Bernese Mountain Dog Breed (Complete Guide)

Bernese Mountain Dog Overview

The Bernese Mountain Dog is slightly taller than it is long, but it appears square. This breed is a strong, robust, hardy dog with a mix of strength, speed, and agility.

A slow trot with good reach and drive is the Bernese’s natural walking gait.

The thick coat is moderately long, wavy or straight, and provides insulation from the cold. The hue is striking, yet the attitude is soft.

Bernese Mountain Dog Highlights

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  • Berners suffer from a variety of health issues due to their limited genetic foundation and maybe for additional reasons that have yet to be discovered. A Bernese Mountain Dog’s life expectancy is currently at six to eight years, though this has increased in recent years to around ten years. This could be attributed to more careful breeding and consideration for hereditary problems.
  • Due to the popularity of the Berner, some persons have bred dogs of lower quality in order to sell the puppies to unwary consumers. These dogs are frequently purchased at auction, and nothing is known about their medical history. Don’t encourage irresponsible breeding methods. It is preferable to obtain your dog from a shelter or rescue organization rather than donate money to people who breed without concern for the dogs’ health.
  • Because of the breed’s health issues, veterinary treatment might be expensive.
  • Berners have a lot of shedding, especially in the spring and fall. If shedding bothers you, this may not be the breed for you.
  • Berner enjoys spending time with his family. If he is isolated from humans and their activities, he is more prone to develop irritating behavior problems including barking, digging, or chewing.
  • Berners, when fully grown, are enormous dogs who enjoy having a job to accomplish. For these reasons, it’s a good idea – and a lot of fun – to start obedience training as soon as possible.
  • Despite their kind demeanor toward youngsters, Berners have been known to accidentally knock over a minor child or toddler.

Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Features & Ratings:

Rated base on a 5 Star Scale
ENERGY LEVEL:                                2 Star
PLAYFULNESS:                                  2 Star
AFFECTION LEVEL:                           3 Star
FRIENDLINESS TO DOGS:                3 Star
WATCHFULNESS:                               2 Star
EASE OF TRAINING:                           4 Star
HEAT SENSITIVITY:                            5 Star
VOCALITY                                          3 Star

Bernese Mountain Dog Characteristics:

  • Dog Breed Group:  Working Dogs
  • Height:  23 to 28 inches
  • Weight:  70 to 115 pounds
  • Life Span: 6 to 10 years
  • Type: Purebred 
  • AREA OF ORIGIN: Switzerland
  • DATE OF ORIGIN: Ancient Times 
  • OTHER NAMES:  Berner Sennenhund, Bernese Cattle Dog, Berner
  • Temperament: Affectionate, Faithful, Intelligent, Loyal
  • Activities: Herding, Drafting, Carting, Conformation
  • Color: Black and White
  • Litter Size: 1 to 14 puppies, the average is 8
  • Puppy Prices: $1500 – $3000 USD on average

Bernese Mountain Dog Health:

Berners are typically healthy dogs, and good breeders will examine their breeding stock for health issues like hip and elbow dysplasia, blood problems, some malignancies, and progressive retinal atrophy.

Bloat, a sudden, life-threatening stomach ailment, affects all large breeds. Berner owners should be aware of the warning symptoms and what to do if they appear.

As with all breeds, a Berner’s ears should be checked for symptoms of illness on a regular basis, and the teeth should be brushed frequently with dog toothpaste.

The National Breed Club recommends the following health tests:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Elbow Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease DNA Test

Bernese Mountain Dog Grooming:

The Berner coat is very stunning: a thick double coat with a longer outer coat and a wooly undercoat. The majority of Berner’s body is covered with jet-black hair with deep rust and dazzling white highlights.

There is usually an inverted cross-shaped white marking on the chest, a white blaze between the eyes, alongside white on the tip of the tail. However, beauty comes with a cost, and in this case, the Berner is a shedder.

They shed somewhat throughout the year but extensively in the spring and fall.

Brushing many times per week reduces the amount of hair in the house and keeps the coat clean and tangle-free. Bathing every three months or so will keep their appearance clean.

