Bernese Mountain Dog, the former farm dog from the Bernese Oberland is known by many names and is today a beloved family dog worldwide. The dogs are very loving towards their owners, which is heartwarming – although they love snow and cold outside in nature.
Characteristics of the Bernese Mountain Dog
Its good-natured and friendly nature has made the Bernese mountain dog a beloved farm dog worldwide. As a family dog, he faithfully supports his owner throughout his life. He is very loyal and affectionate. Because he is not easily discouraged, he reacts extremely resigned to things that happen in his environment. Aggressive behavior is not in the vocabulary of this human friend.
Despite its innate guarding instinct, there is no need to fear attacks from a Bernese mountain dog – some representatives of this breed may even greet a burglar with their tail wagging. He is very popular as a family dog and can be kept well with small children. Screaming or frolicking children do not unbalance the gentle giant. He just enjoys playing and the affectionate petting of children. In males, minor disputes with same-sex dogs can occur if they feel oppressed in their own territory.
Also, Read our Article About Beauceron Puppy
It is also said that Bernese mountain dogs have a certain stubbornness in certain areas. For example, they ignore commands that make no sense in the dog’s eyes. The Bernese Mountain Dog has great self-awareness and a good portion of intelligence, causing him to question several commands. With lots of love and a few rewards, the temperamental pup can easily be raised into a family dog who can be motivated for a variety of tasks. The dogs can be trained as draft dogs, rescue dogs, track searches and therapy dogs.
The balanced dogs with endurance are very suitable for this. After successful basic education and socialization, Bernese Mountain Dogs often enjoy more privileges than other purebred dogs because of their calm and friendly disposition. You can take them anywhere without any problem and they are also allowed to run loose as they do not tend to chase or run away. The balanced dogs with endurance are very suitable for this.
back to menu ↑
Not only his character but also his attractive appearance make the Bernese mountain dog a welcome guest. The characteristic of the dog is it’s tricolored. The fur is mainly black on the body, neck, head, and tail. The symmetrical white blaze starts at the forehead and widens towards the muzzle where it reaches maximum to the lip corner. Also notable are the white chest, white legs, and white tail tip. The brown-red spots on the cheeks, lips, and sides of the white chest hair set beautiful accents and complete the attractive tricolor.
Characteristic for the Bernese mountain dog is the brown-red spots above the eyes. Unlike the other three representatives of the Swiss Mountain Dogs, such as Appenzeller, Great Swiss, and Entlebucher Sennehund, Bernese Mountain Dog’s coat is the only one with long hair. It is usually sleek and smooth and should only be slightly wavy. The luscious coat is soft and shiny and reliably protects the farmer’s dog from cold and snow. Heat, on the other hand, does not tolerate the hairy pedigree dog well. In summer, the heat-sensitive four-legged friends should retreat to shady roosts and avoid strenuous exercise in the midday sun.
With a height of 64 to 70 cm in males and 58 to 66 in females, the Bernese mountain dog is undoubtedly one of the large dog breeds. Unfortunately, as a family dog, they often tend to be overweight because they don’t get enough exercise or the wrong diet. As with us humans, being overweight often leads to joint problems and other diseases in dogs. The weight of a healthy slender Bernese mountain dog should not exceed 55 kg in males, and not above 45 kg in slightly smaller females.
Also Read our Article About Belgian Shepherd (Malinois)back to menu ↑
A massive body, without being obese, and powerful and muscular – this appearance describes the ancestors of the Bernese mountain dog originally kept as a farm dog in the Swiss area of Bern. They were used both to pull the wagon and to keep livestock. It is unclear from which dogs the tricolor farm dog descends. It is believed that Molossers and Mastiffs are among their ancestors who were brought to the Alpine region with the Romans.
The story of the Bernese Mountain Dog is only better told from the beginning of the 20th century, where it is closely associated with the town of Dürrbach and the local tavern Dürrbach. In the garden of the inn, which served as a meeting place for villagers, travelers and merchants, the large tricolor dogs were kept. The former name “Dürrbächler” is also due to this region in the canton of Bern, where the pedigree dog was widely used in the beginning. At the suggestion of a waiter, the dogs were first exhibited at a dog show in 1902.
Interest in the attractive dogs, previously known only to a few people from the Swiss region, rose rapidly with this and subsequent exhibitions. In 1907 the “Swiss Dürrbach Club” was finally founded, who started with the pure breeding of the breed. The proposal to change the “Dürrbächler” to “Bernese Mountain Dog” comes from the Swiss geologist and cynologist Prof. dr. med. Albert Heim, who worked on creating the first breed standard. The reason for the name change was probably that the new name was not only catchier, but also underlined its relationship with the Swiss mountain dogs. Because of the good physical and social characteristics and its beautiful appearance, the Bernese mountain dog is quickly very popular outside the national borders.
