The Bernese Mountain Dog is a working dog that comes from the farmlands of Switzerland. He was developed for his versatility to herd cattle, pull carts, as well as to be a watchdog and loyal companion. There are four types of Swiss Mountain Dogs and this one is the only one with long hair. The Bernese Mountain Dog comes from the canton of Bern, hence his name. He’s a large and sturdy dog breed, with a friendly and calm disposition, and he’s well suited to conformation, obedience, tracking, herding, and carting competitions.
The Bernese Mountain Dog, affectionately called the Berner (and known as the Berner Sennenhund in his Swiss homeland), is instantly recognizable with his flashy, tricolor coat and white "Swiss cross" on his chest. Underneath that beautiful coat is a sturdy dog well suited for heavy work: These beautiful, gentle dogs have been traditionally used in Switzerland as herders and draft dogs.
This dog was originally a vital part of farm life, serving to drive cattle, protect his family, and pull carts loaded with goods to sell at nearby villages. This is a good-mannered hard working breed. In the early 20th century this dog almost became extinct when other means of transportation became accessible to farmers. It is very fortunate for us that a handful of fanciers sought to preserve the breed.
A strikingly good-looking animal the Berner has a wonderful temperament. He is very loyal, affectionate, eager to please, and intelligent. He's also easy to train, if you allow him time to analyze what you want him to do. The best part of all is that he has a happy-go-lucky attitude about life.
The Berner is calm but gregarious, and sometimes even a little goofy when he plays with his family. He is a family dog and does well with children of all ages and with adults. He isn't a good choice for people who live in apartments or don't have a large, fenced yard for him to play in. The Berner really needs to live with his family, rather than be relegated to an outdoor kennel. He's happiest when he can participate in all family activities.
This dog was bred to be a working dog so he likes to learn and can be easily trained. Since he is very large — about 100 pounds — when mature, early obedience training and socialization are recommended. New owners should know that the Berner is slow to mature, both physically and mentally; he may remain puppyish for some time. Additionally, the Berner is known to have a "soft" personality; his feelings are easily hurt and he doesn't respond well to harsh corrections.
Despite his beauty and excellent temperament Berners are struggling to survive today. The breed has a small gene pool, which has resulted in numerous health problems related to inbreeding. As more people find out about the breed, many dogs with health problems are being bred with little or no regard to the effect this has on the breed as a whole. Those considering a Bernese Mountain Dog must be very careful to buy a puppy only from a reputable breeder.
Bernese Mountain Dog FAQs
- Does the Bernese Mountain Dog thrive in an apartment?
- This is a very active dog for his size. He was bred to work and not to be confined by small spaces. Unless you are willing to take him out and give him a good two hour vigorous workout you are best to avoid this breed if you live in an apartment. For more information see our list of Dogs Not Well Suited to Apartment Living.
- Is the Bernese Mountain Dog good for novice dog owners?
- The Bernese Mountain Dog is a working dog which requires constant guidance throughout the day. If this is the first time that you are getting a dog it is recommended that you stay away from this breed as you need to be a confident dog owner to handle this dog. For more information see out list of Dogs That Are Good for Experienced Owners.
- Is the Bernese Mountain Dog a sensitive dog?
- Some dog will sulk all day long if they are scolded. Others will probably give you a dirty look and carry on with what they were doing. The Bernese Mountain Dog is a sturdy dog that lets the occasional reprimand roll off his back. However, he prefers not to be reprimanded and will often show his feelings when harshly corrected in his behavior. For more information see our list of Dogs That Have a Low Sensitivity Level.
- Does the Bernese Mountain Dog tolerate being left alone for extended periods of time?
- The Bernese Mountain Dog is a dog that craves companionship. If you are planning to stay away for an extended period of time it is best to hire a dog sitter or arrange for a family member to stay at home. For more information see our list of Dogs That Are Poorly Suited to Be Alone.
- Does the Bernese Mountain Dog tolerate cold weather well?
- This dog has a very thick coat which it developed because of the area where the dog was developed, in the mountains. This makes it a perfect dog for colder climates. For more information see our list of Dogs That Are Poorly Suited to Cold Weather.
- Does the Bernese Mountain Dog tolerate hot weather well?
