Bernese mountain dog (bərnēzˈ) [key], breed of sturdy working dog first brought to Switzerland by the invading Roman armies over two millennia ago. It stands from 23 to 27 in. (58–69 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 50 to 70 lb (23–32 kg). Its long, silky, slightly wavy coat is jet black with a white blaze up the face, white on the chest, feet, and tip of tail, and russet-brown or tan markings on all four legs and above the eyes. For hundreds of years in its native canton of Bern, the Bernese mountain dog was used as a draft animal by the local merchants to haul cartloads of goods to market. Today it is raised principally for show competition and as a pet. See dog.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.