Bernese Mountain Dog Named for the Canton of Bern, the BMD was developed as a working dog with origins in the farm areas of Switzerland. Historically, Berners were used as general purpose farm dogs; their large, hardy frames and their calm-natured, people-oriented temperaments made them ideal for driving cattle, pulling carts to market, watching the farm and being farmers’ companions.
Bernese are a highly versatile breed. Bernese Mountain Dogs and their human companions enjoy competing in conformation, obedience, agility, tracking, herding and carting. Bernese Mountain Dog also make wonderful therapy dogs, bringing cheer to others. Individual dogs will be serviceable for these various activities depending on their aptitude, structure, temperament and character. Not every Bernese Mountain Dog will perform well in every event.
|Berners Mountain Dog Puppies|
As with most purebreds, Bernese are affected by a variety of genetic diseases and other health issues. These include cancer, hip and elbow dysplasia, other orthopedic problems, eye diseases, cardiac disease, allergies, hypothyroidism, autoimmune diseases, von Willebrand’s Disease (a blood clotting disorder), bloat and more. It is important to work with a breeder who is knowledgeable about the health risks in his or her line of dogs, and will share this knowledge with you so you can decide what risks are acceptable to you.
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large, striking, tri-colored, long-haired dog. They are sturdy dogs. Measured at the withers, dogs are 25 to 27 ½ inches; bitches are 23 to 26 inches. In terms of weight, dogs and bitches generally range from 80-120 and 70-100 pounds, respectively but be aware that even though this is a wide range some Bernese still fall outside it.
|Berners Mountain Dog|
The breed should be dry mouthed, but not all Berners Mountain Dog are. It seems that pendulous lips tend toward sloppier mouths and drooling. Look at the parents as well as the puppies to get an idea whether the pup you are considering has close-fitting or loose, floppy lips.
The true answer to that question is it depends on availability, demand and how discriminating a buyer you are. Waiting for a puppy from a conscientious breeder whose bloodlines are particularly appealing to you might take many months and even a year or more. Be patient. A quality puppy is worth the wait. Red flags: Buyer beware! No matter how caring they may seem while making the sale, some sellers attempt to use Bernese Mountain Dogs as moneymaking machines. Buy from a conscientious breeder. Do your homework. Ask good questions and require that you be provided with a copy of the multi-generation pedigree, health certifications and written contract before you buy the puppy. Talk to others who have purchased puppies from the seller. Make sure the seller is committed to the welfare of his/her own dogs and the breed.
For allergy-prone people, this may not be the ideal breed. For those keeping a meticulous house, daily sweeping or vacuuming may be necessary during much of the year. And yes, you may find hair in your food! Bernese generally like to please their people if they respect them. Some dogs are challenging and it takes more work to develop their desire to please. Bernese are smart enough to manipulate their owners. Generally, most Bernese Mountain Dog are very sensitive, impressionable dogs. Some may be “soft”. Bad or scary experiences are hard to overcome and are best anticipated and avoided. Only positive training techniques should be used. These dogs have lots of heart, and their owners need to understand their dogs’ unique, psychological make-up.
With the training essential for ownership of a large working breed, adult Berners Mountain Dog are generally gentle, easygoing and tolerant. They are not prone to excessive barking unless left unattended for too long. They do not do well when isolated from people or activity. This breed can be slow to mature, and young dogs can be very active compared to the trained, often mellow adult. While Berners should not be shy, this tendency does run in the breed. Due to temperament concerns it is very important to expose Bernese to a wide variety of people, places and other animals, especially in their first year of life.
This depends on the individuals involved the child, the dog, and perhaps most importantly, the parents. The Bernese is NOT a “no-brainer” choice of breed for a family with small children. Many Berner puppies go through a “mouthy” stage that can be unwittingly encouraged by young children. Many Berners’ bodies grow faster than their “brains,” which can be a challenge to the inexperienced dog owner.
Most Bernese Mountain Dog puppies will be able to adjust to the other members of their new families – human, canine, feline and other pets. The greater the size difference, the more supervision and training may be required. Also, much depends on the individuals involved. Some Berners are more nurturing, while others may have a stronger prey drive. The majority are somewhere in the middle and will respond to guidance in regard to their interactions with other family members.
the average lifespan of the Bernese Mountain Dog is less than 8 years. Some live beyond ten years and some live only a short time. Why? The most common cause of premature (prior to 7 years) death is cancer. Selective breeding for physical and character traits unique to the BMD over the past hundred years may have contributed inadvertently to the breed’s genetic predisposition to develop health problems. To reverse this trend, it is critical that breeders now collect health information on whole families of dogs, share that information through our open databases, and use that information to make wise breeding decisions to improve health and longevity.