Bernese Mountain Dog: A Complete Guide

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The Bernese Mountain Dog is an extremely versatile working dog from the farmlands of Switzerland.

He was bred to act as a watchdog, to pull carts, to herd cattle, and be a loyal companion. He is one of four types of Swiss Mountain Dogs, and the only one with long hair.

The Bernese Mountain Dog comes from the canton of Bern, hence his name. He’s a big and sturdy dog with a calm and friendly disposition.

In addition to being strikingly attractive, the Bernese Mountain Dog has a good temperament. He is known for being loyal, affectionate, eager to please, and intelligent.

He’s easy to train if you allow him time to analyze what you want him to do. Most of all, he has a fun and relaxed attitude about life.

The Bernese Mountain Dog is calm but gregarious, and sometimes even a little goofy when he plays with his family.

A small Bernese Mountain Dog puppy
The Bernese Mountain Dog can be used for pulling children on sleds.

He does well with both children and adults, but he is not the perfect choice for apartment dwellers or those who don’t have a big fenced yard.

The Bernese Mountain Dog needs to live with his family rather than be relegated to an outdoor kennel. He’s happiest when he can participate in all family activities.

Prospective owners should know that the Bernese Mountain Dog is slow to mature, both physically and mentally. He may remain puppyish for some time.

Additionally, the Bernese Mountain Dog is known to have a “soft” personality. His feelings are easily hurt, and he doesn’t respond well to harsh corrections.

Despite his beauty and excellent temperament, Bernese Mountain Dogs are struggling to survive today.

The breed has a small gene pool, which has resulted in numerous health problems related to inbreeding.

Those considering getting a Bernese Mountain Dog must pick a very good breeder because of this.

Bernese Mountain Dog Puppies – Before You Buy…

What Price are Bernese Mountain Dog Puppies?

The price of Bernese Mountain Dog puppies is approximately $800 to $1,000.

How to Find Reputable Bernese Mountain Dog Breeders?

A Bernese Mountain Dog wearing a scarf
The Bernese Mountain Dog’s attitude toward strangers varies from friendly to aloof.

Keep your eyes open when you’re visiting Bernese Mountain Dog breeders.

For starters, the puppies should live inside the breeder’s home. Puppies who are going to be family dogs should be raised inside with the family and not in the backyard, basement, or garage.

The dogs and puppies should be relaxed around people.

If they are comfortable with humans, that’s a good sign that they’ve been properly cared for and socialized.

Good breeders should keep their homes or breeding facility clean. Don’t worry about the dirty dishes in the sink or the busy living room.

Just make sure the dogs’ living area is safe, well-ventilated, and sanitary. They should also be supplied with fresh water, beds, and toys.

Do a background check on the breeder. They should be participating in dog shows or competitions. A good breeder is motivated by their love and concern for the breed and not by money.

If you’re buying a Bernese Mountain Dog that’s not going to be bred, the breeder should ask you to sign a contract promising to spay or neuter your pup.

Reputable breeders are upfront about the breed’s drawbacks, whether that means a tendency to develop certain health problems or a temperament that’s not for every owner.

A good breeder wants you to love and take care of your dog throughout his life, and they know that’s more likely to happen if you know what you’re getting into.

They want to meet the whole family and welcome you to make several visits. They will want to meet everyone who will be spending time with the puppy so that they can make the best match.

They will encourage you to take your time in making a decision. The breeder will ask you lots of questions.

This shows that they want to know exactly what kind of home their puppies are going to.

They may ask who’s going to be home during the day, what your dog-owning history is, and why you’re interested in the breed.

Reputable breeders will take the dog back at any stage of his life if you are no longer able to care for them.

3 Little-Known Facts About Bernese Mountain Dog Puppies

  1. The Bernese Mountain Dog is affectionately called the Berner. He is known as the Berner Sennenhund in Switzerland.
  2. Underneath that beautiful coat is a sturdy dog well suited for heavy work. The Bernese Mountain Dog is traditionally used as herders and draft dogs.
  3. Although the Bernese Mountain Dog is good-mannered and a hard worker, he nearly became extinct in the early 20th century when transportation became accessible to farmers.

