There are few dogs belonging to large breeds, which are distinguished by their soft, affectionate disposition, docile, good-natured characters. The list of such unique dogs includes the Swiss breed “Bernese Mountain Dog”. This is one of the best companion dogs. Representatives of the breed always strive to communicate with people, they are fluffy and friendly. Bern has a whole bunch of advantages, it is not difficult to maintain it, therefore the Bernese Mountain Dog is very popular.
The Bernese mountain dog is currently a very popular dog because it is an excellent family dog which also performs very well certain tasks such as search and rescue and assistance in therapies for adults and children. It is undoubtedly an excellent dog in many ways.
In addition to being a very calm dog, the Bernese mountain dog has a very docile and sociable character and is also very intelligent. If you are thinking of adopting a Berner dog, know that it is a large dog but also with a big heart. Of course, it is not advisable to adopt a dog of this breed if you are an active or busy family away from home, since it needs large doses of physical activity.
To keep you informed of its care, its characteristics and its character, we recommend that you consult this breed file that we present to you at Pets Feed in order to have all the necessary information about the Bernese mountain dog:
Beautiful, large, tricolored dogs in ancient times were very popular among farmers. Poor people who did not have the means to buy horses especially appreciated dogs; people used dogs to transport goods. The breed was called Bernese Mountain Dog, these mountain dogs appeared in the first century AD in the green valleys of the Swiss Alps. Brought them specifically for farm work. The rise in popularity, changes in usage and appearance can be traced back to dates:
The beginning of the fifteenth century – the breed is on the verge of extinction.
1489 – a decree was issued according to which all large breed dogs belonging to farmers should be destroyed. The reason for this decree is that dogs destroy the vineyards of rich winemakers.
1862 – a simple inn owner started breeding Bernese Mountain Dogs.
1892 – the founder of Bernese show dogs began purposeful breeding of purebred Mountain Dogs.
1904 – the breed began to be recognized, before that the Bernese Mountain Dogs were called simple large mongrels belonging to poor peasants.
1907 – The first Swiss club of the Bernese Mountain Dog is founded. Representatives of the breed have taken a strong position among companion dogs.
1910 – the Bernese Mountain Dog was called “Dürbachler”.
1949 – Newfoundland appeared on the list of breeds whose blood flows in the Mountain Dog.
It turned out not planned, just Newfoundland entered the nursery without permission and left behind offspring. The bitch Bern gave birth to puppies with beautiful black long hair, with white markings and fawn inserts.
Among the ancestors of the Bernese Mountain Dog are Roman Molossian dogs, Tibetan Mastiff, , later joined by the Newfoundlands.
The first people to appreciate the benefits of the Berns were Swiss peasants and shepherds. For them, hardworking and loyal dogs were irreplaceable helpers. In our time, the tricolor breed has gained popularity in all European and not only countries. Canadian and American dog lovers have also appreciated the beauty and working qualities of the Swiss dogs.
Modern Bernese Mountain Dog are still used by farmers in parts of Switzerland. In addition, they have established themselves as mine rescuers, companions, film actors and just loyal friends.
Physical characteristics of the Bernese mountain dog
Because of its tricolor fur, its long hairs and its size above the average, the Bernese Mountain Dog is simply a beauty. Its head is large but it has an excellent proportion with the rest of the body. Naso-frontal depression (arrest) is notorious but not very marked. The nose is black. The eyes are brown and almond shaped. The ears are of medium, high, triangular insertion and with a somewhat rounded end.
The body of the Bernese Mountain Dog is slightly longer than it is tall. The upper line gently descends from the neck to the cross, then becomes horizontal to the rump. The chest is wide, deep and long. The belly rises slightly. The tail is long and hangs when the dog is at rest. When the dog is in action, it brings the tail back or slightly above.
The coat is one of the most notorious characteristics of the breed of the Berner Dog. It is long, shiny and straight or slightly wavy. The base color is jet black and has reddish brown markings and white spots in a particular distribution. The Bernese Mountain Dog has a height at the cross between 64 and 70 cm and a weight of about 50 kg.
Temperament and personality traits of the Bernese mountain dog
Gentle, affectionate, and loving, these dogs are a perfect addition to families. They can even be included during family outings and activities. That is why it is important that these dogs are trained early. So that you can mould their personality as calm and tolerant whether in the house or with people.
Because of the eventual size of the breed, a Bernese needs both obedience and household manners taught at a young age. As a breed, however, they are slow to mature both physically and mentally and should not be pushed into training too rapidly. Although they are large, they are “soft” dogs and do not do well with harsh correction.
