Know about Breed: Bernese Mountain Dog
- Life Expectancy: 6 - 8 years.
- Origin: Switzerland.
- Color: Black tricolor.
- Height: Male: 64-70 cm, Female: 58-66 cm.
- Temperament: Affectionate, Intelligent, Loyal, Faithful.
- Weight: Male: 38-50 kg, Female: 36-48 kg.
- This good-looking Swiss farm dog takes his name from the canton of Bern, where he likely originated. Berners helped farmers by pulling carts, driving livestock to fields or markets, and serving as watchdogs. These days, the Berner is primarily a family companion or show dog, beloved for his calm and patient temperament. If you want a Bernese Mountain Dog, be prepared to do your due diligence to find him and put in plenty of effort training and socializing him once you bring him home.
- This is a large breed. A Bernese puppy certainly looks snuggly and manageable, but he will quickly reach his adult weight of 70 to 120 pounds, more or less (be prepared for more).
- The Berner, as he's nicknamed, has moderate exercise needs. In general, plan to give him a walk of at least a half-hour daily, plus several shorter trips outdoors throughout the day. Bernese are individuals, so the amount of exercise they desire can vary.
- To keep your Bernese Mountain Dog's mind and body active and healthy, involve him in dog sports. Depending on the individual dog's build and temperament, Bernese can excel in activities such as agility, drafting (pulling a cart or wagon), herding, obedience, rallying, or tracking. Organized sports not your thing? Take your Bernese hiking. He can carry his own water and treats in a canine backpack. Bernese also make excellent therapy dogs, having a gentle, mellow temperament as well as being the perfect height for standing at the bedside and being petted.
- Though you might think of him as an outdoor dog, nothing could be further from the truth. Bernese Mountain Dogs love their people, especially children, and will pine without human companionship. They should certainly have access to a securely fenced yard, but when the family is home, the Bernese should be with them.
- At his best, the Berner is a calm and patient dog. As befits his background as a working dog, he is self-confident and alert. He's a great watchdog but should never be aggressive.
- When he has been appropriately socialized and trained, the adult Bernese Mountain Dog is easygoing and tolerant. He doesn't reach maturity until he's 3 or 4 years old, though, and the long puppyhood of a large breed such as this definitely has its trying moments. Puppies are highly active, mouthy, and rambunctious, so adopting an adult Bernese may be a better decision for a family with young children. Berner pups can chase, nip, or bite in play, and that can be frightening for or dangerous to a young child, even though the dog doesn't mean any harm.
- Bernese are likely to get along with other pets if they are brought up with them, but some members of the breed have a stronger prey drive than others. Small, furry pets should beware.
- Like any dog, Bernese puppies are inveterate chewers and because of their size can do more damage than puppies of other breeds. They are prone to ingesting items such as socks and dish towels, resulting in veterinary visits or even surgery for intestinal blockages.
- Because of their heritage as a working breed, Bernese Mountain Dogs tend to be cautious, and that caution can tip over into shyness. Early, frequent socialization is essential to prevent them from becoming overly suspicious or fearful of anything new or different. Berners can also be sensitive to loud noises or shrill cries, so socialization to different sounds is important too.
- All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don't walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.
- In Bernese Mountain Dogs, health problems include hip and elbow dysplasia, as well as other orthopedic problems. Eye diseases or defects that can affect the Berner are progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, entropion, and ectropion. Berners can develop a bleeding disorder called von Willebrand disease. Unfortunately, malignant histiocytosis, an often fatal type of cancer, is common in Bernese. This breed may also experience neurological problems associated with the degeneration or malformation of the part of the brain called the cerebellum.
- Bernese Mountain Dogs have a thick, moderately long double coat that can be straight or slightly wavy. It shouldn't come as a surprise that this coat sheds heavily, but frequent brushing will help to keep loose hair under control. The best tools for grooming a Berner's coat are a stainless steel pin brush, a slicker brush, and a stainless steel comb with fine and coarse teeth.
- Bathe the Bernese when he's dirty to keep his tricolor coat gleaming. With regular brushing, the coat sheds dirt easily, so a bath isn't needed too frequently. Usually, four or five times a year is plenty.
- The rest is basic care. Keep the ears dry so the dog doesn't get infections, and trim the nails as needed, usually every week or two. Brush the teeth for good overall health and fresh breath.
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