Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their long and silky hair. They are sturdy and well-balanced dogs with tri-colored coats of rust, black, and white. Their thick, long hair is straight to slightly wavy, and their friendly eyes are dark brown with close-fitting lids. Bernese Mountain dogs have an animated, yet gentle, expression. These dogs measure 23 to 27.5 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 65 to 120 pounds.
Bernese Mountain dogs have an animated, yet gentle, expression. These dogs measure 23 to 27.5 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 65 to 120 pounds.
This intelligent and strong breed thrives in cold weather and is ideal for families with children. However, these dogs are very large and tend to bark, which makes them unsuitable for apartment life. They are also prone to several potentially serious health conditions that may reduce their lifespan.
The Bernese Mountain Dog breed is a favorite among celebrities, and these dogs have been featured in movies, television shows, and books.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are gentle, easy-going, calm, and patient, which makes them an ideal choice for families with children. They enjoy being around their human companions, and they can get along decently with cats and other dogs, provided they are raised together. This breed tends to be social and playful and requires a considerable amount of love and attention.
This breed is slow to mature and remains in puppyhood for several years. This means that any family that chooses to adopt or purchase a Bernese Mountain Dog must be very patient. When you combine the large size and high energy level of these puppies with their tendency to play rambunctiously, the end result may be broken furniture or other problems. Fortunately, these dogs mature into confident, intelligent, and calm adults.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are not good choices for apartments because of their large size and loud bark. Additionally, these dogs are better suited to homes with a securely fenced backyard, as the breed needs a lot of daily exercise. While they do well spending time outdoors during the day, Bernese Mountain Dogs prefer to live indoors with their human family.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to a number of potentially serious health conditions, which is one contributing factor to their short life span of 7 to 10 years. Hip and elbow dysplasia are two conditions fairly common in the breed, and Von Willebrand disease, a type of bleeding disorder, affects Bernese Mountain Dogs more than other breeds.
These dogs are also prone to a several eye problems, such as progressive retinal atrophy, entropion, ectropion, and cataracts. Additionally, they suffer from a high incidence of certain cancers, including malignant histiocytosis. Some Bernese Mountain Dogs may develop neurological conditions that are associated with malformation or degeneration of the brain's cerebellum. These disorders can cause a range of symptoms and severely affect or end life. The breed is also unusually sensitive to heat and humidity and is prone to bloat and gastric torsion, a potentially fatal condition.
To help ensure the longest and healthiest life possible, Bernese Mountain Dogs should undergo regular examinations by a veterinarian. Routine vaccinations, proper nutrition, and regular exercise are also important. Before adopting or purchasing, every effort should be made to verify the health of the puppy's line in order to reduce the risk of genetic disorders.
Bernese Mountain dogs are moderately trainable and do well with early socialization and obedience training. Without training, these dogs tend to develop behavioral problems and may not make the best companion, show, or work dogs. Regular exercise can also help minimize negative behaviors.
Bernese puppies are chewers and can be very destructive because of their size, energy, and tendency to taste-test everything in sight. They are prone to ingesting dangerous items, which may lead to potentially fatal intestinal blockages. Chewing and related behaviors must be dealt with in training and cannot be tolerated in any dog.
As adults, Bernese Mountain Dogs are territorial and wary of strangers, traits that make them good watchdogs. While most are levelheaded and non-aggressive, the breed tends to become overly suspicious and fearful without early socialization. These dogs are also sensitive to noise. Obtaining them from a breeder who exposes them to different sights, sounds, and people will help prevent sensitivity, suspicion, and aggression.
The long and silky coat of the Bernese Mountain Dog needs regular brushing and grooming to remain healthy and free of tangles and mats. These double-coated dogs tend to shed heavily, but dead and loose hair can be managed with daily or weekly brushings with a stainless steel pin brush, stainless steel comb, and slicker brush.
Bernese Mountain Dogs do not require frequent bathing and should take baths only when necessary to remove excess dirt or sticky substances. A bath with a veterinarian-approved dog shampoo every couple of months will remove dirt from the coat and improve its luster.
The nails need trimming every week or two, and the teeth require regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent dental decay and gum disease. The ears should be checked every week for wax accumulation, injury, or signs of infection.
The Bernese Mountain Dog is one of four types of Swiss Mountain Dogs and was named for Canton of Bern, an area in west-central Switzerland. The breed descended from mastiff-type dogs that were brought to Switzerland by Roman armies about 2000 years ago and bred with local dogs to work the farms.
The agility, strength, and intelligence that helped Bernese Mountain Dogs thrive in the mountainous region of Switzerland helped them excel at drafting and droving work. Originally, these dogs were used as general-purpose farm dogs. They helped with a variety of chores, including pulling carts to market and driving dairy cattle. In their native land, these dogs are called Berner Sennenhund.
The breed nearly disappeared with industrialization, but it was revived in the early 20th century to become a companion animal. They are now popular with families and can also be found engaging in dog sports and performing therapy work.
In 1937, the American Kennel Club officially recognized the Bernese Mountain Dog.