The Bernese Mountain Dog originated as a farm dog, but these days he’s most often a beloved companion. He has many good qualities, but the number of potentially serious health problems that can affect the breed as well as his heartbreakingly short lifespan may give you pause.
Did You Know That the BerneseMountain Dog is also known as the Berner?
He’s not a Bernice Mountain Dog or a Burmese Mountain Dog. He takes his name from the Swiss canton of Bern, where he was a valued farm dog who excelled at pulling carts, driving livestock to fields or market, and serving as watchdogs.
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 market, 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, rally, 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 a 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.
Other Quick Facts About the Bernese Mountain Dog
Most Bernese are considered to have a dry mouth, meaning they don’t drool, but that’s not true of all of them. A Bernese with tight, or close-fitting, lips is less likely to drool than one with loose or hanging lips.
The Bernese Mountain Dog’s tricolor coat is thick and moderately long with straight or slightly wavy hair. The coat sheds heavily.
Berners are sensitive to heat and humidity. If outdoors, they need access to plenty of shade and fresh water.