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The genomic breeding values
for Bernese Mountain Dogs

Current Information

There currently unclear legal situation at DM studies (as of Juni 2015)

The company Laboklin has acquired the exclusive licence for the patent for genotyping of mutation c.118G> A (E40K) in the SOD1 gene (exon 2) in dogs. For this reason, the SSV studies on degenerative myelopathy exon 2 can be carried out at the request of the owner by the company Laboklin. This creates additional costs of 50 Euro per test.
The test on DM exon 1 is not protected by the patent and is still in the overall package of the SSV (genomic breeding values ​​/ SSV pretest on histiocytic sarcoma / DM exon 1).

An additional patenting of DM exon 1 mutations could be prevented due to the publication of the joint work of the SSV and the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover.The University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover will still transfer all results. (exon 1 and exon 2).

- The entry form has been changed, so that you can request a test on DM exon 2 optionally, please also refer to the SSV account 50,00 Euro

 - The owners having the samples prior to 16/03/15 sent / paid, get your DM results, values
​​are now available.

- The owners, who have sent the samples between 16/03/15 and 28/05/15, can order DM exon 2 - transfer a short formless mail to bachmann@ssv-ev.de, please pay 50,00 Euro on the SSV account


General information


The Schweizer Sennenhund-Verein für Deutschland has introduced the genomic longevity breeding value. This is an historic step towards raising the longevity of Bernese Mountain Dogs through specific selection. In cooperation with Prof. Dr. Distl (veterinary school  Hannover) the SSV was able to successfully finish a research study with good good predictive value for increased longevity of Bernese Mountain Dogs. From now on this unique and promising method is available for all breeders of Bernese Mountain Dogs for their breeding plan.

Thanks to the foresight of former  reponsible breeder members of the SSV a bloodbank for all four swiss mountain dog breeds as well as a large data collection of  health and death reports was created. Both enabled us to conduct research to develop the genomic selection of greater longevity of Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Blood samples of all Dogs approved for breeding is taken by veterinarians at our official breeding tests since 1996.

We have a phenotypic breeding value for longevity which is based on  life span and death data for every dog within the extended pedigree.This phenotypic breeding value only has a high significance with a a great deal of data of a large number of dogs in the pedigree, and especially those that live to advanced ages.

The big advantage of the genomic breeding value is that even before any planned breeding, a reliable estimation of the heredity of longevity can be made. With that breeders gain the possibility to increase the longevity of our dogs over several generations by better informed selective breeding choices.

Unfortunately this process will take a long time.

We are excited about the genomic breeding value as a big step foward to improve the longevity of all Bernese Mountain dogs. We have to take this chance for a better future for our dogs.

A longer life for Bernese Mountain Dogs by genetic selection

Text: Prof. Dr. Dr. habil. Ottmar Distl

 Genectic research in humans determined a correlation between a very long life and rare gene varieties. There it is a high probability that reaching an extremely old age is strongly connected to a genetic basis than reaching an average lifetime.

New perceptions on this were gained with an understanding about the so called human anti aging genes. Those include DNA- repair genes and genes with influence on cell growth with a very high influence on increased age and were also connected to a low morbidity.

The breeding of Bernese Mountain Dogs using selection pressure toward those dogs with a long life and without serious illness results in a method to increase the longevity of dogs of this breed.

Valuable perceptions by years long data collection

The most important characteristics of a genome is its variety: besides sections containing the same information for every dog there are sections which differ from dog to dog. To collect corresponding information for Bernese Mountain Dogs the Schweizer Sennenhund-Verein für Deutschland e.V. (SSV) started a data collection of  health and death reports and a DNA- database over 15 years ago. With this collection a genetic profile (instead of genotypinggenetic fingerprints were developed) of chosen dogs could be made. Through 173.662 genetic varieties it was possible to create genetic profiles of long living Bernese Mountain Dogs with characteristic differences to short living Bernese Mountain Dogs. This resulted in a genomic (genetic) evaluation for a high longevity.


