Bernese Mountain Dogs - Breed Information & Education for Puppy Buyers, Owners and Breeders

50th Anniversary of Bernese Mountain Dogs in America - 1937 - 1987

50th anniversary textThe February 1987 Alpenhorn Special Issue was created as a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Bernese Mountain Dogs in America.

The presentation of this material is offered as an aid to all those in the fancy who do not have access to the February 1987 Alpenhorn publication which contained vital historical information on the breed's past. Special thanks to all those who contribute to BMDCA publications and with respect to all those in history who have appreciated and contributed to the development of the Bernese Mountain Dog.

Click the link below to view the entire publication as a PDF.

The Alpenhorn 1987 coverIt seemed to begin so simply. In the May 1, 1937, Issue of the American Kennel Gazette there was a brief notice: "New Breed Admitted to Stud Book. Bernese Mountain Dog." There followed the newly accepted "Standard of Perfection" for the breed, which was admitted to the Working Group.

Recognition of the Bernese Mountain Dog by the American Kennel Club actually took place at the meeting of April 13, 1937. There were, we may be sure, many events, discussions, meetings, and deliberations leading up to this momentous recognition. The breed had, of course, been recognized and promoted in its Swiss homeland for many decades prior to this recognition of Its status by the American Kennel Club. Active promotion of the breed by Mrs. L. Egg-Leach of England and Switzerland and by the American fancier Glen Shadow were among these events.

On the occasion of the 50th, "Golden," Anniversary of the recognition of the Bernese Mountain Dog in America, this issue of the newsletter of the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America is devoted to a retrospective view of these dogs. Deciphering their history must be based on a number of sources: archaeological records give us some clues about Swiss dogs; works of art can be used to document how these farmers' dogs developed; the history of the breed since its initial promotion by Swiss dog fanciers, starting in 1892, is known from writings of Professor Albert Heim and other early fanciers. The history of these dogs in America can be told from records of the American Kennel Club and, since its founding in 1968, from those of the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America.

Thanks are due to Mary Alice Eschweiler, Chairman of the Records Committee, for providing valuable information from the Club's archives; to Robert and Brenda Abrams and Dora Gruber for help with the photographs; to Esther Mueller for providing background information on the breed; to Deborah Godfrey and Elizabeth Hill for arranging the computer programs that were used In this Issue; to Bill and Mary Jo Thomson for critical reading of the manuscript; and to Roberta Vesley and the Library of the American Kennel Club for providing information from stud books and registers. Some of the information here appeared in the first (1968-1972) issue of the Yearbooks of the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America. The cover features (top) Fridy v. Haslenbach (A-156,753), first Bernese to be registered by the AKC in 1937, and Ch. Taliesin Raclette d'Aldo (WF169978), a representative of the breed today.

-- Mary R. Dawson