The Bernese Mountain Dog is a big, cuddly, and good-natured breed from the Swiss Alps. It is recognizable by its classic, tri-color coat of black, white, and tan. Originally a farm dog, this breed naturally enjoys playing in open fields. But it can be quite happy being indoors with its family as well.
This is the type of dog you may want to have if you live in a cooler place in the countryside or if you have a house with a big backyard. It can be a great partner as well when you go out walking and hiking. Take a closer look at the Bernese Mountain Dog in this post and see if this is the right breed for you!
Facts About The Bernese Mountain Dog
What is a Bernese Mountain Dog?
The Bernese Mountain Dog, also simply called Bernese or Berner, is one of the four Sennenhund or Swiss mountain dogs. These dogs are thought to be the descendants of Roman molosser breeds and were used to herd cattle and guard farms. Since the Bernese is a larger type of mountain dog, it was also used to pull small carts. But the Bernese these days is more popular as a family pet, known to be gentle and affectionate around children.
What does a Bernese Mountain Dog look like?
Bernese Mountain Dogs are large, strong, and sturdy dogs. They may be big but they don’t have an intimidating expression. Their eyes look gentle, alert, and friendly.
Height and weight:
- A male Bernese stands between 24 to 28 inches at the shoulders and weighs around 80 to 120 pounds
- A female Bernese stands between 22 to 26 inches and weighs around 70 to 110
- Broad head with a slight furrow
- Dark eyes
- Medium-sized, triangular, pendant ears
- Black nose
- Deep, wide chest
- Strong, muscular neck
- Long, bushy tail
- Fairly long, thick, straight or wavy coat
- Tri-color pattern: ground colors is black, with white and rusty markings
Where is the Bernese Mountain Dog from?
The Bernese Mountain Dog comes from Switzerland. Its history is not extensively documented but it is believed the breed descended from mastiff type dogs.
For many years, the Bernese and the other Swiss Mountain dogs were used as all-around farm dogs. The Bernese was also used to pull carts containing dairy produce since it is a bigger dog.
The Bernese’s population slowly dwindled when there were fewer people interested in working in farms. But local efforts to preserve the breed began in the late 19th century. In the mid-20th century, the Bernese rose to considerable popularity and was exported to different countries. It was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1937.
What is the personality of a Bernese Mountain Dog?
The Bernese is a generally pleasant, affectionate, and alert dog. It loves to be around its family most of the time, may they be indoors or outdoors.
Although the Bernese may seem content to be a house dog, it innately loves to play outdoors—even during winter. Its thick coat allows it to enjoy romping in the snow. That said, this dog does not do well in hot climate.
This dog is typically not aggressive but it is protective of its family. Its guarding instinct makes this breed a good watchdog.
The Bernese are gentle and friendly towards children. They can get along with other pets (like cats) and animals as well. But it is a large dog and might unintentionally knock over very young children and much smaller animals.
Early obedience training and socialization are important for this breed, especially when it is large as an adult.
Are Bernese Mountain Dogs smart?
Yes. The Bernese is known to be intelligent and it is actually considered as one of the smartest dog breeds. This dog can respond well to training and excel in herding trials.
How long does a Bernese Mountain Dog live?
Bernese Mountain Dogs have a relatively short life expectancy of 7 to 8 years. Some Bernese dogs may last longer than this, however, and may even have the potential to live more than 10 years. Large dog breeds like the Great Dane tend to have a shorter lifespan than small breeds.
Diet, living condition, hygiene, genetics, etc. can affect how long a dog can live. These are some of the reasons why the Bernese Mountain Dog has a short lifespan:
- Health issues. The occurrence of cancer in this breed is relatively high. Different types of cancer such as histiocytic sarcoma, mast cell tumor, lymphosarcoma may affect this breed at an early age. The Bernese is also likely to suffer from health problems like hip dysplasia and cranial cruciate ligament disease.
- Hip dysplasia is the malformation of the ball and socket joint in the hip. Meanwhile, cranial cruciate ligament disease is the progressive failure or tearing of the fibrous tissue connecting the thigh bone and the lower leg bone (ligament). Common symptoms of both diseases are lameness, stiffness or pain on the limbs, and reluctance to move, etc.
- Poor genetic foundation and breeding. The Berner is a fairly popular breed. To keep up with the demand, breeders might choose to overlook the quality on how they breed their dogs. It is possible the dogs are inbred or have not undergone a thorough health screening.
What does a Bernese Mountain Dog eat?
Bernese Mountain Dogs require high-quality meals, which contains a nutritious balance of protein, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, to maintain a healthy diet. It is important to note this breed grows big as an adult. Food for large breeds slightly differs from the food for smaller breeds.
Before you get a dog, make sure that you have read some essential dog diet tips. You can buy dog food from the store but make sure you choose a good-quality brand. Some dog food contains a lot of fillers and preservatives which may eventually harm your dog.
Many owners choose to prepare homemade dog food instead. Just make sure to do your research first and list what human food is good for your dog. Also, note the kind of food which may be toxic.
Are Bernese Mountain Dogs hypoallergenic?
No. The Bernese Mountain Dog is NOT considered a hypoallergenic dog breed. Expect the Bernese to shed frequently, even more profusely than usual at certain times in a year. This means it produces a lot of dander, a common allergen usually found among fur-coated breeds.
When does a Bernese Mountain Dog stop growing?
The Bernese may take longer than other breeds to reach physical and mental maturity. Large dog breeds may reach their full height or frame around 18 to 24 months and may stop filling weight between 24 to 36 months. This breed might become mentally mature when it’s about 3 years old. But some Bernese dogs may take much longer than this to become an adult.
How much is a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy?
A well-bred Bernese Mountain Dog puppy can cost anywhere around USD $1,000 to more than $2,000. If you want a healthy, good quality puppy, expect to pay more.
This breed is prone to suffering some genetic health issues. Professional breeders spend a lot to have their puppies undergo some health tests and screening, which are costly. That’s why they ask for a higher price for their puppies.