Kythe Kennels
BMDCA Standard
for the Bernese Mountain Dog

The official standard of the Bernese Mountain Dog tells a breeder what Bernese Mountain Dogs should look like which will include general appearance (how the Berner should look at a glance so that the dog is easily recognized as a Bernese Mountain Dog), size, proportion and substance (how big, height to length ratio and what bone should appear like in size), head type (which includes everything about the Berner's head -- eye color, shape, ear placement and so on), neck, topline (back) and body type (which tells a breeder how a dog's shape should come together), front and hind quarters (which tell a breeder how a Berner's bones and muscles should meet and be structured), color and markings, gait (which tells a breeder how a dog trots which is called "movement"), temperament (which tells a breeder what a typical temperament can be and/or should be), and any quality that would disqualify the dog from showing.

Any dog can be shown in an AKC show that is registered with AKC. If it is registered, it is a purebred (not purebreed). However, if the Berner has disqualifying faults, it will be disqualified from showing in conformation. To be competitive as a show dog in conformation, the dog must be a quality dog for showing and must meet the standard and be unaltered. However, a dog that cannot be shown in conformation can be shown in obedience, tracking, agility, carting (drafting), herding and any other recognized AKC show or event. If the dog competes and wins enough times to get a title, your dog can have an AKC title added to his or her name. Once given an AKC title, the dog has that title for the dog's lifetime, and you can get another copy of your dog's registration papers with the title added. Each event has requirements for competing and the number of wins required to receive the title. If you are interested, I will be happy to tell you more.

Incidentally, you will notice that this breed is called Bernese Mountain Dog. Some people call them Berners, and that is also correct. When writing to others who know dogs, we can also refer to them as a BMD or even bmd, which is short for Bernese Mountain Dog. Some people also write it Bernese Mt Dog which is correct and acceptable to breeders and others who know the breed. If you are speaking to someone who is from Europe, they might know the breed as a bernese mountain dog, a dürrbächler, or a bouvier bernois. Any one of these is correct also, but some might only be recognized by certain Europeans.

However, please don't refer to Berners as Burmese (THAT's a cat). Also you might notice that it is spelled "Bernese" and not burnese, burnese mt dog, or burner (that's part of a stove). I have heard people call them swiss dogs, but generally a swissy is a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (a Berner cousin who is generally a bit larger and shorter haired.)

Some dog standards go into great detail about particular aspects of a dog, and each standard is as different as the breed itself. Each national club, for Bernese it is the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America (BMDCA), determines what the standard is for that breed of dog. The committee formed then tells the American Kennel Club when there are changes, and the AKC changes their copy of the standard. As a result, either the BMDCA site or the AKC site will give you the same information. You do not need to know both to know what a Berner should look like because one is the same standard as the other.

BMDCA Site for the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of American Standard

American Kennel Club site for the Bernese Mountain Dog Standard

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