- These dogs were developed to work in the colder climates of the mountains in Switzerland. For this it developed its long thick coat. In hot weather these dogs tend to overheat quickly and require the comforts of an air-conditioned environment. For more information see our list of Dogs That Are Poorly Suited to Hot Weather.
- Are Bernese Mountain Dogs affectionate with other family members?
- Not many dogs don't get along with the other members of your family. The Bernese Mountain Dog is a very affectionate dog who likes the company of humans and that includes the whole family. For more information see our list of Dogs That Are Not Affectionate with Family.
- Is the Bernese Mountain Dog friendly with kids?
- A kid-friendly dog is one that is gently with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and has a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children. This description fits the Bernese Mountain Dog to a tee. Just remember that all dogs are individuals and this doesn't mean that all dogs will get along with children. If the dog had a bad encounter with a child when it was young he will grow up not trusting children. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Also keep in mind that whenever there is an interaction between children and dogs you need to monitor the situation closely. For more information see out list of Dogs That Are Not Kid Friendly as well as our Kid Friendly Dog List.
- Does the Bernese Mountain Dog get along with other dogs?
- Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn't the only factor; dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least 6 to 8 weeks of age, and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills. For more information see our list Dogs That Are Not So Dog Friendly.
- Is the Bernese Mountain Dog friendly towards strangers?
- A dog who is stranger-friendly will greet them with a wagging tail and a nuzzle. That is exactly what the Bernese Mountain Dog will do. However, no matter what the breed, a dog who was exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult. For more information see our list of Dogs That Are More Shy.
- Does the Bernese Mountain Dog shed a lot?
- When you share your home with a dog you should expect some shedding throughout the year. The Bernese Mountain Dog is a constant shedder with two full shedding periods per year. If you are not into the constant cleaning because your dog sheds a lot then you should stay away from this breed of dog. For more information see our list of Dogs That Shed Very Little.
- Do Bernese Mountain Dogs drool a lot?
- Some dogs are just big slobbers getting drool all over the place. The Bernese Mountain Dog is quite high in this respect as he will leave wet spots on your clothes and furniture. If you are not into the necessary cleaning that will be required then you are best to avoid this breed of dog. For more information see our list of Dogs That Are Not Big Droolers.
- Does the Bernese Mountain Dog require a lot of grooming?
- Some dogs are brush-and-go while others require constant regular grooming and some will need more extensive grooming. The Bernese Mountain requires at least two twenty minute brushing per week and two thirty minute brushings per year with the occasional bath. For more information see our list of Dogs That Require More Grooming.
- Does the Bernese Mountain Dog have good health?
- Most health problems that we find in dogs today come from poor breeding practices. Some breeds are also prone to certain genetic health problems. This does not mean that every dog of a particular breed that is prone to health problems will develop those diseases. The Bernese Mountain Dog is a dog that has a high susceptibility to certain medical and genetic conditions. If you are looking for a dog that will not put you in the poos house with high veterinary bills it is best to stay away from this breed. Always ask the breeder about the physical health of your potential pup's parents and other relatives. For more information see our list of Dogs That Are More Prone To Health Problems.
- Is the Bernese Mountain Dog prone to gaining weight?
- Some dogs require an active lifestyle and proper food management to maintain their ideal weight. The Bernese Mountain Dog is one of them. This dog will eat food whenever it sees it and if not properly managed will gain weight quite rapidly.
- Is the Bernese Mountain Dog a big dog?
- Is the Bernese Mountain Dog an easy dog to train?
- Some dogs just don't want to learn anything new. The Bernese Mountain Dog, on the other hand, is quite attentive and really likes to learn new stuff. Being a working dog this was one of the desired traits for this breed. For more information see our list of Dogs That Are Challenging To Train.
- Is the Bernese Mountain Dog an intelligent dog?
- Working dogs require the use of their brains to perform their jobs well. Dogs in this category require decision making skills along with intelligence and concentration. For these dogs it is important to exercise their brains. Mental stimulation for these dogs is a necessity. If they don't get this type of stimulation they may become destructive as a way to get the necessary brain exercise required. The Bernese Mountain Dog is a really intelligent dog that requires activities which allow it to use its brain. For more information see our list of Dogs That Have Low Intelligence.
- Is the Bernese Mountain Dog a mouthy dog?
