The Bernese Mountain Dog is one of the most beautiful animals and one of the most popular dog breeds. Even in America, there it is mentioned as the 30th most popular dog. It is very interesting to read about the Bernese Mountain Dog and its history. This original farming dog breed was almost displaced by the much more popular St. Bernard!
History of the Bernese dairymen
The original name of the Bernese Mountain Dog was actually Dürrbächler. It was named after this small place that only consisted of two houses, an inn and a farm. Located in a rugged landscape south of Bern, there were many isolated farms, mostly with a few cows. It was common to keep a robust farm dog as a guard of livestock and house. He also served as a draft dog, the dogs were beautiful with a black coat. Because the superstition of the time said that black dogs could drive out the devil.
A lion-hearted protector
He has also been written about, for example by the Swiss writer Jeremias Gotthelf. “Bari” is described in his work “Michel’s Bridal Show”. There you can read: “A very excellent dog with a lion’s heart and common sense, in whose presence no one who valued his life was advised to touch Michel.” When the farmer’s daughter was harassed by a strange tinker, she tied “Blass” Come on. He looked up at the girl as if he understood and protected her.
Bari, Bassi, Ringgi – that’s what the typical mountain dogs were called back then.
How the “Dürrbächler” became known
Nothing has changed in their original nature to this day, although they usually no longer need to be herded. They are large, defensive and protective, but also very sensitive. First of all, these wonderful dogs were not very well known, as they lived in a lonely area. That changed when in 1857 the Base-Bern railway line introduced a regular stagecoach service to the sulfur springs of the Kurhaus Gurnigelbad, which also runs through Dürrbach. Passers-by saw similar three-colored, shaggy dogs among the residents. A few years later, a cynological club was founded in Switzerland and in 1902 it organized a dog show with 320 dogs. The residents of Dürrbach found out about this through the stagecoach and presented their dogs under the name “Dürrbächler”. They were proud and were also praised in the newspaper. One, Fritz Probst, who had had contact with the friendly and gentle giant dogs as a child, now advocated for pure breeding. In 1904 four dogs were awarded and that marked the breakthrough. Suddenly the dogs received national attention.
The Bernese dairyman needs training
In 1913 it was renamed the Bernese Mountain Dog and through good breeding it was able to be developed into a uniform dog. He is beautiful, fluffy, brave and straightforward.
Living with him is good if you follow a few rules. The Bernese is naturally independent by nature, he needs close contact with his family and soon training so that he can bond with his people. He has to live with him in the house, not in the garden where he is alone. Then he can become uncontrollable – that’s not safe with his strength. He needs to be controlled with his voice, so practicing commands well is very important. However, the beautiful one is a bit lazy, if he doesn’t want to, there’s nothing that can be done. He is so cute as a puppy that you feel like you should let him. But a stubborn puppy turns into a stubborn giant, and you should avoid that. The owner has to try to motivate him with treats, or praise, or with the beloved ball.
A sensitive heart
Strictness is not appropriate, because the beautiful giant has a sensitive heart – in the worst case scenario, you will lose his trust. But once I’ve achieved that, you’ll have a friend for life in Bernese. He will start guarding everything and protecting his family on his own; that has always been in his blood. He also has a sense of humor and a playful instinct. He loves his family so much that he refuses food when they are not there and others want to feed him.
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