Brush your Berner’s teeth at least twice a week to remove tartar and the bacteria that live inside them. Brushing twice a day is even preferable if you want to avoid gum disease and foul breath.

If your dog’s nails don’t wear down naturally, trim them once a month to avoid unpleasant tears and other issues. They’re too long if you can hear them clicking on the floor.

Dog toenails include blood veins, so cutting too far can result in bleeding, and your dog may refuse to comply the next time the nail clippers come out.

So, if you’re not used to clipping dog nails, get advice from a vet or groomer. Ears should be checked on a weekly basis for redness or odor, which can indicate an infection.

When cleaning your dog’s ears, use a cotton ball wet with a moderate, pH-balanced ear cleaner to help avoid infections.

Do not insert anything into the ear canal; instead, clean the outside of the ear. When your Berner is a puppy, start accustoming them to being brushed and examined.

Handle their paws frequently—dogs are sensitive about their feet—and inspect their mouths.

Make grooming a pleasurable process full of praise and prizes, and you’ll build the framework for smooth veterinarian tests and other handling when they’re an adult.

Check for sores, rashes, or symptoms of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, nose, mouth, eyes, and feet while you groom.

There should be no redness or discharge in the eyes. Your thorough weekly examination will assist you in detecting potential health issues early on.

Bernese Mountain Dog Exercise:

To keep fit and happy, Bernese Mountain Dogs require at least a half-hour of moderate activity per day.

Berners adore outdoor activities and make excellent companions on long walks or excursions, despite the fact that they are obviously supposed to live indoors with their human family.

Owners who like the great outdoors frequently take their canine companions camping and trekking. Berners adore carting small children, and some even compete in carting and drafting tournaments.

Agility, herding, obedience, rally, and tracking are some of the other canine sports in which Berners excel.

Bernese Mountain Dog Training:

Early socialization and obedience training are critical for all dogs, but especially for large breeds like the Bernese Mountain Dog.

Berners are bright and eager to please, making them generally simple to teach.

They are extremely kind and open-hearted; their feelings are often damaged; therefore, harsh corrections or training methods do not work well for them.

A Berner always love to be with his family, and if he is frequently left alone for extended periods of time, he may exhibit unwanted habits.

Bernese Mountain Dog Food and Nutrition:

All huge and gigantic breed puppies, especially Bernese Mountain Dogs, benefit from slow growth diets to prevent joint disorders like hip dysplasia from developing.

A huge or gigantic breed puppy chow has all of the nutrients that a developing Bernese Mountain Dog puppy requires in the proper amounts to ensure slow and steady growth.

Furthermore, it is critical to maintain Bernese Mountain Dog puppies slim to avoid putting too much strain on the joints.

Feed your Berner measured meals at regular intervals, whether he is a puppy or an adult.

Free feeding (always filling the bowl) can result in an overweight dog, which can contribute to hip dysplasia and other health conditions such as diabetes.

Determine how much food to feed each day with the help of your veterinarian.

Bernese Mountain Dog Temperament and Personality:

The Berner is a loving, clever, and watchful dog. They are also compassionate, peaceful, and forgiving.

They enjoy being with family and flourish when they are part in family activities.

One of his most distinguishing characteristics is his big size, and of course, early training is vital to educate them how to behave correctly in the house and with humans.

They mature slowly and attain adulthood long before they reach mental maturity. The Berner is very protective of their family, yet they are not usually aggressive.

Because Berner puppies might be aloof with strangers and generally shy, it is critical to expose them to a wide diversity of people, animals, and circumstances.

A variety of factors influence temperament, including heredity, training, and socialization. Puppies with good temperaments are interested and playful, eager to approach and be held by people.

Always have time to meet and play with a dog you wish to adopt to ensure that they have pleasant temperaments with which you are comfortable.

Seeking siblings or other relatives of the parents is also beneficial in determining what a puppy will be like as an adult, but this isn’t always possible if you adopt from a shelter or rescue.

Berners, like all dogs, require early socialization (introduction to a variety of people, sights, sounds, and experiences) when they are young.