- Mouthiness in this respect refers to the tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite. For this breed of dog the tendency to be mouthy is quite high. This means that they use their mouths quite often while playing with their humans or other dogs. These dogs usually require training so that they know that it's fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a chew toy that's been stuffed with kibble and treats.
- Does the Bernese Mountain Dog have a high prey drive?
- These dogs like to chase things. For this reason they need to be kept in a fenced-in yard that has a high enough fence so they won't jump over it and the fence should also go underground by at least three feet so that you can catch them in time before they dig their way under. When walking these dogs you should always keep them on a leash otherwise whenever they see a squirrel, cat, or even a care they won't go off chasing it down the street. For more information see our list of Dogs That Have Low Prey Drive.
- Does the Bernese Mountain Dog have a tendency to bark or howl?
- Some breeds seem to like the sound of their own voice. For this reason you should consider how the dog vocalizes before selecting a breed. The Bernese Mountain dog has a fairly high tendency to make noise. If you live in an area where there are noise restrictions you might have to stay away from this breed. For more information see our list of Dogs That Are Mostly Quiet.
- Does the Bernese Mountain Dog have a high wanderlust potential?
- Some dogs have a need to explore their environment and neighborhood. The Bernese Mountain Dog can go either way here. Sometimes they just want to remain at home and other times they want to know what's around the corner. For more information see our list of Dogs Less Prone To Wander.
- Does the Bernese Mountain Dog have a high energy level?
- Dogs that have a high energy level are always ready for anything. Most dogs that fall into this category are working class dogs and the Bernese Mountain Dog fits right in. For this reason these dogs need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation. For more information see our list of Dogs That Have Low Energy.
- Is the Bernese Mountain Dog a high intensity dog?
- High intensity dogs tend to put all their vigor into everything they do. These dogs require a fair amount of training to keep them in line when they walk on a leash. The Bernese Mountain Dog is a middle-of-the-road dog when it comes to their intensity level. For more information see our list of Dogs With Low Intensity.
- Does the Bernese Mountain Dog require a lot of exercise?
- Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise -- especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, such as herding or hunting. Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don't like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility. The Bernese Mountain Dog is average when it comes to exercise needs. For more information see our list of Dogs That Don't Need Tons of Exercise.
- Is the Bernese Mountain Dog a playful dog?
- Some dogs are just puppies all of their lives. Others are more serious and sedate. The Bernese Mountain Dog is fairly energetic and always likes to play a good game with its humans. For more information see our list of Dogs That Are Less Playful.
Bernese Mountain Dog Vital Stats
- Dog Breed Group: Working Dogs
- Height: 1 foot, 11 inches (58.42 centimeters) to 2 feet, 3 inches (68.58 centimeters) tall at the shoulder
- Weight: 70 to 115 pounds (31.75 to 52.16 kilograms)
- Life Span: 6 to 8 years
Highlights of the Bernese Mountain Dog
If you are planning on getting a Bernese Mountain Dog you need to be aware that these dogs have numerous health problems due to their small genetic foundation. These dogs also have a comparatively short life span compared to other dogs, about six to eight years.
These dogs are very popular among dog enthusiasts and for this reason some breeders have bred dogs of lesser quality in order to sell the puppies to unsuspecting buyers. You should not import these dogs from foreign countries that have few laws governing kennel conditions. Buying unhealthy dogs from these countries can result in very costly veterinary bills because of the health problems in the breed.
Also be aware that these dogs shed constantly with heavier shedding in the spring and fall. If you are not keen about constantly cleaning your place it may be well that you avoid this breed and go for a dog that shed less.
As a dog, the Berner prefers to be with his family. If he is unable to associate with his family he is likely to develop annoying behavior problems, such as barking, digging, or chewing.
A mature Bernese Mountain Dog is a large dog that needs a job to do. Beginning obedience training at an early age and continuing through his life is the best thing for these dogs.
Even though these dogs are very gentle with children they really don't understand their size and will accidentally knock over a small child or toddler. It is best to always watch such interactions between child and dog so that you can prevent any such accidents.
If you are looking for a healthy dog you should never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests their breeding dogs to make sure they're free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.
History of the Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog has a long and varied history dating back to one particular ancient dog breed, the Molosser. This particular breed was brought to the Alps when the Romans invaded Switzerland in the first century B.C.
