The Bernese Mountain Dog, called in Swiss German the Berner Sennenhund, is a large breed of dog, one of the four breeds of Sennenhund-type dogs from the Swiss Alps. The name Sennenhund refers to people called Senn, herders in the Swiss Alps. Berner (or Bernese in English) refers to the area of the breed's origin, in the Canton of Berne in Switzerland. Originally kept as general farm dogs, large Sennenhunds in the past were also used as draft animals, pulling carts.
The Bernese Mountain Dog, like the other Sennenhund, is believed to have descended from Roman molossers, crossed with the livestock guardian dogs of the indigenous people of the Alps in antiquity. The breed was used as an all purpose farm dog, for guarding property and livestock, and for driving cattle in the areas around Berne. The type was originally called the Dürrbächler, for a small town (Dürrbach) where the tricoloured dogs were especially noticeable. In Berne, weavers used the dogs as draft animals but the dogs declined in number through the 1800s. In the early 1900s, fanciers exhibited the few examples of the large dogs at shows in Berne, and in 1907 a few breeders from the Burgdorf region founded the first breed club, the "Schweizerische Dürrbach-Klub", and wrote the first Standard which defined the dogs as a separate breed. By 1910, there were already 107 registered members of the breed.
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