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Bernese Mountain Dog… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

Bernese Mountain Dog Breed

Now if you looking for a LARGE dog that that’s perfect for just about any family and isn’t going to look like every other dog on the block, a Bernese Mountain dog may just be the right dog for you!

Because you see…

Here at IndulgeYourPet, we’re a bit “sweet” on these guys and feel that there about as “perfect” a family dog as you can get.  That’s because, with the right owner, these guys are not only going to be brave and courageous, ready to protect your family ’till the end, they’re also going to be well behaved, gentle giants as well.

But, this is of course…

if you are the right “owner” for them.  Which is why we here at IndulgeYourPet choose to write this article.  You see, while we firmly believe that the Bernese Mountain dog is a great dog breed, in the wrong hands, these dogs can become unruly giants.

So…

Before you run out and adopt your own Bernese Mountain dog rescue, we would encourage you to take a moment and read our article all about them so that you can get a better idea of what it might be like to own one of these magnificent creatures.  This way if you do decide to get one, you won’t be disappointed six months from now with your decision.

Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin: Switzerland

Original Purpose: Working Dog

Height:  23 to 27.5 inches tall

Weight:  65 to 120 pounds

Life Span: 7 to 10 years

Dog Breed Classification:  Working

Origins of the Bernese Mountain Dog Breed

The Bernese Mountain dog or Berner Sennenhund was originally developed in Switzerland where he was designed to work as a “farm” dog and “herding” dog.

Now we say…

“Farm” dog and “herding” dog because, unlike other “herding” dogs like your Collies or Shepherd dogs, the Bernese Mountain dog wasn’t only used for herding animals.  These friendly “giants” were also used by the Alpine herdsmen for pulling carts and as a watchdog at the farm. It was a common sight in the Swiss Alps to see a milk cart pulled by two Berners hooked to it.

Of course…

Switzerland today is one of the richest and most advanced nations on the plant, so you’re not likely to see this anymore. But that doesn’t mean that the Bernese Mountain dog has disappeared like the “milk man” of yesterday!

Because now…

The Berner has solidified himself as one of the premier “companion” animals out there particularly if your looking for a larger animal that is not only gorgeous, but also a pretty large deterrent for anyone considering doing you any harm.

Bernese Mountain Dog Origins

While the actual origin of the Bernese Mountain dog is uncertain, it is largely believed that these dogs were created in Switzerland when the Roman Armies invaded Switzerland over 2000 years ago.  It is believed that the Mastiffs that the Roman soldiers used in war were crossbred the the local herding dogs of that time.

The result of such a union…

Produced the very large dog that we know today as being tough, intelligent and able to survive in some of the most inhospitable terrains.

Ironically…

Despite how useful and beloved this breed was throughout the centuries, the Berner breed had almost been lost to the world as the need for this large “farm dog” diminished as Switzerland moved to a more modern industrialized nation.

Fortunately…

A few iconic specimens remaining in several rural areas within Switzerland in the late 1800’s were found and with the help of a some dedicated breeders, the Bernese Mountain Dog breed was saved and introduced shortly thereafter to America in the 1930’s.

And because…

This breed became quite popular within the US in the early to mid 1930’s, the American Kennel Club (AKC) decided to “officially” recognize the breed in 1937.

Physical Characteristics of the Bernese Mountain Dog

If you haven’t already guessed, the Bernese Mountain Dog is big and strong, very robust and sturdy dog. But in addition to this, he’s also going to grow up fast too (which is something your going to want to consider when you think about when to start obedience training)!

Your Bernese will…

Have a broad head with a furrow that runs through the middle; triangular ears and dark eyes. This Swiss dog will also have a classic tricolored coat, which will be one of the most distinguishable features of the Berner, along with his long and bushy tail.

Male vs. Female Berners

The females of the breed are only slightly smaller than the males. The males have a very masculine look about them, while the females are much softer, very feminine. That doesn’t mean the female Berner is any less strong or powerful compared to the male!  It just means that they might not look as intimidating to someone just glancing at them from a far.

Bernese Mountain Dog Grooming and Care

Up until now, we’ve really only been talking about the size of the Burmese Mountain dog.  But guess what, these dogs are giant, and they’re also REALLY hairy.

Plus…

The Berner sheds a lot, especially during the changes in a season. Which means that it’s going to be really important for you to brush his coat once every week, particularly during spring and the fall, unless of course you don’t mind having everything you own covered in a beautiful tricolor coat!

The good news is…

these dogs generally only require a bath every 2 months – as he generally stays clean. But be sure to clean his ears, as they can trap a lot of dirt and bacteria.

Brush his teeth too…To prevent bad breath.

And trim his nails when they grow too long (which isn’t all that bad of advice for us owners too!)

Berner Temperament

The Bernese Mountain Dog temperament is that of a very gentle, kind and tolerant dog. That said, the average Bernese Mountain dog is going to remain very “puppy” like for a long time – 3 to 4 years.  But remember, we said this dog “grows” very fast, so this means that you’re likely to have a 60 to 70 pound “puppy” on your hands for a few years!

The Berner puppy may be difficult to handle. He is very active, always looking to chew something and sometimes gets a little nervous. If you have small children, it is best to bring an adult Berner home rather than a puppy because they may be too big to be around young toddlers.

Plus…

The Bernese Mountain Dogs are often shy and cautious when it comes to interacting with strangers. This is why it is important to start their training and socialization as early as possible.

The Berner is a very respectful dog…

He is a sensible, respectful dog, who wants to please his owners and make them happy. But he needs to go out for a walk for at least 30 minutes every day.

And Exercise is a must. If you don’t have the time for this, please consider getting a different dog other than a Berner, simply because, if you aren’t going to be able to meet his or her exercise requirements, chances are you’re not going to have a happy Bernese for long.

Bernese Training and Obedience

The good news is that the Bernese Mountain dog is an excellent student.  One that not only listens, but craves your approval, which when combined in a “positive” enforcement training program, is sure to obtain quick and positive results.  The key is, just start right away, that way you’re not trying to teach a 100 pound dog how to heal or not jump!

But don’t get too concerned…

Because remember, despite an average Bernese size, and despite the fact that these dogs require a ton of  exercise, folks all around the country continue to discover what a great family dog the Bernese can be and continue to adopt these awesome creatures in mass!

Bernese Mountain Dogs Health Problems

Unfortunately, the Bernese Breed isn’t one of the healthiest breeds out there.  Which is why as a whole, the life expectancy of your average Berner isn’t all that long (only 7 to 10 years).

And while…

We’d like to tell you that if you follow a few simple rules, you’re Bernese will likely live a whole lot longer, we simply wouldn’t want you to get your hopes up.

You see…

This is because, even working with a highly reputable breeder can only do so much.  And while you should always work with a breeder who can produce a CHIC certification, even then there will be risk.

Bernese Mountain Dog Health Risks such as:

  • Malignant Histiocytosis
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Cruciate Ligament Rupture
  • Aseptic Meningitis
  • Osteochondrosis
  • Mast Cell Tumor
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Phew! That’s a long list.

Yes and the cost of the treatment can be anything from $300 to $7,500.  Which is something that you should consider before deciding to adopt a Bernese Mountain dog.

Now we don’t want…

To try to convince you not to purchase a Berner puppy or adopt a Bernese Mountain rescue dog, we just want to make sure that you understand what you might be getting yourself into.

It’s also why…

We always recommend that anyone thinking about getting a Berner also think about possibly buying a pet insurance policy at the same time so that if their dog does develop any medical issues later on down the road, they won’t be on the hook for 100% of the veterinarian bills!

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “Best” pet insurance policies in the industry, feel free to check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

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