Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog is Big, powerful, and built for hard work, and also strikingly beautiful and blessed with a sweet, affectionate nature.

Bernese Mountain Dog
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Overall Status

Height 23 to 27.5 inches at the shoulder
Temperament Good-Natured, Calm, Strong
Weight 65 to 120 pounds
Life Expectancy 7 to 10 years
Coat Color Black, White
Barking Level Medium

Quick Factors

Playfulness
Dog Friendly
Exercise Need
Grooming Needs
Strangers Friendly
Family Affectionate
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Daily Care

Grooming Tips Exercise Tips Feeding Tips Health Tips Trainability

Berners shed year round, with the heaviest shedding coming during the changes in season. Brushing at least once a week – more in spring and fall – will help keep the coat neat and will reduce the amount of hair that hits the floor or furniture. Depending on the dog's activity level and desire to romp in the dirt, they only require a bath once every couple of months.

Their ears can trap bacteria, dirt, and liquid so weekly cleanings with a veterinarian-recommended cleanser can help prevent painful ear infections. Weekly brushing of the teeth is also recommended to reduce tartar and bad breath. Active Berners will naturally wear their toenails down to a good length, but some do not. The general rule is if the dog's nails click on a hard floor, they are too long. Monthly trimming may be required.

Bernese Mountain Dogs need at least a half-hour of moderate exercise every day to stay healthy and happy. While they are definitely meant to live indoors with their human family, Berners enjoy outdoor activities and make great companions on long walks or hikes.

Outdoorsy owners often take their canine companions camping and backpacking. Berners enjoy pulling young children in a cart, and some even participate in carting and drafting competitions.

Other canine sports in which Berners participate and excel includeagility,herding,obedience,rally, andtracking.

With a heavy and multi-colored coat, many people like to feed their Bernese Mountain Dog with the idea of aiming for a specific coat quality.

However, a simple, healthful diet is often enough to ensure that a good coat quality is maintained as well as an overall healthy weight – which we’ll address in just a moment.

The Bernese Mountain Dog can be fond of scraps but generally, you’ll want to keep it well-fed with its own food to discourage this relatively large breed from hanging around under the dinner table.

Berners are generally healthy dogs, andresponsible breederswillscreentheir breeding stock for health conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia, blood disorders, some cancers, and progressive retinal atrophy.

All large breeds are susceptible tobloat, a sudden, life-threatening stomach condition. Berner owners should learn what signs to look out for, and what to do should they occur.

As with all breeds, a Berner’s ears should be checked regularly for signs ofinfection, and theteethshould be brushed often, using a toothpaste designed for dogs.

Training for the Bernese Mountain Dog should be a regular activity throughout its life. The dog should be confident and self-assured but not to the point of aggressiveness: while alerting around strangers, it should maintain a friendly disposition.

Keeping your dog busy with activities is especially important, and the farm history of this breed naturally gives it a propensity to enjoying the outdoors and open fields.

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History

The Bernese Mountain Dog is one of four mountain-dog breeds who were long at home in the canton of Bern. Berners earned their keep by driving cattle, guarding farmyards against predators, and serving as gentle companions when the hard work of the day was done.

Despite the breed’s great utility in the days before mechanized farming and ranching, by the late 1800s, the Berner’s numbers were dwindling and the quality of the surviving dogs left something to be desired.

In 1907, a Swiss breed club was formed under the leadership of Professor Albert Heim, perhaps the most respected European dog man of his generation.

The breed’s American history began in 1926 when a Kansas farmer imported a pair as all-around farm dogs. They caught on quickly, and the AKC registered its first Berner in 1937. Today, the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America sponsors drafting and carting events that test the working ability of these majestic mountaineers.

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Picture & Video

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