The Bernese Mountain Dog is one of four mountain-dog breeds to come out of Switzerland. The Bernese is credited as the workhorse of all breeds. Not only does a Bernese does a fantastic job by helping with cattle and helping in the farm by driving predators away, but it has earned a rightful fame in saving people who have been injured or stuck. Berners are incredibly strong and muscular and can generate great amounts of power from their hind legs.
In the home, Berners are very calm and perfect family dogs, specially with children whom they consider a smaller member of their pack and should be protected at all times. Also, a Berner will imprint to one human whom will be considered the pack leader. As any animal who is focused on protection, they instinctively want to conserve their energy for when a predator shows up. However, they will not hesitate to join in some fun with the owner at any time! Berners are long-coated, and as mentioned above, originated in the mountains of Switzerland. They thrive in cold weather and love playing in the snow, thus making a Berner, an ideal companion for Pennsylvanians or any cold-region household.
Berners, in general, are very healthy. As responsible breeders, we ensure that our parents are screened for any health condition such as: hip and elbow dysplasia, blood disorders, cancers, and progressive retinal atrophy. As a future owner of a Berner, you should be aware that all large breeds are prone to bloat, a sudden and life-threatening stomach condition. Berner’s owners should learn what signs to look out for, and what to do should these signs appear. Additionally, and as recommended for any dog, a Berner’s ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste designed for dogs.
The Bernese Mountain Dog are not known for having hypersensitivity or allergies to any specific diet. Just make sure you maintain a well-balanced and high-quality nutrient’s food base to ensure your Berner is getting what it needs for a long and happy life. There are many high-quality foods available in the market, however if you decide to take a home-prepared meal approach, make sure you discuss this with your veterinarian. Too much or too little of a good food can still lead to complications in the future. Also, the dig requires a different diet plan according to his/her age (puppy, adult, or senior)
Depending on exercise frequency and quality of life, your dog may require less or more sustenance to avoid obesity and maintain proper strength and levels of energy. Watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level and monitor it if need-be. Control the treats intake and use it for training only. Much like a human treat (ice cream, donuts, pastries, etc.), a dog treat is also less healthy and flavorful. It can make the dog refuse actual meals and the treats could lead to obesity.
Your Bernese Mountain Dogs needs a half-hour of moderate exercise every day or more to stay healthy and happy. If your Berner is also helping in your farm, or in any job where he/she gets lots of physical activity, make sure you bring him/her inside after a few hours for a break. Berners will work themselves to death if you don’t stop them. They enjoy it too much.
While they are unquestionably meant to live indoors with their family, Berners enjoy outdoor activities and make great companions on long walks, hikes, hunting trips, camping, and/or backpacking. It is always a great idea to give your canine friend a task of some kind. So if you do not own a farm, perhaps you could consider a sport that your Berner will enjoy. Berners participate and excel in many disciplines such as: carting and drafting competitions, agility, herding, obedience, rally, and tracking.
The Bernese Mountain Dog has a double coat, with a longer outer coat and a wooly undercoat. Berners shed a fair amount, even more so during shedding season, which occurs twice a year. Brush your Berner weekly to minimize shedding and an overgrown coat. Brush daily during shedding season. Not only it will help your dog look stunning, but it improves coat quality, reduce knotting, minimizes skin conditions and dandruff, and regulates temperature. Make sure your Berner is fully hydrated during shedding season.
As with all breeds, the nails should be trimmed regularly, as overly long nails can cause the dog pain, structural problems, and accidental scratching. If you can hear your dog clicking when he/she walks, that is a great indicator that nails are too long.
Not all Berners are consistent with coat length. Some have a slightly shorter outer coat than others, and sometimes it gets in places like their eyes, or around the female genital area. If your Berner has an unusual longer coat, it is a good idea to take him/her in for a trim.
Early socialization and obedience training are important for all dogs, but especially so for breeds as large as the Bernese Mountain Dog. Berners are intelligent and eager to please, so they are usually easy to train, in fact they enjoy it! They are also affectionate and openhearted; their feelings are easily hurt, and so they don’t respond well to harsh corrections or training methods. They are living proof that gentle giants exist.
A Berner wants to be with his family, and undesirable behaviors can result if he is regularly left alone for long periods of time. If you do not have time for your dog, consider not having one. Berners are not meant to be separated from humans.
Let us help you get started. We know how important your future puppy is. Whatever questions you may have, we are ready to provide answers to.