.


Baertschi, Margret. BMDCA Alpenhorn, February 2001. "Our Swiss Connection: Herding? Driving? Drafting? Some Breed History."

Egg-Leach, L. AKC Gazette, April, 1937 (?). "The Bernese is a Loyal Dog of the Swiss Alps."

Paschoud, Dr. J.-M. The Swiss Canine Breeds. Schweizerische Kynologische Gesellschaft SKG, 1994.

Raeber, Dr. H.C. Hans. Die Schweizer Hunderassen. Albert Mueller Verlag, Ruschlikon-Zurich, 1980.

bernese history