Welcome to our complete guide to the Labernese
A first-generation cross between the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Labrador Retriever.
Labernese puppies were bred with the intention of combining the best of both breeds.
But do you really get that?
And why do some people have a problem with first-generation crosses?
In this guide, we answer all your questions about the Bernese Mountain Dog lab mix. We’ll help you decide whether a Labernese is a right choice for you and your family.
Why choose a Bernese Mountain Dog Lab Mix puppy?
That’s a good question!
Labernese dogs were bred to produce a puppy that was loving and easy to train.
Combined with their eye-catching appearance, they are becoming increasingly popular around the world.
Nevertheless, the topic of mixed breeds in general and Labernese, in particular, is shaped by emotions.
So what’s the problem with Designer Dogs?
Purebred versus mongrel
Dogs that represent a cross between two different breeds are known as mixed breeds or designer dogs.
Opinions are very divided.
Wherever you see a Labradoodle or Cockapoo making great pets, you will find an equal number dismissing them, saying pedigrees are superior.
But you are right
Pedigree dog fans say that purebred dogs are inherently “better” than mixed breeds.
Whatever the name we give them, like Labernese or Sheepadoodle, doesn’t change the fact that it is an unregistered non-pedigree.
And for some people, that’s enough to put them off.
However, a non-pedigree simply means that a dog cannot be added to the list of other dogs. And these lists were man-made themselves. Our purebred dogs were not naturally created, they were the so-called designer dogs of the past.
And there are some good reasons to be wary of a dog on a closed register list.
Are Mixed Breeds Like Bernese Lab Mix Dogs Healthier?
Despite what many pure race proponents believe, mixed breeds are actually much healthier than pedigrees.
This is due to what is known as “hybrid power”.
But is there any scientific evidence for this?
The answer depends on many factors, including each puppy’s genetics and its environmental conditions. Increasing the available gene pool (through the creation of mixed breeds) also increases vitality, which in turn leads to healthier dogs.
We do know, however, that opening up the gene pools for dogs, in general, is a good thing as long as they are bred by people who will screen their parents for health, point out their genetic defects and provide them with the care that any other good breeder does should do.
So let’s take a look at the specific mixed breed you’re here about – the Labernese.
The story of the Labernesen
Since the Bernese Mountain Dog Lab mix is a first-generation cross, you must first examine the parents’ separate pasts to learn more about their history.
We can then see how the popular Labernese cross came into being in recent years.
- Labrador story
Labrador Retrievers are originally from Newfoundland.
The breed was then brought to Britain in the 19th century, where breeding programs developed the Labrador we know and love today.
Known for their skills as sport dogs and for their happy and carefree nature, there is a lot to love about this breed.
- Bernese Mountain Dog story
The Bernese come from the Swiss mountains and can fall back on dogs that worked as cattle breeders and watchdogs for cattle breeders.
Bernese, as they are affectionately called, are distinguished by their gentle and calm nature and their tendency to bond strongly with a person.
- History of the Labrador Bernese Mountain Dog Mix
While some mixed breeds are developed just for their looks, this is not the case with the Labernese.
The breed was developed by the MIRA Foundation, a Canadian guide dog training facility.
In 1991, Éric St-Pierre decided to cross strong Labs with their uncomplicated natures and smart and loyal Bernese Mountain Dogs, with the intention of creating a special breed that could be used as auxiliary dogs.
And so the Labernese was born.
What can you expect when you buy a Berner Lab?
When thinking about buying a dog, there are a number of factors that you need to consider in order to determine if you could offer a suitable home.
Let’s go through these factors in detail …
What will my Labernese look like?
The short answer is that it’s hard to tell.
When buying or adopting a mixed breed dog, it is important that your puppy have the characteristics of both parent breeds equally.
This is especially important for a cross like the Bernese Mountain Dog lab mix, as you might end up with a puppy as tall as its Bernese parent if you were hoping for a medium-sized dog!
If so, the warning is forewarned and you will need to familiarize yourself with the traits of each parent breed to find out the potential traits of your Bernese Mountain Dog and Lab Mix puppy.
Average Labernese size, height, and weight
Let’s look at the averages for the founding breeds first, as they give an indication of what range the Labernese dogs are in.
The Bernese Mountain Dog is one of our larger breeds, with males from 25 to 27 cm and with females from 23 to 26 cm.
In terms of weight, men are generally 80 to 115 pounds and women are 70 to 95 pounds.
Labradors, on the other hand, are a medium-sized breed. Males tend to be 22.5 to 24.5 cm tall, and the females come in at 8.5 to 23.5 cm.
Male Labs tend to weigh 65 to 80 pounds, with females typically weighing 55 to 70 pounds.
Your Bernese Mountain Dog Cross Labrador puppy could end up in this area anywhere!
Labernese type and color
Labradors are known for their three different coat colors – black, yellow, and chocolate.
Labs have double coats, and while short-haired, they lose themselves seasonally and profusely, so be prepared for occasional grooming.
Bernese Mountain Dogs have a three-tone coat of black, white, and either rust or tan. Generally, you’ll see white and brown markings on your face, chest, legs, and feet.
Bernese Cross Labrador coloring is more similar to the Bernese, with puppies often being black with white markings.
Keep in mind, however, that your pup could result in any color combination of the parent breeds!
Grooming & general grooming
The daily care of a Labrador is quite cautious and should definitely not take too long.
While they are shedding their coats seasonally, a quick brush once a week is enough to keep them looking smooth.
With their long coats, Bernese Mountain Dogs require significantly more care. You need to take the time to make sure that their coats are clear.
Seasonal dropouts in spring and fall mean a lot more brushing at these times of the year.