The Berner is thought to have been developed through crosses of the Molosser and the four Swiss Sennenhund breeds (Appenzeller Sennenhund, Entlebucher Sennenhund, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, and Berner Sennenhund).
It is believe that the Berner worked on Swiss farms for more than 2,000 years. Here he pulled carts, accompanied livestock, stood watch, and provided companionship to his humans.
By 1888 there was only 36 percent of the Swiss population working in agriculture. This caused the need for a strong dog such as the Berner to dwindle. In 1899, however, the Swiss became interested in preserving their native breeds and founded a dog club called Berna. This club became home to the breeders of a variety of purebred dogs.
Sometime in 1902 Berna sponsored a show at Ostermundigen. This show drew lots of attention to the Swiss mountain breeds. This interest boosted the breeds popularity two years later.
In 1904 an international dog show was held in Bern. At this show the Swiss dog club sponsored a class for Swiss "shepherd dogs," which included the Mountain dogs. This was also the first year that these dogs were referred to as "Bernese." And in that same year, the Swiss Kennel Club recognized the Bernese Mountain Dog as a breed.
It wasn't until the end of World War I that the first Bernese Mountain Dogs were exported, first to Holland and then to the United States. However, the American Kennel Club did not recognize the Bernese Mountain Dog as a purebred dog.
In 1936, two British breeders began importing Berners, and the first litter of Berner pups was born in England. It was also in this year that a female and male Bernese Mountain Dog was imported from Switzerland by the Glen Shadow kennel in Louisiana. It wasn't until the beginning of 1937 that the Bernese Mountain Dog was accepted as a new breed in the AKC Working Class division.
But as luck would have it World War II interrupted the progress of this breed outside of its native land. When the war ended in 1945 importation and registration of the Bernese Mountain Dog resumed in the United States.
In 1968, the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America was founded, with 62 members and 43 registered Berners.
Three years later, there were more than 100 members in the club. Meanwhile, the breed, which had died out in England during World War II, was reintroduced in Great Britain.
In 1981 The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America officially became a member of the American Kennel Club. And the current standard for this breed was adopted in 1990.
Size of the Bernese Mountain Dog
Males stand 25 to 27.5 inches (63.5 to 69.85 centimeters) tall and weigh 80 to 115 pounds (36.29 to 52.16 kilograms). Females stand 23 to 26 inches (58.42 to 66.04 centimeters) tall and weigh 70 to 95 pounds (31.75 to 43.09 kilograms).
Bernese Mountain Dog Personality
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a very affectionate, intelligent, and alert dog. This dog has a gentle, calm, and tolerant disposition. Being a family dog he like to be with people and is very happy when he's included in the family activities.
His large size is one of his most notable features, and of course early training is essential to teach him how to behave properly in the house and with people. This dog is slow to mature and reaches his adult size long before he reaches mental maturity.
Since he is a family dog he is very protective of his family, though he isn't usually aggressive. He tends to be aloof with strangers and a bit shy. Therefore, the Berner puppy should be exposed to a wide variety of people, animals, and situations starting at a young age.
The temperament of the Bernese Mountain Dog is affected by a number of factors, including heredity, training, and socialization. Puppies with nice temperaments are curious and playful, willing to approach people and be held by them. When choosing a puppy look for one that doesn't beat up his littermates and also doesn't hide in the corner when someone new is introduced to him.
If possible, you should meet at least one of the parents. This will usually be the mother and it will help to ensure that all the dogs in the litter have a nice temperament. And if you can you should also try to meet the siblings or other relatives of the parents so that you can properly evaluate what the puppy will be like when he grows up.
All dogs need early socialization and the Bernese Mountain Dog is no exception to the rule. To accomplish this you should expose your dog to as many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences. This will help to ensure that your puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.
Enrolling him in a puppy kindergarten class is a great start. Inviting visitors over regularly, and taking him to busy parks, stores that allow dogs, and on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will also help him polish his social skills.
Health Considerations of the Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a generally healthy dog. But, just like other breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions. This doesn't mean, however, that your dog will get any or all of these diseases. It is important to realize that they exist and that you are aware of them when you are considering this breed.
If you are in the market for a Berner you should find a good breeder. This person should be able to show you all the health clearances for both your puppy's parents. These health clearances will prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition.
For Bernese Mountain Dogs (at least in the United States) you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand's disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site (offa.org).