Estimation of  lifespan using point values

The genomic breeding value for the age was standardised to an average value of 100 and a standard  deviation of 10 points. This point scale summarizes the complete genetic profile in a single value. This value can be used by breeders to evaluate the genetic potential lifespan. For the genomic breeding value a point scale can be used to read the average lifespan by using the genetic profile of each individual dog.

Dogs with a genomic breeding value of 96-100 points have hereditary factors  for an average lifespan of 7.5 years. The average deviation  of this value is 1.5 years. Dogs with a genomic breeding value of 86-90 have an average lifespan of 5-6 years and an expected chance of a maximum of 8 years according to the analysed genetic profiles. A genomic breeding value of 106-110 points predicts? an average lifespan of 9-10 years with an estimated maximum of 12.5 years and  a genomic breeding value of 111-115 points predicts? an average lifespan of 10-11 years with a maximum of 13 years.

The former genotyping results are now expanded for Bernese Mountain Dogs to include genomic evidence of histiocytic sarcoma (the most common cause of death in Bernese Mountain Dogs) compared to healthy and very old ones.

Chromosomal distribution of dogs compared to humans

In the USA people with a very high age were tested for anti-aging-genes. Approximately 150 genetic varieties were found in 77% of the study's participants that were associated with an age of over 100 years. They found human, genetic varieties are arranged in 20 different chromosomes. The corresponding genomic section of dogs are arranged in 29 different chromosomes. Dogs have 78 chromosomes versus 46 chromosomes for humans, and therefore a higher count of chromosomes for the corresponding genomic area. Similar studies with dogs showed a significant connection between lifespan and 23 different chromosomes. 16 of those correlate with the human chromosomes having genetic varieties for advanced age, and for Bernese Mountain dogs the results of eight chromosomal positions were similar to humans.

A longer life as a consequence

Most of the human genes responsible for age determination are DNA- repair genes and genes in charge of cell growth. Knowing this it is highly possible that there are gene varieties for Bernese Mountain Dogs protecting them from serious illnesses and allow a longterm increase of longevity. 


Details and procedere


Details and procedere



Ansprechpartner/ Contacts

Versand der Proben an/

Send your samples to:

Prof. Dr. Ottmar Distl


Institut für Tierzucht und Vererbungsforschung

Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover

Bünteweg 17p

30559 Hannover

Fax: 0511-953-8582

E-Mail: ABGLab@tiho-hannover.de

Hinweis: Bitte Email Adresse angeben, falls vorhanden/ Reference:Please write your e-mail address


Dr. med. vet. Norbert Bachmann

SSV- Projektleiter, Genomtest beim Berner Sennenhund

Hülsenbrink 14

31749 Auetal


(Beste Erreichbarkeit: Montag bis Freitag 13-14 Uhr)

E-Mail: bachmann@ssv-ev.de

Der Test beinhaltet/ the genomic test includes: :
1. genomischer Zuchtwert Langlebigkeit/ genomic breeding value -longevity

2. genomischer Zuchtwert Ellbogendysplasie/ genomic breeding value –elbow dysplasia

3. genomischer Zuchtwert Hüftgelenksdysplasie/

genomic breeding value –hipdysplasia

4. SSV-Pretest auf histiozytäres Sarkom/  SSV-pretest for HS

5. Degenerative Myelopathie Exon1 test

Kosten/ Prices for (1.-5.)

-180,00 Euro für Hunde im Besitz von SSV-Mitgliedern/ SSV members’dogs

-230,00 Euro für alle anderen Hunde/ other dogs

6. in addition (if desired) Degenrative Myelopathie Exon 2 test

additional costs :50,00 Euro

(this test is handled by SSV over Laboklin)


Schweizer Sennenhund-Verein

KTN: 313267379        

BLZ: 25551480

SPK. Schaumburg

Stichwort „Genomtest/ Name des Hundes/ Zuchtbuchnummer“

Please state „Genomtest/ Name of dog/ Registration number“


IBAN: DE13 2555 1480 0313 2673 79

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