THE BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG

Bernese Mountain dog

When we talk of the Swiss, we can’t help but think of the finest things the world has to offer. Of Swiss origin, the Bernese Mountain dog is no different. Handsomely built, these dogs are noticed everywhere they go. Their beautiful, multi colored coats have graced many famous films and add to their proud demeanor.

Brief History

Bernese Mountain dogs, also known as Berner Sennehund is one of the many dog breeds that trace their origins to the mountainous regions of Bern, Switzerland. Sennehund literally means “the herdsman’s dog”, which explains much of what this dog was used for. They were used as companion dogs to herdsmen and shepherds often seen pulling milk carts to the market, driving cows to and from the mountain pastures and guarding their keepers’ homesteads. The biological roots of this breed can be traced back to the breeding of a large mastiff dog and a small cattle farm dog. By the end of the 19th century, this breed almost became extinct when their usefulness was actively replaced by roads and machines.

Thanks to a specialty breed club formed in Switzerland in 1907, the breed was saved, giving it a new life as show dogs. In 1937, the ACK recognized the breed. In the 1970’s, the CKC followed suit. Today’s Bernese breed is lovable and fun to be around, they crave human companionship and are instinctively gentle with little children as well as little animals.

Physical Features

Bernese Mountain Dogs have a generally sporty build, which explains why they were a choice dog to compete in shows. Bernese dogs love the cool weather, and their thick silky tricolored coats keep them warm during the rough winter months. Their coat colors are: rust, clear white and jet black. On its coat and face, you are bound to see distinctive markings which are the breed’s hallmark.

Average Height:

23-28 inches

Average Weight:

70-115 pounds

Life Expectancy:

7-10 years

Temperament

Bernies are extremely friendly with people they know, but may be wary of strangers. Small animals, women and children are never a threat to them, however they are always wary when dealing with men.

Special Needs

Bernese Mountain Dogs have a wide range of personality types, due to their mixed-breed heritage. It is best to get to know your particular dog over time with lots of attention, patience and love.

Possible Health Concerns

Despite their sturdy appearance, Bernese Mountain dogs are a breed with many health problems. Their active breeding has left them more susceptible to hereditary diseases, which keep their average life expectancies low. Hereditary cancers are a major concern while other diseases are: orthopedic diseases, elbow dysplasia, bloat or gastrointestinal syndrome, blood clotting disease, heart disease, hip and elbow dysplasia and eye diseases.

the Bernese Mountain dog breed

Exercise

Bernese dogs are not an exercise-oriented breed, despite their stature. As a matter of fact, they’re known to detest long periods of activity. Due to the importance of exercise, you’ll need to devise a strategic plan that keeps them active. Having outdoor space where they can casually roam, or other pet friends to play with are good ways to encourage this to happen.

Nutrition

Bernese dogs require high quality dog food. It may be commercially prepared or home prepared under the supervision of your vet. Always provide your Bernese with clean water at all times.

the Bernese Mountain dog

Grooming

Due to their thick coats, Bernese dogs don’t do well in the hot weather. Brushing should occur several times a week to prevent shedding and hair matting. Bathing may take place as needed.

However, cleaning the face, ears and any area with folds should occur daily. You may choose to groom your dog further by taking it to a vet for hair and nail trimming.

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a beautiful, loving breed that commands attention everywhere they go. If you’re looking for a gentle companion to a house with children, Bernies are the way to go!

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