Although the Bernese Mountain Dog is a generally healthy dog, there are some medical conditions that this breed is particularly prone to. These are:
- Cancer: Various forms of cancer afflict a large number of Bernese Mountain Dogs and can cause early death. Symptoms include abnormal swelling of a sore or bump, sores that don't heal, bleeding from any body opening, and difficulty with breathing or elimination. Treatments for cancer include chemotherapy, surgery, and medications.
- Hip Dysplasia: This is an inherited condition in which the thighbone doesn't fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but others don't display outward signs of discomfort. (X-ray screening is the most certain way to diagnose the problem.) Either way, arthritis can develop as the dog ages. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred — so if you're buying a puppy, ask the breeder for proof that the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia and are free of problems.
- Elbow Dysplasia: Similar to hip dysplasia, this is also a degenerative disease common to large-breed dogs. It's believed to be caused by abnormal growth and development, which results in a malformed and weakened joint. The disease varies in severity: the dog could simply develop arthritis, or he could become lame. Treatment includes surgery, weight management, medical management, and anti-inflammatory medication.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): This is a family of eye diseases that involves the gradual deterioration of the retina. Early in the disease, affected dogs become night-blind; they lose sight during the day as the disease progresses. Many affected dogs adapt well to their limited or lost vision, as long as their surroundings remain the same.
- Portosystemic Shunt (PSS): This is a congenital abnormality in which blood vessels allow blood to bypass the liver. As a result, the blood is not cleansed by the liver as it should be. Symptoms, which usually appear before two years of age, can include but are not limited to neurobehavioral abnormalities, lack of appetite, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), intermittent gastrointestinal issues, urinary tract problems, drug intolerance, and stunted growth. Surgery is usually the best option.
- Von Willebrand's Disease: Found in both dogs and humans, this is a blood disorder that affects the clotting process. An affected dog will have symptoms such as nosebleeds, bleeding gums, prolonged bleeding from surgery, prolonged bleeding during heat cycles or after whelping, and occasionally blood in the stool. This disorder is usually diagnosed between three and five years of age, and it can't be cured. However, it can be managed with treatments that include cauterizing or suturing injuries, transfusions before surgery, and avoidance of specific medications.
- Panosteitis: Commonly called pano, this condition causes self-limiting lameness. At about five to 12 months of age, the dog may start to limp first on one leg, then on another — then the limping will stop. There are usually no long-term effects. Rest and restricted activity may be necessary for a while if the dog is in pain. The best thing that you can do for your Berner is to feed him a high-quality dog food that doesn't have too much calcium or too high a percentage of protein, which some believe may cause pano. Ask your vet for his recommendations.
- Gastric Torsion: Also called bloat, this is a life-threatening condition that can affect large, deep-chested dogs such as Bernese Mountain Dogs. This is especially true if they are fed one large meal a day, eat rapidly, drink large volumes of water after eating, and exercise vigorously after eating. Bloat is more common among older dogs. It occurs when the stomach is distended with gas or air and then twists (torsion). The dog is unable to belch or vomit to rid himself of the excess air in the stomach, and the normal return of blood to the heart is impeded. Blood pressure drops and the dog goes into shock. Without immediate medical attention, the dog can die. Suspect bloat if your dog has a distended abdomen and is salivating excessively and retching without throwing up. He also may be restless, depressed, lethargic, and weak, with a rapid heart rate. It's important to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible if you see these signs.
Bernese Mountain Dog Care
The Bernese Mountain Dog does not do well in an apartment or condo. They require a home with a large, securely fenced yard is the best choice. Because the Berner is a working dog, he has plenty of energy. Additionally, you will also have to provide at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise every day. If at all possible these dogs should actually get 90 minutes of vigorous exercise daily to keep him in top condition.
This dog has a thick, handsome coat which makes him a natural fit for colder climates. Playing in the snow is a favorite activity of the Berner. But you will need to be careful in hot weather as his coat will work against him making your dog prone to heat stroke. Don't allow him to exercise strenuously when it's extremely hot; limit exercise to early mornings or evenings, when it's cooler. Keep him cool during the heat of the day, either inside with fans or air-conditioning or outside in the shade.
Like many large-breed dogs, Berners grow rapidly between the ages of four and seven months, making them susceptible to bone disorders and injury. They do well on a high-quality, low-calorie diet that keeps them from growing too fast. So to prevent bone injuries you should take special care and not let your puppy jump down from places that are higher than him.