You should now realize again that your Bernese Lab puppy could have any of these traits – even if you’re hoping for a short-haired, low-maintenance dog, you should be prepared for one with long hair!
On the whole, Labs are easy to train and make great family pets.
It is no accident that their intelligence and eagerness make them great guide dogs. Versatile is a word that sums up this breed pretty well.
Or, they can be very lively and greet everyone they meet and suffer from separation anxiety.
They are not suitable for homes where there is no family member during the day as they can become destructive.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are also easy to train, but can certainly be a bit more aloof than your average Labrador.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it isn’t as presumptuous about anyone you come across at the dog park.
However, you can also suffer from separation anxiety.
Bernese dogs are often close to a family member. They are known for their patient and caring attitudes towards children.
A 2008 study of dog aggression showed that both the Labrador Retriever and the Bernese Mountain Dog were among the least aggressive breeds. This applies to their behavior towards other dogs and people.
When you combine two breeds of dogs the results are a bit of a coin toss, but when they coincide you can be more confident.
This means that you are generally friendly and can form strong family bonds, but you are also dissatisfied if you regularly stay for long periods of time.
Typically, Bernese Labrador puppies should be ready to exercise easily. Even though you only know how pushy they get with strangers!
Socialization and training requirements
Both Labradors and Bernese Mountain Dogs have high energy levels, so it is likely that your Labernese puppy will be the same.
So if you want to have a well socialized and happy dog, you need to allow yourself time for this breed’s daily exercise.
In a 2014 study, well-trained Labs were happier.
Shown to show less separation anxiety, less aggressiveness, and less fear of people than dogs that haven’t been trained as much.
All good reasons to continue walking in the park!
And of course, that is also important for your puppy’s health.
Your puppy’s health
Unfortunately, both Labradors and Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to a number of health issues, and these are well worth exploring in detail.
- Labrador health
Labrador Retrievers can suffer from a number of genetic diseases. Fortunately, health testing can help you reduce the change in a Lab or Lab Cross puppy who inherits them.
Possible problems include eye disease, dysplasia of the elbows or hips, and collapse caused by movement.
The most common eye disease in labs is progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), but they are also prone to centronuclear myopathy (CNM). Ask for all parent dog eye inspection certificates
Dysplasia of the hip and elbow are inherited conditions that prevent these joints from developing properly.
Most breeders will have x-rayed the joints of parent dogs, and if your Labernese puppy is the first-generation mix, be sure to check out their parent’s results.
Hip and elbow dysplasia often affects the same dog, and while there is some evidence that elbow dysplasia is more common in male laboratories, hip dysplasia appears to be equally common in male and female dogs.
In both cases, they should be tested because of the high risk to both.
Movement-induced collapse is a genetic defect that leads to leg weakness and collapse in affected dogs.
Temperature and arousal can also lead to episodes.
You can find out more about Labrador Health here.
- Bernese Mountain Dog health
Bernese Mountain Dogs are unfortunately prone to a variety of diseases.
These include elbow and hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, cancer, and flatulence, among others.
The scoring system for elbow and hip dysplasia is the same as for Labradors. Hence, it is important to ask breeders about parent dog ratings.
Hypothyroidism can manifest itself through changes in your dog’s temperament and coat. While it’s pretty common in Bernese Mountain Dogs, it’s also easy to treat.
Cancer is a serious problem with this breed. A 2005 survey found cancer was the cause of death for 67% of this breed.
About 25% of Bernese Mountain Dogs suffer from histiocytic sarcoma, which occurs around the age of 6.5 years.
Bloat occurs when a dog’s stomach fills with gas, which can cause stomach rotation. Immediate veterinary treatment is essential.
It’s not entirely clear why certain dogs develop gas, but once they have had an episode they will likely do it again.
- Labernese Dog Health
Combine the potential Bernese Mountain Dog and Labrador health problems and you can see why it is important to find a reputable breeder who has received all of the veterinary and DNA tests required to keep you safe.
The Lab parents should have good hip scores, good elbow scores, a clear eye test, and PRA scores.
The Bernese Mountain Dog should have good hip and elbow scores and no family history of hypothyroidism or cancer. You should also have a unique veterinarian who will not confirm any heart problems.
While many Labernese puppies will grow up to be beautiful and healthy dogs, it is definitely worth pointing out potential health issues.
Labernese life expectancy
The Bernese Mountain Dog breed lives an average of eight years.
Laboratories usually live around twelve and a half years.
So you can expect your puppy to live to be 8 to 12.5 years old.
Once you’ve decided that a Labernese is a perfect dog for you, it is imperative that you see a reputable and honest breeder who has received all of the required health certificates for each parent.
The risk of cancer in Bernese Mountain Dogs is incredibly high, so you will need the family history of the dogs in question.
Choosing a Bernese Mountain Dog father who is over 7 years old will help reduce your risk, as most will show at least signs of histiocytic sarcoma.
Better chance of passing healthy genes on to the puppies.
It is important that you visit your Labernese breeder to see how they work with the parents and the puppies. They should have a strong bond with the mother, who should be a valued pet or working dog, and not just used for breeding.
Is a Labernese Puppy Right For Me?
The Labrador Retriever Bernese Mountain Dog mix has its origins in the creation of a service breed.
This means that your Labernese is ready to please and can easily fit into family life.
The ideal home would be a house where your dog gets plenty of exercise and training, especially when he’s young.
Given that Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to anxiety, a home where they are not left alone for long periods of time would be best as your Labernese puppy could well inherit this trait!
You also need to be very vigilant if you are only buying a puppy from health-screened parents and have no family of cancer in the family on the Bernese Mountain Dog site.
If you think you can do thorough research and have the time and energy for an oversized, fluffy companion, a Labernese as your new family pet could be a front runner.