The Bernese Mountain Dog, as we know him today originated in Switzerland in the Canton of Bern. This Swiss farm dog was the farmer’s companion, guarded both the farm and the animals, helped with driving and herding cattle up to the mountain pastures in the summer and back down to be housed in the barns in the winter. The berners also pulled small wagons laden with e.g. milk, meat, straw or goods for sale for the farmer, butcher and peddlers. The Bernese is a capable and versatile dog.
The Bernese Mountain Dog is above medium size, strong, a sturdy working dog, active, alert, well bones, yet agile, well balanced, of striking colour – black, white and reddish brown. Slow to mature physically. Females are distinctly feminine and males, masculine.
Grooming and Physical Needs
- Grooming Needs: To keep the coat maintained they require a good brush once a week.
- Coat Type: The weather-resistant coat is moderately long, thick and slightly wavy or straight.
- Moulting: Bernese have a big drop in coat once a year for males and twice a year for females. Neutered Bernese, once a year. A small amount daily.
- Exercise Needs: While all dogs need exercise a Bernese is happy to do as little and as much as you want to. It is recommended to go for a walk every day to help with socialization, prevent boredom and provide exercise. Every Berner’s activity level is different.
- Average Life Span: 7-10 years.
- Family: Anyone who is happy to include their Bernese as a loved family member. Bernese prefer to live and spend time with their human family.
- Temperament: Their temperament is very stable, being very affectionate and patient. They may be reserved with strangers initially, but are a great and loyal family dog. They take an interest in all that is going on.
- Trainability: Basic training is a necessity for large breeds. Many Bernese achieve highly in obedience.
- Sociability (Other Pets): Bernese generally get along with other pets.
- Barking: Low tendency but will announce a stranger at the door, so they make good watchdogs.
Known to be multi-talented, the Bernese Mountain Dog participates in a wide variety of activities such as carting, guarding, herding, and search and rescue.
The Bernese Mountain Dog is prone to bloat, cancer and eyelid problems, hip and elbow dysplasia. Gains weight easily. Do not overfeed. Prone to mast cell tumors.