Additionally, don't let the Berner puppy run and play on hard surfaces (such as pavement), jump excessively, or pull heavy loads until he's at least two years old and his joints are fully formed.
Feeding Your Bernese Mountain Dog
These dogs can be big eaters. For this reason it is recommended that you feed your dog 3 to 5 cups of high-quality dry food per day. This amount should be divided into two meals instead of one. It is also recommended that you not allow your dog to be a self-feeder as he will eat all his food in one shot causing him to gain weight.
How much your dog will actually eat depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Remember that dogs are individuals and not all dogs of a particular breed will require the same amount of food. For instance, a dog that is highly active will require more food than a dog that is a couch potato. And the quality of food that you buy will also make a difference. In other words, the better the food, the further it will go towards nourishing your dog and you will need to put less in your dog's bowl.
Keep your Berner in good shape by measuring his food and feeding him twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time. If you're unsure whether he's overweight, give him the eye test and the hands-on test.
To determine if your dog is overweight take a good look down at him. He should have a nice shape and you should see his waist. Then place your hands on his back, thumbs along the spine, with the fingers spread downward. You should be able to feel but not see his ribs without having to press hard. If you can't, he needs less food and more exercise.
For the puppy you should choose a good-quality food. Check the nutritional information on the package. It should contain 22 to 24 percent protein and 12 to 15 percent fat.
Bernese Mountain Dog Coat Color and Grooming
The Berner has a gorgeous, thick double coat with a longer outer coat and a woolly undercoat. This coat is comprises of three colors: the majority of the Berner's body is covered with jet-black hair with rich rust and bright white. There's usually a white marking on his chest that looks like an inverted cross, a white blaze between the eyes, and white on the tip of his tail.
But remember that beauty often has a price. In this case it is the amount of hair that your Berner will shed throughout the year. For most of the year he will shed moderately. In the spring and fall he will shed quite heavily.
To help control the amount of shedding your Berner should be brushed several times a week to keep the coat clean and tangle-free. Also giving him periodic baths, every three months or so, will help to maintain his neat appearance.
You should also brush your Berner's teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.
And don't forget about his nails. You should trim his nails once a month if your dog doesn't wear them down naturally to prevent painful tears and other problems. A good rule-of-thumb here is that if you can hear his nails clicking on the floor then they are too long. Just be careful while trimming his nails as they have blood vessels in them. If you cut them too far you can cause bleeding and the pain will cause your dog not to cooperate the next time. If trimming his nails scares you, you should consult a veterinarian or a professional groomer to do them.
The ears should be checked weekly for redness or a bad odor, which can indicate an infection. When you check your dog's ears, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to help prevent infections. Don't insert anything into the ear canal; just clean the outer ear.
All dogs should be accustomed to grooming when they are young puppies. Handle his paws frequently as dogs are touchy about their feet. And don't forget to look inside his mouth. Just make sure that you make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards. This will lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he's an adult.
Don't forget that while you are grooming you should be checking for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. The eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge.
The purpose of your careful weekly exam will help you to spot potential health problems early.
Children and Other Pets
The Bernese Mountain Dog is the perfect family dog that is quite gentle and affectionate with children who are kind to them. He also gets along quite well with other animals. However, being a large dog he can inadvertently bump and knock down very young and small children.
Children should be taught how to approach and touch dogs. And you should always supervise all interactions between dogs and young children to prevent biting or ear and tail pulling by either party.
Children should be taught to never approach any dog while it is eating or sleeping. They should also be taught to never try to take a dog's food away. Just remember that no matter how friendly a dog is, it should never be left unsupervised with a child.
As for other pets, the Bernese Mountain Dog will get along with them quite well. As long as you provide the proper training for your dog on how to behave with other animals, there should be no problems.
Bernese Mountain Dog Rescue Groups
Berners are often purchased without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one. There are many Berners in need of adoption and or fostering. There are a number of rescues that we have not listed. If you don't see a rescue listed for your area, contact the national breed club or a local breed club and they can point you toward a Berners rescue.
Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Organizations
Below are breed clubs, organizations, and associations where you can find additional information about the Bernese Mountain Dog.
Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy Pics
Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy Pics