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Bernese Mountain Dog Appearance
The distinct tri-colored coat and long, muscular body of the Bernese Mountain dog makes them stand out from the pack. These sizable pups have large, heavy builds with slightly flat heads. Their floppy ears and playful expressions often convey their goofy and loving nature. Berners have extremely thick double-coats that have similar markings across the breed, with very few variances. The majority of the luscious coat is solid black, with deep rust markings above the eyes, around the face, paws, and chest, Striking white patterns adorn the face, striping the forehead and muzzle as well as the chest and paws. The attractive white pattern on the Bernese Mountain dog’s chest is sometimes called a “Swiss cross.” The fur patterns vary from straight to slightly wavy and are always naturally glossy. Occasional bathing helps to enhance the natural sheen of the Berner’s coat. Their long tail is beautifully plumed with long, bushy fur and is usually carried low when relaxed, and slightly curled during excitement. These gentle giants usually stand between 23-27 inches tall and weigh in at a whopping 75-120 lbs. A healthy Berner will live to be around 6-8 years old.
Bernese Mountain Dog Grooming
The Bernese Mountain dog’s gorgeous coat comes at a price; they shed moderately year round and will shed more profusely when transitioning between seasonal coats. The thick double-coat has a longer, lustrous top coat and thick, wooly undercoat. Daily brushing is recommended to avoid painful tangles and to help get rid of excess fur. An occasional bath will help keep the Berner fresh and feeling clean. Thoroughly rinsing all bath products out of their thick coat is very important; product residues can cause irritation, rashes, and discomfort. As long as the Bernese Mountain dog doesn’t get into a muddy mess, a bath every 3 months or so will be sufficient. Trimming their strong nails is also important and regular maintenance will prevent ingrown and breakage. Periodically cleaning the Berner’s floppy ears is also recommended. The dark, covered area under their ears makes a great breeding ground for bacteria, which could lead to an uncomfortable ear infection. Simply wiping the underside of the ear with a moistened cloth will help reduce the amount of germy intruders.
Bernese Mountain Dog Temperament
High levels of tolerance, affection, and loyalty are core characteristics of the Bernese Mountain dog. They are widely known as being great family companions as they are extremely tolerant of children and other animals. They are intelligent, but slow to mature. They will often reach their full growth and still exhibit silly, puppy-like behavior. Once fully matured, Berners are still loving and downright goofy during play but will respond even better to commands. Beginning obedience training early is important, especially for a dog as large as the Bernese Mountain dog, to establish acceptable behavior. They are tolerant of strangers and affectionate towards their family. They require a moderate amount of daily exercise but don’t have a great amount of endurance, so short 30 minute activities are best. They also have a rather sensitive nature and will not respond well to harsh criticism or rough training methods. They are happiest when actively engaged in family activities and roaming a large yard. Due to their large size, Bernese Mountain dogs need large yards to stretch out and get ample exercise. Berners also love socializing and enjoy interactions with their family and other dogs.
Bernese Mountain Dog Training
The intelligence of this breed help make training sessions easier on both dog and owner. While eager to please, this large dog can quickly run out of stamina, so it’s best to keep training sessions short and consistent. Regular training sessions are the greatest way to ensure lessons and commands are being retained. Berners have sensitive personalities and will not respond well to harsh training tactics. Using positive and encouraging methods will yield the best results and help the Berner bond with their owner. Bernese Mountain dogs maintain their puppyhood playfulness long into their lives and often don’t mature until well after they’ve reached their full growth. Starting obedience training early will help establish acceptable behavior and channel their enthusiasm into productive training sessions. Teaching them proper social skills early is also recommended to help improve their socialization with other dogs and with people later on in life. An unruly Bernese Mountain puppy who isn’t corrected can soon become an unruly 120 lb. troublemaker who doesn’t know how to behave.
Bernese Mountain Dog History
Originally used as hardworking farm dog, the Bernese Mountain dog was responsible for guarding the property and helping drive the livestock. They are one of four breeds of the Sennenhund-type dogs descended from the Swiss Alps. The four breeds are the Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund (Greater Swiss Mountain dog,) the Appenzeller Sennenhund (Appenzeller,) the Entlebucher Sennenhund (Entlebucher Mountain dog,) and finally, the Berner Sennenhund (Bernese Mountain dog.) These dogs are all large, heavy-set creatures accustomed to working alongside their families on farms. It is thought that the original ancestors of this dog was brought into Switzerland over two thousand years ago by the invading Roman soldiers.
Berner Sennenhund, Bernese Cattle Dog