Introduction: The Bernese Mountain Dog Breed
The Bernese Mountain Dog, also known as the Berner Sennenhund, is a large and beautiful breed that originated from Switzerland. This breed was initially used as a working dog for farmers, herding livestock, and pulling carts of milk to the market. Today, the Bernese Mountain Dog is popular as a family pet, therapy dog, and show dog.
This breed is recognized for its tri-colored coat of black, white, and rust, its strong and muscular body, and its friendly and gentle personality. Bernese Mountain Dogs are excellent with children, loyal to their owners, and eager to please. Despite their size and strength, they are known to be gentle giants.
History of the Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog has a long history that dates back to the Roman Empire. The breed was first used as a watchdog, herding dog, and draft dog in Switzerland. In the early 19th century, the Bernese Mountain Dog was nearly extinct due to the introduction of other dog breeds and the decline of the dairy industry.
Fortunately, a group of breeders in Switzerland revived the Bernese Mountain Dog breed in the early 1900s. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1937 and has since become a popular breed in the United States.
Physical Characteristics of the Breed
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large and muscular breed that stands between 23 to 27 inches tall and weighs between 70 to 115 pounds. They have a distinctive tri-colored coat that is thick, silky, and moderately long. The coat is predominantly black with white markings on the chest, feet, and tail, and rust-colored markings above the eyes and on the cheeks.
Bernese Mountain Dogs have a strong, broad head, with medium-sized eyes that are dark brown in color, and triangular-shaped ears that hang close to their cheeks. They have a thick neck, a broad chest, and a deep body, with straight and muscular legs. The breed’s tail is long, bushy, and hangs down when relaxed.
Temperament and Personality Traits
Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their friendly and gentle personality. They are loyal, affectionate, and excellent with children, making them great family pets. They have a calm and patient demeanor and are eager to please their owners.
Despite their size, Bernese Mountain Dogs are not aggressive and are generally good with other dogs and animals. They can be reserved with strangers, but are not timid or shy. This breed is not suited for a busy or noisy household as they prefer a more relaxed and peaceful environment.
Health Issues and Common Concerns
Like all dog breeds, Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to certain health issues. Some of the most common concerns for this breed include hip and elbow dysplasia, arthritis, bloat, and cancer. It is important to purchase a Bernese Mountain Dog from a reputable breeder who performs health tests on their breeding dogs.
Owners should also provide their Bernese Mountain Dog with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and routine veterinary care. This breed has a lifespan of 7 to 10 years.
Grooming and Care for Bernese Mountain Dogs
Bernese Mountain Dogs require regular grooming to maintain their thick and silky coat. Owners should brush their dog’s coat at least once a week to prevent matting and shedding. They should also trim their dog’s nails, clean their ears, and brush their teeth regularly.
This breed requires moderate exercise, such as daily walks or playtime in a fenced-in yard. They are not suited for hot and humid climates and should be kept in a cool and shaded area during the summer months.
Training and Exercise Requirements
Bernese Mountain Dogs are intelligent and trainable, but can be stubborn at times. They require consistent and positive training methods, and early socialization with other dogs and people. This breed responds well to reward-based training and should not be subjected to harsh or punitive methods.
Bernese Mountain Dogs require moderate exercise, such as daily walks or playtime in a fenced-in yard. They are not suited for hot and humid climates and should be kept in a cool and shaded area during the summer months.
Bernese Mountain Dogs as Family Pets
Bernese Mountain Dogs make excellent family pets due to their friendly and gentle personality. They are loyal to their owners and are great with children. They are also good with other dogs and animals and can adapt to apartment living if provided with regular exercise and mental stimulation.
However, potential owners should be aware of the breed’s size and strength, as well as their grooming and exercise requirements. This breed is not suited for a busy or noisy household as they prefer a more relaxed and peaceful environment.
Choosing a Bernese Mountain Dog Breeder
When choosing a Bernese Mountain Dog breeder, it is important to find a reputable and responsible breeder who performs health tests on their breeding dogs. They should also be willing to provide references and allow potential owners to meet the puppies and their parents.
It is also essential to research the breed and its characteristics to ensure that it is the right fit for your lifestyle and family. Potential owners should be prepared to invest time and money into their Bernese Mountain Dog’s care and training.
Conclusion: Is a Bernese Mountain Dog Right for You?
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a beautiful and gentle breed that makes an excellent family pet for the right owner. However, potential owners should be aware of the breed’s size, grooming requirements, exercise needs, and potential health issues.
If you are considering a Bernese Mountain Dog, it is important to research the breed and find a reputable breeder who performs health tests on their breeding dogs. This breed requires a commitment to their care, training, and socialization, but can provide years of love and companionship in return.