Swiss mountain dog
Tong considered lowly farm animals, Swiss .L Mountain Dogs were, until relatively recently, treated with indifference by canine experts. Today, it is agreed that the important features of this handsome family should be recognized, and breeders are working hard to maintain the distinctive characteristics of the four varieties.
The Bernese Mountain Dog, the only long coated member of the quartet-and thought by many to be the most beautiful-was first recognized in 1892. It is the best-known variety outside Europe and in English-speaking countries.
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, a larger relative of the Bernese, had a fixed breed type by 1905. The curly-tailed Appenzell, as its name indicates, hails from the canton of Appenzell. The Entlebuch is the smallest of the group.
All four varieties share many sterling qualities that make them excellent guardians and companion dogs: unwavering loyalty, an affectionate nature, superior intelligence, and a remarkable memory. It is said that, as cattle dogs, they can recognize each animal in the herd they are tending. In his book, Die Schweizer Hunderassen (Swiss Dog Breeds), Hans Raber mentions the characteristics so highly valued by Swiss farmers: 'A dog is good when it is watchful and lively does not run into the crops, protects its master in difficulty and does not poach or
Origin of Bernese Mountain Dog
The four types of Swiss Mountain Dog are believed to have descended from the Tibetan Mastiff. According to experts, Switzerland had no mastiff-like
dogs in prehistoric times. The first such animals were imparted from Asia by Xerxes, and later introduced into Europe by the Phoenicians and the Greeks.
At the time of the Roman canquests, these burly dogs accompanied the herds of livestock that were destined for consumption by the legions. One of the major army routes to Transalpine Gaul passed through Saint Gotthard , and these mastiff-like canines remained in that area. The ancestry of to day's Swiss Mountain Dogs can be traced to these travellers of antiquity.
Characteristics of Bernese Mountain Dog
General appearance: a self-confident and good natured breed, the active, sturdy Bernese Mountain Dogis slow to mature. Vigorous, solidly built.
Height: under American standards, 63.5 to 70 cm (25 to 27 ½ in.) for the adult dog; 58.4 to 66 cm (23 to 26 in.) for the bitch. Elsewhere, 64 to 70 cm (25 to 27 in.) for the adult dog and 58 to 66 cm (23 to 26 in.) for the bitch.
Weight : under F.C. I. standards, 40 kg (88Ib). Elsewhere, not specified.
Head: skull flat and broad with slight furrow. Stop well defined. muzzle strong, straight. Lips black, slightly developed.
Eyes: dark brown, almond-shaped. Showing no haw.
Ears: medium size, set high, triangular shape. Lying flat in repose. When alert, the ears are brought slightly forward, and raised at the base.
Neck: strong and muscular, medium long.
Body: compact rather than long. Broad chest with good depth of brisket reaching at least to the elbow. Well ribbed. Strong, muscular loin. Solid and level back. Broad and strong croup. Rump smoothly rounded.
Tail: bushy, falling to the hocks, then curving up slightly. When the dog is alert and on the move, the tail may be raised, but it is never curled or carried above the level of the back.
Forequarters: legs straight and strong. Shoulders long, strong, and sloping. Pasterns flex slightly.
Hindquarters: long, strong thighs. Stifles well bent. Hocks strong, well let down, and turning neither inward nor outward. Dew-claws should be removed.
Feet: short, rounded, and compact.
Coat: soft, silky, long and slightly wavy, but should not curl when mature. Bright sheen.
Color: jet black with brown-red on the cheeks, legs, the brisket, and over the eyes. White markings on head and brisket are essential. White paws and tip of tail preferable.
Faults: eyes too light. Ears or tail badly carried. Faded or impure colors are unacceptable. White neck ring. Markings absent.
Practical information about Bernese Mountain Dog
Swiss Mountain Dogs are a particularly hardy breed and rarely ill. However, they need a good deal of space. Although these dogs can be reliable guardians and workers, they do not take well to a change of ownership after they have reached 18months of age: health problems may develop, or they may become too aggressive to manage. Their coats need vigorous brushing from time to time. The dew-claws should be removed at birth.