Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog is an image of strength, peace, and rugged beauty, much like the mountains from where it hails. This burly dog has a stoic and calm persona shaped by the environment of Bern, the Swiss canton where it was developed. It is by far the most popular out of the four Swiss mountain dog breeds in existence.
Endless fields of green, steep mountainsides, and deep cold lakes of water are this breed’s natural habitat. To this day the Bernese Mountain Dogs are tireless all-around farm dogs and loyal companions. They’re a breed that excels at drafting and pulling carts, owing to their immense strength and hardworking demeanor.
TemperamentBernese Mountain Dogs are typically placid and calm like the lakes in their homeland of Bern. They have an air of quiet dignity, but are exceedingly tolerant while still being alert and watchful of their surroundings. They bond deeply with their family, owners, and friends, and tend to be more than happy to play and run around with you once you’ve earned their trust. While they may be wary or reserved when it comes to strangers and other dogs, they aren’t often aggressive. A Bernese Mountain Dog just makes sure that any new people that they meet aren’t dangerous or mean before smothering them in kisses. Despite being a working dog, they’re affectionate and loving like a companion or toy breed. They may not be as friendly to dogs as they are to humans, but can still get along just fine so long as proper introductions are made.
The Ultimate Guide to Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dogs have long been a part of Swiss agricultural life. It’s theorized that the breed’s ancestors were brought over to Switzerland by the Romans in the first century B.C. The Mastiff-type dog imported by the Romans, known as the Molossus, is thought to have been crossbred with the existing Swiss farm dogs to create the mountain dog breeds that we have today. From then they were mostly undisturbed, working and growing more suited to the tasks required by their owners. As multipurpose working dogs, they have protected livestock, pulled carts, and guarded homesteads in the Swiss Alps for almost 2,000 years. By the late 19th century, the Bernese Mountain Dog population was in decline, as there was much less need for such sturdy working dogs. The dwindling number of farmers in the Bern canton meant there was simply no place for the breed in the modern world. However, they were saved by a small number of breeders who wanted to preserve Swiss dog breeds. They successfully re-branded the mountain dogs with a number of dog shows, drawing attention in particular to the newly-dubbed Bernese. Slowly but steadily, Bernese Mountain Dogs were exported to England, the Netherlands, and America. Today, the Bernese Mountain Dog is one of the most popular breeds in America, an astounding turnaround for a breed that had almost disappeared a hundred years prior.
Key Characteristics of Bernese Mountain Dog
|Bernese Mountain Dog||
Bernese Mountain Dogs are typically placid and calm like the lakes in their homeland of Bern. They have an air of quiet dignity, but are exceedingly tolerant while still being alert and watchful of their surroundings. They bond deeply with their family, owners, and friends, and tend to be more than happy to play and run around with you once you’ve earned their trust.
While they may be wary or reserved when it comes to strangers and other dogs, they aren’t often aggressive. A Bernese Mountain Dog just makes sure that any new people that they meet aren’t dangerous or mean before smothering them in kisses. Despite being a working dog, they’re affectionate and loving like a companion or toy breed.
They may not be as friendly to dogs as they are to humans, but can still get along just fine so long as proper introductions are made.
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a working dog bred for its strength, power, and stamina. While it may not be as explosively energetic as a pure herding or hunting breed, they still enjoy running, jumping, and playing around. Around an hour to an hour and a half of vigorous exercise per day will help keep your Bernese happy and healthy.
Bernese Mountain Dogs shouldn’t be exercised in very hot weather. Their thick coats make it difficult for them to dissipate heat, and they may be prone to heat exhaustion. Early morning or evening walks will be better for the Bernese. If you do have to take your Bernese out during hot weather, stay in the shade and provide plenty of water.
Outdoor sports and activities can give your Bernese the mental and physical stimulation they require. As an all-around working dog, they can excel at agility, obedience, scent work, or even drafting or carting. While they won’t set any speed records, they’ll keep working so long as you’re giving them tasks to do.
|Bernese Mountain Dog Grooming:||
Bernese Mountain Dogs have a distinctive tricolor double coat that is meant to protect them from the cold weather in the Swiss Alps. The top coat is long and wavy, while the undercoat is dense and insulating, with an almost wooly texture.
The Bernese is a shedder, there’s no other way to say it. They shed throughout the year, and like other double coat breeds, will occasionally blow coat when the seasons change. These periods of extreme shedding will typically happen during spring or summer, then again during fall.