The Bernese mountain dog is a devoted friend who will enjoy accompanying the family everywhere. They thrive on human companionship and will be most happy if allowed to be a house dog. Proper socialization will help ensure that the Bernese is patient with other dogs and with children. As with any breed, however, the level of patience varies with the particular dog. The Bernese is a good watchdog and requires moderate exercise. They make great walking partners!
Note! The Bernese Mountain Dog is a great dog for families with small children. A brave, intelligent and loyal friend will gladly substitute his mighty back for a child who is just learning to walk.
Bernese Mountain Dogs live on average 7-10 years. Unfortunately, this breed does not differ in good health and longevity. In order for the dog to live the maximum period, the owner must very closely monitor his health, carry out preventive examinations in a veterinary clinic, get vaccinated on time, treat it against external and internal parasites. It is also worth familiarizing yourself with the list of diseases to which the representatives of the breed are predisposed:
- Bloating, volvulus – if you do not take action in time, the animal can die in a matter of hours.
- Dysplasia of the joints – accompanied by intolerable pain, lameness, immobility may occur at the last stage of the disease.
- Eye diseases – cataract, eyelid volvulus, retinal atrophy, eyelid inversion, conjunctivitis.
- Heatstroke – happens when an animal is exposed to too high an ambient temperature.
- Weakened color alopecia is a disease that leads to hair loss.
- Oncological diseases – malignant hysteocytosis is most often observed.
- Autoimmune diseases.
- Kidney disease.
- Weeping eczema – occurs as a result of improper care of the dog, after stressful situations and after insect bites, ticks are especially dangerous in this regard.
It is important that the pet has the opportunity to be outdoors every day. Bernese Mountain Dog is contraindicated for a long time in hot rooms and outdoors in hot weather in direct sunlight. In summer it is recommended to walk it in the morning or evening. Being closed in the aviary, the dog should be able to hide from the sun in the shade.
The Bernese Mountain Dog can live both in an apartment and in an aviary. But, based on the fact that this dog is large, long-haired and does not tolerate heat, it will be more comfortable for his to live in a spacious aviary with a large warm booth. The coat is so thick that it is able to protect the berns from frost.
Bernese Mountain Dogs do not need much physical activity. It will be enough to walk your pet at a slow pace every day or take light jogging. If the bern is kept in an aviary, it must be released from time to time to run around the yard. In the apartment, so that the dog does not get bored, provide him with toys and take part in the games yourself.
In caring for a Bernese Mountain Dog, the most difficult thing is maintaining the coat in perfect condition, otherwise you need to follow the usual hygiene procedures:
- One of the disadvantages of the Bernese Mountain Dog is a continuous, abundant, year-round molt. But this disadvantage can be fought. In spring and autumn, when moulting intensifies, it is necessary to comb out the bern daily, the rest of the time, combing is carried out 2-3 times a week. If this is not done, there will be scraps of dog hair all over the yard or throughout the apartment, and ugly mats will form on the dog itself, it is very difficult to get rid of them.
- It is recommended to bathe the Bernese Mountain Dog once every 3-4 months or as needed, in cases where the dog is too dirty.
- Once a week, check the ears for signs of infection, you also need to wipe the ears with a special solution designed for this procedure.
- Teeth cleaning is carried out every 6-8 days.
- Cut off the claws as necessary, this procedure will have to be done quite rarely, since an active, mobile dog grinds them on the road surface on its own.
- Wipe eyes with damp wipes, make sure that there are no excessive secretions, inflammation.
Important! Given the luxurious, thick coat, dogs are prone to overheating. Protect your Bernese Mountain Dog from this.
Food should be balanced, buy high-quality food, of the highest grade. Smoked meats, fatty foods, potatoes, legumes are excluded from the diet. Water should be constantly available to the dog, especially in the spring and summer.
Both a puppy and an adult Bernese Mountain Dog need a complete, balanced diet. Feeding is the key to the health and longevity of your pet.
Vitamins of various groups are of particular importance for the representatives of the breed. Based on the foregoing, protein foods should be present in the diet of a month-old baby.
Do not exceed their content in food above 18 – 26%, since inactive dogs are prone to obesity. You can also add dry food in moderation.
Be sure to add cottage cheese, eggs, milk and fish to the diet. Porridge should take no more than 1/3 of the food received. From five months, vegetables and fruits are added to food.
