Santa Barbara, California
California, United States
North Carolina, United States
British Columbia, Canada
Breed group: Working Group dogs
Other name(s): Berner; Bernese; Berner Sennenhund; BMD
Country / place of origin: Switzerland
History: The Bernese Mountain Dog gets its name from Bern, the capital of Switzerland. The origins of the breed may be linked to the ancient mastiff type dogs brought by the invading Romans into Switzerland around two thousand years ago. Until recently, Swiss farmers used these dogs as drovers, draft dogs, and watchdogs. The Bernese Mountain Dog is one of four Swiss Mountain dog
Details: Large and powerful, Bernese Mountain Dogs are sturdy and balanced. The skull is flat on the top and broad. The neck is strong and muscular. The eyes are brown and slightly oval. Reddish markings are present above each eye. Their medium-sized ears hang close to the head. The tail is bushy, straight, and sometimes upright. The tip of the tail is white.
Average height and weight (mature size and weight): 23-27 inches, 75-100 pounds
Color / coat variations: The thick smooth coat is moderately long, slightly wavy, and has a natural bright sheen. They are tri-colored, mainly consisting of black with reddish and clear white markings.
Lifespan: 7-10 years
Litter size: 4-9 puppies
Grooming and shedding: Bernese have a relatively care free coat, but they do shed constantly, and "blow their coat" completely once or twice a year. Periodic brushing to remove loose hair and a very good vacuum cleaner will make living with a Bernese easier.
Food habits: Food for any canine must be wholesome and nutritious. Specific dietary considerations may depend on the dog's bloodline. Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to bloat, and hence they must be fed twice a day. They may be suited to eating lamb, pork, beef, chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, rice, pulses, fruits, and vegetables.
Climate and environment: They have evolved to withstand the cold climate of the Alps. Some dogs have been found to do well in warm climates. They are outdoor animals but can do well indoors. They need the company of people, and should not be confined inside the house. A midsized backyard is ideal for them.
Behavioral aspects: Bernese Mountain Dogs are capable of a sudden burst of activity and speed but lacks the endurance of lighter dogs. Younger dogs mature slowly, and remain energetic and lively, either jumping around or climbing trees. They thrive in human company can develop problems if kept alone for too long. They make natural watchdogs with their alertness. A few dogs have the tendency to dig holes. Their hunting and herding instincts have reduced over the years though a few may still enjoy chasing animals.
With children: They love children from the owner's family and are seldom aggressive with other children.
With other dogs and animals: They are generally good with dogs and pets that have grown up with them. However, a few dogs may be aggressive to unfamiliar dogs. Some enjoy chasing smaller animals.
Training and learning rate: They may take time to learn. Training needs to be firm, consistent, and kind. Training on obedience and housebreaking must begin at an early age. Socialization is necessary to prevent shyness, timidity, or aggression in them.
Agility: They do well in agility tests.
Affinity to water: They are not natural water dogs but few enjoy swimming.
How noisy are they: They are gentle and calm most of the times.
Exercise: This breed requires moderate amounts of exercise to keep fit and happy. An inactive dog might display destructive behavior such as excessive biting, chewing, or barking. A walk or a jog is ideal for these dogs.
Health issues: Several health issues plague these beautiful lovable dogs, limiting their average life span to 7 years. The most common health problems faced by BMD's are hip and elbow dysplasia, degenerative arthritic changes in hip sockets and elbow joints which can lead to lameness. They are also prone to eyelid problems and bloat.According to the Bernese Mountain Club of America, "Cancer presents great challenges to breeders in genetic selection and a greater challenge for dog owners. In Bernese, at least two types of cancer are inherited. They are Mast Cell Cancer and Malignant Histiocytosis. How these cancers are inherited is not known although a polygenetic mode of inheritance is suspected. In the 2000 BMDCA Health Study, 50% of all dogsthat died succumbed to some form of cancer." Bernese Mountain Dogs used for breeding need to have certified elbows, hips, heart and eyes. Breeding dogs also need to have solid temperaments.
|Barks a lot||2.4|
|With adult family members||5.0|
|With children below eight||4.7|
|With children above eight||4.9|
|With strange dogs||4.0|
|Watch dog ability||3.7|
|Guard dog ability||2.3|
|Low cost to own||1.5|
|Easy to groom||1.4|
Caring for (1 video)
Training (1 video)