Are you planning to get a dog that is big, intelligent, goofy, and playful? If yes, Bernese Mountain Dog is the perfect fit for you.
These dogs are carefree and have a happy-go-lucky attitude about life. One thing that makes them stand apart is their eagerness to please nature. As they are working dogs with an affectionate nature, they will do anything for you.
Also known as Berners, these dogs easily get along with families, kids, and other pets. This makes them an ideal companion for anyone.
Moreover, they are one of the cutest dog breeds, with child-like curiosity in their eyes and a sweet disposition. They are like giant teddy bears that you want to hug all the time.
Their faces look like they are always smiling, and you will never have a sad moment with this dog around. Want to know more about this amazing dog breed? Keep reading.
In this article, we are going to discuss everything about the Bernese Mountain dog breed.
- History and Origin
- Characteristics of Bernese Mountain Dogs
- Size and Appearance
- Food and Diet Requirements
- Health and Nutritional Needs
- Exercise and Training Needs
- Common Health Problems
- Temperament and Personality
- Grooming Needs
- Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Hypoallergenic?
- Lifespan of Bernese Mountain Dogs
- Interesting Facts about Bernese Mountain Dogs
Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Overview
Breed Name: Bernese Mountain Dog
Breed Group: Working Dog
Height: 23-28 inches (58-71 cm) at the shoulder
Weight: 70-115 pounds (32-52 kg)
Lifespan: 7-10 years
Coat Type: Long, thick, and double coat
Coat Color: Tri-color (black, rust, and white)
Temperament: Gentle, loyal, good-natured, and affectionate
Grooming Needs: High
History and Origin
The Bernese Mountain Dog, or “Berner,” is one of four mountain dog breeds originally from the Bern region in Switzerland. Their home, the Canton of Bern in Switzerland, is where they earned their name. About 2,000 years ago, the Romans brought Mastiffs and guard-type breeds to Switzerland, where they were crossed to create the Bernese Mountain Dogs.
They assisted with livestock, provided protection from predators, and were amiable companions after work, making them indispensable on farms. These canines were particularly well-known for their extraordinary strength, which allowed them to pull burdens that were far heavier than they were.
But by the late 1800s, their population was dwindling, and the quality of the dogs that remained was poor. Professor Albert Heim and other Swiss dog aficionados put a lot of effort into bringing the breed back to life. After they were successful, Berners gained popularity in Switzerland as pets and on farms once more.
A Kansas farmer introduced two Berners to the United States in 1926, and they became well-known very soon. The first Bernese Mountain dog was registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1937. The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America hosts competitions nowadays to showcase the remarkable canines’ working prowess and their farm dog ancestry.
Characteristics of Bernese Mountain Dogs
The Bernese Mountain Dog has some unique traits you should know about.
- Friendly Nature
Berners are known for their friendly and easy-going personality. They love to make you happy and are very affectionate with their families. With proper socialization, they can even be friendly with strangers.
- Protective Instinct
They have a protective streak, which makes them good watchdogs. Just be prepared, as some of them might bark more than you’d like.
- Intelligence and Trainability
Bernese Mountain Dogs are smart and can be trained well. But remember, all dogs need proper obedience training, especially big ones like Berners.
- Playful and Energetic
They’re playful and full of energy, which is great for fun and games. However, their size means they can accidentally knock someone over if they get too excited.
- Family Companions
Berners are devoted to their families and don’t like being alone for long periods. So, if you’re away from home a lot, this might not be the right breed for you.
|Tendency to Bark||Medium|
|Amount of Shedding||High|
Size and Appearance
|Gender||Height Range (Inches)||Weight Range (Pounds)|
|Male||25 – 28||80 – 115|
|Female||23 – 26||70 – 95|
The Bernese Mountain dogs are big dogs with a tall and bulky appearance. On average, male Berners are about 25 to 28 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh around 80 to 115 pounds. Female Berners, on the other hand, are a bit shorter, about 23 to 26 inches, and weigh roughly 70 to 95 pounds.
In terms of appearance, they look like fluffy teddy bears. Their silky, large, thick, long coat is of tri-color with a combination of jet black, rust, and clear white. The fur is kind of long and can be straight or a bit wavy. This breed is known for its wide chest, floppy V-shaped ears, and rusty spots on the chest and front legs. They also have white markings on their chest, nose, tail tip, and sometimes on their feet.
Apart from that, there is a brilliant sparkle in their dark eyes, which altogether adds to the dog’s aura of majestic nobility. A Bernese Mountain Dog puppy is very cute and can look like a fluffy stuffed animal.
Food and Diet Requirements
The amount of food you need to give your Berner depends on their age, size, gender, activity level, and more. For instance, young Bernese Mountain Dog puppies typically need 1.5 to 3 cups of food daily. As they grow, they might need more. Keep an eye on their needs and preferences to create the right meal plan for them.
