An old and proud breed, the Bernese were originally brought to Switzerland by the Romans and worked the farms of midland Switzerland as draft & droving dogs.
A handsome jet black coloured dog with russet markings on legs, cheeks, spots over both eyes and either side of the white chest marking which is in the shape of a Swiss cross. Should have white feet, blaze on muzzle and forehead and tip of tail.
The standard mentions a lot of words portraying a dog of substance with a full body. The quest for the groomer/exhibitor is to maintain that silhouette and image of strength.
The coat is required to be thick, moderately long with either slight wave or straight, but never too curly. It should also have a bright, natural sheen, never ever dull, and must be black.
This is really a simple coat to groom and very basic in routine. However maintaining that lustrous black sheen and keeping the whites snowy is a harder quest. A good coat is made several weeks/months before the show and it’s best to put the work in long beforehand, rather than chase the sheen and try to cover a rusty black!
To build the bulk in the coat, use Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo on the main part of the body with P.P. All Purpose Shampoo on the topline for shine. Dilute both shampoos 5:1 i.e. 5 parts water to one part shampoo. Use P.P. Whitening Shampoo on the whites at same dilution. You can use the Whitening Shampoo which is a toning shampoo and not a lightening shampoo, on any rusty, brownish areas of the black part of the coat too. This will cosmetically neutralise the unwanted warm tones. In dire cases, use P.P. Black Opal Shampoo as a second shampoo after cleansing firstly with the All Purpose Shampoo. Leave Black Opal on for 5 minutes and rinse being careful not to get it on the white areas. Easiest way to remove Black Opal without getting it everywhere is to use a dry old towel and wipe the bulk of it off and then a damp towel and finally rinse the remainder off. Black Opal should not be your regular shampoo as the All Purpose will give you that beautiful sheen that is required. That is paramount. The coat should not get to the stage of needing a neutralising shampoo to get rid of brownish hues!
Next step is to moisturise and add healthy vigour to the coat without flattening the bulk of the coat. Use P.P. Seabreeze Oil 1 tbspn to 1 gal/4 litres water and saturate this whole mix through the coat to the skin. Leave in and do not rinse. Now if you desire MORE bulk to the coat, add 1 tbspn P.P. Volumising Cream in with the Seabreeze Oil mix and of course it is left in and not rinsed off. This will give that extra hair look without stickiness or feeling of foreign substances. Great for out of coat situations or where you just want more bulk and who doesn’t?
Now blow dry using a strong cool turbo dryer to blast the water from the coat using the nozzle to lift at the root against the growth of the coat. If the coat is a touch too wavy, then use the P.P. Pin Brush Regular and brush on the diagonal against the growth till about 75% dry, working from rear to front of the dog. If needing to really relax that movement, then finish the dry with the P.P. Anti Stat Brush. This will add more pull on the coat to smooth it. Always use the Pin brush till mostly dry so as not to overstretch the hair as it is in a weakened state when wet. Otherwise, finish drying with the air of the dryer till 100% dry.
For bulkier legs, add P.P. Puffy Dog, a strong hold mousse that never goes sticky in humidity. Dry the legs up and as full as possible.
Once a month give the coat a full treatment with P.P. Coat Rescue worked to a watery slurry by adding one cup warm water to approx 1/4 cup Coat Rescue. Leave on for as long as possible. You can, if they are outdoors dogs, leave this on the topline area for a few days and then wash off. At a minimum, leave on for at least 10 minutes and wash off. Follow with the Seabreeze Oil mix.
Maintain colour by application of P.P. Sunshade to the topline during the week and P.P. Revivacoat throughout the rest of the coat. Leave in all week, topping up the applications of Revivacoat at least every second day. This is a fabulous leave in moisturiser and gives amazing elasticity and hydration to the hair. Just the best – who can live without this?
For show preparation, follow the shampoo/oil/blow dry routine and Volumising Cream if required, and Puffy Dog on the legs. Next day, show day, give the feet a quick touch up clean with P.P. Wonderwash and wipe/towel dry, followed by a light application of P.P. Coverup Cream applied with a barely damp sponge to the white feet. Dust liberally with your favourite white powder working well into the hair and leave till dry and then brush to remove excelss powder/chalk.
Brush up the main body of the coat with P.P. O.M.G. Concentrate Grooming Spray diluted 30:1 i.e. 30 parts water to one part OMG Concentrate. Use in the P.P. 250 ml Spray Bottle for a fine mist to the hair – don’t wet it, just spritz it, and brush again using the Pin Brush Regular against the growth of the coat fluffing the coat with the dryer if available, for a few seconds. The OMG will reduce any static in the coat and allow the brush to glide through without undue stress to the hair. Finish the legs, feet and topline with the P.P. Soft Slicker Brush.
A final light spray of P.P. Shine & Comb to the topline and head will finish this off to perfection. You have effectively sculptured your dog without having to carve a shape with scissors. As undue trimming is discouraged, your ability to shape this dog without noticeable product and still get the silhouette is something to behold. You have achieved the correct shape to his outline and the desired sheen and vigour to the hair.
Your intelligent and loving Bernese can now look his best and show off his working gait, exhibiting good reach and drive. His beautiful stance on the stack, his lustrous coat and fabulous outline can catch the eye and hearts of most. This is a breed with mystique, history and romance. His wondrous strength and sturdy body gives confidence and trust to those that depend on his power and devotion to his duty and your quest is to show his full magnificence to all. Always a breed to watch in the group!