Socialization ensures that your Berner puppy develops into a well-rounded dog.

Enrolling them in puppy kindergarten is a terrific place to start. Inviting guests over on a regular basis, as well as taking your dog to busy parks, stores that permit dogs, and on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors, will help them improve their social skills.

Bernese Mountain Dog Care/Upkeep:

Consistent training and socialization will aid in the development of this bright working breed into a well-behaved companion. Begin in puppyhood before the sturdy Bernese Mountain Dog grows to full adult size.

Bernese Mountain Dogs enjoy pleasing their owners and usually react well to positive training methods such as clicker training.

They are delicate, and if you apply severe training methods to them, they will shut down. Bernese Mountain Dogs demand at least 30 minutes of daily exercise.

Although a lengthy walk is sufficient, Bernese Mountain Dogs are highly adaptable, excelling at competitive obedience, agility, tracking, and, of course, carting.

The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America hosts drafting competitions across the country. The Berner has a double coat that repels dirt and debris well (a shorter undercoat coupled with a longer outer coat).

Once a week, a thorough brushing will remove any loose undercoat and contribute to a lustrous, silky coat.

They shed moderately throughout the year but will “blow coat” twice a year, losing a significant portion of their undercoat in a short period of time.

Increase brushing when this occurs to reduce hair in the house. Bathe your Berner on a regular basis, trim the nails every few weeks, and clean the ears if they appear or smell unclean.

If you spot redness or swelling in your ears, make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out an ear infection.

Many Bernese Mountain Dogs drool seldom, but those with floppy jowls might drool profusely.

When you combine drool with high levels of shedding, it’s easy to understand why this breed might not be a good option for the picky dog owner.

Breed aficionados couldn’t care less about the shambles; to them, it’s all worth it for the exchange of the Berner’s enormous heart and enduring affection.

Bernese Mountain Dog Relationship with Children and Other Pets

The Berner is a good family pet since they are usually friendly and affectionate with children who are sensitive and careful with animals.

Because they are so enormous, they can accidentally bump or knock over very young or small children.

As with any breed, teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and constantly monitor any encounters between canines and small children to avoid biting or ear or tail pulling on either party’s side.

Teach your youngster to never approach a dog who is eating or sleeping, or to try to take the dog’s food. No dog, no matter how nice, should be left alone with a youngster.

Berner gets along well with other pets, but the larger the size difference, the more attention and training is required to keep everyone safe.

Bernese Mountain Dog Names 

RankBoy NamesGirl Names

All About Bernese Mountain Dog

With its brilliant tricolor coat and white “Swiss cross” on the chest, the Bernese Mountain Dog, fondly known as the Berner (and known as the Berner Sennenhund in their Swiss birthplace), is easily recognized.

Underneath that stunning coat comes a strong dog well-suited to tough work. These lovely, calm canines have traditionally been used as herders and draft dogs in Switzerland.

Originally, the Berner was used to drive cattle, guard families, and pull carts loaded with items to sell in adjacent villages.

Despite being well-mannered, diligent workers, they were on the verge of extinction in the early twentieth century, when new modes of transportation became available to farmers.

Fortunately, a small group of fanciers worked to keep the breed alive.

The Berner, in addition to being remarkably attractive, has a lovely temperament. They are noted for their loyalty, devotion, want to please, and intelligence.

They’re simple to train if you give them enough time to think about what you want them to do. Most importantly, they have a positive outlook on life.

When playing with family, Berner is calm but outgoing, and they can be a little goofy at times.

They get to spend time well with kids of all ages and adults, but they aren’t a good fit for individuals who live in apartments or don’t have a large, fenced-in yard for them to play in.

The Berner should be allowed to live with their family rather than being confined to an outdoor kennel. They are most content when they are able to participate in all family activities.

Because they were raised to be working dogs, Berners like learning and are easily trained.

Because they grow to be quite large—around 100 pounds when mature—early obedience training and socialization are advised.

Prospective owners should be aware that the Berner is a slow maturer, both physically and psychologically, and that they may remain puppyish for some years.

Furthermore, the Berner has a “soft” mentality; their feelings are easily injured, and they do not respond well to strong punishments.