In order for the Bernese Mountain Dog nutrition to be the most complete, the so-called meat mix should be prepared – mixed rumen, diaphragm, kaltyk, heart, udder, liver, chicken legs and stomachs (the latter play an important role in digestion).
As for the diet, you must adhere to the following schedule:
- 1-2 months – 5-6 times a day
- 2-4 months – 4-5
- 4-6 months – 3-4
- 7-12 months – 2-3
- From 1 year old – 2 meals a day
In the first days of the Bernese Mountain puppy stay in your home, you should not drastically change his diet, followed by the previous owners. This will avoid possible stomach upset.
Important! Food should be placed on a rack. This way, you avoid curving the puppy’s immature ridge.
Training and education
The Bernese Mountain Dog always tries to please its owner. But, despite such obedience, it is quite difficult to train him, the dog does not remember commands well, therefore the process of training and education, as a rule, is delayed.
The owner must show patience, confidence and calmness during the training course. The Bernese Mountain Dog will not tolerate aggression and rudeness, the answer to a strong onslaught from the trainer may be a complete refusal to execute commands. It is important for each successfully completed task to encourage the pet with a kind word, stroking and a treat.
The Bernese Mountain puppy can master the simplest commands with his master at home. Then you need to take a training course with a bern. Such training is recommended to be carried out on a special site under the guidance of an experienced dog handler, who will help to defeat the inborn stubbornness of the Mountain Dog.
Important! Both a male dog and a female Bernese Mountain Dog must be mated up to the age of three, since subsequently a male that is already inactive in this regard can completely lose interest in mating.
Bernese Mountain Dog Breed Highlights
Before you buy a Bernese Mountain puppy, you need to really assess your strength. For example, if you don’t have the opportunity to spend enough time with your dog, the Bernese Mountain Dog is not for you. To be sure if this is your dog or not, check out all the pros and cons of the breed.
- The Bernese Mountain Dog is a wonderful companion and a good pet thanks to its gentle and docile nature.
- It is extremely faithful and patient.
- The Bernese Mountain Dog is a good choice for new dog owners.
- In good hands and in a good environment, the Bernese Mountain Dog is easy to train.
- It is known to be great for kids of all ages.
- Once walked, a Bernese Mountain Dog is happy to relax at home.
- It is never too demanding.
- This dog breed matures slowly and remains very much like a puppy until adulthood.
- The Bernese Mountain Dog has a relatively short life span.
- This dog loses its coat extensively throughout the year and even more in the spring and fall.
- It requires a lot of maintenance on the grooming front.
- It is quite expensive to feed.
- It may suffer from separation anxiety when left alone even after long periods of time.
- The Bernese Mountain Dog only matures when he is between 2 and 3 years old.
- Some Bernese develop health problems that can lead to high veterinary bills.
- Many breeders do not like selling puppies to families with very young children.
Important! For the Bernese Mountain Dog, the main thing is the owner’s company and his attention. It doesn’t matter how energetic your walks are, the main thing is that you are there.
Bernese Mountain Dog Fun Facts
- One of the most important tasks of the Bernese Mountain Dog was to pull the cart filled with dairy products. When other modes of transportation became available in the late 19th century, this breed almost disappeared. Thanks to the efforts of Franz Schertenleib, a big fan of this breed, the Bernese Mountain Dog still exists today.
- The Bernese mountain dog is a very strong dog. It can pull a load 10 times heavier than its own weight.
- The Bernese mountain dog is an intelligent, loyal and affectionate dog who is eager to please. He can be easily trained, but due to his emotional nature, he does not respond well to hard training.
- The Bernese mountain dog is suitable for families with children and other pets. He enjoys being surrounded by family members and participating in all daily activities.
- The Bernese mountain dog does not like to be alone. Chewing on various objects, barking loudly and digging into the ground are typical symptoms of loneliness.
- Bernese mountain dogs should be kept in houses with large backyards, rather in apartments. It requires a long walk and at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise a day.
- The Bernese mountain dog has a thick double layer designed for cold climate zones. Its activities should be limited to morning and evening in warm climate areas to avoid heat stroke.
- The Bernese mountain dog is excellent in competitions which test the capacities of conformation, breeding, follow-up, obedience and cart of the dogs.
- The gestation of the Bernese Mountain Dog lasts 61 days and ends with 1 to 14 puppies (8 on average).
- The Bernese mountain dog has a shorter lifespan than other breeds of dogs due to many health problems resulting from frequent breeding with close relatives (the genetic pool of this breed is small). Its average lifespan is 6 to 8 years.