Bernese Mountain Dog | The Ultimate Breed Guide 2020
Are you interested in buying or adopting a Bernese Mountain Dog? Are you looking for a loving companion? Is a Berner the right breed for you? If yes, then you just landed in the right place. We have come up with a comprehensive guide that explains the characteristics, vital stats, fun facts, history, average size, personality, and general health of a Bernese Mountain Dog.
Let’s dive in.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are otherwise known as Berner Sennenhund. They fall under the large breeds and have a striking tri-colored coat. Bernese Mountain Dogs are big, powerful, and have a large frame. They are one of the most attractive of the Swiss working dogs.
Bernese Mountain Dog is an excellent family dog and gets along well with kids. It is intelligent and makes an excellent companion that will adore the whole family. Being an excellent watchdog, they some times have a tendency to bark loudly.
We have listed below Bernese Mountain dog breed characteristics. This list is meant to be a general guideline for Bernese Mountain’s characteristics. Let’s have a look at these:
Bernese Mountain dogs do not adapt well to different living environments. They need a great deal of companionship and do not like being left alone. They have an average of 2 out of 5 stars adaptability level.
This factors contributing to low adaptability score are:
Bernese Mountain dogs are among the most friendly dog breeds. They are affectionate, playful, and are excellent companions. They have 5 out of 5 stars all around friendliness.
The reasons for their outstanding all-around friendliness are:
Bernese Mountain dog is prone to certain hereditary health problems and their life span is shorter than other breeds. It requires regular grooming to keep its coat in good condition. They are rated at 4 stars out 5 for health and grooming needs.
The reasons that contribute to this score are:
Berners are intelligent dogs and should be trained gently, but with determination. They are quite easy to train and find out the association between commands and follow instructions without putting in much effort. They have a good trainability score of 4 out of 5 stars.
Let's have a look at the factors for good trainability score:
The Bernese Mountain dog is an energetic dog and has high physical needs of 4 out of 5 stars.
Let’s have a look at the factors contributing to high physical needs:
After having a look at the breed characteristics, Bernese Mountain dogs sounds like a great choice to buy or adopt.
Let’s have a look at some fun facts about Bernese Mountain dogs:
The Bernese Mountain dog is most likely descended from an ancient breed called the Molosser. It has its origin from the city of Berne, Switzerland. It is the form of a Mastiff and developed from four Swiss dog breeds called the Sennenhund. Through the hybridization of Roman mastiff dogs and region’s flock-guarding dogs over a millennium, these dogs were able to withstand the severe weather in the Alps due to their size and coat-type.
The Bernese Mountain Dog was a general-purpose farm dog employed as watchdog and carting dog. They used to watch over properties and served as great companions to their owners.
During the latter half of the 19th century, this breed got the attention of canine enthusiasts and breeders who then worked to standardize and protect the breed. They established a dog club named Berna with memberships open only for those with purebred dogs.
The first Bernese Mountain to arrive in Australia was from New Zealand in 1978. They belong to the Utility group in Australia and have adapted easily into the Australian lifestyle. To improve the breed, Bernese breeders in Australia have imported from many famous International kennels around the world. Since arriving in Australia, Bernese Mountain Dogs has become wonderful family pets and loyal companions.
The Bernese Mountain is an intelligent dog with a tri-colored long coat. This large-sized dog breed originated in Switzerland where he was used as a watchdog and carting dog. Let's have a look at the average size of Bernese Mountain dogs:
Berners are large and high energy dogs. If you are planning to buy or adopt a Bernese Mountain dog, it's best to keep them in a house with a fenced yard. They are not recommended for apartment living.
The Bernese Mountains are gentle, loving, and affectionate dogs. Due to their devotion and good nature, Berners are a perfect addition to the families. They can even be included during family picnics and outdoor activities. As a family pet, the Bernese will enjoy some physical work. They are always eager to please. The Bernese Mountain puppy is curious, playful, and willing to be approached and held by people.
Berners are intelligent and alert dogs but sometimes they tend to become overprotective. This breed tends to mature slowly, even with its large size, and act like a puppy even well beyond their adult stage. If appropriately socialized and trained, the adult Bernese Mountain Dog is easygoing and tolerant. They should be trained at a young age to make them a pleasant family companion.
The Bernese Mountain Dog is prone to many health issues and has an average rating of 3 stars out 5 for being a healthy dog. There are some hereditary conditions that may affect this breed. These health concerns include bloat, eyelid problems, hip and elbow dysplasia, and certain forms of cancer.
If you own or are planning to buy a Bernese Mountain Dog, you need to be aware of its health concerns. Let’s have a look into these health problems:
von Willebrand’s Disease is a common hereditary blood clotting disorder in Bernese Mountain dogs and can result in excessive bleeding, even from minor cuts. A dog, suffering from vWD, shows symptoms such as nosebleeds, bleeding gums, prolonged bleeding from a surgery, prolonged bleeding during heat cycles, and occasionally blood in the stool. Although there’s no cure, you can give your dog a DNA test to see if they have vWD. However, it can be managed with treatments that include cauterizing or suturing injuries, transfusions before surgery, and avoidance of specific medications.
