Is there anything more beautiful than the Bernese Mountain Dog?
With their tricolour coats, their floppy ears and eyes that would melt butter, these soft, giant size dogs are one of the most sought after breed of dogs in the world and, allowing for some exceptions (which we will cover later in the post) are the perfect dog breed for families.
Aside from their handsome stature, their gentle nature and their famous tri-coloured double-layer coats; what makes the Bernese Mountain dog so unique and lovable and are there any hidden facts that we need to know about?
1. DON’T Ignore The History Of The Bernese Mountain Dog
- The name Sennenhund comes from the German word Senne (which means ‘alpine pasture’ ) and Hund (meaning hound/dog).
- Descendents of dogs used by Roman soldiers 2,000 years ago, the Bernese Mountain Dog was originally a cross between a variety of mastiffs and other guard-type breeds.
- Because of their size and strength, the Bernese dog was used to pull heavy carts for the Alpine herders and dairymen over treacherous mountain passes through the Swiss Alpes.
- Berner (or Bernese in English) refers to the area of the breed’s origin, the city of Bern in Switzerland.
- At the turn of the century, Professor Albert Heim saved the Bernese Mountain dog from near-extinction when he continued to carefully develop the breed, crossing the breed with a Newfoundland, he improved the dog’s temperament and size.
- The breed of Bernese Mountain Dog was officially established in 1907 and in 1937 was recognised by the American Kennel Club.
- The Bernese Mountain Dog is listed under the working breed dog category.
2. Don’t Ignore The Bernese Lifespan
- It is usually the way that something so good can only last so long and this is somewhat the case of the Bernese Mountain dog.
- Beautiful to look at and with a temperament to match, the owner of this breed can expect a lifespan of 6-10 years of life with this breed.
- Not the longest lifespan compared to other dog breeds, but every year with a Berner will be unforgettable.
3. DON’T Ignore The Importance of Bernese Mountain Dog Training
- Due to his size, the Berner will benefit from basic dog training at an early age with a gentle but stern approach; this way they can adapt to the rules and routines of being part of a family.
- Remember that the Berner is late to mature both physically and mentally (rather like my 18-year-old son) so keep this in mind when you have been training him for some time and he still seems to ‘not quite get it’!
- Take your time with your Bernese Mountain Dog training; little and often is the best approach with this breed. Due to the softness of their personalities, Berner’s feelings are easily hurt.
- Be patient and gentle and you will be rewarded with a well socialised and easily manageable dog.
4. DON’T Ignore Her Exercise Needs
Although not as exercise mad as a breed such as a Boxer, the Berner needs plenty of vigorous exercise. Due to her size, you do not have the option of installing a dog door and leaving her to come and go in the back garden by herself all day.
As well as playing with your dog throughout the day in a safe and fenced in yard the Bernese Mountain dog will need to be taken on a daily walk of at least 30 minutes.
The Berner is at his happiest when he is fetching sticks, playing games with little kids, acting goofy and splashing around in the water!
If you are unsure how much exercise your Berner needs compared to how much he is getting then I suggest investing in the excellent Fitbark activity monitor. This provides you with a gentle reminder as to whether you need to do a little more (or less!) with your Bernese Mountain dog.
5. DON’T Ignore Grooming
The gorgeous coat of the Bernese Mountain dog is what makes this breed stand out from the rest.
Double layered with a long outer coat and a woolly coat underneath, the Berners covering is mostly black layered with intense rust and bright white colour.
Usually, there is a white pattern across her chest that looks like an inverted Swiss cross and another flash of white between her eyes.
The Berner is a gorgeous specimen.
If you are a fastidious clean freak then the Bernese breed may not be the dog for you. Know that you will spend a good deal of your time getting rid of the heavy dog smell in your house.
This breed sheds moderately throughout the year with spring and autumn seeing the worst of the fur falling from her coat and onto your carpets.
Because of this, it is super important to regularly brush your Berner (and to invest in a good vacuum!) Also note that getting rid of dog fleas becomes super hard in a coat that hasn’t been brushed in a while, so even more reason to look after that coat!
Keep your dog’s nails well-trimmed and clean her ears with a natural substance on a regular basis to avoid them from becoming smelly or infected.
The Bernese Mountain dog is not a massive drooler, but if she has loose jowls then she will need you to keep an eye on the slobber!
Don’t worry, plenty of Berner owners will testify that the drool and the shedding is worth every minute with this beautiful gentle giant.
The best brush that we recommend using for your Bernese Mountain dog is this one. It is sturdy and strong and lasts well considering the work it has to do.