A Bernese mountain dog is a large and very versatile dog. It was bred in the Swiss Alps with a purpose to be a guard dog. But thanks to its body type and nature the dog was used for various other things, hence its versatility. It is essentially a working dog and a farmer’s best friend. Being a farmer’s dog is what it is recognized the most. It has a calm and friendly demeanor about it and is the embodiment of a man’s best friend, or in this case a farmer’s best friend.
A Bernese mountain dog is one of the four breeds of Swiss mountain dogs. Other ones include the Greater Swiss mountain dog, the Appenzeller and the Entelbucher mountain dog. But the Bernese dog is the most popular out of the four. Its original name, for which it is also known for is, Berner Sennenhund, which in German translates as “Alpine pasture dog.” The name Bernese in English is because the dog originally comes from the canton of Bern in Switzerland.
Bernese Mountain Dog History & Origins
Historically speaking, the Bernese mountain dog is derived from Roman Molosser breeds. It was finally established in 1907, before being exhibited in various dog shows and exhibitions in Bern before that. It was originally intended to be a guard dog, thanks to its size. But it just so came to be that the dog become a multipurpose animal. It was used by farmers for pulling carts and as a draft animal.
Of course it did not abandon its original purpose of being a guard dog as well. The Bernese mountain dog is one of the more popular dogs in contemporary times. It is not only popular in various German speaking countries, but its popularity has grown in America in recent years. This breed is ranked as number 32 by the American Kennel Club currently.
Characteristics & Temperament
A Bernese mountain dog is generally a very affectionate, alert and well behaved dog. It is very gentle, calm and tolerant which also means that this dog is great with kids. Even though it is a large dog, its size does not mean that it is aggressive. It all depends on the training but the Bernese is usually a very playful dog which enjoys the outdoors. Because of its size, it is always better to keep it outside, although they can be trained to stay inside. It still needs a lot of exercise and enjoys running around but actually they do not have a lot of endurance.
These dogs are also sometimes shy, especially when they are puppies. They can still grow up to be very sociable and enjoy the company of others. They are guard dogs and they grow fond of their owners very easily, but can still be a bit aloof with strangers. They are very good with children and are gentle towards their masters. They even enjoy the company of other animals as well.
The temperament of this dog mainly depends from dog to dog. If you are picking one from the litter, it is better to pick one which is not too shy nor the one which is too lively and which is attacking or jumping on other dogs. It is also advised for you to meet one of the parents, usually the mother, which will allow you to get the general idea about this particular dog. They are easy to train and it is advised that you start socializing this dog as early as you can as it will allow it to grow into a well-rounded dog.
Bernese Mountain Dog Appearance, Colors, Size
Bernese mountain dogs are very gorgeous dogs with long fur. They have a thick double coat with a longer outer coat and a wooly undercoat. This is a tricolored dog, with its main color being jet black, covering the back of the dog, with parts of rust and white color covering the lower part. You can usually see the white color veering the belly of the dog and parts of its face.
Its appearance is very friendly and just by looking at it you will see that it is a very friendly god. Even though it is a very big dog and can grow up to be between 1’11” and 2’3” in height and between 10 and 115 pounds in weight. The dog is still a lot of fun to hang out with and is one of the more beautiful dogs in the world.
Bernese Mountain Dog Health
Although very beautiful and live, the Bernese mountain dog is one of the most short breed dogs, especially with other Swiss mount dog breeds. Its lifespan is estimated somewhere between 7 to 8 years. There are also various kinds of illnesses that this dog is prone to, with cancer being the most dangerous and the most usual one to happen. The dog is actually prone to many different forms of cancer which can affect it. Some of them include malignant histiocytosis, lymphosarcoma, mast cell tumor, osteosarcoma and fibrosarcoma.
Bernese can also suffer from histiocytic sarcoma which his another form of an aggressive cancer that attracts the muscle tissue. There are also various hereditary conditions that the Bernese mountain dog can inherit from its parents. The usually include malignant histiocytosis, progressive retinal atrophy, hypomyelinogenesis, cataracts and hypoadrenocorticism. They are also prone to various musculoskeletal causes with Arthritis, hip dysplasia, and cruciate ligament rupture causing about 6% of deaths for these type of dogs.
Grooming & Shedding
Due to its long coats, Bernese mountain dogs shed all year round. The heaviest period when they shed is usually during seasonal changes. So expect that you need to do a lot of cleaning after this dog. But to maintain its coat you are expected to brush this dog once a week, or even more during spring or autumn.
This will help keep the fur clean and also prevent some amount of it ending up on your furniture. Depending on the amount of activity, you also need to give the Bernese a bath every few months. But make sure to pay special attention to the ears of a Bernese dog as they are prone to catching bacteria.
Bernese Mountain Dog Price and Breeders
Bernese mountain dogs are gaining popularity all over the word. Or course it is usually found in Switzerland, but is also very common in other German speaking countries. It has recently reached a boom both in America and Canada and there are various breeders there. The average price of a Bernese puppy is somewhere between $800 – $1000 USD.
Bernese Mountain Dog Rescue
But if you want to rescue a Bernese mountain dog, there are ways for you to do that as well. Some of the most notable shelters include Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Canada and the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Canada. There you will most likely find a dog that will meet your needs.