You can find specific feeding charts for different life stages of Bernese Mountain Dogs to help you provide the best nutrition for your furry friend.
|Age||Daily Food Quantity (Cups)||Kilocalories (Per day)|
|2 months||1.5 – 1.75||405 – 450|
|3 months||1.75 – 3||675 – 787.5|
|4 – 5 months||3 – 4||990 – 1,417.5|
|6 – 8 months||4 – 5||1,417.5 – 2,025|
|9 – 12 months||5 – 6||1,800 – 2,250|
|1 – 6 years||5 – 6||1,912.5 – 2,362.5|
|7 years and above||3 – 4||981 – 1,308|
How often you should feed your Bernese Mountain Dog depends on their age. For Bernese Mountain Dog puppies, it’s typically best to feed them 3 to 4 times a day. As for adult and senior Bernese Mountain Dogs, two meals a day should do the trick.
|8 – 12 weeks||4 times a day|
|3 – 6 months||3 times a day|
|7 months and above||2 times a day|
When to feed your Bernese Mountain Dog depends on your daily routine. Typically, for puppies aged 8 to 12 weeks, it’s every 4 hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Puppies between 3 to 6 months can eat every 6 hours, while adult and senior dogs can go for meals every 12 hours.
|8 – 12 weeks||7a.m., 11 a.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m.|
|3 – 6 months||7 a.m., 1 p.m., 7 p.m.|
|7 months and above||7 a.m. and 7 p.m.|
Apart from food, you need to give regular water to your dog. They should have 24/7 access to fresh and clean drinking water. Make sure you clean their water bowl from time to time to avoid any risk of contamination. You can also give them treats, especially if you are training them.
Health and Nutritional Needs
To keep a Bernese Mountain Dog healthy, you should focus on their diet. Here’s what you should include:
- Protein from Quality Meat
Make sure their food has good meat-based protein, which is essential for their strength and energy.
- Essential Fatty Acids and Omegas
This helps keep their coat shiny and their skin healthy.
- Small Amounts of Carbohydrates
Add a bit of carbohydrates from veggies, herbs, and berries for balanced nutrition.
- Natural Vitamins and Minerals
These should come from sources like bones and plants to support their overall health.
Ensure they get enough moisture from their food and fresh drinking water.
These dogs do well on high-quality dog food, whether the food is commercially prepared or home-prepared, under the supervision and approval of the veterinarians. Any diet is appropriate to the dog’s age.
Some dogs are more inclined towards getting overweight, so pay attention to your dog’s calorie intake. You must also frequently check their weight level. Treats are an essential asset in training. However, keep in mind not to exceed because giving too many can cause obesity.
Do thorough research about which human foods are safe for dogs and which are not. Counsel with the vet for any concerns regarding the weight or diet of the dog.
Exercise and Training Needs
Like all dogs, Berners need proper exercise and training. To keep your Bernese Mountain Dog healthy and happy, aim for around 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day. While they’re great indoor companions, Berners love being outside, too.
They’re awesome company for walks, hikes, and even camping trips. Some enjoy pulling carts, and many excel in sports like agility, herding, obedience, rallying, and tracking.
Early obedience and socialization training are crucial for all dog breeds but more essential for breeds as large as the Bernese Mountain dogs. These are eager to please and intelligent, so you will not have a hard time training them.
These dogs are affectionate and open-hearted. Their feelings are easily hurt, and for this reason, they will not respond to harsh training or corrections. So, make sure you use positive reinforcements to train them. Also, remember to potty train and crate train them from a young age to avoid destructive behavior.
Common Health Problems
Various diseases affect the health of Bernese mountain dogs, and they are prone to cancers. In general, they do not have a long lifespan because of that. The lifespan for these dogs is usually in the range of 7-10 years.
They are also prone to many other medical conditions associated with large dogs. Here are some common health problems in Bernese Mountain dogs:
Many Bernese Mountain dogs can get different types of cancer. This can sadly lead to early death. Look out for signs like unusual swelling, sores that don’t heal, bleeding from openings, or difficulty breathing or eliminating. Treatments may include chemotherapy, surgery, or medications.
- Hip Dysplasia
This is an inherited condition where the thigh bone doesn’t fit well into the hip joint. Some dogs might show pain or limping in their back legs, while others won’t show clear signs. It’s usually diagnosed with X-rays, and it can lead to arthritis.
- Elbow Dysplasia
Like hip dysplasia, this is common in large-breed dogs. It happens because of abnormal growth, which results in a misshaped and weakened joint. The severity can vary, and it can lead to arthritis or lameness. Treatments include surgery, weight management, and medication.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
This is a group of eye diseases that make dogs lose their sight over time, starting with night blindness. Many dogs adapt to limited or lost vision as long as their surroundings don’t change.
