Living with and caring for a Bernese Mountain Dog can be a rewarding experience, but it is important to understand the unique needs and characteristics of this breed. Bernese Mountain Dogs, also known as Berner Sennenhunds or Berners, are a large and majestic breed that were originally bred for herding and farming in the Swiss Alps. These loyal and affectionate dogs make wonderful companions for families, but they do require proper care and training to thrive.
Learn About the Bernese Breed
The breed gets its name from Bern, Switzerland located in the Alps. The Bernese Mountain dog breed is a popular herding breed in Alpine environments.
The dog was bred to be an all-purpose dog for farm living. They are adept as a family pet and also for guarding livestock.
Most individual Bernese dogs will be protective of their property and the family they live with if they sense danger.
Versatile, majestic, and cold-weather hearty according to the American Kennel Club they also do well in dog sports like herding.
Mountain Dogs are known for their friendly nature, which makes the wonderful companion animals. They are known for their intelligence and trainability making them quite suitable for therapy work, search and rescue, and obedience training.
They are usually good with children, but as with any breed, the temperament of individual dogs may vary. A large part of suitability comes from breeding, training, and care when the dog is still a puppy. Working with a good breeder can help you find the perfect dog for your individual goals.
And now, to answer one of the most popular questions about the breed – Do Bernese Mountain Dogs drool? Yes, they definitely do, as with most large dogs it is common, but can vary by the individual dog.
Temperament and Personality
One of the first things to understand when living with a large sennenhund breed is their temperament and personality.
Berners are known for being friendly and outgoing, and they typically have a good disposition with both people and other animals. However, they can be strong-willed and stubborn at times, which can make training a challenge.
It is important to establish yourself as the leader in the household and to use positive reinforcement training methods.
Grooming and Coat Care
The dogs have a thick, beautiful coat that requires regular grooming to keep it in top condition. The coat should be brushed at least once a week to remove tangles and matting; and trimmed periodically to keep it neat.
Berners shed heavily twice a year, and extra grooming may be needed during these shedding seasons. Additionally, bathing your Bernese should be done every 3-4 months.
Exercise and Physical Needs
The mountain dog Bernese are large and energetic dogs, and they require regular exercise to stay healthy and happy.
A daily walk or jog is essential, and Berners also enjoy hiking, swimming, and playing in open spaces. It is important to note that the breed is prone to hip dysplasia, a genetic condition that affects the hip joints. Regular exercise can help prevent this condition and also prevent other health issues like obesity.
Feeding and Nutrition
The Bernese Mountain Dogs are large, and they need a diet that is formulated to meet their specific needs. It is important to feed them a high-quality, nutritionally balanced diet that is appropriate for their size and activity level.
Feeding your dog with a diet that is rich in protein and essential fatty acids will help promote healthy growth and development, as well as maintain a shiny coat. Overfeeding should be avoided, as it can increase risk of obesity, also avoid giving them table scraps.
Health Concerns and Preventative Care
Like all breeds, Bernese Mountain Dogs are susceptible to certain health concerns. Berners are prone to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and bloat, so it is important to have them checked regularly by a veterinarian.
Preventive care, such as regular vaccinations and parasite control, is also essential to keeping your Berner healthy. Additionally, you can have your Bernese genetic tested to identify any potential health issues that may arise later in life.
What is the Lifespan of a Bernese Mountain Dog?
The lifespan of the Bernese Mountain Dog ranges from 6 to 9 years. Their lifespan is relatively short compared to other breeds, due in part to the breed’s tendency to develop certain health problems such as cancer, as they age.
It’s important to get your dog checked regularly by a veterinarian, give them plenty of exercise, and good nutrition throughout their lives. Genetic testing can also be helpful to increase life expectancy.
Living with and caring for a Bernese Mountain Dog is a big responsibility, but it can also be a lot of fun. These dogs are loyal and loving companions, and they bring joy to many families.
With proper care, training, and attention, your dog can be a valued member of your household for many years to come.