Elbow Dysplasia is a degenerative disease common to large-breeds like Bernese Mountain Dogs. It is a hereditary condition that causes a developmental deformity of the elbows. It can cause swelling, pain, and often leads to arthritis. Symptoms include occasional or persistent forelimb lameness, pain, and fluid build-up in the joint. These symptoms usually appear between 5 - 15 months of age. It is best prevented by screening breeding adults through x-ray evaluation. Surgery is often required to correct the affected joints.
This is a hereditary condition in Bernese Mountains in which the thighbone does not fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is hereditary, but it can also be triggered by environmental factors, such as rapid growth from a high-calorie diet. X-ray screening is the most certain way to diagnose the problem. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Bernese Mountain dogs is an inherited eye disease in which the retina degenerates. The dog suffers impaired vision and often leads to blindness. The first sign of this disease is night blindness and affected dogs tend to be nervous at night. Unfortunately, there is no cure for PRA and dogs typically become blind within a year of diagnosis. Dogs that develop PRA should not be used for breeding.
Gastric Torsion, also known as bloat, is a life-threatening condition that can affect Bernese Mountain Dogs. It is a severe condition that causes a dog’s stomach to fill with gas, fluid, or food, making it expand. The dog is unable to belch or vomit to expel the excess air in the stomach, and the normal return of blood to the heart is impeded. Blood pressure drops and the dog goes into shock. This disease is more common in older dogs. Symptoms include the enlarged abdomen, vomiting, coughing, excessive drooling, inability to defecate, and pale gums. It is important to get your Bernese dog to the vet as soon as possible if you see these symptoms.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are more suited for homes with a large, securely fenced yard. This is a working dog that has plenty of energy. In addition to yard play, they need regular exercise every day for about twenty to forty minutes. This will keep them healthy and in top condition. With their thick, long coat, the Berners are a natural fit for cold climates. Keep them cool during the heat of the day. Do not allow them to exercise actively when it is extremely hot out there.
There are three main types of exercises and activities that you can provide your Bernese Mountain Dog.
The daily walk is ideal for a Bernese Mountain Dog. It will allow your Bernese to stimulate the mind with the sights, sounds, and smells they come across. The daily walk should be around thirty minutes daily but more would be fine as well.
Apart from the daily walk, Bernese Mountain Dogs also require other activities and free play. This will help in burning pent up energy and keeping their muscles strong. Let’s have a look at some purposeful activities for Bernese Mountain dogs:
Don't let the Berner puppy run and play on hard surfaces or pull heavy loads until they are at least two years old and their joints are fully formed.
Bernese Mountain dogs need an outlet for their minds otherwise they indulge in bad behavior like excessive barking, digging, and other destructive activities. Some ways to provide mental stimulation and enrichment include:
Diet is a significant point that contributes to the overall health of your Bernese Mountain Dog. If you want your dog to be in a good physical condition and full of energy, it is essential to feed it properly. A Bernese Mountain Dog diet should be formulated for a large-sized breed with high energy and exercise needs.
Feeding guide for Bernese Mountain Dogs is given below:
NOTE: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, gender, build, metabolism, and activity level.
Your Berner's diet should be healthy and include all nutrients. If your dog is on commercial dog food, it must be safe, affordable, and made with high-quality ingredients. Fresh, clean water should be available at all times for this active breed. Most commercial dog food products also provide detailed feeding guides on the food's packaging.
You will need to take special care if you are raising a Bernese Mountain puppy. Like many large-breed dogs, Berners grow rapidly between the ages of four and seven months, making them prone to bone disorders and injuries. Give your Berner puppy a high-quality and low-calorie diet that keeps them from growing too fast.
All major dog food brands formulate products to meet nutritional standards. Never feed your Bernese Mountain any dog food that does not meet these minimum nutritional standards. You must know the best dry dog food for Bernese Dog should be elaborated on the recommendations of veterinary dieticians. Consider feeding your Bernese Mountain dogs with the following dog food:
The Bernese Mountain dog has a tri-colored gorgeous coat comprising of a thick double coat with a longer outer coat and a wooly undercoat. Most of this dog's body is covered with black hair with rich rust and bright white. There is a white marking on the chest, a white blaze between the eyes, and white on the tip of the tail.
Like most double-coated dogs, Bernese Mountain dogs shed moderately all year with at least one heavy shed per year. It also depends upon the climate in which they live and how much coat they have. Let’s have a look at Berner’s grooming needs:
Your regular grooming and careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards.
When it comes to finding tools that can be used for grooming your Berners, here is a list that can help:
The Berner is a great family pet, and they are usually gentle and affectionate with kids. Being so large, they can unintentionally knock over young children. As with every breed, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children. Children should also take part in the training activities of Bernese Mountain dogs. The Berner gets along with other pets well, though the greater the size difference, the more supervision, and training required to keep everyone safe.
If you are in Australia and would want to adopt a Bernese Mountain Dog, get in touch with any breed organization. Below are breed clubs, organizations, and associations in Australia where you can get your Bernese Mountain Dog.
Below are some of the rescue groups around Australia that you can contact.
Before purchasing your Bernese Mountain, it is important to understand that as a dog owner you are responsible for the care and wellbeing of your pet. Now that you know everything about the Bernese Mountain dog breed, it is easier for you to buy or adopt one.
Bernese Mountain dogs make great pets for families with children, due to their affectionate and loving nature. The breed is loyal, intelligent, and energetic but not exhausting. Grab your Bernese Mountain today and fill your home with happiness caused by this large and friendly dog breed. You will never regret adopting a Bernese Mountain Dog.