The Swiss Bernese Mountain Dog: A Complete Guide

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This large dog has a long history in Swiss villages. Although today the Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog is officially a hybrid between the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.

It’s very likely that these two dogs mixed and bred together in the past due to their relatively close vicinity to each other. These dogs are confident, energetic, and love to be outdoors.

The Bernese Mountain Dog originated in the hillsides of Switzerland. They were originally domesticated for use as all-purpose farm dogs.

They could run out rats and other small vermin, guard the livestock, and would serve as companions.

They were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1907, and have long been a favorite in shows. They are proud-mannered and playful dogs that make a great companion to almost any household.

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog has many of the traits of the Mastiff. This breed likely originated when the Roman Empire marched through what is now Switzerland.

The Romans commonly used Mastiff as working dogs, and it’s likely that a few escaped and began fraternizing with the local Swiss breeds.

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is massive. Swiss farmers would use them as both an all-purpose farm dog, and also to tow small carts into town.

Their large size and heavily muscled legs made them optimal for this kind of work.

When you combine these two powerful dogs into the hybrid Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog, you get a canine who is strong, loyal, and loving. These dogs have a lot of energy and are best kept outdoors.

If you don’t keep them outdoors, then they do best in a home where they can spend a lot of time outside.

The Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog has a lot of energy and needs to get some form of exercise at least every couple of hours to prevent them from becoming restless.

Swiss Bernese Mountain Dog Puppies – Before You Buy…

Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog smiling
Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog’s fur is thick, long, and smoother than silk.

These dogs are great for large families, and people who have a lot of land.

However, there are some important things that all first-time owners should know before purchasing their Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog puppy.

What Price are Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog Puppies?

These large dogs can cost you a lot of money, both upfront and in accumulated food costs.

The cheapest that you will be able to buy a Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog puppy for is around $2,000, and the average you will pay is around $2,300.

This high cost is because both of the parent breeds are expensive. The Greater Swiss Mountain dog can easily cost up to $3,000, and the Bernese Mountain dog usually costs $1,900 to $2,500.

How to Find Reputable Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog Breeders?

These dogs are hard to find in the United States. You will most likely have to pay to ship one from an overseas breeder in Switzerland or the European area.

If you go to certain mountainous regions in the northern US, then you may find a specialized breeder who sells Swiss Bernese Mt. Dogs, but this is uncommon.

Keep in mind that if you do choose to ship a dog, then you will need to pay the associated airline fees that can easily cost over $400.

The good news is that these dogs are unique. You won’t have to worry about a breeder trying to fake this one. If you can find a Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog, then you can be sure that it is authentic.

3 Little-known facts about Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog puppies

  1. Even as a puppy, the Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog has a lot of energy. They will need to be given at least an hour a day of outside playtime.
  2. These dogs are very social and love to play with other dogs. If you can, try to arrange playdates with your neighbor’s dogs or take them to a local dog park.
  3. Swiss Bernese Mt. Dogs are very affectionate animals, and their favorite place to be is at their owner’s feet.

Physical Traits of the Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog

Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog at sunset
The Swiss Bernese Mt. Dogs are strong and loyal.

These dogs are massive. They were bred to withstand harsh winters in the brutal mountainous terrain of the Swiss Alps.

Their long, wide bodies are rippled with muscle, and they have a formidable appearance.

The first thing that you will notice is their fur. It is thick, long, and smoother than silk.

It is designed to keep them warm during the subzero winters that they must often endure.

They do shed a lot, so that is important to keep in mind.

Through the cold season, you won’t have to worry about it, but as soon as the warm weather comes around springtime, then their hair will start to thin out, and they will drop loose fur everywhere.

During these months it’s especially important to brush them daily.

The Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog’s coat is almost always a black base. Their chest and belly are usually white, and the fur around their eyes, pays, and tail is a golden brown.

Both of the parents have the same fur, so there isn’t much room for variation when it comes to this.

Their faces look a lot like that of a retriever. They have a long snout, with loose lips which they get from their Greater Swiss Mountain Dog heritage.

Their ears are long and droopy, and their eyes are prominent.

How Big is a Full-Grown Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog?

These dogs can be massive. They are an ancient mountain dog that had to be able to hunt and survive in one of the harshest climates on earth.

They can easily weigh over 130 pounds, and it’s not uncommon for them to top 140.

They usually stand at least 2 feet tall, and sometimes border on 3. Their large frame means that they don’t make a good indoor pet.

They are very energetic and liable to knock over furniture by accident if they are kept inside for too long.

What is the Life Expectancy of the Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog?

The Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog has an average lifespan of 10 years. In some cases, they have been known to live into their early teens, but this is rare.

Their lives tend to be filled with energy and happiness, however, so you won’t have to worry about them going through a rough aging process.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog

Three Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog in snow
Swiss Bernese Mt. Dogs are very friendly.

These dogs are very intelligent and tend also to be very obedient.

You need to remember that these dogs were originally bred as pack dogs, however.

They instinctively look for a leader.

If they don’t sense that their owner is strong-willed, then they will take advantage of them and even behave aggressively, trying to assert themselves as the leader.

While they are still puppies, they should be trained and housebroken with firm commands, unbreaking resolve.

It is also important to reward their good behavior with treats and compliments.

If you do this, then you are sure to have a loyal and friendly dog.

The Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog has a very energetic and confident personality. They have a seemingly boundless amount of energy and can run around all day long.

They love to socialize with other dogs and play games with their owners.

This breed does tend to be relatively self-reliant. While they do enjoy the company of their human family members, they are perfectly fine being left alone for hours a day.

As long as they have room to run around and be free, they will be happy. These dogs do not do well in any cramped up environments, however.

They can become very agitated and aggressive if they are, and you don’t want to make a 140-pound dog angry.

The Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog’s Diet

These dogs eat a lot. The Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog can easily weigh over 130-pounds of pure muscle.

They are outside running around for most of the day and thus have very fast metabolisms.

Make sure that you feed your dog at least 4 heaping cups of food per day. If they are being sedentary, then it’s okay to drop down to 3 cups a day to prevent weight gain.

They do best on a high-protein diet that can fuel all of their muscular development and give them plenty of energy.

How Much Exercise Does a Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog Need?

The Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog needs a lot of energy. As we mentioned above, they make a great outdoor pet, and they actually prefer to be running around in the open air 80% of the time.

If you can’t provide this, then you will need to make time to take them outside for at least an hour a day.

Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog Health and Conditions

For the most part, the Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog is a very healthy dog. It is, however, often to see them suffer from several minor ailments.

The most common is that they develop weak bladder muscles and will wet the bed at night as a result.

One of the other common things to see is that they have “lick fits.” They will run around the house and outdoors licking everything in sight from the carpet to trees.

Nobody is quite sure why they do this, but it has been reported in 20% of the parenting breeds. Thankfully both of these are non-life-threatening.

Final Thoughts on the Swiss Bernese Mountain DogSwiss Bernese Mt. Dog guide

If you have the outside space and are willing to spend time training the Swiss Bernese Mt. Dog to recognize you as their leader, then this dog can make a great pet.

They are strong, loyal, and get along great with families.

They are very protective of the children and will give you a lifetime of loyal service and companionship.

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