Breed Standard

General Appearance:
Strong, sturdy working dog, active, alert, well boned, of striking colour.

A multi-purpose farm dog capable of draught work. A kind and devoted family dog. Slow to mature.


Self-confident, good-natured, friendly and fearless. Aggressiveness not to be tolerated.

Head and Skull:
Strong with flat skull, very slight furrow, well defined stop; strong straight muzzle. Lips slightly developed.

Dark brown, almond-shaped, well fitting eyelids.

Medium-sized; set high, triangular-shaped, lying flat in repose, when alert brought slightly forward and raised at base.

Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.

Strong, muscular and medium length.

Shoulders long, strong and sloping, with upper arm forming a distinct angle, flat lying, well muscled. Forelegs straight
from all sides. Pasterns flexing slightly.

Compact rather than long. Height to length 9:10. Broad chest, good depth of brisket reaching at least to elbow. Well ribbed; strong loins. Firm, straight back. Rump smoothly rounded.

Hindquarters: Broad, strong and well muscled. Stifles well bent. Hock strong, well let down and turning neither in nor out.

Short, round and compact.

Bushy, reaching just below hock. Raised when alert or moving but never curled or carried over back.

Stride reaching out well in front, following well through behind, balanced stride in all gaits.

Coat: Soft, silky with bright natural sheen, long, slightly wavy but should not curl when mature.

Jet black, with rich reddish-brown on cheeks, over eyes, on all four legs and on chest. Slight to medium-sized symmetrical white head marking (blaze) and white chest marking (cross) are essential. Preferred but not essential, white paws, white not reaching higher than pastern, white tip to tail. A few white hairs at nape of neck, and white anal patch undesirable but tolerated.

Size: Height: dogs: 64-70 cms (25-271/2 ins); bitches: 58-66 cms (23-26 ins).

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.
Note: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

The Kennel Club, last updated 2009

'A Club catering for all Bernese interests'
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