Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog

The only Swiss Mountain Dog with long hairs is none other than the Bernese Mountain Dog. This is a working dog who was initially used to pull cards, herding, and as a watchdog. The breed has its roots in Switzerland and is also known as Berner Sennenhund, Bernese Cattle Dog, and Berner.

History

The Berner is among the four Swiss Sennenhund breeds which were created as a cross between Mastiff dogs and Swiss Alps. Both of these dogs were brought by the Romans when they invaded the Alps. Since then, this breed is used by the farmers for herding and pulling carts.

It was 1899 when this breed got the attention of other people which resulted in the foundation of the Berna club. However, the first breed standard was written in 1907 by the breeders from Burgdorf.

America got to know about this breed after the First World War. The breed was exported to Holland and then to the United States of America. However, in 1937, the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club, and its standards were written.

Size

This dog breed has been categorized in the large breed dogs as the male Bernese Mountain Dog has a height of sixty-five to seventy-one inches whereas a female of the same race will have a height of approximately fifty-six to sixty-six inches. The weight of an adult male Berner is around fifty to fifty-five kilograms, and the female will weight to forty to fifty kilograms.

Personality and Temperament

A Bernese Mountain Dog is a playful dog who loves attention and lots of exercises. They are highly intelligent, but cannot be used as a guardian dog. This dog breeds physically grows a lot faster than mentally. It takes some time to know that it is entirely grown up and should not jump on every second person he sees. With that thing in mind, it is necessary to train this breed in early stages.

Most of the Berners are not at all aggressive; rather they love to play with humans. However, some of them might become aggressive in their old age. It is not normal for a young dog of this breed to become aggressive. When it comes to befriending with strangers, then you will not have to shed a sweat. They are always open to new human friendships, but make sure that the master is around them.

The same thing goes for other pets as well. You will not face any problem in introducing this dog to other dogs of the same or different breed or gender. However, you need to make sure that both of the pets are getting along or not. It is advised that they should not be kept with small dog breeds. As mentioned above, they are puppies from their mind till they turn at least three. At this age, they will have a huge size which can easily damage any small dog breed. Though they will never have intentions to cause harm to their friends, they can certainly cause injury to dog smaller to their size.

A Berner will love to play with kids, and kids like to play with a Berner as well. However, this dog breed can chase, and lightly bite while playing which can horrify small children. This can make them frightened about the dog, and this could live until their lifetime. It is best that you adopt this breed only when you have big children at home. This will not only avoid any injury to the children but will also help you in providing extra play time to your dog.

Most of the dogs chew when they are bored including this breed as well. Small dog breeds have weak jaws which will not cause much damage to the things which is not the case with this race. Anything comes into contact with their jaw will not survive. Make sure to train your dog about its chewing habits and provide your dog with some of the chewable toys so that it can kill its time on its own.

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Health

The bad thing about this breed is that they have a very short lifespan of only eight years. Similar to other dog breeds, this dog breed is also known to catch some of the genetic and breed specific diseases. The most fatal and the most common illness for a Bernese Mountain Dog is cancer. The main reason behind the early demise of a Berner is cancer. There are different types of cancers, but sadly, this breed is most vulnerable to this disease. Though cancer does not show early symptoms, some of the signs of cancer are an unusual bump on the skin, breathing difficulty, and excessive bleeding. The treatment of this disease is available but is very expensive.

Apart from that, they are also known to have bone diseases like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. Both of these conditions are extremely painful for the dog. It could also develop into arthritis and is passed on to their children as well. To avoid this disease, you should always adopt the dog from a reputed breeder who can provide you with the health certificate of both the parents of the puppy.

Another deadly disorder found in most of the large dog breeds is gastric torsion which is also known as bloating. The reason behind bloating is lack of food, excessive liquid intake after the meal, eating too fast, exercising after feeding or giving a single meal in the complete day. It can easily be identified by looking at the stomach of the dog. In most of the cases, the belly of the dog will seem too stuffed as it is filled with gas. The disease may not sound dangerous, but it has taken lives of many dogs. This situation needs immediate medical attention or else the dog can die.

Progressive retinal atrophy is an eye disease which can cause blindness to the dog. Though the condition takes a lot of time to show the symptoms of blindness, it can be identified with the regular medical checkups.

