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Berner Sennehund – The Bernese Mountain Dog

Click here to read the complete article
226 – The Annual, 2018-19

text and illustrations by Ria Hörter

Molassian Dogs

The most likely theory about the origin of the Sennenhunde (mountain dogs) in Switzerland is that they descended from dogs that traveled from the ancient Far East via Epirus and Greece to Italy. During the Roman conquests of large parts of Europe, these Molossian dogs traveled with the Romans over the Alps into Switzerland, where they mingled with local farm dogs. Again… it’s a theory.

Books about along with depictions of dogs – mostly guard dogs, gun dogs, and herding dogs – dating from the early Middle Ages, were kept in monasteries, and with noble families, etc. A dog was considered a valuable possession. In Historia Animalium (History of Animals) by Conrad Gessner, published in 1563, the author stated in the part known as Thierbuch: “So ein armer Mann einen Hund hat / so darff er keiner anderer Knächten meer.” (“When a poor man owns a dog / he does not need other laborers.”)

Dürrbächler

Because the high mountains in the Swiss cantons (provinces) restricted contact, the Swiss dogs (formerly Roman dogs) developed in isolation. Information about the 16th- and 17th-century Swiss Sennen dogs is scarce. In general, it is assumed that they developed from cross- breedings of old farm dogs with dogs of occupiers and transients.

Often, 18th- and 19th-century Swiss art depicting life at the farms includes one or more dogs. Ancestors of one of the present Sennen breeds can be recognized. Their coat is black, white and rust-colored, or white and rust-colored. These farm dogs were called Ringgi if they had a white collar, Blässli for those with a white blaze, and Bäri if they had little or no white in their coats.

The first type of Sennenhund (mountain dog) that developed into a distinct breed was the Appenzeller Treibhund, later Appenzeller Sennenhund (Appenzeller Mountain Dog), Appenzell being a Swiss province. At the turn of the 19th to 20th century, the Dürrbächler or Berner Sennenhund (Bernese Mountain Dog) followed, its name derived from the Swiss capital of Bern. Then the Grosse Schweizer Sennenhund (Greater Swiss Mountain Dog) and finally, the Entlebucher Sennenhund (Entlebucher Mountain Dog), named after a district in the province of Lucerne.

Click here to read the complete article
226 – The Annual, 2018-19

Short URL: http://caninechronicle.com/?p=156378

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