- Portosystemic Shunt (PSS)
This is a congenital condition where blood vessels let blood skip the liver, so it isn’t cleansed as it should be. Symptoms can include various issues, and surgery is often the best option.
- Von Willebrand’s Disease
This is a blood disorder affecting clotting. Dogs with it can have nosebleeds, bleeding gums, and other bleeding problems. It’s usually diagnosed between three to five years old, and while there’s no cure, it can be managed with certain treatments.
Sometimes called pano, this causes temporary lameness in young dogs. It might require rest and restricted activity. Some believe diet plays a role, so consult your vet about their food.
- Gastric Torsion (Bloat)
This is a life-threatening condition, especially for deep-chested dogs like Bernese Mountain Dogs. It can happen if they eat quickly, drink lots of water after eating, or exercise vigorously. Signs include a distended belly, excessive salivating, and restlessness. If you suspect bloat, get to the vet right away.
You should know that sometimes Bernese Mountain Dogs can have health issues because of irresponsible breeding. Not all Berners will have these problems, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re thinking about getting one.
Temperament and Personality
The Bernese Mountain Dog is an affectionate, smart, and attentive dog. They’re known for being gentle, calm, and patient. They really enjoy being with their family and thrive when they’re part of family activities.
These dogs are considered “low-energy” and love spending quality time with their people, whether it’s playing in the yard or lounging on the couch. They really don’t like being alone.
It’s worth noting that they take a while to mature mentally, even though they reach their full size fairly quickly. Berners are protective of their family but usually not aggressive. If they’re introduced to other animals and people when they’re young, they usually get along well with cats, dogs, and others.
Socialization is key to ensuring your Berner puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog. Enrolling them in a puppy kindergarten class is a great first step. Regularly having visitors, taking them to busy places, and going on walks to meet neighbors will all help them become more social and well-behaved.
The Bernese dogs have a double coat with a longer outer coat and a wooly undercoat. They shed a fair amount, even more in the shedding season, which occurs twice a year. Daily brushing during shedding season can help you remove loose hair and keep your coat in the best condition.
You can fix any tangled hair with the help of a metal comb or slicker brush. As with all breeds, trimming nails regularly is necessary. Long nails can cause pain in the dog and structural problems.
Brush the dog’s teeth three to two times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that remain inside. Daily brushing is better to prevent bad breath and gum disease.
You should trim your dog’s nails once a month if your dog does not cut them naturally. It prevents painful injuries and other problems. If you can hear the nails clicking on the floor, it means they are too long.
Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Hypoallergenic?
No, Bernese Mountain dogs are not hypoallergenic. They have a thick double coat that sheds. This can release allergenic dander into the environment.
If you have allergies, remember to be cautious around Berners to manage your allergies. Regular grooming and cleaning can help reduce the amount of loose fur and allergens in your home, but they are not a hypoallergenic breed.
Lifespan of Bernese Mountain Dogs
You’ll find that Bernese Mountain dogs don’t live as long as many other breeds. Their lifespan is usually around 7-10 years. It’s because they’re a big breed.
Generally, smaller dogs tend to live longer, and larger ones have shorter lifespans. But Bernese Mountain Dogs actually have a decently long life for their size, especially when compared to some other giant breeds.
Interesting Facts about Bernese Mountain Dogs
- The Bernese Mountain Dogs are strong and can pull up to 10 times their weight, or nearly 1,000 pounds.
- Thanks to their cart-pulling abilities, these dogs once served as delivery dogs, drawing carts of dairy products and other items from farm to farm.
- In today’s time, they may be more likely to flex those skills for their owners, helping them pull children in carts for fun.
- Of the four Sennenhund breeds, known as Swiss mountain dogs or Swiss cattle dogs, only the Bernese mountain dogs have long hair.
Yes, a Bernese Mountain dog can be a great house dog as they love human companionship.
In terms of grooming and human attention, Berners are high maintenance.
Berners are intelligent and smart, which makes them easy to train.
Bernese Mountain dogs for sale can be anywhere around 1,500 to $11,000, depending on the age of the dog. Puppies are more expensive than adult dogs.
Mini Bernese Mountain dogs can reach anywhere around 16 to 19 inches in height and 35 to 55 pounds in weight.
That’s a wrap! This is all you need to know about the Bernese Mountain dog breed. These large dogs are very affectionate and easily get along with family, kids, and other pets. They have a friendly nature and are always in a good and happy mood. If you are looking for a caring and loving friend, Berners is a good choice. While their lifespan is less, and they need more grooming during shedding season, they make great pets. We hope this informative guide has helped you know more about this majestic dog breed.
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