Bernese mountain dog
Bernese mountain dog is a favorite of shepherds and families. It is energetic and loving companion of children and adults. Its beautiful face and a kind look shorten the interspecies distance.
This beautiful dog’s loving eyes can narrow the gap between a human and an animal.
- Group 2: Pinscher and Schnauzer type-Molossoid breeds- Swiss Mountain and Cattle-Dogs.
- Section 3: Swiss Cattle Dogs.
- Without working trial.
The history of the breed
These old-pedigree dogs have always served as sheepdogs, cattle dogs and herding dogs. They were called Dürrbächler, after a small town Dürrbäch, where they were very popular. At the beginning of the 20th century, many breeders presented the Bernese at the dog shows in the canton of Bern. In 1907, the breeders from Burgdorf founded the first breed’s club – Schweizerische Dürrbach-Klub and the breed standards were set. In 1910, there were already 107 representatives of the breed presented at the show. With time, Bernese gained recognition not only in Switzerland but also in Germany. Nowadays, with its appearance and personality, it is a perfect dog for families.
In general, Bernese is the breed, which is particularly useful in the farms, at the foot of the Swiss Alps in the Swiss Plateau and in the canton of Bern. It serves as a cattle dog, a draft animal and a guarding dog.
Just like other Swiss mountain dogs, it is big and heavy. It has a characteristic tri-colored coat: there is white color on its chest, above the eyes and on the both side of the muzzle. Its limbs are tanned and have some white spots. In the center of its head, there is a snow-white “arrow”, which widens on the nose and divides a head into two halves. It paws and toes are white and look like socks. Its neck and chest are white. The tip of its tail may be white and on its anus there may be a white stain. Its fur is shiny and long and may be straight or wavy.
It moves soundly and in a balanced yet dynamic way. It walks freely and lightly and its hind legs moves faster. Its head is heavy but still proportional to the body. It is also slightly pronounced between the ears. Its eyes are almond-shaped, neither too deep-set nor prominent. It ears are medium-sized, triangular but rounded on the tips, high-set and hanging freely. Its tail reaches a hock point and there is long hair on it. When the dog moves, the tail is placed on a par with its back or even higher.
According to the breed standards, Bernese Mountain Dog should not be aggressive, anxious or shy. It is self-confident and mellow. Moreover, it has a calm attitude towards people and it is obedient. However, not all dogs are the same and their personality differs as well. It is important that all the big dog breeds were well socialized as puppies, therefore it is recommended that the dogs were trained on a regular basis for their whole life.
Even though they are naturally adapted to spend time outside, they feel good in the house. They require a lot of activity and exercises. They can start to run with great speed, considering the large size. If they are healthy (do not have problems with hips, elbows and other joints), willingly walking, but almost always keep close to the owner. They may bark excessively if they are not active enough.
It feels well with children because it is affectionate and patient. Although it is very brisk, it is able to rest for a long while. It is not aggressive towards other animals and strangers.
It shed its hair all year, however the shedding may increase at the beginning of spring and fall. It requires brushing once a week in order to keep the fur healthy and shiny and to avoid leaving the clumps of hair on the floor. The dog may be bathed once in a few months or even rarer, if it is less active and spends less time outside. The dog’s ears are essential place when it comes to the grooming as they become dirty and moist easily what may lead to various infections. It is recommended that the dog’s ears be cleaned once a week with special drops prescribed by the vet.
Cancer is the main cause of death within the breed. According to statistics prepared by English, American and Canadian scientists, cancer contributes to almost half of the cases of death of Bernese mountain dogs while in the other breeds it is around 27% of the cases. The Bernese mountain dogs may suffer from many kinds of tumors including: malignant histiocytosis, mast cell tumor, lymphosarcoma, fibrosarcoma and osteosarcoma.
Bernese mountain dogs’ deaths result very often from musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis, hip dysplasia and cruciate ligament rupture. Those diseases cause 6% of deaths within the breed while in the other breeds it is less than 2%.
Bernese is also prone to genetic diseases such as progressive retinal atrophy, Addison’s disease (adrenal insufficiency), cataract, or a very aggressive muscle tumor.
Detailed information / size
Bernese Mountain Dog
- Height at shoulders: males: 64 to 70 cm (25 to 27,6 in), females: 58 to 66 cm (23 to 26 in).
- Weight: males: 39 to 50 kg (86 to 110 lb), females 36 to 48 kg (79 to 106 lb).
- Life span: 10 to 12 years, however they usually live from 6 to 8 years. The oldest representative of the bred died at the age of 15 years.
Bernese Mountain Dog – curiosities
- Bernese mountain dog is one of the four Sennenhund breeds from theSwiss Alps
- The name Sonnenhund comes from German Senne (“alpine pasture”) and Hund (“dog”). This is because they usually accompanied alpine shepherds.
- The puppies have often a declaw removed.
- A four-year old dog called Dylan suffering from lymphoma, underwent – as one of the first dogs – chemotherapy in Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, which ended with success.
- The potential owners of Bernese dog should bear in mind that they may have to take care of a large, disabled dog as it may have problems with walking from the early age. However, it is quite easy nowadays to get a wheelchair for a dog. Moreover, a comfortable place to sleep may ease the joint pain.