Berners frequently have a limited life span, despite their beauty and wonderful temperament—or possibly because of these attributes.

The breed has a tiny gene pool, which has resulted in a slew of health issues caused by inbreeding.

As more individuals become aware of the breed, numerous dogs with health issues are being bred with minor or no regard for the impact on the breed as a whole.

Those thinking about getting a Bernese Mountain Dog should be cautious not to promote harmful breeding methods.

Bernese Mountain Dog History:

The four Swiss Sennenhund breeds such as Appenzeller Sennenhund, Entlebucher Sennenhund, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, and Berner Sennenhund are thought to have evolved from crosses between farm dogs from the Swiss Alps and the Molosser or Mastiff-type dogs brought with them by the Romans when they invaded the Alps in the first century B.C.

The Berner has most likely been working on Swiss farms for almost 2,000 years, discreetly tucked away on modest holdings in the Alps, pulling carts, accompanying animals, standing guard, and giving owners with loyal companionship.

By 1888, just 36% of the Swiss population was employed in agriculture, and the demand for a robust dog capable of herding cattle and pulling a cart loaded with merchandise had diminished.

However, in 1899, the Swiss grew interested in protecting their national breeds and established the Berna dog club. Breeders of a variety of purebred dogs were among the group’s members.

The Swiss Dog Club hosted a show at Ostermundigen in 1902 to draw attention to Swiss mountain breeds.

Two years later, the breeds made significant progress as a result of numerous events: The Swiss dog club financed a class for Swiss “shepherd dogs,” which encompassed Mountain dogs, at an international dog show in Bern.

This was also the first year these dogs were dubbed “Bernese.” The Bernese Mountain Dog was recognized as a breed by the Swiss Kennel Club the same year.

During World War I, shows and breeding competitions and shows were put on the back burner in favor of war operations.

However, following the war, the first Bernese Mountain Dogs were shipped, first to Holland and subsequently to the United States, despite the fact that the breed had not yet been recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Two British breeders started importing Berners in 1936, and the first litter of Berner pups was born in England. In addition, the Glen Shadow kennel in Louisiana imported a female and a male Berner from Switzerland in 1936.

By early 1937, Glen Shadow had received a letter from the AKC stating that the Bernese Mountain Dog had been acknowledged as a new breed in the Working Class.

World War II halted the breed’s expansion outside of its native area once more, although importation and registration resumed in the United States after 1945.

The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America was established in 1968, with 62 members and 43 registered Berners.

The club has more than 100 members three years later. Meanwhile, the breed, which had become extinct in England after WWII, was reintroduced.

In 1981, the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America joined the AKC. The AKC established its current Bernese Mountain Dog standard in 1990.

Where to Adopt Bernese Mountain Dog:

The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America, the breed’s national club, is the best place to find a Bernese Mountain Dog breeder.

The club keeps a list of breeders as well as a list of regional club rescue organizations.

More Dog Breeds and Further Research:

Do plenty of study before deciding on a Bernese Mountain Dog: talk to other Berner owners, trustworthy breeders, and rescue organisations to learn more.

If you’re interested in similar breeds, look into them to weigh the benefits and drawbacks.

Bernese Mountain Dog Fun Facts:

  • They hail from Switzerland. 
  • The name refers to where the breed is from. 
  • It’s a type of Swiss Mountain dog. 
  • They were bred as working dogs. 
  • Eventually they became delivery dogs. 
  • They’re crazy strong.  
  • Carting can be a sport.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What distinguishes Bernese mountain dogs?

Bernese mountain dogs, affectionately called “Berners” by their owners, are adored for their lovely, peaceful, easygoing attitude and dedication to their families, including little children. Big and muscular Berners, which have traditionally been associated with farming activities in Switzerland, may pull carts and serve as guard dogs.

What is the top speed of a Bernese Mountain Dog?

15 mph is the top speed.

Why do Bernese mountain dogs put their paws on the owner?

The Bernese Mountain Dog breed is actually highly sensitive. This implies they’ll always want to sit next to you and lean against you.

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