Physical Traits of the Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog sitting on a bench
The Bernese Mountain Dog can be very shy.

The Bernese Mountain Dog can easily handle hard work because he has the right combination of strength, pace, and agility.

He has a slightly long and square body, but he’s not tall. His slow trot is characteristic of his natural working gait, but his driving power is good.

The moderately long and thick coat is straight or slightly wavy. This offers insulation from extremely cold weather.

He has a striking tricolor coat that can have a jet-black ground color with rich rust and clear white markings.

How Big is a Full-Grown Bernese Mountain Dog?

Males stand 24 to 28 inches in height and weigh approximately 85 to 110 pounds. Females stand 23 to 27 inches and weigh about 80 to 105 pounds.

What is the Life Expectancy of the Bernese Mountain Dog?

The life expectancy of the Bernese Mountain Dog is about 7 to 10 years.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog is an affectionate, intelligent, and alert dog.

He’s also gentle, calm, and tolerant. He likes to be with his family and thrives when he’s included in family activities.

Early socialization and training are important to teach him how to behave inside the house and around people.

Slow to mature, he reaches his adult size long before he reaches mental maturity. The Bernese Mountain Dog is protective of his family, though he isn’t usually aggressive.

He can be aloof with strangers and a bit shy, so exposing the Bernese Mountain Dog to a wide variety of people, animals, and situations is very important.

The Bernese Mountain Dog’s Diet

With a heavy and multi-colored coat, many people like to feed their Bernese Mountain Dogs with the idea of aiming for a specific coat quality.

However, a simple and healthy diet ensures that the good coat quality and an overall healthy weight are maintained.

The Bernese Mountain Dog can be fond of scraps, but you’ll want to keep him well-fed with his own food to discourage him from hanging around under the dinner table.

How Much Exercise Does a Bernese Mountain Dog Need?

Daily exercise is needed for the Bernese Mountain Dog. He is not recommended for apartment living because of his inactivity indoors, so he will do best with a large, fenced yard.

He is sensitive to heat because of his double coats and would do best in colder climates.

The Bernese Mountain Dog has plenty of weight and will eat a lot, meaning that regular exercise is a must.

Open exercise is especially important as this dog has been bred as farm aids throughout the centuries.

Keeping them occupied mentally is often just as important as allowing them free time to exercise physically.

Bernese Mountain Dog Health and Conditions

It should be noted that there’s a high rate of cancer for this breed.

Other health ailments may include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, mast cell tumors, bloat, obesity, cancer, and eyelid issues.

He can also suffer from health problems like progressive retinal atrophy, hepatocerebellar degeneration, hypomyelination, von Willebrand’s Disease, and hypothyroidism.

The minor diseases that the Bernese Mountain Dog is likely to suffer from are cataracts, sub-aortic stenosis, ectropion, and entropion.

My Final Thoughts on the Bernese Mountain DogA Bernese Mountain Dog sitting down

The Bernese Mountain Dog is easygoing and even-tempered and easygoing.

However, that doesn’t mean he will be satisfied without daily exercise.

Indeed, the Bernese Mountain Dog loves getting out, especially in cool weather.

With his thick black coat, he doesn’t do well in hot climates.

Playing around in the snow is a favorite form of recreation for Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Pulling children on sleds and carts is also a great form of exercise.

His attitude toward strangers varies from friendly to aloof, but a good

Bernese Mountain Dog should remain poised and hold his ground.
The most common temperament fault is excessive shyness.

It can be shy toward people in general or just one group of people. Most Bernese Mountain Dogs are peaceful and sociable with other animals.

But some Bernese males are aggressive toward other male dogs. This breed is quite sensitive, so he should be handled with kindness, encouragement, and praise.

However, they’re not complete pushovers to train. Some can be stubborn, especially males, and especially during adolescence.

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