There are few breeds that are as iconic as the Bernese Mountain Dog. This dog gives off an appearance of nobility, and owners say they can see a true sense of intelligence in their eyes.
The Bernese Mountain Dog makes a great companion for active families. If you’ve been considering a dog for your active family, read below to learn more about the Bernese Mountain Dog.
Bernese Mountain Dog Breeds History
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a workhorse. They were originally used on the farms of Switzerland. Before mechanized farming, these dogs would do it all. They were herders, and they were also prized for their strength. They can pull many times their own weight using their muscular hindquarters.
While the Bernese Mountain Dog was a great asset on the farm and a gentle companion, their numbers began to decline in the late 1800’s. They were not needed as much once farming became mechanized, and the breed was in danger of declining to dangerous numbers.
It was in 1907 that Professor Albert Heim formed a Swiss breed club that helped bolster the Bernese Mountain Dog’s popularity again. They came back as the great farming dog they once were, and they were invited into Swiss households as a gentle and caring companion.
The breed came to the United States in 1926, and was inducted into the AKC in 1937. Even today, these dogs are praised for their working ability. Drafting and carting events are where they shine.
Not only is this dog powerful, they are beautiful. This breed’s coat is tri-colored with a base color of black. They also have hints of rust and clear white. Their coat is also thick to keep them warm while working in the mountains. This also makes them a great cuddle partner. They also have a double coat, which will need weekly grooming.
They measure anywhere from 23-28 inches tall and have a very balanced stance. Their muscular build gets hidden by their rich coat, but it can’t hide the weight. These dogs can grow to be over 100 pounds, and they have been known to pull over 1000 pounds! These dogs are gentle giants. They have amazing strength, speed and intelligence.
Bernese Mountain Dog Health Traits
The Bernese Mountain Dog is known as a reasonably healthy dog. They generally don’t suffer from many adverse conditions. There are a few things to look out for when considering a Bernese Mountain Dog.
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Dysplasia is a condition where the ball and socket joint of the dog’s hip or elbow doesn’t develop correctly. This can lead to grinding of bone on bone rather than smoothly sliding. This grinding slowly deteriorates the joint and can even lead to loss of function. A dog with hip or elbow dysplasia will find it very difficult or even painful to move.
As with many other large breeds, ear infections are something to look out for. This is especially true if you take your dog out into nature or if they like to swim. Just make sure that you keep an eye on their ears, and you shouldn’t have to worry much about infection.
Grooming a Bernese
The Bernese Mountain Dog has a beautiful double coat. This means that weekly grooming is a must. They shed quite a bit, and the shedding gets even worse during the shedding season. When your Bernese Mountain Dog is shedding, you’ll want to brush them daily to make sure their fur doesn’t find its way into every corner of your home.
A metal comb or a slicker brush will be your best friend when working on a Bernese Mountain Dog’s coat. The great thing about this breed is that while they will require more grooming than some breeds, you can take care of their grooming at home. You won’t have to take them to a professional grooming service.
Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Temperament
The Bernese Mountain Dog is eager to please and can get excited easily. This is why socialization and obedience training is so important. Remember, this dog can pull anywhere from 1000-2000 pounds, so just relying on “being able to hold them back” isn’t going to be your best bet. Early training and maintaining expectations is going to be easier in the long run.
This breed also responds very well to positive reinforcement. Harsh repremending can hurt their feelings or cause them to become distrustful. Make sure you have treats and lots of love, and training this big guy will be a breeze. They want to be your companion, so make sure you feel the same way and you’ll have an obedient friend.
A Bernese Mountain Dog will need at least a half hour of exercise each day. They are not meant to live outside, but they love being outdoors. If you and your family like long hikes or camping, a Bernese Mountain Dog will fit right in. This breed is even willing to pull carts of children, so don’t worry about wearing them out. Just remember that they’ll want lots of cuddles at the end of a tiring day.
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a regal breed that can fit in with any active family. They love their exercise, but they also love their human companions. They can treat children with a gentle touch, which makes them great for newer families. Just make sure you watch your children with this dog because their size can accidentally knock over small children. They also like to bond strongly with one member of the family, so someone is going to be their main companion.
This breed is an incredibly fun dog to live with. They live to serve, and will be incredibly happy with tasks to complete. Make sure you’re up for exercising with this dog, and prepare mental activities for them as well.
If you’ve got an active family that’s looking for a big, cuddly companion, the Bernese Mountain Dog might be the perfect choice.