Von Willebrand’s disease is a disease which is found in both humans and dogs. In this disease, the blood clots into the body causing nose bleeding, blood in stool, and gum bleeding. Till now, this illness is not curable, but the treatment can cut short the bleeding.

Sometimes the liver is not able to purify blood which is known as a portosystemic shunt. This disease is also common in this breed and may show signs including low blood sugar, loss in diet, and gastrointestinal issues.

Pano or Panosteitis is not a deadly disease but can leave the master of a Bernese Mountain Dog worried. In this illness, the dog starts to walk lamely. You do not have to worry about this disease as it is not life-threatening and will not degrade the life of the dog. Though it may cause some pain to the dog, the best thing you can do is to give your dog rest after giving it a good quality meal.

Care

Taking proper care of a dog is the responsibility of every dog owner. Much like other large dog breeds, this breed is not suited for a small apartment. They love to run around in the home or their lawn. It provides them with some of the exercise and a way to kill their time. With that thing in mind, it is best that they should only be adopted by the owner with a lawn with a fence of at least five feet. They love to make new friends, and you surely do not want your dog to wander on its own.

Their huge size means that they have a lot of energy to play. You need to play with this breed at least thirty minutes a day. Apart from that, you need to give this breed long walk in your neighbor so that it can burn the calorie intake and stay fit.

The growth years of a Bernese Mountain Dog is the most crucial time. During this phase, you should never rush to its exercise and force it to pull heavy loads. Much like other large dog breeds, they also grow up too fast which is why they are vulnerable to joint diseases. Make sure that you are providing enough calcium and proteins during this age. It is best that you wait at least two years before giving it any harsh tasks. Moreover, while going for a walk, you need to make sure to avoid hard surfaces.

They have a dense coat which is made of Swiss mountains. They love to be in cold weather where they can play infinitely with snow. However, their thick black coat is not suited for hot climates. You need to make sure that you never adopt this pet in hot areas. In addition to that, this breed is known to get heat strokes. It is best that you avoid long walks, and play sessions in sunlight or hot temperature.  If the dog is resisting going in the hot temperature, then avoid going for a walk. Instead, you can provide your dog with a play session in your backyard. When it is inside the home, you need to make sure that you keep it at a cool temperature.

Other things like ear cleaning, tooth brushing, and nail clipping are the same for all the large breeds. If you think that you are not able to do these by yourself, then you should ask a professional to perform this. You can also ask them about the techniques involved so that you can do it yourself.

Feeding

Most of the people make a mistake of leaving the food all the time. This will provide your dog with as much food as they like and end up leaving them obese. Obesity is common among puppies rather than adults as people make a habit of freestyle feeding. Make sure that you never develop this habit as obesity increases the chances of weakening the heart.

Some of the Bernese Mountain Dogs are fussy eaters, so you need to keep that thing in mind and provide dry food to them. Without a doubt, dogs prefer wet food over dry food, but dry food will decrease the chances of infection.

The things that you should avoid giving to your dog are necessary for other large dogs. Those items include avocado, chocolate, onion, grapes, citrus fruits, alcohol, and raisins.

Coat

The Berner has a thick double coat which comes in black tricolor. The coat has a white color in the chest, some parts have rusty color, while most of the body has a black color. The inner coat is wooly while the outer coat has longer hairs which look appealing.

Without a doubt, the coat of the Bernese Mountain Dog enhances its appearance, but it is difficult to maintain as well. The primary problem you will face with this dog is shedding. This dog sheds for almost the complete year, and the shedding is known to increase in the fall and spring seasons. You should be prepared with your brush for brushing its coat almost every day.

Regular bathing will take away all the dirt, and will keep the coat shiny. In addition to that, it will also help in distributing the natural oils. Due to its large size, bathing your dog will take some time, but you do not have to worry about it. Frequent bathing is not necessary as you are already picking out the dirt via brushing. Trimming the long hair is also necessary, but not the entire coat. The places where you should cut the hairs are near the ears, around the foot, and between the foot pads.

Conclusion

A Bernese Mountain Dog is a gorgeous dog who has a large size and love to make new friends. While training a dog of this breed, you need to be careful as some of them could be dominant. Make sure to use some treats, and combine it with polite behavior for comfortable training.