I want one Bernese Mountain Dog to go, please.

Those of you who follow on Twitter know that I make no secret of my acute dog obsession, seeking them out wherever I travel, an posting all “my” dogs.

One of the gifts of travel is learning what is truly universal on earth. After years of globetrotting, I can affirm that dogs are universal: almost every culture and country has their own breed of dog that is custom-built for the landscape and culture from which they come. Often, the kind of dog that is happy in someone’s backyard says more about a place than what’s on TV or what’s selling in the shop around the corner.

In Switzerland, the mighty St. Bernard tends to get all the attention (they are wonderful dogs), but as much as I love them, my latest affections lie with the Bernese Mountain Dog. Originating in Switzerland’s mountainous Bernese Oberland, the Bernese Mountain Dog (Berner Sennenhund or Bouvier Bernois) is a very Swiss animal, bred especially for this mountain land and climate.

What exactly makes them Swiss? First, they are very large and very strong and love to run up and down steep alpine pastures and mountainsides. Adult Bernese Mountain Dogs can weigh up to 60 kg (132 lbs) with strong legs and giant paws that can deal with the snow. In fact, they love the snow and wear a curly, double-layered fur coat that can get them through the coldest winters.

Traditionally, Bernese Mountain dogs were working dogs used to haul things up and down the Swiss Alps, specifically milk from the cows and heavy cheeses made up in the high pastures.

Wait! A beautiful-yet-huge, calm-mannered dog that carries giant wheels of Gruyère cheese on its back? Be still my beating heart.

Four-week old Bernese puppy and me. (Photo by AE/NGT)

Determined to meet some real-live Bernese Mountain Dogs, I visited one Swiss breeder in Lauterbrunnen who happened to have a fresh batch of four little puppies. She handed me one, then two, then three and at that point, I’m afraid I lost all journalistic decorum and broke down into one big, blubbering dog daddy.

After cooing at the puppies for more than an hour, I added another entry to my ever-growing Swiss Dictionary project.

  • Home to very large, beautiful (smelly dogs) that carry cheese on their backs. Ich liebe!

Comments

  1. @MsBoice
    Salt Lake City, UT
    July 5, 2012, 8:28 am

    Ahhhh, this explains why my friens in Park City, UT just got one last year. Perfect home for Bernese Mountain Dogs! I’ll have to tell her about the cheese!

  2. Ann Lombardi
    Lyss, Switzerland
    July 6, 2012, 4:46 am

    Hi, Andrew! It’s Ann of The Trip Chicks. Loved your video! Say, are you still in Switzerland now? I am near Bern for several more weeks. Would love it if our paths crossed. Congrats on your Baarnduutsch Swiss-German. I have had the chance to learn it quite well here, and think it’s a colorful language. Adie u’ widerhoere viellucht…
    Ann

    • Andrew Evans
      July 6, 2012, 8:36 am

      Hi Ann! Yes, still in Switzerland! I’d love to run into you as well. Hit me up on Twitter . . . :)

  3. Amin ultra
    July 8, 2012, 3:32 pm

    Hey

    I loved the video its fantastic , Switzerland are amzaing also there pets .

    i ll be happy if u visite my blog @Andrew Evans
    http://pets-world10.blogspot.com/

  4. Andrea Stefanac
    Virginia, USA
    July 8, 2012, 11:08 pm

    Hi,

    Great video! There isn’t much better than Berner puppies!! Berners are known more for pulling carts than carrying things on their backs necessarily but I’m sure they did that too. For more information on these beautiful dogs, visit the Bernese Mtn Dog Club of America website (including breeder referral) at http://www.bmdca.org and also bmdinfo.org. This is not the healthiest of breeds (average lifespan 7 years) so anyone considering this breed should do a lot of research.

    I hope you continue to enjoy your trip to Switzerland. I hope to get there one day!

    ~Andrea Stefanac
    & Josie & Flyer the Bernese Mtn dogs

  5. Christine
    Munich, Germany
    July 10, 2012, 2:59 pm

    I absolutely love this video of the Bernese Mountain pups! Have a nice time in Switzerland.

    Greetings,
    Christine

  6. [...] Berner puppies! ← Previous [...]

  7. MelD
    Switzerland
    August 4, 2012, 3:12 am

    You do know there are other Swiss dogs in this “family”?!
    The Great Senn is a taller, muscular, short-haired version of the Berner and the Emmentaler and Appenzeller are the littler guys, all used for herding the cows and guarding the farm (the little ones will nip ankles…).
    The Berner just lies there panting and smiling, will bark when someone comes, but it’s more of a greeting than anything because he loves YOU :)

    (my Berner x Bergamo cross lived to a very healthy 14… but he was grey with blue eyes from his grandad, but the character was pure Berner!)

  8. Joyce
    US/MD
    August 31, 2012, 6:49 pm

    I would love for you to send me contact info for Swiss Breeders of BMD. THANKS.

  9. Lucrecia
    Switzerland, Gstaad
    January 7, 2013, 5:40 pm

    We are moving to Switzerland in september 2013, and are planning to buy a Bernese mountain dog. We are looking for a breeder that can provide a pedigree bitch. Not meant for breeding, but must be a first class show quality dog.We would like first bitch pick of a litter. We own many dogs and horses in our native Spain and will offer a beautiful house on the lake in geneva and a winter home in Gstaad for this puppy. We are a large family of four children (22, 21, 12 and 8!!!) And parents. We have no idea where to look for quality breeders of Bernese mountain dogs in Switzerland but saw your video about the breeder in Lauterbrunnen. But have no address.
    HELP ANYONE!!!

  10. Vanessa
    Mexico
    April 11, 2013, 9:18 pm

    Hello, I live in Mexico and I am in love with BMD, my Berner Lucca is my baby https://www.facebook.com/LuccaBMD/info
    I am travelling to Jungfraujoch, so I could go to that breeder in Lauterbrunnen and take some pictures with a lot of BMD in their country!!! please I need the phone, adress or web page, or e mail!!! please

  11. Molly
    Canada
    July 16, 10:36 am

    Lovely video.
    I found this http://mydoghome.com is great.