Regular grooming may help keep some of this shedding under control. It’s best to brush your Bernese Mountain Dog three or four times a week when they’re not blowing coat. When they do blow coat, you may find yourself having to brush them out multiple times a day. One option is to perform a deshedding on the dog, either at home or at a professional groomer.
Baths can be done every couple of months, as most Bernese Mountain Dogs are reasonably good at keeping themselves clean. Tooth brushing should be done daily, as keeping your dog’s teeth and gums healthy is of paramount importance. Nail clipping can be done once or twice a month.
|Bernese Mountain Dog Training||
Since Bernese Mountain Dogs were expected to perform a variety of tasks, they excel at being trained for various purposes. They have a high level of intelligence since they often had to figure out how to solve problems on their own.
Due to their massive size and high weight when fully grown, it’s better to start training your Bernese early on, while they are easier to wrangle. Trying to control a fully-grown Bernese who wants to run after a squirrel is going to be a tough job for most adults on their own, maybe even for two or three people.
As a result, the Bernese isn’t always a good fit for novice dog owners who are inexperienced at training intelligent, self-reliant dogs with a great deal of strength.
Still, the Bernese loves making their owner proud, and will respond well to training so long as it is backed up with positive reinforcement. While they are calm and accepting of life as it comes, they still don’t enjoy punishment or harsh rebukes, and will be far more motivated to follow commands if they can expect a treat or praise.
|Bernese Mountain Dog Lifespan And Health Issues||
Bernese Mountain Dogs are sadly not as long-lived as other breeds, with a life expectancy of 7 to 10 years. Bernese Mountain Dogs may be prone to:
|Bernese Mountain Dog Size and Space Requirements||
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a very large, muscular, and imposing dog when fully grown. Males will typically stand between 25 to 28 inches at the shoulder, while females will stand between 23 to 26 inches. Male Bernese Mountain Dogs can weigh between 80 to 120 pounds, with females weighing in at 70 to 95 pounds.
A Bernese is large and heavy enough to knock down chairs, tables, and other types of furniture. They need a lot of space and do not do well in small apartments or homes. Larger homes with a secure, fenced yard will be ideal. Rural properties may also be good for well-trained working Bernese Mountain Dogs.
One major consideration is the overall climate of their environment. They thrive in colder weather, and are prone to overheating. They may acclimatize to homes in warmer climates, so long as they have air conditioning indoors.
- The Bernese Mountain Dog may retain a puppy mentality for multiple years, as the breed is slow to mature.
- Bernese Mountain Dogs are gentle with children, but should still be supervised with young children due to the size and weight difference.
- Bernese Mountain Dogs always have tri-color coats, and any other coat coloring is considered undesirable.
How can I take good care of my Bernese Mountain Dog or Puppy?
Bernese Mountain Dog puppies should be socialized early on, while they are still small enough to be handled easily. Because the breed tends to mature slowly and may be playful like a puppy well into the adult years, they need to learn proper behaviors before they fully develop. The period between 8 to 12 weeks is a good place to start socialization work, but this should continue until the Bernese is calm and well-behaved.
Bernese Mountain Dogs grow very large, so they should be fed high-quality, premium dog food. One of the biggest health concerns with the Bernese is their tendency to become overweight, as they will eat anything you put in front of them. Measure out your dog’s food to prevent them from overeating. This will also help prevent GDV or bloat, which is a potentially fatal condition that can be caused by eating too much, too quickly. A working Bernese will generally need more food than one kept as a house pet.
Upon bringing home your Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, it’s a good idea to contact a trusted veterinarian so they can advise you regarding the proper vaccination schedule for your puppy. Following this schedule is crucial in protecting your puppy from common transmissible diseases and bacteria.
Most Asked Bernese Mountain Dog Questions
+How Much do Bernese Mountain Dog Puppies Cost
Well-bred Bernese Mountain Dog puppies for sale from a reputable breeder will cost between $900 and $2500. While it may be tempting to go for puppies that cost less than this, the Bernese Mountain Dog is prone to a number of inherited health conditions. To prevent these conditions from being passed on, ethical breeders must have both parent dogs and the puppies undergo a number of health checks and genetic tests. Getting your Bernese Mountain Dog from breeders that go through all the proper vet visits and tests will mean that your puppy will have the best chance of growing up to be a healthy, happy, and well-behaved dog.