The reason for the name change was probably that the new name was not only catchier but also underlined its relationship with the Swiss mountain dogs. Because of the good physical and social characteristics and its beautiful appearance, the Bernese mountain dog is quickly very popular outside the national borders.
back to menu ↑
Breeding and health
In the beginning, the dog was bred as a farm dog and utility dog that, in addition to guarding the yard, had to herd the animals together. Important traits were a will to work, alertness, strength, and robust health. When industrialization made utility dogs out of work, many saw the good-natured and well-balanced dog like a perfect family dog. The breeders are now focusing more on benign social traits and breeding for the first time from the point of view of beauty. Essential weaknesses and hereditary damage occur due to the uncontrolled spread of dubious hobby breeders who wanted to make money selling attractive family dogs.
Fortunately, enthusiasts of the original type put an end to that. Aspects such as health and longevity now again determine the choice of breeding. The rules for breeding a Bernese mountain dog are strict. Breeding values are consulted to reduce hereditary diseases and improve the health of the breed.
Attention is not only paid to the parents, but also to the siblings and other relatives. Despite this, the life expectancy of the Bernese Mountain Dog after 7 to 10 years is still low. The most common complaints that purebred dogs have to deal with are joint problems (HD and ED), kidney disease, and cancer ulcers.
To get a healthy puppy that you will enjoy for a long time as a buyer, it is best to contact a serious breeder who puts the health of the animal first and does not just want to make easy money.
A good breeder puts a lot of heart and soul into it – he certainly won’t get rich by breeding dogs. Breeding purebred dogs conscientiously not only takes an immense amount of time, it usually costs more money than what they ultimately earn.
Fortunately, there are many Bernese Mountain Dog enthusiasts who breed this special dog with passion and caution. If you are interested in a puppy, don’t worry: finding a good and serious breeder is not that difficult at all with this breed. They usually breed in a registered club and can be found through this as well. Take your time when choosing a breeder – it is best to visit them several times to get a good impression of the breeding. If the first impression is correct and if you have a good feeling about the terrain, the hygiene and the family connection of the dogs, you can go into further detail. It is important that the breeding dogs are vaccinated and have passed all recommended health screenings.
A good breeder will also not try to sell you a puppy. On the contrary, he will inform you about life with a Bernese mountain dog and try to get an idea under what circumstances his puppy will live with you. If he has the impression that you cannot meet the requirements of a successful coexistence, he will even advise against buying this purebred dog.back to menu ↑
Bernese mountain dog food
Before the puppy can move in with you, you should not alone buy dog supplies, but also think about it. One subject that you should think about in advance is, among other things, the food of the dog. Your breeder will help you with this and provide you with an extensive feeding plan for the first few weeks. You have to feed the food that the breeder gives for a while because it is optimally adapted to the needs of young mountain dogs. Finally, puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs. If you eventually want to adjust the food, you should slowly get the dog used to the new food so that the stomach can get used to the new food.
In order to prevent overweight in your Bernese Mountain Dog and thereby prevent health problems, you should pay attention to a balanced diet that is tailored to the dog in addition to sufficient exercise. The high meat content is most suitable, mixed with vegetables and fruit. You can use this both as a dry and give wet food.
As an alternative to ready-made products, there is also theBARF method, where only raw foods are fed. Proponents of the Barf method especially point to the valuable ingredients that are still present in raw meat and vegetables. These would be lost through cooking.
If you are not sure which diet is right for your Bernese Mountain Dog, it is best to contact your breeder or veterinarian. He or she can have an individual nutrition plan drawn up for you. After all, what a dog needs depends on many factors. Not only does the breed and gender play a role in the right diet, but also how much the dog weighs, how old he is and how active he is.back to menu ↑
Posture and care
In addition to the dog’s diet, you should also think about keeping the four-legged friend in the right way. The large Bernese mountain dog needs a lot of space. A house with a garden or yard is optimal. The freedom-loving dog is certainly not suitable for a small town house. Also, remember that puppies should not climb stairs in the first months of life to protect their unfinished joints. So a flat without an elevator is out of the question. If you live on the ground floor, that can also be beneficial later on if your dog can’t climb stairs because of his age and you can’t carry him because of his adult weight.
The Bernese Mountain Dog needs a lot of exercise and activities. As an owner, you must have the sense and above all time to move with your darling. The Swiss purebred dog loves extended walks with its owner and is also happy with mental challenges. Intelligence toys and training as a draft dog, rescue dog, or track search are suitable for the smart dog. However, Bernese Mountain Dogs are limited in use in dog sports. Too fast sports with abrupt movements such as agility would unnecessarily burden the large dog.
Extensive care is also important for the well-being of your Bernese Mountain Dog. The long smooth coat should be at least two to three times a week rushed to prevent tangling and maintain shine.
It is best to brush every day during the moult. In addition, your four-legged friend’s eyes, ears, tails, paws, skin, and teeth should be checked daily and cleaned if necessary. During these short routine checks, you can also recognize possible changes or ulcers, which could be signs of cancer, in time and have them treated accordingly. The correct posture and comprehensive care of your dog not only make an important contribution to health and well-being but also make a decisive contribution to the long-term enjoyment of you and your Bernese Mountain Dog.