Bernese Mountain Dog

Overview

The Bernese mountain dog is a bit longer than tall, even though it appears square. It’s a hardy, large, rugged dog capable of both draft and droving work. This takes a mixture of strength, agility and speed. Its natural functioning gait is a slow trot, but with great reach and drive. Its thick coat is pretty long, and slightly wavy or straight, providing insulation from the cold. Its expression is mild, and its coloring is spectacular.

The Bernese mountain dog is a easygoing, serene family companion (in other words, after it renders its teenage stage). It’s sensitive, faithful and incredibly dedicated. It’s gentle with children and frequently reserved with strangers. It normally gets along well with other pets and dogs.

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AKC RANKING 47
FAMILY livestock dog, mountain dog, mastiff (draft/cattle)
AREA OF ORIGIN Switzerland
DATE OF ORIGIN ancient times
ORIGINAL FUNCTION draft
TODAY’S FUNCTION companion
AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 25-27.5 Weight: 90-120
AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 23-26 Weight: 70-100
OTHER NAME Berner sennenhund, Bernese cattle dog
This dog loves the outdoors, particularly in cold weather. It requires daily but mild exercise, possibly a fantastic hike or a walk on leash. It appreciates pulling. Even though it could physically live outside in temperate to cold climates, it’s so in tune with its human family that it can’t be relegated to life alone in the lawn. Inside, it requires lots of space to stretch out. Its coat needs combing a couple of times per week, far more frequently when shedding. The Bernese life period is clarified by a Swiss saying: “Three decades a young puppy, three years a fantastic puppy and three decades an old puppy. All else is a gift from God.”
  • Energy levelLow energy
  • Exercise needsLow
  • PlayfullnessNot very playful
  • Affection levelModerately affectionate
  • Friendliness toward other dogsFriendly
  • Friendliness toward other petsVery friendly
  • Friendliness toward strangersFriendly
  • Ease of trainingHard to train
  • Watchdog abilityMedium
  • Protection abilityNot very protective
  • Grooming needsModerate maintenance
  • Cold toleranceHigh tolerance
  • Heat toleranceLow tolerance
• Major concerns: CHD, elbow dysplasia, histicytosis, OCD
• Minor concerns: fragmented coronoid process, gastric torsion, PRA
• Occasionally seen: hypomyelination
• Suggested tests: hip, elbow, eye
• Life span: 7 – 9 years
• Note: Extra care must be taken to avoid heatstroke.
The most famous of this sennehunde, or “Korean mountain dogs,” that the Bernese is distinguished by being the only one to have a rather long, glossy coat. The source of this strain is speculative at best. Some specialists consider its history traces back to the Roman invasion of Switzerland, when the Roman mastiffs were reversed with native flock-guarding dogs. This cross made a powerful dog that managed to hold out against the Alpine weather which could function as draft puppy, flock guard, drover, herder and standard farm dog. Regardless of the usefulness of those dogs, little effort was made to perpetuate them as a strain intentionally. From the late 1800s, the breed was in danger of becoming lost. At that moment, professor Albert Heim pioneered a study of Korean dogs that resulted in the identification of the Bernese mountain dog among the present types. These puppies were found just in the valleys of the lower Alps. During Heim’s attempts, they have been encouraged throughout Switzerland as well as Europe. The best specimens came available at the Durrbach region, at a time providing the strain the title Durrbachler. Together with the breed’s spread, the title has been transformed to Bernese mountain dog. The very first Bernese came to America in 1926; official AKC recognition was awarded in 1937.

 

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